Saturday, September 30, 2017

Just popping in to say what I've been up to


Lately I’ve had this urge to make life as easy for myself as possible. I’ve found that I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with life and all the crap that goes with it. So, these days I actually say no if I’m asked to help, or do more than what I’m comfortable with. I always assumed others could instinctively know when I’m overwhelmed and thus, they would stop making demands. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. I know my own limits, so I have to say no. No one else is going to do it for me. I’m getting more and more emails about people wanting to use my blog to post about their products or their own random motives, and I instinctively say no. Most of these people just want to use my blog to get more exposure. Not even I use it for that purpose, so no.

Aside for saying no a lot more, I’ve learned to close unnecessary accounts, or limit my involvement on social media. Social media has taken a backseat lately. I’ve unsubscribed from numerous newsletters as well. I’ve been driving myself crazy, worrying that if I didn’t keep my Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts updated that potential readers would forget about me, or won’t care if I release another book. Having worried about the above, my blogging and writing has taken a nosedive. I realized that my writing is the most important thing. If I don’t blog regularly, that’s okay. I have to focus on writing more. Though, I really wish I could get motivated to blog regularly again.

On the good side, I’ve actually been writing. I’m in the third draft of book two. It actually turned out to be more of a beast than I had initially expected. I ended up with 112 400 words after the second draft. I’ve been trying to slim it down, but ended up adding even more words. Oops! So now I’m at 113 000. I know there are certain scenes that have to go, or that the story can do without. Cutting those unnecessary scenes are the most important now. So I can see how the story reads without them. But, if the story is good and ready to be polished and I’m still at 105 000, I’ll have to accept that. I originally wanted a word count under 100 000, mostly because it would make the editing more affordable. But if the word count ends up being big, so be it. That’s what I like about indie publishing. I can make up my own rules and decide my own word count. I’ll just worry about the editing costs when I get there.

I had to send out my first dmca takedown notice  last weekend, when a few fellow bloggers alerted me that there was a site selling books without their permission. I had no idea my book was on there. But I wanted to check it out anyway, so there was my book being sold on this website for double than what I’m selling mine for on the major retailers. Once I sent the notice they were rather polite, and took my book down, but it still made me feel icky. So, my advice would be for everyone to go online and look for a dmca template and familiarize yourself with what it should look like, and have your own handy just in case you should need it one day. Most of the other writers had theirs at the ready, but I didn’t and I had to figure it all out, fast. But do you know what? This is all part of the modern writing life. Even traditionally published authors works was on that site. So if you’re an indie author or not, things like this will happen.
Lately I’ve been feeling like a bad person, or writer. If you check on social media most people are telling you of how awesome their life is, and how awesome their writing is coming along. I thought for the longest time that I was doing something wrong, or that I was a failure because my writing wasn’t coming along as fast, or easily. That I was a horrible person for not being able to do as much as others. So here is what I learned the hard way. Everyone is different. Everyone works at their own pace. I suffer from depression and anxiety. So, certain days will be more productive than other days. Some days may even be a total write-off in terms of productivity. I can’t always predict when one of those days will strike where I don’t have the will or energy to get out of bed. So, I no longer compare myself to others. I do what I can, when I can, with the time I have. I respect authors who can write for 16 hours a day. I applaud them. On a good day I can’t even do that. So yay, I’m happy for them. But I am not them. I am Murees Dupé and I’m lucky if I can write for 2 hours on a good day, and that is fine by me.

As for my previous post, about my custom domain, I got everything sorted. I can renew my current domain next year, or I can even transfer my domain to a cheaper service provider. There are other options out there, so I don’t have to feel trapped. I decided to not have a website. I love my blog and how easy it is to navigate. As long as people can find my books, I’m happy.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to. How are you doing

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The price of a custom domain

Hello my beauties! How are you doing today? I’m doing good. I’ve finally started with the second draft of book 2 in my Thelum series, which will be called The Executioner. I’m taking it slow, but I must admit I’m rather enjoying the whole process. A lot more than I think I did with book 1.

