End of 2019

Holy cow! How did we get here? It’s almost 2020! And I don’t have a single bit of my Christmas shopping done.

My sad shopping habits aside, this has been a busy fourth quarter. After Dragon Con (which I will be a pro at in 2020 as well! I just got the acceptance! WOOT!) I attended Reno Pop Culture Con, put on by the same folks who do Denver Pop Culture Con (I’ll be at DPCC 20 as well).

After Reno, like, the next day, I flew to Las Vegas for the 20booksto50K indie authors conference. To say that was amazing is an understatement. Over one thousand people who were all there to level up their business. I love being around other indies, so it was amazing.

My pen name put out two full novels and a novella. I put out two novels and a novella. I’m currently working on a new idea that landed in my lap, and by the end of the year, I should have that mostly squared away and ready for editing (that whole writing ahead thing I keep trying to manage, LOL).

I’m also starting a sci-fi space opera pen name. I have a novella that is coming out by the end of the year, I think, and it’s really good. It’s set in a post Civil War magical steampunk world, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever written. That pen name is J.D. Bowman, and I can’t wait to get that moving. J.D. is also doing a trilogy next year called The Tachyon Cycle, and it’s plotted from a high level. So that’s exciting. I’ve loved space opera/sci-fi/apocalyptic since I was a kid, and J.D. gives me the chance to play in that world.

That’s the problem with being a writer – you want to write ALL. THE. THINGS.

If you follow me on social media, you hopefully have seen the two anthologies I’m in next year. Holy hell, y’all, those covers!!! Let me share these beauties:

They’re both up for pre-order right now. Magic is the New Black comes out March 18, and Tempted by Fae is releasing May 5. Both of them will have brand new novellas. Magic is the New Black is a prequel for an entirely new series, and Tempted by Fae is a prequel to a series I have going now. So LOTS of delicious goodness coming.

I’m also continuing the Deadwood Sisters, and The Mostly Open Paranormal Investigative Agency series – book 3 is in the pipeline for both. There’s another Midnight Coven book coming, and there may be some more, but I’m not willing to commit myself to much more than I already have, LOL.

I finished NaNoWriMo this month, squeaking in over the 50k mark the last couple of days, but with my knee surgery this month – yeah, that happened in November as well – I didn’t write as much I wanted to. It’s not a deal breaker, but I need to pull my focus back together.

It sounds like I’m all over the place, but I’m really not. This year, I feel really good about the publishing plans moving forward. I know what I want to do, and have my schedule halfway set for 2020. I’m leaving a little wiggle room because some really amazing opportunities have come my way by allowing for flexibility.

One thing I want to make sure I share – I don’t do many conferences or cons. It’s just too much to plan and it takes a lot out of me. But the ones I do – WOW. I had such a wonderful time at Denver Pop Culture Con, then Dragon Con, and Reno – I have to say thank you to all the amazing, fantastic fans I’ve met, or gotten to see again. You all have made this so amazing.

Because it’s December, and traditionally we give things to one another, I have one for you. I’m part of a Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Romance & Paranormal promotion where there are all sorts of books to be had for free! Click the link below, and find a new author to enjoy!

Click here and find something for everyone!

Have a fabulous December; if you celebrate something, be safe and enjoy! See you in 2020!

T-minus 24 hours…

Dragon Con, if you’ve seen any of my social media this week, starts on Thursday. I’m really excited because I have a fantastic schedule, and great panels, and I’m bringing all my new books. So there’s a lot of fab going on.

What also is fab is that I finished my third book for the month this past weekend. I’ve been really working on productivity, and after I wrote the Epilogue, and sniffled a little (it was for my pen name in one of her romance series), I realized, WHOA. This is number three. I started Number Four yesterday.

I’m going to take it to Dragon Con because I’m so excited to be back in this world again. Will I get anything done? I’m going to try. I feel so much better with steady, continued productivity, and it keeps me from those mad days when I have to write thousands of words to get something to the editor on time.

So what’s coming for the fall? That’s the important thing.

Well, books 2 of Deadwood and Mostly Open. Those are already cookin’. Then I have a surprise for you all in November. This was totally not in my plans, but something spurred me into action, and so I have something new planned.

There’s a Midnight Coven project happening in October, and I should have some fun news for you around that time as well. Then we move along into November, and I’m going to be at Reno Pop Culture Con. That should be fun. The Pop Culture Con folks put on a really good show, and I’m looking forward to it.

