More Updates and Requests

Poking away at everything, inching toward progress… slow going, but it’s better than lying around doing nothing! I’ve shared a little of my progress on Patreon for patrons who’ve pledged $5/mo. and up, and you can see some discussion and teasers for Loyal Valley: Diversion on Facebook for this month’s #WIPJoy, hosted by Bethany A. Jennings.

You might also notice a few new buttons on the sidebar. WordPress just launched a new social media widget, which allows me to place buttons not only for my Facebook and Goodreads pages but also for my author pages on Amazon and Apple iBookstore. I’ve also added a link to my new Ko-fi page, which is sort of like a tip jar. If you like what you see of my work but don’t want to commit to a Patreon subscription, Ko-fi lets you “buy me a cuppa” (or two, or twenty, or however much you want to give).

The first goal I’ve set on Ko-fi is labeled “Eye Exam and New Glasses” because that’s one expense that isn’t in my usual budget but really needs to get taken care of soon. My glasses are six years old, give or take, and while I can still see well out of them, I feel a very definite relief around my eyes whenever I take my glasses off. Unfortunately, though understandably, the patient assistance I get through the hospital system doesn’t cover routine eye exams; I am, as I said last time, flat broke and won’t be able to pay out of pocket myself; and with as much help as I’ve had to ask my parents for this summer, I don’t know how soon they’ll be able to afford this expense as well. (And before you suggest Zenni or EyeBuyDirect or any other online discount optical shop: I have a very strong prescription with features Zenni doesn’t allow for, and I’m just not comfortable trying to measure my pupils on my own. I’d rather pay a little more to work with my favorite optician in person.) So if you’re inclined to help out with that, I’d appreciate it!

Down the Valley of the Shadow

I’m still sick.

You have no idea how much I did not want to have to start this post with that sentence yet again.

I really thought at the beginning of October that I’d have Diversion finished by the end of the month–I even went ahead and commissioned the cover art, which you can see along with a sneak preview of the book if you pledge $5 or more on my Patreon. When a worsening flare meant work took up all my energy for more of last month than expected, I thought I’d be able to set aside the first two weeks of this month to buckle down and get the book done, assuming I could keep on top of grading well enough not to need to spend much time on it each day.

It hasn’t happened.

What has happened? Fever. Fatigue. Brain fog. Pain. Nausea. Upper respiratory crud. Struggling to figure out what I can eat without spending the day in and out of the bathroom. Struggling to do more than veg out with TV and crochet or computer games or wandering in circles on the ‘Net. The last two weeks have been the worst yet out of this year-plus slog. I’ve barely managed a paragraph all month.

A week from today, I go for what ought to be the final round of tests to get this mess diagnosed and get treatment started. But I have essays coming in this weekend, and grading those is likely to use up all the energy I have between now and the deadline for getting books published through the various outlets I use in time for holiday sales.

Barring a miracle, Diversion may not get finished this year at all.

I’m crying as I write this. I know a lot of the pressure I’m feeling in this regard is self-imposed, but I still can’t help thinking I’m letting you all down by not getting a book out this year. And I’m really, deeply sorry.

How can you help?

  • Buy things I’m selling, whether books or items from my CafePress shop.  Christmas is coming, after all.   Surely you know someone who needs a journal or a mug or a T-shirt or who likes good books, right?
  • Support me through Patreon.  Anything, even a dollar a month, will help.  (I still need to get my backer acknowledgment page set up; it’s on my to-do list.)
  • Help me get the word out about my works.  Granted, I’m horribly introverted, but even if I weren’t, I’m just too sick–and broke, frankly–to do any sort of full-court press of marketing on my own.  Here again, anything will help, even if it’s just a short tweet or a Facebook share. Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon would help, too.
  • Above all else, pray for me.  His ability is far, far greater than my inability (or disability).

Third Blogaversary!

And I’m still sick, but I’m hoping things will calm down enough once the semester starts that I’ll be able to get Diversion written sooner than later. (This is why I don’t do assetless preorders through Smashwords… life has a tendency to get in my way!)

I’m also making plans for the first Loyal Valley omnibus volume, which–the good Lord willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise–will be out in hardcover in time for the holidays. I intend to launch a GoFundMe to fund both it and Diversion soon, in part because, thanks to the excellent suggestion of a couple of people on the AoSHQ Goodreads group, I’ve been talking with my cover artist about including MAPS with this edition!

Thank you all for your support over the last three years. Here’s hoping for better days, more books, and more content here and at The Frontier Calligrapher in the year ahead!

Sermon illustration, free to a good home

We got stuck behind a gravel truck yesterday, and there was a sign on the back that I completely misread. It was a single word above an arrow pointing to the right (no idea exactly what it was indicating). At first glance, I thought the word was “FUTURE”; only when we got closer was I able to see that it actually said “SUICIDE.”

“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man….”

The A Word

Some labels are easy to accept, to claim for oneself.

Hi, I’m Dr. Wolfe. I’m an English professor.
I’m a freelance editor.
I’m a translator.
Tolkienist.
Medievalist.
Calligrapher.
I’m an author. I write Westerns.
I’m a singer, when health permits.
I’m an American. I’m a Texan.
I’m a Christian.

Some may not be pleasant, but there’s a degree of power in accepting them.

I have several chronic illnesses. I battle depression and anxiety.

But there’s one label I’ve been reluctant to claim for a host of reasons. People have certain preconceptions about what it means that don’t fit me at all–what one does, how one does it, how such a person acts and dresses, etc. I don’t have credentials or (much) formal training. I’m not as good at it as some people, as I want to be.

Tonight, though, as I’ve been working on pencil drafts for a project I’ll post more about later, it suddenly struck me that none of those objections really matter. I’ve been experimenting–just noodling!–and getting some results that, on the whole, I’ve been quite happy with. So I think I can finally take a deep breath and say it:

Hi, I’m Elisabeth, and I’m an artist.

Worth remembering

There is a limit to the doctrine of the prayer of faith. We are not to expect that God will give us everything we choose to ask for. We know that we sometimes ask, and do not receive, because we ask amiss. If we ask for that which is not promised–if we run counter to the spirit which the Lord would have us cultivate–if we ask contrary to his will, or to the decrees of his providence–if we ask merely for the gratification of our own ease, and without an eye to his glory, we must not expect that we shall receive. Yet, when we ask in faith, nothing doubting, if we receive not the precise thing asked for, we shall receive an equivalent, and more than an equivalent, for it. … If he does not give you precisely what you ask for, he will give you that which is tantamount to it, and that which you will greatly rejoice to receive in lieu thereof. Be then, dear reader, much in prayer, and make this evening a season of earnest intercession, but take heed what you ask.

— C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Evening devotion for May 19

Goings-on

Still sick, and the potential opportunity I mentioned in my New Year’s post didn’t pan out. 😛 But I’m hoping to be able to get cracking on Loyal Valley: Diversion later this month, and I could really use your support on Patreon. Every pledge gets me closer to financial stability and better health!

Spring’s sproinging! The bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush are blooming, and schools are letting out for Spring Break (BCF’s, alas, isn’t until the end of the month). And March 6-12 is Read an Ebook Week, and I’m one of the many Smashwords authors offering a 50% discount on my books this week! You can view the full catalogue here, and my profile is here (enter RAE50 at checkout to receive the discount).

Finally, I was saddened to learn this morning of the death of Nancy Reagan. And of course, this being March 6, I hope you’ll remember the men who gave their lives 180 years ago for the cause of Texas’ freedom.