So, on to today’s post. I few years ago I had gotten a custom domain name. I went from The Daily Drama of an Aspiring Writer to mureesdupe.com. To this day I think it was one of those wow moments for me. It was one of those things with which I proved to myself that I was serious about my writing. Back then I had bought my domain name on a whim for 3 year period. That means after 3 years I must renew my custom domain, and pay for a new term. I only chose to renew for one year this time. Do you know why?

The renewal of my custom domain cost as much as when I had initially bought it, if not more. And I could only afford to extend it for another year. If I extended it anymore it would've cost more than when I had bought the domain in the first place. When I had decided to get a custom domain, I didn’t think about the renewal rate. I didn’t think about additional features. I just assumed the renewal would always be less than the initial price, and I thought somehow that it will last forever. Man, was I wrong. Only when the custom domain expiry date came closer I finally decided to check how much the renewal cost actually was, and I couldn’t help but feel a little flustered and angry. Let’s not forget, with every custom domain you need the protected registration stuff too, so that no one can see your private info and that costs quite a bit too. Before you know it, you’re spending a fortune. Or at least that’s what I found happened to me. It's my own fault of course. I don’t have a problem with my current service provider. They’re always friendly and ready to help me, but the costs are high.

After all this I realized that I could actually just have gone with a website from the start. Sure it costs more upfront, but in the long term it would be cheaper, and to renew the website domain would be cheaper than updating my custom domain name. That is what I hope to do in the next year. Actually host my own website, and move my blog there. That is my new goal. Why? Because I just assumed Blogger will always exist. Well, that isn’t the case. They could close down and then all my content would be gone.

So what is the point? Do your research first before you do a custom domain. Look at that renewal costs. Looks at the various options and what you get for your money. Don’t rush things, like I did. Look for a service provider that works for you, or your budget. Don't just go with whomever Blogger recommends. Don’t get me wrong, I love my custom domain name. I just wish I hadn’t skimped on the details and had considered all the costs. 

In fact, I never even considered a website in the first place. I just wanted a blog. But now I realize I could still blog from a website. I could even sell my books from a website. It would give me more freedom. That I would actually own it. But that is at least another year away. 

Have you made a similar mistake? Do you know of another way to not pay a fortune for a custom domain? Or just share your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

R.I.P Chester Bennington


This post is a little late, but the passing of Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park is such a loss. Not just for the music industry, but also to people like me, who grew up with Chester Bennington’s voice vocalizing our fear, pain and anger. Especially giving a voice to my difficult teenage years. Linkin Parks music, especially Chester’s voice, had been the soundtrack to my life for so long.

Linkin Park may get a new singer in the future, but there was something about Chester’s voice that resonated with me. He was a talented vocalist and writer. When he sang his words hit home. I had the opportunity to have attended the first Linkin Park concert in Cape Town a few years ago, and it is an experience that will stay with me forever. Their music will still be blaring loudly in my room, though listening to it will never be the same again, knowing that the icon that was Chester Bennington, will never be heard in person again.

Linkin Park’s music has had a heavy influence on my writing. I can’t think of a time when their music wasn’t playing in the background. From Crawling to New Divide and so many more. 

Rest in peace, Chester Bennington. You will be missed. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Keeping things honest and an update

Hello beautiful friends. How is everyone doing? I hope all is well. I wanted to give you an update of what I’m up to, or explain why I’m not blogging, after promising I’d be getting back to a regular blog routine.


I’m currently in writing mode. Last week I started the second draft of book two and have been powering ahead full steam. I had a little bump in the road yesterday, freaking out about how book 1 and 2 differed in the Thelum series, and all sorts of other things like that. Reading book 1 again has made me feel like I want to go back over it again. Of course, it doesn’t really need it, but I have changed as a writer, and have to remember, book 1 is a product of its own. I have this tendency to always want to change things. Luckily I had two good people remind me that things aren’t as bad as I thought, and to keep my focus on my current work in progress. Yes, I still feel insecure after I had published my book years ago. And I probably always will be.

Lately I’ve been of the feeling and thought that I simply want to be working on my writing more. I have forgotten what my first priority is, aside for family and my fur babies, and that is writing.