I have more coming during the winter, but I’m not even going to offer you a teaser on that one. Not yet, LOL. You just have to wait.

So I’m off to Dragon Con tomorrow, and if you’re interested, stay tuned via my social media for all the pics. The costuming is like nothing else you’ve ever seen!


Dragon Con 2019

It’s that time of year again! Dragon Con! WOOO HOOO! I love Dragon Con, it’s one of my favorite cons. Why? Well, there’s something for everyone.

I love Firefly, Star Wars, Star Trek, Outlander, Wynonna Earp, steampunk, battle bots, costuming, other authors, Marvel – and that’s just the things that come to mind off the top of my head. There is a panel for everything.

But what I love most is that this is a gathering of people who are like me – who love something, and love all the things that used to be considered nerdy. (A lot of the “nerdy” stuff is now totally mainstream.)

It goes on for basically five days. Six, if you count all the get-togethers on Wednesday.

And OH MAH GAWD the costumes. When you costume at Dragon Con, you are all in. You are hardcore. You are dressing for your people. I think my faves are tied – those who are purists, and do the costume down to the detail (I have the Inara dress from the Janestown episode that I made with that mindset) and then the mashups. I love them both. As in, I have a steampunk Princess Leia. Both were so much fun to make, and they are so much fun to wear.

Since I spend a lot of time working, I don’t costume hard core anymore. I do costume-lite, which is more normal, everyday clothing with a costume theme. LOL, I take a lot less pairs of shoes! (I used to have an entire suitcase for shoes. That is not an exaggeration.)

This year, the track organizers took me at my word of “I volunteer as tribute!” and I have ten panels. The schedule below is tentative, and subject to change. I’ll update on social media if it does. It’s also on the Dragon Con app (which no, has not updated yet, LOL) and that shows changes in real time.

I will be back at Bard’s Tower in America’s Mart for the selling of books, and I’m excited about that as well. It was a great experience last year!

So that’s it from me at the moment. I’m working to finish my deadline projects before the end of next week, so that I can head off to DC without one hanging over my head. Well, not immediately, anyway. There’s always a deadline.

I hope to see you there!

Dragon Con 2019 Schedule

Title: Contemporary Vampires
Description: Long a staple of urban fantasy, the depictions of vampires appearing in the genre have evolved over time. Our panel of authors discusses the aspects they employ in their work, as well as the characteristics they adopted and adapted from earlier sources.
Time: Fri 10:00 am Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: The Power of Three, Revisited: A Charmed Fan Panel
Description: A moderated fan-panel discussion over the first season of the new series
Time: Fri 11:30 am Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: VC Andrews: A Dark Garden
Description: An examination of Victoria “VC” Andrews, who inadvertently created a cottage industry of fiction that blended Gothic suspense, family melodrama, and fairy tale overtones.
Time: Fri 08:30 pm Location: Chastain I-J – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Maze of Treachery: The Rook Fan Panel
Description: A moderated fan-panel discussion of the first season of the new show.
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Chastain I-J – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Through the Stones: An Outlander Fan Panel
Description: Diana Gabaldon’s novel turned TV series takes Claire Randall from the 1940s back 200 years into the 18th century. Scottish conflicts, Jacobite uprisings, and much more of Great Britain’s history unfolds before our eyes. The fans discuss the books, the show, and what makes it all so bonny.
Day, Time: Saturday, 01:00 pm Hotel / Room: Sheraton / Augusta
Title: From Chuckles to Belly Laughs: Humor in UF
Description: Humor in urban fantasy ranges from the laugh-out-loud variety to more subtle approaches. Our panel of authors discusses which type they employ most often, and why.
Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Julie Kenner, Rick Gualtieri, R.R. Virdi, Michael George Williams, Lisa Manifold)
Title: Accepting Their Gifts: A Midnight, Texas Fan Panel
Description: A moderated fan-panel discussion of the popular show.
Time: Sun 10:00 am Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: From Purgatory and Into the Light: A Wynonna Earp Fan Panel
Description: The Earp curse was broken, Peacemaker is now a sword, and almost everyone has disappeared from Purgatory. Oh, and the fandom spent 132 days with the show on the brink of never-coming-back. It’s safe to say there will be lots to talk about in this moderated fan-panel discussion.
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Aquaman: Tides of Trouble
Description: The Crown of Atlantis rests uneasily and Arthur Curry, child of a human and a princess, strives to stop a war with the surface, quests for Atlan’s Trident along with Mera, to claim his throne, all this despite his reservations. DC’s track record is spotty in their films, did this one break the mold?
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: M302-M303 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: End Game: MCU
Description: For the final panel of the con, we’ll look at the final film of this part of the MCU. There was a lot of fan love, and some crazy timey wimey stuff, and the sad loss of some of our favorites.
Time: Mon 02:30 pm Location: M302-M303 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

What’s cookin’, good lookin’?

