Sunday Update – March 26, 2017

Sunday Update – March 26, 2017

What a long and tiring week!! I’m so glad it’s over because this was definitely the last week of obligations for a while, and I needed to get through it.

The week started off rough. I pulled something in my lower left back on Saturday and it hurt all the way through Wednesday, finally ceasing when I went to the chiropractor and got an adjustment. Back pain can really take me out of commission but I know how to deal with it now. Lots of heat, rolling on the foam roller, and walking helps too. Walking loosens things up and as long as I stretch when I’m done, I can feel 100x better after a walk. Still, it definitely was a bummer to start out the week that way.

I *am* making great progress on my two novels-in-progress. I’m writing Daydreamer 4 and Hikoboshi 2 at the same time, cycling one book each day. The ideas are flowing and I’m enjoying living in both worlds at once. I think it helps that both books are very different from one another, so I’m not getting tripped up by going back and forth. By April 1st, I hope to get to the point where I’m writing at least 1500 words on each book each day, but I’m not there yet. Soon! My goal is to be finished with both books by June 1st.

A few other work-related things happened this week, besides finishing with all the teasers for THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP. One of my books, SUMMER HAIKUS, just has not performed well at all. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars, close to thousand, on this book between editing, covers, book tours, promotions, and sales, and it’s made a grand total of $130 in almost two years. Sigh. Recently, I’ve been trying to revive it with Amazon ads, which are doing moderately well for my other books, and even those are a big fat loss. I’ve had some clicks and no buys. Someone recently asked me, when I talked about taking it off sale, “What’s the harm of keeping it up for sale?” There are a couple of reasons why it’s not good to keep this book up for sale. (1) Its sales rank is plummeting fast and some buyers pay attention to that. (2) Its also-boughts are beginning to disappear. This happens when a book doesn’t get traffic or sales for a long time. It also makes the book less appealing. (3) I don’t think I can revive my romance career. I don’t think people want books about Asians in romantic settings, despite the cries for “diverse books.” It appears people only want diverse books of a certain kind.

So, I’m trying one more thing to bring SUMMER HAIKUS back from the brink of de-listing, and I plan to talk about it on the blog later this week once it’s all ready. I hope you’ll share the news once it’s out there! If this doesn’t work, I’ll be taking both SUMMER HAIKUS and FACE TIME off sale in the summer. I’ve sold more of FACE TIME but it’s been available longer. Still, it’s also a hard book to sell.

Some of these thoughts about my career are coming because I’m moving forward with learning more about advertising and marketing. I just bought the Ad For Authors course from Mark Dawson & The Self-Publishing Formula and I’m learning how to focus my efforts on my brand and advertise to Facebook. I want to focus on my two better-perfoming genres, sci-fi and mystery, especially since my romance has never done well. But maybe with advertising, those two romances CAN do well. So I’m going to give it a shot. It’s a last ditch effort, but I’m willing to try it.

To finish off the week, my oldest had her 10th birthday on Wednesday. Where does the time go? She was just a baby the other day! And then we celebrated yesterday by taking her friends to see Beauty & The Beast and then pizza and ice cream cake afterward. I’m glad the party went well and everyone had a great time! I’m also glad it’s over as that was the last of my huge personal commitments for the coming months. 🙂

What else happened this week?

My park was still struggling to deal with all the snow we had the previous week.

You know what’s going for a hurting back? A heating pad and a very strong drink.

I crossed the 10k mark in Hikoboshi 2!

I had sushi twice this week. It was needed.

The geese were very bold this week!

I enjoyed the first two modules of my FB Ads for Author course, with some Girl Scout cookies!

Coming this week on the blog: more information about SUMMER HAIKUS, and who knows what else!

Sunday Update – March 19, 2017

It appears I was so wiped out from my trip last weekend that I forgot to upload a photo to Instagram on Monday! That rarely happens, but I’m not surprised. It was a very hectic weekend away with camping in the freezing cold woods.