I’ve been giving into the bad habit of reading all articles and posts all over the Internet about marketing, tips on why I’m not selling more books and all things in that kind of line of thought. I’ve been wasting too much time worrying about not being good enough, and the truth is I simply don’t have enough writing to promote in the first place. Marketing is a tough job already, but not having anything else to offer readers is a problem.


On why I haven’t been blogging. I simply don’t feel I have anything all that interesting to say, share, or offer anyone at the moment. I don’t want to blog simply to post. I also don’t want to post things like, “I’m down right now” anymore, because I tend to be down a lot and that’s hardly anything new and it’s not always because I struggle with depression. I’m simply moody in general. So, I feel I should only blog when there is something interesting to say, or if it might be of any use to anyone. That’s just my opinion on my own blog. I don’t really think there’s anything useful about me simply stating what I’m doing from day to day. 

Also, I’ve been feeling like an ass about not always having the energy to return comments. After all, that’s what blogging is all about. The interaction. Sometimes going around to return comments tire me out. But I always aim to return a visit. But I’ve been considering turning off comments on posts, if I know I won’t be around to return comments, or visits. It think it’s only fair. What do you think about that?

I’ve also been reading a lot. I devoured The Harry Potter series and absolutely enjoyed it. It was great fun. I just wish I could read more about what they got up to after they left Hogwarts. Did they go back to finish their final year at school? What happened after they saved he wizarding world?  Stuff like that. I have been reading some Kathy Reichs as well. Complete genre opposites, but I’ve really been enjoying it.

So that’s it from me. I’ll be getting back to my writing. What is your opinion on turning off blog comments all together, or just for certain posts? Let me know how you are doing.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cover reveal: JALAPENO CUPCAKE WENCH by Carol Kilgore

Brilliant cover, Carol. You had me at cupcake. Congratulations on your soon to be new release.



JALAPENO CUPCAKE WENCH
AMAZING GRACIE TRILOGY, BOOK 1
A hot and spicy taste of murder—and more.


During the day, law enforcement consultant Gracie Hofner is on assignment at a small San Antonio bakery, waiting for a delivery. No one knows what it is or when it will arrive. The upside? Working next to Donovan Beck, a flirty hunk and a half—perfect fling material.

At night, Gracie resumes her search for a little girl and her mother who went missing following a double murder. Finding the pair is imperative or the girl will become a target.

At the girl’s aunt’s house, Gracie experiences a peculiar need to leave immediately. She tries to deny the urge to flee and pushes the pressure aside, but the compulsion intensifies. Gracie thinks she must have a brain tumor. Or is losing her mind. When similar events continue to occur, Gracie sees a pattern. Can she use this newfound ability to help her find the girl and her mother before it’s too late?




Carol Kilgore is the author of Jalapeno Cupcake Wench, the first book in The Amazing Gracie Trilogy, and three romantic suspense novels: In Name Only, Solomon’s Compass, and Secrets of Honor. She’s married, with dogs, and lives in San Antonio, the setting for the trilogy.

Where to connect with Carol:


Monday, June 12, 2017

Live your life and the creative well



My Dearest Friends. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. With regards to my writing and blogging I’ve been feeling on top of the world. Every one of you made me feel accepted and heard. Thank you. This community is so important to me and my sanity.

I’ve spent the last week caught up on all things Harry Potter. I’m reading The Goblet of Fire, and I really appreciate and admire J.K. Rowling’s imagination and her easy to read writing style. It definitely makes it easy to escape to Hogwarts and get caught up in all the happenings. Sometimes that’s just what I need. It definitely makes me want to get back into my own fantasy world of Thelum, which I had created a few years ago. I am definitely in the state where I’m just absorbing all sources of inspiration. Doing that makes me feel good and inspired. Having others around you that inspire you is crucial to the creative process I think, and absolutely feel.