That song is in my head. So now you get the benefit of my earworm.

How’s your summer going? Mine is good. I’m getting more writing done, even though my family insists on eating, being taken places, that sort of thing. It’s been a productive summer.

We’re headed to the last quarter of 2019. I had lots of goals when 2019 started. I was looking over them, and seeing what the lay of the land was in terms of whether or not I was going to meet said goals.

Here they are:

  1. 1.5 million words written.
  2. A book a month from both pen names.

So where am I on those?

Well, for number one, I think I’m going to hit it. it’s going to be close, but the burst of productivity this summer is helping.

As for the second goal, that didn’t happen. I didn’t publish anything as Lisa until May of this year. BUT – I have something from both Lisa and my active Pen Name from May until December. So that’s good.

Pen Name has, so far this year, published 10 books. There are potentially 3 more this year. That number is up in the air, because I work with other authors, and things change. I’m really pleased with the work I’ve done with Pen Name. It’s well-reviewed, and it’s earning its keep.

I’ve also found that writing regularly on schedule for Pen Name has really upped my game overall, even though it’s in a different genre than UF or PNR. And there’s more planned for Pen Name. I enjoy her thoroughly.

With the books I write under my name, I am really, really, really excited. Aumahnee will be finished this year, I think. The Deadwood Sisters and Mostly Open are off to a great start. I love both those stories! The paranormal romances I’m writing with The Midnight Coven are so, so much fun.

I’m also traveling more this year. In addition to Dragon Con (if you follow me anywhere else, be prepared, LOL. The memes are coming!), I’m going to be at Reno Pop Culture Con November 8 -10. It’s the same folks that put on the Denver Pop Culture Con show, and they are top notch.

So that’s where I sit at the moment. I also am caught up on my writing – and Immortal Darkness releases today, WOO HOO! – so I’ve had time to do some admin stuff I’ve been procrastinating on big time. Getting that done, getting the hang of how to make the tech I have work for me  is really empowering.

I’d just like to add that with Immortal Darkness live, I only have four pre-orders waiting in the wings. A year ago, that would have freaked me out. But now, I’m like, Yeah, I can do it. I have my fellow authors that I write with in my various collaborations to thank for that. If I didn’t have regular deadlines, and wasn’t all kinds of stressed out over not missing them because other people were involved, I would have dared to take on the projects I’m working on now.

And finally, one of the things that has changed for me is that I’m writing every day.  I have been making a point to write, even a small amount, daily, and now, I feel weird when I don’t. I think I might have hit habit stage. For me, that’s huge. It’s taken 4 years to get here.

Takeaway from this long ass post? Make friends. Don’t be a jerk, so you can make friends. Make friends to actually make friends, not so they can help you. Choose your friends wisely, but don’t discount someone just because… insert reasons here (outside of, you know, the standards – cruelty, kicking dogs, being a jerk – you know). Your author tribe will be the best tribe ever.

And write every day. Keep a word doc open so all you have to do is sit down and put hands on keyboard.

Thanks, if you’re still with me. Enjoy the rest of the summer, and be safe out there!

The sisters of Deadwood are LIVE!

I’m so excited to share this with you all! I’ve been sitting on Desdemona’s story for months, and now, she’s finally ready for prime time!

HELLBORN is live and you can find it on Amazon HERE.

Enter the world of the sisters of Deadwood!

Learn the truth. Break the curse. Kill the demon.

Just an everyday to-do list. Oh, and play welcome wagon to the necromancer who just moved in down the road.

It’s been over one hundred years since my Granny made a deal with a demon that sent a pair of souls to Hell. Unfortunately for the demon, he didn’t check the receipts and ended up escorting the wrong souls to eternal damnation. So imagine my surprise when he realizes his mistake, and shows up on my front lawn demanding his ancient contract be fulfilled. Doesn’t seem to matter that Granny’s wheelin’ and dealin’ days are gone. This demon wants payment and he wants it now – any descendant will do.

