Sunday Update – February 19, 2017

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!

Sunday Update – February 5, 2017

I can barely remember what I did this week. It was one of those weeks that was filled with tons of little things to do and I’m surprised I got any real work done.

Monday was my best day, I think. I spent the time while the kids were at school working on my copy edits for THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP. Nothing else really happened so it was a pretty good day, if cold.

Tuesday, it snowed and I spent a good two hours completing a Costco run. This always takes up a lot of my time. I only go once every 3 or 4 months, so when I do, I buy a lot. The hard part is getting it all back into the house and put away. I crammed all my edits into the afternoon and evening on Tuesday because my morning was spent shopping.

On Wednesday, the cleaning ladies were here and I worked in the basement, then I continued my edits in the evening while the kids were at tennis. Thursday was gym day which takes up my morning, so again I crammed edits into the afternoon while my kids had piano lessons.

Friday, I went to Panera to hang out with my buddy, Amy. I got some edits done before Panera and after. I very rarely actually work at Panera, Lol. I spend a lot of time talking to Amy about life and writing, so I do get a lot done, just not on the computer. We talked a little of our upcoming projects and what we want to be working on. That’s often as helpful as just working! I really value the time we can get together and talk this stuff over.

Yesterday, I put the pedal to the metal and got three chapters of editing done, which only leaves three chapters left of the whole book. I’m so close! I hope to work hard today and finish up. I did promise to take the kids out to get Valentine’s Day cards and to get frozen yogurt as well so I have to start working as soon as I post this.

What else happened this week?

All the geese were curled up on the ice. It was cold and I’m not going to walk in that freezing temperature again.

I had a fabulous lunch after going to the gym on Thursday.

Working working working. On the couch and in bed.

And drinks were had.

Expect posting to be very light on the blog this week. I have a lot of work to do, and I don’t have any posts banked up for the interim. See you all later!

On The Merits Of Author Dreams

I woke up on Thursday morning and was greeted with the happy news that several more of my FB author friends were both NY Times Best Sellers and USA Today Best Sellers. I’m pleased to say that this happens often enough that it almost feels de rigeur now. Lol. I remember when my friends list on FB was less than 300 people, and in the last nine years I’ve been on the social network, my reach has grown to almost 1000. That’s a lot of people! And when I’m not scrolling past politics, I’m witnessing a slice of humanity, a swirling amalgam of wants and needs. Of dreams.

Watching my fellow authors work hard reminds me that we all have dreams, dreams of writing, publishing, succeeding. While the newbie writer dreams of finishing a book, an intermediate author wants to earn $1000 per month, and that experienced author is shooting for the best seller list. Each level is dreaming of their next hurdle, their next winning. Each dream spurs them on.

I can’t tell you how important these dreams and goals really are. Sure, we can just be happy with what we have, never urging ourselves to do more, but I argue that stagnation is death in a creative field. I recently watched a documentary on an artisan village in Western Japan that made this clear for me. A woman in a wood-working shop was making wooden bowls and the interviewer asked her about her method. She mentioned that making bowls may not seem like anything special, but refining her technique and always improving until she could make the bowls perfectly each time was her passion. She was always striving to be better. It was her dream to be the best at what she was doing. But it’s also a very Japanese ideal to feel like perfection can never be reached. Our dreams must always grow and evolve over time to make our lives and our work better and better. We must acknowledge our progress and be thankful for our hard work, but the goals and dreams should move further down the field as we accomplish each milestone. I see this mindset in the successful authors I know. They’re always working harder, writing faster or better, dreaming bigger.

Last year, I lost my dreams for a while. It’s hard to admit, but it was real. I dreamed of making $100 per month, and I only made $30. I dreamed of finally breaking even with my business, and I only fell further into the hole. I remember staring out my front house window (one of my favorite pastimes) and thinking I should give up. My dreams were important, but they were also devastating. And then, I changed things. I switched my dreams. I had this little series I’d started, a mystery series that I loved, with a character I could relate to. She had her own dreams that were crushed and she had to figure out how to find new dreams amongst the wreckage. She was my daydreamer, a light at the end of the tunnel. I began to think about her all the time, wonder how she was going to get by, where she would take herself. Her struggle wasn’t real, it wasn’t mine, but it was what pulled me forward and kept me moving. She became my dream, reigniting my passion for success. Without her, I wouldn’t be here.