Music to dance to 

My personal life is a mess, but I’m working through that. The fact that I’m fighting my way back to my writing makes life a lot more tolerable. I have missed it so much. I missed how it nourished my soul and made me feel alive, and it made me feel like perhaps everything wasn’t going to hell. These days I’m learning something new about myself all the time. It is so strange, but it definitely gives me more to write about. Music was always a way to replenish my writing well when it ran dry. These days I can listen to music and it makes me feel . . . period. Depression tends to make you feel isolated. For me it absolutely drained enjoyment and life out of everything. I’ve been so used to not feeling, that these days, when a catchy tune comes on, I can actually dance to it. One thing my therapist made me aware of is that happiness is not the opposite of being depressed. Living is the opposite of depression. So, live. Show your doubts, anxiety, and those nasty feelings that want to drag you down into the darkness, that it won’t steal your love of life. It won’t make you dead, or numb on the inside.

If there is anyone dealing with depression, or with feelings of not being enough, know that it might not seem like it, but there are ways to feel okay within yourself, and eventually you will feel okay. Life might not be okay, but you . . . your inner self, can become okay. It is possible.

Can I ask, what inspires you? What are other great ways to fill your creative well when it’s empty?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Got some spring in my step and an update


via GIPHY

It feels like I only ever share bad news on the blog. But the truth is that my life has been thrust into darkness for the past few years. But I can say with a smile I’ve been feeling much better lately. Yes, I still struggle with depression and anxiety, and I probably will forever, but for the first time in a long time I don’t feel utterly hopeless.

I’m finally off of my anti-depressants. It sounds counter productive, I know. But my psychiatrist had prescribed them in the hopes that it would cure me. It didn’t. I don’t react to meds the way I’m supposed to. I found that out during the two years of experimenting with various chronic pain meds with my rheumatologist. He had so much patience with me. But my psychiatrist hadn’t. I didn’t write about this last year, because I didn’t want to add more depressing stuff. But basically the psychiatrist went off on me one day and mentioned that I wasn’t a real writer because real writers write regardless of depression, and that the meds should have worked by now, and that I was lazy for not doing more to drive away the depression. That I would never be a real writer with my attitude. I felt like shit for months afterwards.

But I was still (and still am) seeing my therapist once a week and she assured me my psychiatrist was probably having a bad day and had taken it out on me. But she mentioned that the psychiatrist was wrong and she had set me back another few months. Which I had agreed on. I stopped seeing that psychiatrist and am only going to therapy these days. Therapy helps me more than any medication ever had. Aside for suppressing certain emotions, anti-depressants don’t really work for me. It never makes my moods better. It just makes me feel horrible. But finally being free of them feels like such a relief and blessing.

I’ve weaned myself off the meds slowly and I have been anti-depressant free for almost a month and I feel so much better. Sure my emotional state is still a mess, but I can actually feel again. I no longer have this numb feeling anymore. I can differentiate between the various emotions I feel and I can actually write now. I can make sense of words, which wasn’t always possible before.

I’ve been working on a few short stories, and a few sentences on book 2 in the Thelum series. I also started practicing how to make e-book covers. Every penny I can spare, or if there is more I can do towards my writing career, the better. I’m definitely more of a hands-on kind of person. I like being involved in every detail.

Also, I have a clearer idea of the types of books I want to write. They are darker in theme and feel, but definitely in the fantasy genre. I haven’t dared put any of my books in fantasy because someone once told me that I wasn’t smart, or talented enough to write fantasy. I allowed those words to really make me doubt myself. But I decided that I was going to put my books in that genre regardless. There are so many fantasy sub-genres, like supernatural and urban fantasy that my Thelum series fit into. Perhaps book 2 would even be better suited toward dark fantasy. Either way, I just feel like I know more about who I am now than I did a year or 2 years ago. And I have to be true to myself and my gut.

I’m not saying that I’m upbeat and smiling-for-no-good-reason-kind-of-happy, or that I ever will be, but I’m in a good place mentally. I’m not saying I will only post happy stuff, but I will be myself more and sharing things that are more me.
I have a darker side which I hide because it’s polite to not show your crazy. But, I love tattoos. I like gothic stories, and poetry. I love biker style boots and the more buckles, the better. I also love having my hair short and I don’t like wearing skirts or dresses. Never have and probably never will. Someone said that’s not very lady-like or feminine of me and I don’t give a crap. I know I’m a female and I don’t need clothes or other people to tell me who I am anymore.