So it’s up to me: Learn the truth. Break the curse. Kill the demon.

Forever Blood: Vampire Brides

Forever Blood: Vampire Brides


On Amazon




Everyone I love is dead and buried, along with any hope I had for a happy life. I’m learning how to live again; I just didn’t expect it to be so damned hard. Tired of my pity party, my grandmother sends me packing. Before I know it, I’m on the windy shores of Scotland with a map and a plan, courtesy of Gran.

When a mysterious guy crashes my sightseeing tour, I don’t even know his name, but I feel like I’m tasting life for the first time in a year. I can’t keep my eyes off him, and the feeling is clearly mutual. But when he reveals his true nature to me, I’m not as surprised by him as I am afraid of myself.

I’ve just learned to love life again; why in the world would I give that up for anyone?


I might be a predator, but I haven’t killed in over two hundred years. Life is fragile, and even someone as powerful as I has learned the cost of a life taken. So when I meet Isabeau, I’m reminded of the promise I made with myself; a solemn pact drawn up after a tragic loss. There are many benefits to being immortal, living without a mate is not one of them.

I think I know the way this story is supposed to end and I’m surprised when Isabeau has other plans. She lights a fire in me I have not felt in an age but my past has taught me one thing.

Nothing is promised to the damned.

Forever Chosen is a novella featured in the Vampire Brides series. Books in the Vampire Brides series can be read in any order.

Don’t miss a single bride!

Forever Bound by Karpov Kinrade
Forever Claimed by Kim Loraine
Forever Magnolia by Dyan Chick
Forever Blood by Lisa Manifold
Forever Kept by Patricia D. Eddy
Forever Still by Corinne O’Flynn
Forever Desired by Ariel Marie
Forever Onyx by Alice K. Wayne
Forever Chosen by K.L. Bone
Forever Immortal by Amelia Hutchins
Forever Taboo by Nichole Chase

Find all the books in the series here:


What’s on the agenda?

Here we are at the end of March, and I’m looking at the beginning of second quarter, which I mentioned in the last blog post a couple of weeks ago. I’m looking at what I’ve done writing-wise.

Here it is so far:

Book 1 of new series (novel)
Started book 2 of the same series (novel)
Started book 1 of another new series (novel)
Started novella for PNR project

Romance Pen Name
Jan novella
Feb novella
March novella
April novella
April novella
May novella
June novella
One part of group novella

Fun Pen Name #2
Short story 1
Short story 2
Short story 3
Short story 4

Sci Fi Pen Name
Started book 1 of new series
Wrote a novella for a shared world series

What I need to do still:
Finish book 2 of new series (Lisa)
Finish book 1 of second new series (Lisa)
Finish novella for PNR project (Lisa)
Finish book 1 of sci fi series (Sci Fi Pen Name)
Plot book 3 of new series (Lisa)
Plot books 2 – 3 of second new series (Lisa)
Plot books 1-3 of RH series (Lisa)
Plot books 2-3 of sci fi series (Sci Fi Pen Name)
Plot 5 book series for contemporary romance (Rom Pen Name)

This all needs to be done by the end of May. If I get all of the above done – and I will – I will have all my publishing goals ready to be met through the summer. That allows me to write through the summer in my Lisa stories, and both pen name stories. I want to finish writing all my books for the year by the end of the summer.

Summer is bracketed by two big events for me. Denver Pop Culture Con at the end of May and then Dragon Con at the end of August. I’m working at both and will be on panels and on the exhibitors floor. I’m really excited for both, and will be showcasing a couple of books at both that won’t be available anywhere else for a time. As we get closer to Denver Pop Culture Con, look for three different cover reveals, and I’ll share my pen name with the folks in my newsletter.

Pen names are weird. I’m not sure I’m going to out myself – at the moment, I think I am. I might even out myself in regard to my romance pen name. I don’t know.

At the beginning of the year, I was really intimidated by the thought of pen names. Now, I like having several different genres to work on. Right now, I just finished a metric ton of contemporary romance. I’m writing PNR, urban fantasy, and sci fi,  and I love having so many projects to work on.  Today, it’s all about the edits. And then back to the writing.

Cover reveals are coming soon. Promise!!! As a teaser, because they are done, I’ll leave you with this.

First Quarter of 2019… what’s cookin’?

