Summer Break is Over…Now Where is That Damn To-Do List?

Summer Break 2017 is officially over in my house. The kids are in a new school district, with a new schedule, and finger’s crossed, this is going to be a good thing for us all. Other than the extra driving and time spent packing nutritionally sufficient school lunches that aren’t full of bribery items like Oreo cookies, my days are lighter.

This means, in theory, that more work time will be available. Of course, I didn’t sit down at the computer until 11am – 2.5 hours after dropping the last kid at school. Why? Because the house is empty, so I attacked the clutter before it could attack me first (can’t tell y’all how many times a day I trip over a random shoe, slip on someone’s discarded sock, or jump at the sight of a dog fur created dust bunny, thinking it’s an alien creature out for my toes), and then I started laundry (a chore that only seems to grow, not shrink in size), and eventually, food will be involved. Yeah, I’m kinda already tired, and it’s only noon now. Shiz.

I know I need to make a valid, organized, bomb-ass To-Do list to get my work stuff back on track, but not knowing exactly where to start, I went to my calendar first to see what’s up. Thankfully, this reminded me that a big promotion is going on tomorrow for one of my free books (Please grab Dying to Forget – it’s totally free – if you like YA that isn’t full of kissy-kissy stuff. I mean, there’s some of that in the series, but this book dives deep into the dark interwebs of the suicidal mind. Not for the faint of heart, but meant to give the reader hope. Did I say it’s totally free?? Okay, enough plugging, let’s move on…). I was also reminded of all the other stuff I’ve been ignoring, like emails, and the not-so-fun computer work of finding old files, updating them, uploading them, etc…

You get it – there’s always something to do. But today? The list must start. So, to keep myself accountable, I’m writing this blog post as a public way of telling myself that this To-Do list thing needs to become an actual thing. And now, I can scratch off the top item on the list – dusting the webs off the blog. You were a part of my first thing TO DO. Yay!

For me, my To-Do list, let’s just call it the TDL for short, will have to start as a daily thing, built up to a long-term goal type of thing. Creating lists aren’t on my list of strengths. Does anyone else organize their life in a productive way? I’d love to hear your tips for doing this in a timely manner, on something more than scratch paper or sticky notes. Though I’ll never stop using my stickies, sorry, not sorry. Also, I’m not a huge TDL planner book type of person, though I find them gorgeous. In fact, the first thing that would happen, is I’d probably lose the planner. But I haven’t lost my phone yet. Or my computer. I’m open for app recommendations, and the like. Whatever keeps this boat floating for the rest of the year, so that readers get more words. Thanks for the help. 😉

Now, I’ll go back to wandering around my semi-empty, quasi-quiet home (we have three dogs, two cats and a fish…it’s never really boring and silent here), looking for something to do.

HALO Warzone, anyone? 😛

Channel your rage onto the page

Every writer has hit the emotional bottom “IRL” before, whether it’s the day after a break up, a death, a scandal, a failure, or a presidential election. We may live in a world of make-believe most of the time, but us writers are people to. We hurt, we cry, we laugh, we love. And we do all of these things while attempting to balance along that precarious edge that is fiction writing (or non-fiction, don’t want to leave y’all out).

So, how do we write when we can barely function in life, due to its ups and downs and constant challenges? We write through it, that’s what we do. We channel that energy into our work. Sometimes literally, by creating a character just to kill them in a horrendous bloodbath. Or we throw a ‘happily ever after’ love story at another character. But…how? Perhaps writing is like therapy, a chance to be sad, be angry, be delirious, be hopeful, be madly in love, be homicidal, etc…in an environment that won’t gain us a shiny new set of metal bracelets that only come off with a key.

Author friends of America (and especially my NaNo comrades) and everywhere else in the World, I’m challenging you to do this today. This week. This month. The remainder of this year, and into the next. Channel today’s rage or sorrow, your love or fear, and put it down onto the page. Torture your babies with it, because this is what makes good fiction. And right now, I do believe the world needs more good fiction.

We use what we have, or what we are going through, and write it into our little worlds for the delight of others. This is how we cope with life, and this is how we cope with the voices in our heads. And today, that’s what I’ll be doing. Will you join me?

 

Salty Wednesday

Ohhhh, am I salty. Why? To be honest, various reasons…it’s been hot as balls in San Diego this week, and with no A/C, that sucks. Then this afternoon, a fire started on the hill at the end of my street and nearly caught my neighbor’s house on fire (two doors down, people…that’s scary close)…no property damage, no animals or humans hurt, thanks to SDFD (y’all rock). But the kicker, the REAL reason I’m nice and pissy tonight?

Google Alerts.

It seems yet another pirating site is offering up one of my books for free in PDF form. Sigh. Normally, it’s my already free titles that make the rounds via these sites, and as soon as I find one, two more pop up. It’s never-ending. It’s annoying. It’s now part of my job, checking to see who is illegally distributing my work. But this site…well…what’s unique from the others is that it shows the actual downloads of the title, so I can clearly see (and do the math) all the possible royalties I’ve missed from this one site. Just this one. Perhaps this week’s heat+fire combo lit up my inner bitch, but I felt the need to immediately post a comment on the site. Not much good will come of that, however, because it has to be approved by the site moderator – and y’all know they don’t want the actual AUTHORS on there.

Pfft.

So I screenshot the page. I screenshot my comment. And I’ll be sending the site a take down notice. Why post about this here? Because I can’t wrap my head around the fact that so many people are so eager to read this book…for free. The first was already free. It is a gift, a taste of the series so readers know if they want to invest in the rest. I just wish those readers understood that if the other books don’t sell because of sites like these, then the first book will no longer stay free. Such a shame. For all. I’ll share the screenshots here…

Beware though…there be spoilers.