I’ve finally started on the Harry Potter books. I know, don’t gasp! I never had the urge to read them before, but over the past two weeks I started. I started collecting the books about two years ago, and only bought used copies. I was determined to only read the entire series until I had all the books. A few months ago I gave up and just bought the two copies I couldn’t find in used bookshops and pay full-price for them. I don’t mind now. I’m really enjoying the books. It is definitely whisking me off to a new world, which I enjoy. I’ve definitely found that I don’t like reading books when they are popular, or on the rage. I will often read books years after the buzz has died down. Don’t really know why, but it’s just something I do. Anyway, I now have a mismatched set of Harry Potter books but I don’t care. The content is still the same, even if the covers differ.


Did I mention I’m trying to make my own e-book covers? They are hard to figure out. I don’t think I have an artistic eye, but my siblings think I’m not giving myself too much credit. They saw some of the finished products. It is definitely fun trying to teach myself another skill. It’s strange, but I really don’t mind learning something new each time.

I’m avoiding all the sites that I usually peruse for writing tips and so forth. I feel that I’ve done too much of that the past few years, that I just have to sit my butt down, and get some actual writing done. Plus, all those marketing advice and stuff don’t work for me. Just figuring out what does work for me and doing what feels right to me has worked better in my case. So I just don’t need more articles at the moment. Do you ever feel like that?

I watched Beauty and The Beast and liked it. I could sing along to most of the songs, as I was a fan of the animation as well. I think Emma Watson did a great job. Suicide Squad and Deadpool are me and my sisters go to movies these days if there’s nothing to watch and we need a laugh. I loved Harley Quinn. I just wish there was more of her in the movie.

So, that’s it from me. What are you up to? Got anything you wish to share? 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Just keep going


Hey friends. In one of my previous posts I spoke of how South Africa’s investment grade has been downgraded to junk status. The country didn’t collapse overnight, even though the tension within the country is high. There was no sudden collapse of order either.  One thing I’ve learnt about South Africans is that we are resilient and we adapt to change very quickly. We keep on surviving no matter what we are faced with. That quality alone makes me proud to be South African.

As a teenager, that wasn’t always the case. I felt like good things didn’t happen here. Or that if you wanted to achieve something or be successful, you had to be from America, for instance. Thankfully, thanks to many South Africans proving me wrong and leading the way, I’ve learnt you can still be successful in any career you want, as long as you work hard, and it doesn’t matter where you come from. I’ve never been more thankful for that lesson than I am today. Great writers from my country have shown me that I can be a good writer. That the only thing that is holding me back, is me. That is so true.

I guess we’ll see what the future holds for us over the coming months. I’m not afraid as I used to be. I have my family and I have all of you, my friends. I have all I need. In therapy I learnt that I have high self-destructive instincts. For some reason I don’t think or believe, that I, as an individual, am allowed to be happy. Crazy, right? But I’m learning how to change that. So, come what may, I’m ready and I’ll even write about it.


How are you doing?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Junk-Status and all that stuff

Hello, my beautiful friends. How is everyone doing today? Brilliant I hope.

Today I feel scared. As everyone probably knows by now, South-Africa has been downgraded to junk-status. The country is full of political unrest and the last time things were this bad, I was a toddler. My mom did a good job from hiding the ugly that was going on in the country at that time. Unfortunately, this time I’m 31 years old, and unable to ignore what is happening around me.



I fear for my family’s safety. I fear the fall of our economy, and the collapse of the country. I fear the Rand (our local currency) becoming absolutely useless. The equivalent of toilet paper. This is all a possibility.

All I can do is hope for the best. And because of the economic uncertainty and lack of funds, I’ve decided to take on my own cover design for future publication projects. I have to find a way to produce an excellent product for a reasonable price. I have to start working smart with the few pennies I do have. Though, creating my own covers scares the hell out of me. I have no idea of what I'm doing.  I'm hoping to learn yet another skill. 

I will still be hiring an editor though, as that is my true weakness. I can’t always see my own mistakes and my editor teaches me something new each time.