So here we are in March, last month of first quarter. I’ve been pretty quiet as far as publishing this year so far.

There’s a reason for that. I’ve been writing my fingers off. By the end of March, I plan to have nearly 400,000 words in first draft format. And boy, do I have some amazing new things coming.

My romance pen name is rolling merrily along. I publish every month with a group of authors under that name. We write short story contemporary romance, and I’m having a ball. I’m ahead at the moment, working on my project three months out. Which for me, is great.

For you all, you’re like… uh, hello? Where’s all the things you’re supposed to be writing under Lisa’s name?

Well, those are coming. The Dragon Thief is in production. I have two new series that are also coming out this year that are in active production as well. I kept trying to fend them off, but I was dreaming about them. That’s when you listen to your subconscious, folks. It was time to get those series started. I’m really glad that I have. It’s given my creativity a boost.

I also, as I told you all earlier, have changed up how I’m working. I have goals. LOL, a lot of them, actually. And what I have finally figured out is that I need to write more words to reach my goals. So I laid out a plan, and I am working the plan. There are a few hiccups, mostly because I can’t write 24/7 as I’d like to. People in the house need to eat. Be taken places. Laundry. Thing like that.

So that is what I am doing. Focusing on getting the words going. I recently upgraded my Dragon dictation software, and dusted those skills off. That’s helping, although it’s not like riding a bike. You need to put some time in to be efficient at it if you’ve not been dictating for a while.

What can you look forward to? After I share with my newsletter folks, I’ll be sharing the cover and snippet from my new book one that is debuting at Denver Pop Culture Con. There may be more than one, but I am making no promises.

I have a new paranormal romance also coming out in May that I’m working on with other authors, and this one promises to be really fun. That’s on the schedule for the next week or so.

I’ll have at least three new series this year, although I’m not tying myself down to dates at this point. But it’s time for all three of them, so you’ll be one of the first to hear and see the covers! I can’t wait to share them with you! Sitting on covers is one of the toughest things for me because I am always so in love with them.

There’s more – but I’m not willing to say anything more. I feel like my head has a non-stop hamster wheel in it. It’s always going, and while that sounds exhausting, it’s exhilarating! Just an update. Just to let you all know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m working, and my creativity is flowing, which is absolutely marvelous. I’m really happy with the things that are in the pipeline, and I can’t wait to share them with you all!

Not much longer, I promise. Now it’s back to work for me!


Welcome to 2019!

So to recap, 2018 was challenging. I had a lot come up in non-author life that made author life a tad more difficult. Despite that, I managed to publish six novels and three novella/short stories between my name and my pen name. It’s nothing to sneeze at. I’m annoyed, however, because it was not what I wanted. LOL, you know, in that way where we get kind of snitty that what we wanted didn’t happen.

The fact that I didn’t DO the things… well, that is beside the point. Details, schmetails.

I do recognize this fact – that one must do the things. I started my personal evaluation after Thanksgiving, to see where I could improve. And I’ve come up with a few things. I want to share them with you, because I learn a lot by reading what others have gone through.

1. Decide what is important. 

For me, I have to balance my author life with non-author life. I’d love to go hide away in a cabin in the woods in permanent mild winter with consistent grocery delivery, but that is not going to happen. My non-author life has a prominent place in my life, in how important it is to me, and all the things I need to do in my non-author roles. Complaining is NOT going to get the job done.

What does that mean for my author life? It means I need to use the time I have when non-author life is at a lull. That means, when school is in session. I need to maximize that time. I’ve laid out what needs to happen for my author life. That way, once it’s time for Mom/Wife/Taxi driver/Keeper of the Keys/etc. to take over, I can, and not be bitter about the fact that I still have more things to do.

I’m always going to have more things to do. I have so many ideas I want to write, I can barely keep up with them all. I have them listed on a page close to my desk. So that I don’t forget them. I add to the list as inspiration strikes. I am not going to run out of ideas. I’m not even getting into the publisher side of being an author. I’m still working on fitting that in.

Nor is my non-author life going to slow down. I’ve got a number of years before the family things become less prominent.

I’ve chosen to divide my day. My life is smoother when I manage all my bits while people are in school, so that’s what I’m going to do. Deciding to accept that was tough. But I have, and so my days are more settled. I also decided that I am not going to work on the weekends. When I planned out how much I want to write, I did so on a five-day week. And I took off a couple of weeks for holidays.