When authors around me shared their dreams, they inspired me to do the same. Some people may be jealous of another’s success, but not me. It gave me the boost I needed. When people I know and root for everyday made the NYT list this week, it gave me a new dream, one I can’t even say out loud because I’m so embarrassed by how small it is. But it’s mine. It’s keeping me going. Hopefully some day I can achieve it!

Author dreams are worth the long hours of work. They’re worth the blood, sweat, and tears. They’re also worth the effort to climb on their backs and reach for the next dream.

The only way forward is up.

February 2017 Goals

We started out a whole new year in January and because I set up goals for the entire year then, I skipped the monthly goals post. We’re now back on track!

What Happened With January’s Goals?

Finish writing the first new sci-fi book. DONE! The first book of the Hikoboshi series is complete! I finished it in the first week of January, and it’s been on my mind ever since. I’m super excited about this Nogiku series spin-off!

Get my Nogiku Series box set up everywhere. Done, and I’ve even sold a few copies of them. They’re available on all vendors.

Get moving on my audiobook challenge. This goal is moving along! I’ve listened to 3 audiobooks and I’m listening to my 4th now.

Walk 84 miles. In order to meet my goal of Walking 1000 Miles in 2017, I need to walk 84 miles per month. I crushed that goal this month with 105.2 miles walked. YES! I walked a lot, both at my treadmill desk and outside. It felt great, and I’m proud of my strong beginning. Plus, with a year-long goal, I can front-load my miles and that gives me the leeway in case I get sick or whatever.

Business Goals For February

Finish the edits on THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP and publish. I’m currently on track to finish edits and get it off to ARC readers on February 10. I hope to publish on or around February 23rd.

Start two brand new books. I want to read over the first Hikoboshi sci-fi book and brainstorm what I want to happen in the second book. Then I want to start the next Daydreamer book as well! I want to try working on two books at once again, as that was good for my productivity. If I find I can’t do two books at once, the second sci-fi book takes priority and I’ll concentrate on that.

Convert all my book links on my website. I’m moving over to using all Books2Read links and I’m updating all my current links with affiliate codes.

Personal Goals For February

Keep walking. I’m doing good with keeping my head up in the cold winter months and walking is certainly helping. I need to press on with this!

More reading and audiobooks. This is going well and I’m enjoying both reading and listening to audiobooks. Yay!

More knitting. I haven’t touched my knitting since Thanksgiving. 🙁 There are just not enough hours in the day.

And that’s it for my goals! LET’S DO THIS!

Sunday Update – January 29, 2017

Another busy week has passed us by! This week in particular was harder than others because my husband was gone all week while all this craziness was happening at home here in the US. He was in London for work, and we were only able to talk to him twice due to busy schedules. But he’s home now! Yay!

My work life this week was dominated by revisions of THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP. I’m on a schedule to edit two chapters every day and hopefully publish this book at the end of February. This is the copy edit phase of production. I’ve heard back from my initial readers that there are no real flaws with the story, a few loose ends to be tied up, and overall, they were very happy with it. Which is awesome! Now, I’m fixing things like sentence structure, repetitive words, and clarifying anything that was unclear. This is where my stories usually get 100x better, so I enjoy the process of nitty gritty word-level editing. It’s fun and really brings out the clarity of the story.

I didn’t do much besides work on Monday. Tuesday was busy with work, school, tutoring for my oldest, and then Girl Scouts for her in the evening. Wednesday, my kids had their usual tennis lessons. They go from 4PM to 5PM, and this was the week that we left tennis lessons and it was still light outside!! That makes me so happy, knowing we’re getting more light every day and winter, though still in full swing, is fading away little by little.