I won’t be deterred from writing, or publishing. I will keep on doing what I love, because it speaks to my soul and makes me happy. I cannot give something like that up.

Do you want to hear something funny? My family and I fantasize about moving to Canada someday. We watch a lot of their design shows, and loved what we saw. We don’t have the funds to actually move there, but hey, dreaming that we one day might fills us with hope and joy. So, why not dream big?

I know the world has gone mad, and almost every one is facing some sort of hell at the moment, whether it be political or not. I sympathize with you my friends. I too am terrified. But do not let the fear stop you from living. Follow your dreams and cling to the things that give you hope and fill you with joy.
  
On the positive side, I managed to write a short story last month. In all honesty, I don’t know what to do with it now. Do I edit it? Do I rewrite it? Do I try to clean it up? I’ve never been in this situation. Novels are what I’m used to;)

How are you doing? Do you need a hug? I’m sending you tons of virtual hugs.






Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Reading into the past



Sunday evening I had a problem sleeping. It was 3 am and I didn't know what to do. So a thought occurred to me. I decided to read through my blog, but, only the very early posts. I found those first few years of posts to be very refreshing. Embarrassing and cringe worthy, but refreshing regardless.

The voice of those posts were so clear. It was so different from the voice with which I write today. What I really liked about those posts is that they were honest. I would like to think that I've kept that quality intact. I loved how I wrote from such an innocent perspective. I didn't think of myself as a writer then. I wrote like someone from the outside looking in. Though, somehow, over the years I had transitioned from the outside to the inside without me even realizing it.

I have since become a writer. I embraced the title with pride and excitement. It is still so strange how much I have changed and hadn't realized it until I read those old posts. I was such a different person back then. I hope it's not arrogant of me to say that I have grown, and have come to like myself and my writing even more. I have become so much more confident within myself, and my writing. I don't know if I would have come to this realization without therapy.

I now have to fight the urge to delete certain posts, or go back and rewrite them. I don't think it's right messing with my past. I had written those posts, and it gives me motivation to be a better blogger and writer in the future.

So, do you ever go back and look at previous posts, or photos? Do you ever look back at your past? If not, how are you doing today?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Katherine’s Mesothelioma Journey

Good Day Friends. How is everyone doing? I hope all is well. I was recently contacted to share another individual's story. This will be the last time I shall be posting on this matter. But today I would like to introduce you to Katherine.



Katherine Keys received a devastating diagnosis of mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer with nearly no hope of survival, nearly ten years ago. Today, after a difficult battle with the cancer, and with the support of a great medical team and her family, Katherine lives with some physical limitations, but hope and gratitude.

Katherine’s journey from diagnosis to remission began one day when she first noticed some of the symptoms of mesothelioma. Unfortunately these symptoms can be misleading. They often mimic much less serious and more common illnesses. Katherine simply thought she had the flu, with a cough and difficulty breathing.

Mesothelioma has a long latency period. While people like Katherine are experiencing symptoms that don’t feel that serious, the cancer is developing in the pleura, the lining of the lungs and chest cavity. Asbestos exposure most often causes this type of cancer, but by the time a person gets a diagnosis, it is usually decades after that exposure occurred. Katherine was luckier than most, and she received her diagnosis while the cancer was still in stage I.

Even with a diagnosis of stage I mesothelioma, the earliest stage of the disease when the cancer has not yet spread too far, the prognosis is not usually very good. A hope of being able to achieve remission through treatment is still minimal at this early stage. Katherine was just 49 years old at the time of her diagnosis and she was not ready to give into the disease and the poor prognosis without a fight.

She chose to go with the most aggressive treatment to have the best chance of survival and remission. Katherine underwent a radical type of surgery called an extrapleural pneumonectomy. It involved the aggressive removal of much of the tissue on one side of her chest cavity. She had the pleura removed, an entire lung, and part of her diaphragm. She then received radiation therapy after surgery to increase the chance of remission by killing any remaining cancer cells.