After I recovered from camping on Monday, the week took a turn. We had a major blizzard here in the Northeast, and my kids had snow days on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday was relatively fine and everyone was good about entertaining themselves while my husband and I continued to get work done. Wednesday was the killer of the two days. I didn’t understand why they called off school, but I guess the district needed another day for snow removal. Still, the whole world got by with no problem. The cleaning ladies showed up and my kids still went to tennis. The roads were clear. *shrugs shoulders* Yeah, I don’t get why we had an additional snow day either. So now there’s massive piles of snow EVERYWHERE, and of course, I hate it. Winter is my nemesis, and snow even more so. I can’t wait for it to melt and go away.

Thursday, everyone went back to school and I got back to work. Right now, I’m in that slow beginning stage on two new books, Daydreamer 4 and Hikoboshi 2. I’m feeling out where I want to start each of them and where I want them to go. Beginnings and ends are always really tough for me to write. I want them to be powerful, to really grab the reader and pull them in, then leave them satisfied at the end. So that’s where I spend the majority of my time. I’m a little over 5k on both books and I’m trying to get them both to the end of the first act, when I’ll then split my time on them and go back and forth. My goal is to finish both by June 1. I think I can hit that. Once that’s done, I’ll be preparing the sci-fi books to publish in the summer and fall.

Friday was St. Patrick’s Day. I worked in the morning and went to the gym to lift weights then to Whole Foods for lunch where they had some kids playing Irish music on stringed instruments. It was quite entertaining.

Yesterday, Saturday, was spent working again. I did two sessions of walking and dictating on the treadmill. Walking and dictating are going well for me and I really enjoy the process of doing both at the same time. Also, it’s been great for my hands! I experience very little pain anymore in my fingers. I love my Dragon!

What else happened this week?

When I’m working out plot points, I’m trying to do it longhand into notebooks first before transferring over to Evernote. It helps me concentrate on just the story and not be distracted by notifications on my computer.

It’s time for the sumo spring championship going on in Osaka now! My husband and I have our favorites and we love sitting down to watch the highlights.

St. Patrick’s Day entertainment at my local Whole Foods.

And we started watching Swiss Family Robinson last night with the kids! It’s one of my favorite movies from when I was a kid. So far they love it, but we stopped it last night in the middle because it was bedtime.

Coming up this week on the blog: the last two teasers for THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP. I hope you’ve enjoyed them so far!

Sunday Update – March 12, 2017

Well, obviously this is a belated update. Lol. Since it’s going up on Monday instead of Sunday. I spent the weekend away at a camping trip with my oldest kid and while it was a lot of fun, it was also a lot of work! The main work for me as Mom was to carry around stuff for my kid as she did all the activities. Not usually a bad thing, but it was 5ºF outside most of the time. Lots of getting bundled up, trudging through the snow and trying not to slip and fall, then getting to our destination and taking all the layers off again. Plus I couldn’t find my snow boots before we left, and I had to wear sub-optimal shoes. So I was double worried about falling and hurting myself, which is totally something I would do. I almost fell once and then my kid slipped and fell pretty hard. But she’s okay!

Anyway, it was fun for both of us. We socialized a lot and spent plenty of time away from the internet. I had barely any connectivity there. We were driving up into the wilderness and I lost cell phone coverage and I STILL DROVE FOR ANOTHER 30 MINUTES into the wilderness before we got to the campground. That’s how remote the place is. Lol. We stayed in a well heated cabin and most of the activities were indoors, but DAMN it was cold. Ugh. I’m sure it’s beautiful in the summer.

Earlier in the week, I started writing Daydreamer 4 and Hikoboshi 2! Yeah, I’m going to write on the two books at once for as long as I can. So far, so good. I have two chapters written in each and most of the first acts planned out. I hope to get moving on them again tomorrow.

Tomorrow, the weather service is predicting BLIZZARD conditions here with white-out blowing snow and at least a foot or two of the white stuff. I’m expecting school to be closed. But I’m sure I’ll talk about that next week.

What else happened this week?

Writing began in earnest this week with the creation of notebooks and dictating into my new voice recorder.

Spent two days proofreading my critique partner’s work! Check out LANDING LUCK by Tracy Krimmer!

I had to sit down and figure out the timeline for all the books in the Daydreamer series and what was to come! So I printed out a calendar and started marking down days. 🙂

This fortune was MADE FOR ME.

Away at camp, my kid did great with archery! She hit the target three times in a row! Then she took a screen printing class, which was pretty cool.

