Small Business Saturday

Lord have mercy, what a year it’s been. Still sick. Still stressed. Still need new glasses.

The good news is that I have gotten quite a bit accomplished this fall. You may have noticed a couple of new links and social media buttons in the sidebar–I’ve finally launched my new Etsy shop, E. Wolfe Mercantile, mostly to sell the items I’m crocheting but also as an outlet to offer autographed copies of my books online. And since a fair amount of Etsy’s marketing is done on Instagram, I’ve bitten the bullet and gotten an account there. I’ve added a sizeable number of new designs to my CafePress shop as well, including the new “Quotation Corner” and “Doc Wolfe’s Whimsies” sections; I hope to add more designs to both in the coming weeks. On the writing front, I spent most of September compiling my first textbook; it’s very much tailored to my own syllabus and lacks a lot of the study helps that would make it marketable to a broader audience, but it’s an accomplishment nonetheless.

The bad news is that it looks like Loyal Valley: Diversion isn’t getting done this year, either. I have been working on it–if you follow me on Goodreads, you’ve probably noticed some of the research texts I’ve been reading–but with eeeeeverything else that’s been going on and that I still have to do between now and Christmas (including grading five sets of essays!), there’s no way I can finish the book before the holiday sales deadline.

So what I’m hoping right now is that I’ll be able to have Diversion ready to launch in time for West Texas Heritage Days at Fort McKavett the first weekend in May. There’s a slight chance I’ll have an event happening before then, and if so, I might get Diversion finished in time for that–but there’s no guarantee on either score. Once Diversion is out and I’m able to publish the first hardcover omnibus, I’ll start thinking again about the poetry book and the next Order of the Silver Star book.

Want to help out? Buy something! 😄 If nothing I’m selling takes your fancy, you can pledge monthly support through Patreon or send a one-time donation through Ko-fi. Signal boosts are always welcome, too; there’s only so much marketing I can do myself, even on a good day.

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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!

Updates and Requests

How is it almost Independence Day already?!

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s been a tough few months, for health reasons and quite a lot more. God’s closed some doors I was really counting on, and I’m struggling mightily because I don’t understand why. But giving up is not an option, and I do in fact have some fun projects and events lined up for this summer:

  • Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my CafePress shop! I just updated it a couple of weeks ago with three new designs and a big batch of new products, and I’m hoping soon to launch another new set of designs inspired by The Dream of the Rood.
  • The Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale starts Saturday and ends 7/31! Loyal Valley: Assassination will be FREE with coupon code SSW100, and my other three books will be 50% off with coupon code SSW50. (This offer applies only to Smashwords ebook sales.)
  • My friend Caitlin is having another book launch party on Facebook this coming Sunday, this time to celebrate the release of her new poetry collection, and I’ll be taking over–probably to do a reading, though whether or not it’ll be live I don’t yet know–at 3 p.m. CDT. And part of what I’ll be talking about is…
  • My friend Peter G. Epps has challenged me to a creative race! The project I’m planning to tackle is a hardcover coffee table book of calligraphed poems, with a section of my own poetry and a section of classics. (I have plans for Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings,” oh yesss, precioussss!) I may try a Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs of self-publishing this volume, but I’ll decide on that when it gets closer to being ready to scan and prep for printing.
  • I also hope, sooner than later, to launch an Etsy shop for my crocheted snoods and reticules (and anything else that takes my fancy).
  • And of course, I still want to finish at least Loyal Valley: Diversion, possibly get the first omnibus volume out (which might also involve a Kickstarter campaign), and possibly start to work on the next Order of the Silver Star book.

All of which is the sort of thing I’d love to be able to do full-time, or as close to it as I can get in my current condition, because except on the very worst days, it’s much easier for me to do creative work even when I’m not feeling so hot than it is to focus on intensely left-brained work.

But of course, there’s one major hang-up: I am flat broke. I need to make at least $1000/mo. to make ends meet. As sick as I’ve been all year, though, I haven’t been able to take enough freelance projects to cover the gap between my teaching income and my budget, and what little buffer I had built up in the fall is gone. The school doesn’t pay me in the summers, either, and there are annual expenses like my antivirus program subscription coming up in July. Nor can I cut anything at all from my budget without losing my independence–what doesn’t go to housing and utilities goes to business expenses and student loans. As things stand now, I have to prioritize paying work over creative work… and pickings are slim on that front as well.

