Accountability Wednesdays: Week 49

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Is it Wednesday already? Yay! That means that I only have five more days of work, six days until I’m home, and fifteen days until Christmas! Woo hoo!

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

Let’s go ahead right now and skip the weight loss part since we all know that ain’t happening and that I can’t report anything right now anyway.

On the health side, however, things are looking up. My stomach has been surprisingly calm, and taking meds for anxiety has made me realize how many things were actually making me anxious. It’s not a strong medication, like the kinds that make you super-docile and zombie-like, but I find myself realizing throughout the day that stupid times that usually get me worked up are just totally bypassing my radar. I see this as a good thing.

Goal #2. Be more active on social media and work hard on my author platform.

It definitely hasn’t been my busiest week ever, but it has been a decent one for sure. I’ve been blogging, tweeting, sharing fun stuff on Facebook, and lately I’ve gotten into Instagram. I will never in a million years be the kind of person who Instagrams their food, but I needed the account in order to complete some of my Influenster and BzzAgent campaign tasks, so I figured I may as well have some fun with it while I’m at it. Check it out if you’re interested.

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

Still done!

In related news, guys, I totally want to put on a Kindle Countdown Deal on “Nowhere to Hide” for Christmas, but I’m blocked from setting it up because I accidentally reset some settings and now I have to wait 30 days before I can put on any deals. Arg! But hey, if you’ve got a reader on your gift-giving list you can always buy them a hard-copy of the book! It’d be like giving me a Christmas present too!

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

I’m gonna be honest with you guys: I’m pretty depressed about this goal. Last year I aimed for a million words and didn’t quite reach half of that. This year I aimed for half a million and I don’t think I’m even going to hit 300,000. I’m regressing! On the upside, I did publish a book this year, but I am disappointed in myself for writing so little. Next year must be better.

That said, I don’t have an exact number, but I wrote somewhere in the ballpark of 4000 words this week.

Book Reveal: “Nowhere to Hide” is Available for Purchase!

Ladies and gentlemen, it is the moment I’ve been waiting for for a very long time. Today, I am going to introduce to you my very first 100% complete, published, totally-available-for-sale novel, “Nowhere to Hide”.

“Nowhere to Hide” is a zombie apocalypse horror novel that follows the tale of a group of survivors trying desperately to stay ahead of the hoard. It began as a National Novel Writing Month novel in November of 2010, and there were set-backs, but this year, thanks in great part to my awesome beta-reader, Ashley Whitt, I finally completed the final draft.

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So today I get to announce to you that “Nowhere to Hide” is finally available for sale, just in time for the spookiest season of the year! The printed paperback copy of the book will be available on Amazon any day now, but for now you can go to the CreateSpace website store to purchase it for $9.99 US by clicking on this link (shipping charges will apply). If you’re more of a digital book person, or if you want to save some money, the ebook version is available through Amazon or Kindle for only $2.99 US (no shipping, obviously)! A reminder that you do not need to own a Kindle device in order to purchase Kindle e-books…you simply need to download the free Kindle app on any of your iOS or Android devices!

So, feel like a creepy zombie tale just in time for Halloween? Looking to expand your physical or digital library? Want to support a newly self-published author who is currently on top of the world? Click on the links above! Or, if you aren’t a horror fan but want to support me anyway, please feel free to share post with your family, friends, and social networks! Any support is deeply appreciated, and if you do decide to purchase the book, please remember to go back to where you purchased it and leave a review!

Thanks everyone! Here’s to many more published novels in future! ❤

(Oh, and just in case you needed a little further incentive…)

Accountability Wednesdays: Week 21

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First, a bit of randomness on this particular Wednesday. Have you ever had to take a drug test for any reason? I’m up to my third test because it’s a requirement for most companies on the Alberta oil sands before you’re allowed to go out on their sites. For the majority, the work camps that employees live on during their shift are “dry and drug-free”, meaning that if you’re caught drinking or taking recreational drugs, you’re booted out. In a lot of cases you’re blacklisted by the company who owns the site and you can never work on one of their sites again. So, yeah…ensuring that you’re not a drunk or a druggie is a bit of a big deal.

So anyway, I went for one of these drug tests recently because I’ve been offered a new position starting in June. This particular test was at a different location than the ones I’d been to previously, and one of the first things the lady in charge asked me was to lift up my pant legs so that she could see I didn’t have anything hidden there. After showing her that I didn’t have any smuggled samples and having a bit of a chuckle, I asked her if she got a lot of people trying to cheat the system. She told me that I’d be depressed if I knew just how often that happens. She said that sometimes people actually show up to the test loaded drunk. Other times she’s had people come in with big bottles (filled with other peoples’ urine, remember) bulging through their pant leg and have argued her down to the ground that there was nothing there. More than once she’s had to call the cops on someone who assaulted her because she wouldn’t let them take the test with their – very obviously right there under your pants – illegal sample on them.

I had to share because of the sheer absurdity of it. I can’t fathom, for the life of me, walking into a drug testing facility and signing a bunch of legal documents swearing, upon legal retribution, that the sample you’re providing is your own, and then being surprised when the tester asks you to prove that you don’t have anything on you before you take the test. It just…flummoxes me. o.O

And with that said, shall we move on to the accountability portion of the post?

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

Finally – finally – I have something to report for this one. I’m so proud.