I’ve also been practicing since I began making these decisions. It’s not easy but I know I can do it. It’s a matter of sticking to the things that have to get done. I managed it during my practice time. I can do this moving forward.

2. Decide what is NOT important.

I love learning about my business. I could talk aspects of business until I fell over blue in the face. I find my business fascinating. However, trying to learn all the things that all my colleagues do all the time – that doesn’t allow for the most important thing, which is to write. I looked at the courses and classes I took, to see which brought value, and what I put into practice.

I’ve streamlined my courses and learning for 2019. I have one big course I am working through, and I will go from there. Sometimes, I think we get in our own way. That may not be true for everyone. I know people that can juggle a college course load of classes while still writing. I’ve had to accept I am not one of them. Until I make it through this big course I’m doing, I’m not going to take on anymore. Trust me, that is HARD. I LOVE courses. But there is finite time, and I have a goal to meet. Which is more important?

Take a look at what you’ve been doing to help further your business. Has it helped? Did you learn something valuable to you? Was it worth the time invested? If any of those are a ‘no’, or even a ‘maybe not’, you need to re-evaluate whether you need so much learning. Particularly if it’s at the expense of your craft.

And I know this is not for everyone. If this is not you, ignore this piece on courses – but take a good look at what is important in your life. Look at your goals. Are the things you are doing helping, or hurting? For me, I know I need to stay the heck off Facebook. I read a lot while messing around on it, and that needs to slow way down for me.

Be honest. Not only about what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it. It’s okay to love to do something. There’s nothing wrong with you  doing things you love. But if you’re trying to manage a creative’s schedule, be honest about the things you add to it. (I get twenty minutes to read on Facebook at night, LOL. That’s my compromise.)

3. Narrow down your goals.

Boy, am I guilty of this one. I have ALLLLL the goals. ALLLLL of them. I want them ALLLLL.

Totally unrealistic. I cannot achieve them all yesterday. I made a list of what was important, from most to least. To me, these goals are all important but I had an honest debate with myself about which were more important. Now I know which I need to attain sooner rather than later.

For example, I have a word count goal for 2019. I’m working on it today, right after I finish this post. That is finite, doable, and a goal that will be met within a year. Within that goal, I have daily, weekly, and monthly word counts. This keeps me on track, and focused. I have a small, medium, and larger goal. This is also one I’ve been practicing, and I’m finding that breaking the elephant of my monster word goal into daily numbers allows me to take one bite at a time from the goal. At the end of the year, I expect to meet my goal, if not exceed it.

There is also a goal for something I want to do for my family. I have three to five years to attain that goal. I can make progress every year, but I don’t have to get it done tomorrow. It’s a goal that will be met by me meeting the smaller goals.

Finally, I have a ten year goal. I know where I want things to be for me as an author in ten years, and I need to make progress each year to that goal. At the end of 2019, I’ll take a look at my goals, and see what I did in 2019 to meet them. Then I evaluate what needs to change to get closer to them. I also plan to look down the list to see what might be able to be achieved as I’m rolling along.

LOL, can you tell I love lists? They help me to organize my thinking. Lord knows I need it.

The point is, make a list of your goals. Be honest about what you can achieve during a certain time period. And be okay with some taking longer than others. I personally believe that as long as you are making progress toward them, you are doing well.

4. Take time for yourself.

This is a big one for me. I do not take personal, lazy, no-scheduled time for myself. I’ve been working on doing something to feed my artistic side weekly, AND IT IS TOUGH.  When you wear many hats, personal time usually doesn’t get one. But it’s time to make a personal time hat, and insist that not only other people, but YOU honor it. I will be honest – forcing myself to do the things I have set up for myself has been the hardest part about “personal time.”

Self-care is also included in this. I started working out this year, and it has not been easy. Part of it is taking the time for yourself (see above) and part of it is dragging your ass to whatever it is you’ve scheduled. I’ve been going to a gym regularly now for four months, and I am seeing the payoff from it. I feel it – I feel better. I’m sleeping better – and that makes SOOOO many things work better. Now I just need to eat less crap. I’m an avowed junk food junkie. I stopped drinking my diet soda for the umpteenth time, but this time, I’m sticking to it.

Take care of yourself. If you’re an author, you spend a lot of time with butt in chair. It’s easy to grow roots. But do something for you, for your health – just one little thing a day. Like one less soda. Or take a side of vegetables instead of the fries. Go for a bike ride, or even a walk around the block. Something.