Thursday was a day off for us, which was nice. We had nothing to do after school and could just kick back and rest. Friday was mayhem in the evening. My youngest has gymnastics right before dinner, so I took her there, and then we all got some pizza next door afterward. My husband’s plane back from London landed early, so I then ran home to make sure he had something to eat. I knew he had a really crappy flight back as he was bumped from his seat to a lower class, and coming home to a hot meal would be nice for him.

Yesterday, I went for a nice long walk in the morning and then worked until we all went out for a belated birthday fancy meal together. I got to eat lobster, which I love, and both kids came along too. It was a nice family meal together, even if the youngest kid only ate bread and cheese and didn’t want ANY of the 100 desserts on offer. Sigh. Always something.

What else happened this week?

I set out my schedule for THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP!

I cooked butternut squash in my Instant Pot and loved that I didn’t have to peel it.

Lots of working and some of it done in bed.

I only asked for one thing from London, Crunchie Bars. Lol. I got them!

I had two lobsters at dinner last night. I regret nothing.

And that’s it for this week! I expect to update the blog twice again this week, so I’m sure you’ll hear from me again soon!

Sunday Update – January 22, 2017

Why are all the weeks just rushing by? I wish I could slow down time. I feel like one of these days I’m going to wake up and I’ll be 70 years old and I won’t be able to remember anything that happened.

Well, let’s see what happened this week!

Monday, my kids had the day off from school for MLK Day. We spent the day cleaning, believe it or not. I had both of them clean out their closets and organize their rooms while I cleaned up the rest of the house and some of the basement too. Then I walked 2 miles. Hoo boy, did I need a shower after that!

Tuesday, I had the house to myself, so I made oatmeal in the morning and did two sessions of walking and working on the treadmill. I wrote the bare bones of an opening scene for another new series, but I decided that, even though I’m excited about it, I need to put it on the back burner until summer. What I need to do is keep working on the two series that I planned to publish this year, Miso Cozy and Hikoboshi. Once those are “in the can” (I can’t stop thinking about publishing in either movie or website terms), I can play around with something new. I’m hoping I can get my four books written by summer, so I can play around then.

Wednesday was my birthday! I turned 41 years old and it was a pretty good day. Nothing bad happened, which was nice (I don’t usually have such luck). I left the house in the late morning to go to the gym when my cleaning ladies came. I usually like to fly under the radar for my birthday, but the gym computer announced to everyone it was my birthday when I scanned in! Lol. Truly embarrassing. We ordered fish tacos for dinner and had cupcakes for dessert. A nice way to celebrate my birthday.

Thursday, I got back to work. I walked in the morning. Then I finished up reformatting the Miso Cozy series with Vellum and uploaded all the files. I opened THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP and started on copy editing. Then my whole day went down the tubes when I decided to import new Instafreebie people into MailerLite. This requires a new paragraph…

So I had decided months ago that I was going to switch from MailChimp to MailerLite in order to save myself some money. I knew MailerLite had fewer features and was relatively new, but I was willing to endure a few losses in order to save cash every month. Then the problems started. Briefly, they screwed up a lot of things including sending out emails with broken images, sending emails to people who had unsubscribed, etc. It got to the point that every time I sent an email or did a big import, I was sweating and my anxiety was off the charts OVER AN EMAIL NEWSLETTER. It was too much and I was regretting making the switch. Then MailerLite introduced new Automation workflows which looked cool, but became less and less so the more that I played with them. I couldn’t see who was in the queue of each step of the workflow, and I couldn’t add the workflow to a current list that already had their old autoresponders going. And I couldn’t add old autoresponders anymore either. I had a huge discussion with their tech support over it and they just kept shrugging their shoulders and saying sorry. I would have to recreate everything and put it on a new list. That was the last straw for me. I then spent all of Thursday and Friday moving back to MailChimp. I’d much rather pay more for reliability than deal with more of MailerLite’s growing pains. Once I made the switch a lot of my anxiety disappeared, and I felt like the elephant that had been sitting on my chest got up and walked away.

I’m monitoring my unsubscribes on MailerLite and when they come in, I’m unsubscribing them on MailChimp. Then before I send out my next email, I’ll upload a suppression list of everyone who has unsubscribed to MailChimp and delete my lists from MailerLite. This was a big deal for me. I effectively abandoned people who were in my automation sequence on MailerLite. Those were all people who were getting to know me and my work and buying more books. It means the possibility of lost income. But I can’t maintain two lists. It’s too much work. Another lesson learned.