I worked on a lanyard for a bit on Saturday to catch my breath.

The greens in the greenhouse at camp looked mighty tasty.

And it was very cold and snowy up there!

Coming up this week on the blog: two new teasers for THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP.

Sunday Update – March 5, 2017

It’s March, people! Daylight Saving Time starts next weekend, and spring is on its way. So no complaints from me about the weather except for it’s like 15ºF outside right now. 🙁 Boo.

The week started out with the release of THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP! All in all, the launch went moderately well. My newsletters went out and I sold some books. Then Amazon’s servers crashed the day after, of course. And then my book fell off the sales cliff on Saturday with zero sales, so now it’s time to move on!

But we did a lot this week! My kid had an at-school event on Tuesday, I went to Panera on Wednesday, and then did the gym on Thursday. They had a half day on Friday, too. Now we also have Girl Scout cookies to distribute! I’m excited to try the new flavors.

I also finished my second draft of Hikoboshi 1 and sent it off to readers. I’m excited about this book and hoping it’ll be well-received. Sending off a book means that it’s time to start writing new books! I hope to sit down and get to them this week. It’ll be weird being in first draft mode again. I hope I can do it. I always doubt that I’ll be able to write another book, but when I sit down and really start working, I always make it happen. I need to remember that.

What else happened this week?

Release Day meant a big, indulgent breakfast, and then ice cream with my kids after school.

I really wanted to turn that shrimp around. Lol.

I really want to reduce eye strain while at the computer so I got these blue light filtering glasses. Pretty cute! And so far very helpful. I also installed F.lux on my computer which helps reduce blue light as well. So far so good.

I got in a walk outside this week before it turned brutally cold.

So now that I’m walking indoors and not working on the treadmill (for now), I’m listening to my audiobook and watching these videos on YouTube of walking on the beach. They’re a great way to keep me from constantly looking at the treadmill time.

And we went to Casino Night last night, which was a fundraiser for our school. It was a lot of fun and I played at the roulette table all night long. I even won some prizes at the end! But we were out WAY past our bed time and I’m tired today. I should take the day off but I know I have a lot to do! 🙂

This week on the blog: teasers for THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP on Tuesday and Thursday!

March 2017 Goals

We’re cruising into March and into spring! This makes me super happy.

What Happened With February’s Goals?

Finish the edits on THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP and publish. Done! It’s out there. It’s got reviews. It’s… kinda selling.

Start two brand new books. I pushed this to March because reading through Hikoboshi 1, making changes to that, and getting THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP published was a lot of work.

Convert all my book links on my website. Done. I moved everything over to Books2Read, got affiliate accounts with the major vendors, and now use them for all my book linking.

Keep walking. I made excellent progress on my goal of Walking 1000 Miles in 2017! I need to walk an average of 2.8 miles per day to keep my goal. In January, I walked 105.2 miles for an average of 3.39 miles per day. In February, I walked 93.7 miles for an average of 3.346 miles per day. I should have walked 165 miles so far to stay on my goal. I’ve actually walked 198.9 miles!

More reading and audiobooks. I did do some reading but I listened to more audiobooks.

More knitting. Haven’t touched my knitting.

Business Goals For March

Start two brand new books. This is happening this month! I’m in the last 10k of editing Hikoboshi 1, and I expect that by Monday, I’ll be writing again!

Promote THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP. I have teaser images for this book and Facebook and AMS ads to do for it.

Learn more about MailPoet. I’ve switched over some of my newsletter duties to MailPoet, a WordPress plugin. I need to learn more about what it can do, because I’d like to switch over at least half my list to it by summer.

Format all the Kami No Sekai stories with Vellum. I’ve formatted almost everything with Vellum so far. These short stories are the last to get the treatment.

Personal Goals For March

More walking. I’m loving my walking goals! It’s a lot of fun and good for me. Gotta keep it up.

More audiobooks. I’m conserving my reading time for my work and for beta reading my critique partner’s work. This month, I’d like to listen to at least 3 audiobooks.

Get through all the personal stuff this month. I’ve got Girl Scout camp and my baby turns 10 this month. It’s a lot to do!