If I’m going to make any of my planned creative projects happen this summer, dear readers, I desperately need your help.

Patreon may be the most attractive option if you’re willing to just give me money. It’s a monthly subscription service, although you can make a one-time gift by cancelling your subscription after the first month’s payment is sent to me. Plus, patrons who donate $5 or more per month get exclusive sneak previews of my projects and a host of other rewards. If you’d rather buy some of my work, well, I’ve already given you those links earlier in this post! Or you can hire me as a translator or editor, and I’m open to calligraphy or crochet commissions within reason.

I want to finish all these projects eventually in any event, but it’ll happen a whole lot sooner and with a much happier, healthier me if I can count on your financial support.

Pretty please?

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!

Announcing a New Venture!

Yessiree, I been an’ gone an’ done it:

shop banner

The Frontier Calligrapher will be an outlet for selling my calligraphy designs and Celtic knotwork art, along with some other fun stuff. I’m starting small with a selection of journals, note cards, postcards, and framed tiles, but I’ve already got a decent buffer of designs ready to add and more in the draft stage, and of course I can add more products like mugs and T-shirts as I go along. Please come see what I have so far, and check back frequently for new designs!

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.

New Year, New Plans

So, long time no blog, eh wot? Joys of chronic illness….

As frustrating as the latter third of 2015 was for me health-wise, however, I’m determined not to let such things hold me back (at least as far as I can do anything about them) in 2016. I plan to finish at least Loyal Valley: Diversion, release an omnibus collection of the first four volumes in that series, and commission audiobooks of everything that’s out thus far. I still plan to participate in Fort McKavett’s West Texas Heritage days (now in May) and hope to do the same at Fort Martin Scott and possibly some other living history events in the area. And there’s a potential opportunity that I’ll share more about if it gets closer to reality.

And you can help make all these things happen.

I’ve taken the plunge and signed up for Patreon, which allows you to pledge recurring monthly support–as little as $1/mo. or as much as you want to give. Various levels of support will receive a variety of rewards, like exclusive sneak previews of book content and acknowledgement here and in print. The more funds I can raise in this way, the less time I’ll have to spend scraping together a living through freelancing and the more time I can devote to writing and research.

(I don’t currently plan to quit teaching, even if I no longer need the money. Teaching is fun.)

I’ve also got myself a YouTube channel now. Not that I know what I’ll do with it yet–it might be more for Patreon stuff–but it’s there. 😀 I’d like to get back to Literature You Should Know over on Smash Cut Culture, too, assuming I have the time and energy.

So that’s what’s new with me. Alles Gute zum Neuen Jahr!

Ai, what a year it’s been…

… and it’s only half over. XP

(*waves hello to stampeding Horde* Y’all might be looking for this post, but do feel free to look around….)

There will be more news and updates coming, hopefully in the near future, but two housekeeping things right quick:

1. Faithful readers may have noticed a slight change to the header and to my CV. I’ve been too swamped to post about it since it became official, but: starting this fall, I’ll be teaching English online as an adjunct for The Baptist College of Florida! I’m looking forward to the new challenge. 😀
2. Hard as it is to believe, August marks my fifth anniversary as a freelancer. And given the givens, I feel it’s time to raise my rates. Changes will be in effect for new clients starting August 1 (existing clients will still receive the same rates).

More soon, I hope!

Looking back, looking forward

Well, I didn’t quite make my goal of posting every day of the twelve days of Christmas. But that’s okay–I got close and wrote some things I hadn’t planned, and I pray some of it blessed people.
What it did teach me, though, is that I’m not cut out to be a blogger who posts every day. Even when I’ve got a clear idea of what I want to post, which I didn’t always for this series, blogging takes up energy that I need to expend on writing other things. And again, that’s okay. I didn’t set out to become a big-name blogger. It just means this isn’t going to be that sort of blog, and I’ll figure out the sort of blog it is going to be as we go along.

That said:

Starting Monday, I’ll be trying something completely different by posting the first book in my second series, Look Behind You, here before I release the ebook and paperback versions on March 2. I’ll be posting one chapter each on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the rest of this month. I also plan to post a PayPal button where you can preorder autographed hard copies as well as autographed copies of Loyal Valley: Assassination–and I hope you will, because I’ll be working on Loyal Valley: Bystanders at the same time with a goal of releasing it later in March, and any income I can get from writing means less time I need to spend making money from other projects.
And if you can’t buy anything right now… just pray for me.