I looked back on last year and I realized that I was also struggling in January of last year with Kindle Unlimited. What will it be next year?

Anyway, moving on. On Saturday, I worked in the morning, took an Uber into Manhattan and met up with Heidi Tretheway and Diana Peterfreund. This was my first time meeting Diana in the flesh and it was so nice to spend time with both of them. It was funny (and we actually laughed over this) because Diana and I have had rocky times in the past where we argued over everything, but I’ve shifted my attitude in the last year and now we’re much closer. Probably because I’m much happier now to just do my own thing or sit and listen to other people’s opinions. The depression I went through last year and the struggles I’ve had with my career really changed me. So if someone tells you people can’t change, they’re wrong. I certainly have. Diana, Heidi, and I went shopping up by Central Park, went out for ramen for dinner, and then out for drinks and finished up with gelato. It was a fantastic evening!

What else happened this week?

Working and walking is my thing.

Making oatmeal for the week in my Instant Pot!

Birthday fish tacos and drinks.

After dealing with the MailerLite fiasco, I needed a giant drink and some sumo.

My outdoor walks have been gloomy but the geese have stuck around for the winter.

A yummy, big bowl of ramen for dinner last night, and then Heidi, Diana, and I went downtown for drinks. We finished up with gelato (that photo is up there at the top of the post.)

I hope to have some posts up this week on the blog. I’d like to continue with my Japan posts and possibly another essay on walking! My husband leaves tonight for London, so I suspect I’ll get the time to do these things. 🙂

Introducing THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP!

If you’re on my mailing list, you already got this information last week! The next book in the Miso Cozy Mysteries Series is on its way! Right now, it’s being read by my trusty team of alpha readers and my critique partner and then it just needs a copy edit, proofread, and then it’s ready to go!

In THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP, things start out really well for Mei and Yasahiro. They’ve worked hard to get Mei’s dream of a tea shop for the elderly up and running. Mei is painting again, helping her mom around the farm, and they’re about to leave on a relief trip to help earthquake victims in the south of Japan. But of course Mei’s luck turns bad and Amanda returns to Yasahiro’s life, ruining pretty much everything.

This was a hard book to write because it really puts my characters through some tough times. The story introduces a few new characters and ushers in a paradigm shift for everyone. I basically turn everything upside down, shake, and see what falls out. While fun, it was also very challenging. Hopefully you all enjoy it.

Mei Yamagawa’s bad luck is almost at an end. Her tea shop is a week away from opening, she and Yasahiro have planned a trip away, and the future is looking bright and hopeful. But when Yasahiro’s ex-fiancée, Amanda, shows up unexpectedly, demanding his time and presence, all of their plans dissolve. Amanda is tough and drives Mei up the wall, so it’s no surprise when Mei tells her to get lost, only for Amanda to be murdered a few hours later. Yasahiro becomes the prime suspect, and Mei must put everything on hold to help free him.

Following Amanda’s past through her digital footprint, Mei uncovers secret lovers, shady business deals, and the biggest secret of all, why Amanda and Yasahiro broke up in the first place. With everyone turning against her and the case under media scrutiny, tracking down the killer becomes an obsession Mei can’t give up. There’s no turning back, though, because solving the murder means getting her life back. Not solving it means losing everything forever.

Want to read the first chapter? Check it out on the THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE OPENS A TEA SHOP page!

I plan for this to be available some time in late February or early March. I AM NOT PUTTING IT UP FOR PREORDER. Something is going wrong at Amazon right now, and I don’t want to get caught in the middle of it. I know at least a dozen people who have been ruined when Amazon either delivered a draft file to their readers OR delivered a kindle file that wouldn’t open. All these people did preorders. Amazon changed the preorder system in November and it hasn’t been the same since then. I’m not chancing it with preorders anymore. 🙁

I promise that once the book is out, you’ll hear about it here and on my mailing list. Please sign up in either place to get the news!

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