 

dtrem_piratesite1adtrem_piratesite1b

So…did I go too far? Am I right to be upset, frustrated…salty? lol What are your thoughts on ebook theft?

Let me know in a comment below. 😉

And so my readers don’t feel shat on…I do love you, I do. These stories could be sitting in a ripped up, coffee stained, scraggly old notebook somewhere collecting dust. But nope. I published them for you. Just so you know, I love you all. But stealing, even if it’s just a $4 ebook, sucks hairy donkey balls, and that $4 adds up, as this post shows. And I’m human. And this human has bills and deserves to get paid for her work. Right?? xoxo

It’s Officially Out of My Hands – Why Waiting for the Editor is Painful

Are you ready for a new Station book?? Well, there’s one coming! The fourth, Dying to Know, is officially out of my hands and flying through the interwebs into my editor’s inbox as I type this. I love her, she’s amazing, but waiting for feedback is stressful – and yes – kind of painful, because now I have nothing to do but wait.

But, equal parts exciting too, because the first round of beta readers also got their copies today, so perhaps this is why my normally dry palms are feeling clammy and I want to shove insane amounts of chocolate in my mouth while checking my email every five seconds.

Will they like it?

Will they hate it?

Will they love it?

I don’t know. O.O Wish me luck. I’ll probably be going a little insane this coming week.

Dying to Know

Yes, I know.

A few weeks ago, a reader left a message right here under one of my Station novelette posts asking if I was writing under a different name, then notified me of a title that started so much like one of mine did around Chapter 3, that I admit, I had heart palpitations. No joke…panic mode was enabled.

See, here’s the thing – you can’t copyright an idea, or even a concept. But as a writer, if you are mindful of this, one of the best (and hardest) parts of writing Fiction is the world-building, the fresh ideas, the character development, the plot, the twists, etc… It feels good to lose yourself in a world of your creation. But there will come a time, no doubt, when two books are unintentionally similar. Perhaps by theme, perhaps by setting, or perhaps in a hundred different other ways, but when two books combine too much of those things and have entire sections with a similar theme, setting and timeline of events that possibly borrow from one title to set the story for another – is this coincidental…is it still unintentional? The fact is, I don’t know. And legally, as far as copyright law, this enters some very grey area.

It is this grey area that has me curious, and yes, concerned. See, when I wrote Dying to Forget, admittedly, I had not read a gazillion afterlife titles in ‘preparation’. For me, every story I’ve done was 99% waking up from an awesome and twisted dream, to that 1% of real life influence, and that’s what the Station books have been.

I was going through the difficult time of healing and acceptance after the death of my Aunt. She was one of my favorite people. With the biggest laugh and equally large heart, when she took her life it stunned me. Not because I didn’t think it would ever happen, but because I thought I could have prevented it. I know now, how hard and impossible that was. See, mental health is a real issue, not just a phase, not just something someone can get over. Clinical Depression took my Aunt’s life, and I wish that all of us in her life had understood before she died, how hard every day truly was for her. Since she’s been gone, I hear her in my head all the time. She talks me down from my own ledges, pumps up my self-esteem when I need it, and is generally just an extra version of my own sub-conscious. She’s really with me every day. This is what I wanted Piper Willow to be for you.

What I didn’t know would happen, is how many truly amazing people would relate to Piper and the creation of ‘my’ Station. Some of those who have been hurt, or who hurt themselves, have truly found a bit of solace in these books, and they’ve reached out to tell me so. The point of the Station is not a selfish one – but intended to go beyond the pain of one person to help others. And before I get too mushy and start crying all over the keyboard, what’s important to me is not that someone else may have intentionally or unintentionally used the platform of my Station books to create a version of their own, but it is that there is only one Piper Willow. And there’s a little bit of her in all of us. This won’t be taken away by another title; Piper is here to stay.

So, until it is legally necessary to pursue this funky and unexpected matter further, it’s at that point where online I can’t stay completely quiet anymore. I’ve gotten your messages, I’ve read your posts. I totally get the passion behind why some readers of the Station series are curious, confused and yes, pissed off. I also get why readers of this other author are pissed, but if you haven’t read the Station books I guess you just wouldn’t understand why this is a really strange occurrence and why Piper fans are more than a little concerned. The only way to even remotely get the passion behind a Station fan would be to also read Dying to Forget. And this isn’t a sales pitch – because the title is 100% free. It’s not enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, which means I get exactly $0.00 for each download and read. KU books are free for Prime members, but the author still gets paid. I would hope that any reader of the other title in question would do their own research before attacking my Station readers. It’s only fair. For those who want to have mature and respectful discussions with each other about this topic – the comments section is open to you.

So, yes, I know. I’ve been made aware of what is happening and I’m choosing to focus right now on what really matters – that Piper’s fourth story be finished and in your hands soon. Because my Station still has tales to share, and friends to make.

Any decent writer can retell a story, but not all can create one. The books I choose to write are hopefully the same as the ones I love to read: different from the masses. In the end, it comes down to you, the reader, and what you want. I hope that my Station books give you what you want or need, and keep you entertained. If this happens, it’s a win for me.

No, I don’t want to publicly talk about this other title or author by name. It’s not my way, regardless of how I may feel. So keep on doing what you do best as a Station fan – share the book with your friends. Let them know why Piper matters to you.

Now off I go, back to her world and the never-ending drama of the Station, where I’m currently obsessed (and with over 200 million views, I must not be alone!) with Alan Walker’s ‘Faded’ and have on repeat in my writing playlist. I’ll share the video with you below, for your listening pleasure…

XOXO – Trish


Courtesy of YouTube