Early Sunday morning, despite the fact that we were experiencing that gross misty rain (you know the stuff that is hardly even rain, but more like a thin mist, and you get totally soaked from standing in it for ten seconds?), I dragged myself out of bed, took a hit of my inhaler, and went for a run. I say run…it was mostly walking, but still. I started from scratch with the Zombies! Run program, and I’m glad I went right back to the beginning…I’m so out of shape that even the 15 second running intervals had me panting. But the point is that I did it! I got up, went outside, and went for a “run”!

Even better, the following day I did about forty minutes of strength training, and the day after that I did another Zombies! run. Today, sometime after you’ve already read this post, I’ll be doing another round of strength training. Rinse, repeat!

I will say that I feel really good. Exercise does genuinely make me feel good about myself, it’s just hard to convince myself of that fact when I’m feeling lazy or have a thousand other things that need doing.

The food-related side of the story is a little less impressive. I’ve been trying to drink more water than anything else, but it’s difficult because I hate water. Exercise always makes me crave things like fruit and protein, so that helps, but often a few hours later I find myself dying for sugar. One step at a time, though, right? 🙂

Goal #2: Be more active on social media and work hard on my “author platform”.

Things have been a little slow here, to be honest. I can’t say that I’ve been particularly bad on the social media front, just not necessarily as good as I could be. I still find it hard to think of anything worth saying on Twitter, though I have been spending a fair bit of time conversing with my fellow bloggers, so that’s good.

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

I said I’d get something done on this last week, and for once I actually told the truth. It’s difficult to find the necessary quiet time in order to concentrate on what I’m doing, but this week I managed to go through and sign off on two chapters. Those chapters are 100% done and will not be changed any more in any way. So now I’ve got to do the same thing for fourteen more chapters. Hopefully I can pick it up a little more this week.

On a related note, has anyone here ever used Scrivener to compile a manuscript into a Kindle file? I’ve been playing with it and I’m having the worst time. I got it to actually do the compile, but the file I wound up with had enormous text so that there was maybe one sentence on each page. I have no idea why it’s doing it because everything compiles properly when I use other formats, such as PDF. Anyone? Help a fellow indie writer out?

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

I’ve fallen off the wagon a little here, but all in all it was still a half-decent week. I’ve been trying to schedule a bunch of blog posts in advance because of the aforementioned job offer, and between that and a little bit of random journaling I managed to end up with 6809 words for the week. One thing that I noticed when examining the little spreadsheet that I use to keep track of my words is that I have written no original fiction yet this year. I did a little bit of work on my Final Fantasy novelization, but I don’t consider that to be original fiction, for obvious reasons. This distresses me a bit. I do have the defense of trying to get one manuscript in publishable form, but it bothers me that I’m almost five months into the year and haven’t written a single new thing. I’m really dying to get to work on the fantasy series, and I think that once I get on that it will really boost my word count. So, fingers crossed, I guess. 🙂

Fun times!

A Dying Breed

I recently read a blog post (I can’t accredit you because I’ve forgotten who it was, so sorry! Let me know if you happen across this so I can link you back!) talking about the inevitable move of books into digital media. The post gave examples of digital progress, like how camera companies died out by refusing to believe that people really wanted cameras in their phones. The author of the post then went on to explain that the big publishing companies are putting themselves at risk by neglecting to embrace the digital revolution. The quote (not verbatim) that really got me was this: “Do people really prefer reading on paper? The answer is no.”

While I obviously can’t speak for everyone, while I was reading this post I found myself practically screaming, “THE ANSWER IS YES!”

I’m not a particularly old-fashioned person. I love gadgets, I embrace technological advances. In most cases I prefer the digital version. I’m a techy. But this aspect of my personality does not extend to include books.

Call me crazy, but I love my bound-paper books. I have a small library in the guest room of my house full of Stephen King novels, manga, the full Harry Potter collection, and a ton of others. I love seeing them all there on their shelves, but more than that I love sinking into a hot bath with one of my books, or curling up in an armchair with a book and a hot chocolate. I love the smell of the paper, I love turning the pages manually, I even love the way the books I’ve had since I was a kid are starting to turn yellow and come apart from their bindings.

I’m not completely ignorant to the idea of e-books. I do have a tiny collection on my iPhone; books that I suddenly had a desire to read but wasn’t near enough to a book store to look for, such as Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. I also have an ebook or two by my fellow bloggers who were having “get-my-book-for-free” days. But if I’m honest, reading these books off my iPhone screen drives me nuts. Some of you might say, “Well that’s because the screen is itty-bitty! Buy a freakin’ Kindle!” But that’s not the problem, I promise you. I’ve downloaded ebooks on my laptop, which has a 17″ screen, and it bothers me just as much. I don’t know if it’s that technological glow that bothers me, or the page ‘swiping’, or the fact that there seems to be so many fewer words per page to make it easier to see. I suppose it could be a culmination of issues. The fact, however, remains that reading a novel from a screen bothers me. Somehow I just can’t get into it. When I’m holding a book I can find myself sinking into the world enclosed within. When I’m holding a little screen with a faintly glowing background staring up at me all I can think about is the damn screen.

I realized that I’m probably a dying breed in this. I understand the appeal of having thousands of books in one handheld device, and I can definitely see the reasoning behind why we should be moving in this direction, but I just can’t get over my personal abhorrence to the whole thing. Give me my books or give me death!

 

(Well, maybe not death, but you get my meaning. :P)