Sunday Update – February 26, 2017

I’m sorry I haven’t been as present around the blog as I usually am. This week was hellish for me, and though I wanted to come here and post something fun and positive during the week, I just couldn’t do it. You see, I have a new book out tomorrow (blog post tomorrow about it!) and per usual, I had a fight with Amazon over it. It was almost enough to make me give up this whole shindig.

In the past 3 years and 5 months, I’ve been an author, I’ve published 10 books and 5 short stories. Every Single Release, there’s been a problem with Amazon. I can’t help but think, it must be me, right? Other authors don’t have these kinds of problems. In fact, I hear from authors all the time, “I’ve never had a problem with Amazon. I wonder why you do?” Uh-huh. I WONDER WHY TOO! Because it’s dehumanizing and demoralizing the way they treat me, and I’ve had enough of it. I could go through and catalog all my problems for you (they had issues with my series name, my subtitles, they linked up the wrong books, they published my book and said it was “unavailable” [TWICE], etc etc) but just thinking about everything I’ve been through makes me want to bang my head against the table. Sigh.

What I really hate is that they don’t listen. This past week when they determined that I needed to take my subtitles “A Miso Cozy Mystery” off all my cozy mystery books or they would shut down my KDP account, I tried to talk to them about it. I was following all the rules. I wasn’t keyword stuffing. “Miso Cozy” is a play on “Me so cozy” which I thought was obvious but probably not to some customer service person in India. It was on the cover (stipulated by THEIR rules). Nope. They didn’t care. “We’re sorry, but we can’t provide further information at this time,” is the reply I got basically saying, “Don’t bother emailing us again because we don’t care.” I had to spend time going through and deleting it out and republishing.

That took up three days of my time, then this weekend, they linked up the paperback of the third book in my series to the first book’s ebook version, therefore screwing over any idea I had of having reviews up before release day. I cried yesterday, and I don’t cry often over this stuff. I usually take a deep breath and move on. But this was it. I’d reached my limit.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had problems at other vendors. I had problems two years ago with Apple denying my short stories over and over, but once I fixed those problems, I never had another one. I had problems getting paid from Kobo. I had problems with Google Play because they didn’t let me know I hadn’t filled in a form to get paid. I had problems with Barnes & Noble too in which they messed up my entire series and I had to switch to Draft2Digital to get it fixed. But those have all been one-off problems. Amazon is a problem with EVERY SINGLE BOOK, and then to top it off, I had a disastrous time in KU too.

Sorry, I didn’t mean for this Sunday Update to be a rant, but it did take up enough of my week. Besides dealing with Amazon, I also got other things ready for my book launch, worked on wrangling my newsletter problems, walked outside three times because it was SO NICE OUT, went to the chiropractor, and edited Hikoboshi 1. So it was really busy! Today, I’ll be editing more of Hikoboshi 1, working out a timeline for that story because I keep getting lost on what’s happening, and working on teaser images for THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP.

So much to do. So little time.

What else happened this week?

I got out in the fresh air, saw turtles all lined up on a log, and enjoyed walking to and from school to get the kids.

Having lunch outside in the sun is THE BEST.

When dealing with Amazon, many drinks are needed. If I need a new kidney, I’m blaming them.

And I hit my expected word count for Hikoboshi 1. I knew this book needed some details going into revisions so I set my goals to hit 85k for it. Just before entering the third act of the book, I met the goal! Everything from here on out is gravy. 🙂

This week on the blog: the publication of THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP and hopefully a teaser image for it!

Sunday Update – February 19, 2017

Quick update this week as I’M ON VACATION. Not a huge vacation by any means. We’re in Pennsylvania, enjoying two nights away from home. It was easy to get here and the kids are having fun, which is all that matters.

This week I spent either editing and walking or preparing for THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP to publish. The date is set! It’ll be available on February 27! I thought I would go for the 24th, but I didn’t like that it was a Friday. I have pre-orders set up on all the vendors but Amazon, and I hope to be done with all of them by Wednesday.

Otherwise, this week, there were days when I had to run errands or grocery shop or whatever instead of working, but all in all, I kept busy at editing and thinking really hard about what I’ll write next, which I hope to start by March 1.