We only have one body. In spite of the threats of AI taking over the world, you can’t easily get another one.

5. Learn to say NO.

In loud tones. We do not have to do all the things for all the organizations and all the people who ask. I don’t like saying no. I prefer to say yes, and be a part of helping others to get to a goal. (It’s much easier to focus on the goals of others than our own….) I like helping other solve problems. I’m a volunteer. I’m a doer.

But toward the end of 2018, I realized that I was saying yes to others more than I was saying yes to myself. While that makes me a heck of a helper, it doesn’t help me help myself. I don’t mean you need to turn into Scrooge here, and bah-humbug everyone that comes near you. What I mean is being honest about what you are being asked to do.

Does it take from my creative time?

Does it take from my family time?

Does it take from my me time?

If yes to any of the above, how much? Can you spare it? If you can, and saying yes to others gives you something positive, then go for it.

If you find yourself thinking about your art, your family, your self-care – you need to reassess if this is a good investment in your time. We cannot be everything to everyone. We just can’t. And you sure can’t if you are not being everything to yourself.

For me, for right now, I need to put me first. I already have a lot of demands on my time with my non-author life. I only have a certain, designated time for me to be creative, to make my art. So if I’m going to take away from that, it has to hit a lot of marks for me. I’ll tell you honestly, this was the hardest piece of this post to write. No one wants to be seen as a stingy miser – not with money, not with time. And I sort of felt like that. But I pushed through. I need to speak for me, and my time. If I don’t, no one else will.

Before you say yes again – ask yourself the three questions above. Weigh as to whether it gives you enough in return to give up from those pieces of your time. If it does not, say NO.  And don’t feel bad.

I hope this helps you all. Putting this post together really helped me, and it’s helping me to not only focus on my creative time to write, but the time with my family. It’s allowing me to take care of ME.

And that is the best way to start a new year. Peace and love to you all.



It’s fall, finally…

…and wow, what a summer it’s been. My oldest entered high school, and without knowing it, due to extracurricular activities, I took on another job, LOL! The summer flew by!

Dragon Con was fantastic! It was so great to meet new people, and see old friends. It’s one of my favorite cons. Thanks for stopping by at the panels and at Bard’s Tower.

So what’s new on the reader/writer front? DRAGON FOUND came out in August, and Createspace (those of you who saw me at Denver Comic Con understand this) finally delivered all my copies of the books I’d ordered. So I was able to get print copies of THE COMPANION TALES VOL II out into the world, and what a good feeling that was! I love seeing all those stories about the people of the Realm. I hope you all enjoy them.

Currently, I’m working on DRAGON REVEALED (book 3 in the Dragon Thief series), and DEFENDERS OF THE REALM (book 4 in the Aumahnee Prophecy series) and those will be out by the end of the year. I’ve got two more books in the Dragon Thief, and one left in Aumahnee – it’s hard to believe those series are heading towards the last books! When I started them, the end seemed so far away.

Then I will be moving into new series – and I’m really excited about them. LOL, I have to finish the current series first. As a writer, those sexy series ideas birds in the bush are always so much more alluring the series bird in the hand. I wondered for a long time if that was just me, and it’s not. Most of the writers I have talked to about it struggle with hand vs bush in terms of appeal.

Speaking of other writers, I spent a lot of time hanging out with my tribe. Some are my well-known friends. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I did a #30dayslive challenge this summer. Talking to your phone feels odd at first. But now, it’s old hat. My writer friends and I have started a page on Facebook called Authors Unwritten where we discuss the various aspects of being a writer. Some are more author specific than others, but as I watch them all, I enjoy seeing the perspectives of my friends.

I also spent more time getting to know people I didn’t know as well, and with whom I might not have had as much in common career-wise. It was a good lesson in not limiting yourself. I have made new friends, which is always a good thing.

It’s not been as productive as I would have liked. When you work from home, and your kids are still minors, they, and your family concerns come first. Except for deadlines with publishing – when that happens, I put on my headphones and no one talks to me unless bleeding, loosing an appendage, or the house is on fire. But other than that, family comes first. I’m fortunate that I can make that choice, but holy hell, it plays merry hob (guess who I quoted?) with my writing schedule sometimes.

The long and short of this is that I have taken care of all the fires that have popped up this summer, and am ready for the fall. So tallyho, to quote Miss Charming from Austenland. Let’s get busy!