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!

Advertisements

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?

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).

That time of year again…

Work on Loyal Valley: Diversion continues… not apace, exactly, but better than it had been. I think I’m about to the halfway point, if not past it. Unfortunately, that means I’m not going to have it available for this month’s events, but I still intend to have both it and the hardcover omnibus out in time for the holidays and so will be taking pre-orders at those events. More on that as I progress.

Speaking of events, I will definitely be at the Kingsland Library for Breakfast with the Authors on Wednesday morning! About a dozen authors are slated to attend, I’m told, and several of us are planning to give readings as well. (Just FYI, I didn’t discover until Friday that I’m nearly out of copies of Loyal Valley: Captives, and the new batch I ordered won’t arrive by Wednesday, but I’ll take orders at the table and fill them ASAP.) I’m also still planning to have a booth at the Llano Wild West Weekend Oct. 15-16, not only demonstrating calligraphy and selling books but also selling a limited selection of crocheted snoods and reticules.* Unfortunately, between health, finances, and other factors, I’m not going to make it to Fort Croghan or the BCF Holiday Heritage Festival this year, and we’re still not sure about Frontier Days at Fort Martin Scott–the latter will most likely depend on my parents’ schedules and the weather.

Still, as one of my new reproduction copybooks proclaims, “Excelsior is a good motto.” So in the spirit of pressing on: EXCELSIOR!! 😀

* For those who don’t know: a snood is a type of hair net, and a reticule is a purse.