I have decided that I can’t work with what I don’t have written (duh) so getting down rough first drafts via dictation is where I need to concentrate my efforts. A few months ago, I was against that idea, but I realize now after editing both THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP and Hikoboshi 1 that this is actually working out for me better than I thought it would. And as always, I’m learning to be flexible about how I write because getting the stories out there is the most important thing. So anyway, those are my thoughts on that!

The other stuff in life is going well. I think all the walking is really helping with my intermittent depression. I walked outside today in the sun and I immediately felt better. When I walk and work, I feel better. I really think walking is the key to my happiness.

What else happened this week?

My husband’s seedlings are really growing!

We had Taco Monday this week, which was a nice change of pace.

My treadmill got some TLC on Valentine’s Day. I have to clean it up and keep it lubricated because I use it so often. If I don’t do this, the motor tends to be unhappy. And my treadmill is my savior. If it broke, I’d be broke. Lol.

I worked whenever I could this week. At the tennis club and at the gymnasium while my kids were active.

This indoor waterpark we’re at is huge but also really noisy. I had to leave in order to get back my sanity.

And I finally crossed a review milestone! THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE passed 80 reviews! And the majority of them are 4- and 5-stars. I’m super happy with this. I’ve never had this many reviews on one of my books! Thanks to all who have given this book a chance. I really appreciate it!

Sunday Update – February 12, 2017

As I suspected, I didn’t update on the blog this past week. It was busy every day and I knew I wouldn’t have time to update here because I was spending my time doing other things.

In business this week, I finished off edits of THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP, formatted it, sent it out to my proofreaders, worked on my MailChimp lists so that my ARC readers were all set up, and sent the Daydreamer book out to them. I decided that I’m going to do teaser images for this book, BUT I’m not going to start posting them until AFTER the book goes on sale. This way it’s first month of sales will have constant attention. I’m hoping this works to help get me on the Hot New Releases list on Amazon. We shall see.

Also this week, I set up Dragon to take my digital voice recorder and transcribe from it. It was pretty accurate after training, so I hope it works well for me going forward. I’m going to work on dictating away from my computer and all my devices, which usually turn into a huge distraction. Even watching the words come up on the screen as I say them is a huge distraction.

Once that was set up, I immediately opened my sci-fi book I wrote during NaNoWriMo and got to work on it. I’m reading through, fixing some things, adding some more, and making notes. This is the first book in a Nogiku Series spin-off called the Hikoboshi Series so from here on out it will called Codename: Hikoboshi 1. Yes, I am very creative. I hope to have my read-through done before the end of the week.

This week I also entertained the idea of doing a royalty share on my audiobooks for the Daydreamer series, but I’ve decided to shelve the idea, and the idea that I’ll ever do audiobooks. I should only do them if I can pay for the price of them upfront, and at this point, I don’t ever see that being a possibility. Remember that post about author dreams the other week? This has always been a dream of mine, finding the right narrator and hearing my books come to life. After three years and failing to make a profit for that long, it’s time for me to give up on this dream. I just don’t see being able to afford them for 5+ years. Oh well.

This week was also filled with random family and life stuff. I had to get the Girl Scouts cookie money all collected and sent off to the cookie moms. I’m glad that’s done and I handed it in on time. My husband gave me a deadline for dealing with last year’s expenses, which is good. And then it snowed on Thursday and we had a snow day where everyone was home. This meant that I didn’t make it to the gym this week, but that’s okay. I still did a lot of walking! I’m on track to meet my goal again this month even though we’re going away this next weekend.

What else happened this week?

My girls had a great month in January so we celebrated with frozen yogurt.

It was almost 60ºF on Wednesday so I went for a long 5 mile walk. It was so nice!

Then it snowed A LOT the next day. Sigh. I hate snow.

Lots of working this week, both at my computer and setting up Dragon on the PC to take transcription files.

And I worked on re-formatting both FACE TIME and SUMMER HAIKUS this week with Vellum. They’re both ready to be uploaded today!

I’m not sure what this week will bring here on the blog, I have a lot to do otherwise between writing, reading, editing, and walking, plus the usual family stuff. Plus my Friday is already booked up with a haircut in the morning and my kids have a half day. I just need to keep going and working! If I’m inspired to post anything, I’ll be back!

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