It took Katherine months to recover from the extensive surgery and to go through the radiation treatments. She then had to adapt to life with just one lung. She also had to get monthly checkups and screenings for cancer. The tumors were gone and had not returned a few months after the surgery, and finally a year later. At this point Katherine was considered to be in remission. Effectively, her medical team had cured her cancer, something extremely rare with mesothelioma at any stage.

Katherine is now living ten-plus years after her diagnosis, a diagnosis that came with a two-year survival rate at best as a prognosis. She has some serious limitations now, as she gets older and faces life with only one lung, but she is mostly just thrilled to be alive and to have beaten a cancer that is so tragic for most people who have it. Katherine beat the odds and she knows it. She enjoys her life now, even with her physical limitations, and feels grateful and lucky to have more time to spend with her family and friends.

Monday, March 13, 2017

He Gave Me Barn Cats blog tour



Author Maria Santomasso-Hyde is visiting today as part of her HE GAVE ME BARN CATS Blog Tour with MC Book Tours. Her book is scheduled to be released March 14 by Dancing Lemur Press.

If you’re looking for a story that will touch your heart, you’ve found it in this tender story of love, loss, and inspiration. You could win your own copy, just check out the giveaway details.

◊ He Gave Me BARN CATS
◊ by Maria Santomass0-Hyde
◊ Published by Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
◊ Available March 14, 2017
◊ $10.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 134 pages
◊ Genres: Christian Fiction / Christian Life-Death, Grief, Bereavement
◊ Print ISBN 978-1-939844-21-7 eBook ISBN 978-1-939844-22-4
◊ Order through Ingram, Follett Library Resources, or from the publisher
◊ $3.99 eBook available in all formats

Inspired by true events...

        Maria has cared for her very ill mother for many years. Her burdens are heavy, causing a sadness bordering on darkness.  When she discovers her historic barn is now home to a mother cat and kittens, she feels lighter than she has in years. As the kittens grow, they teach her as only animals can do.
          Then tragedy strikes. As Maria loses her family, the darkness envelopes her like the heavy fog that blankets her Blue Ridge Mountain home each morning. She creates a scorecard:  God: 9, Maria: 0.  Her questions turn into anger at God.  She searches to find answers as to why her loving God would take away so much in such a short time.
          How will she learn to trust again? Can the kittens in her barn help her heal?

HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is available for pre-order in print format at following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Everything Cats, Foyles, and Chapters-Indigo.

HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is available for order in eBook format at the following sites: Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Amazon.

Be sure to add HE GAVE ME BARN CATS to your shelf on Goodreads.



Formerly a newspaper reporter, Maria Santomasso-Hyde now owns Alta Vista Fine Art Gallery.

She lives in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, with her husband, Lee, and The Queen of the Universe (Roma, their Black Cat) … and other Black Cats who decide to move in. Find Maria here: Facebook Page 
* Website. 

Come join the blog tour and learn more about Maria and HE GAVE ME BARN CATS by visiting the following blog:

March 8 - Rockin' Book Reviews - Guest Post
March 10 - Defending The Pen - Excerpt
March 13 - Reviews by Crystal - Q&A

Alex J. Cavanaugh - Guest Post
March 14 - Thoughts in Progress - Review
March 15 - Open
March 16 - A Bluestocking's Place - Excerpt

deal sharing aunt - Review
March 17 - Juneta @ Writer's Gambit - Q&A
March 21 - bookworm1102 - Excerpt

Storey Book Reviews - Excerpt

Celticlady's Reviews - Feature



Giveaway Details:

This is a tour-wide giveaway for two (2) print copies (U.S only) and two (2) eBooks (international). To enter just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hard work does pay off . . . eventually



The past few weeks has been good for my writing. I finally finished the first draft of book 2. How did I do that? I pitched up at my laptop, sat down, and wrote in multiple short sessions everyday, aside for Sundays. Certain days were 100 word days. The others were 2000 word days. I really wanted to finish it. Just to prove to myself I can, and I did.

To be honest, I finished book 2 in 2010 already. But I didn't like what I'd written. So, I think it is in the beginning of 2016 that I started over from scratch. It felt like a kick to the face at first, but I definitely like where the new version went. It is a lot darker in theme than book 1. But I needed to get the darkness out;) Besides, I wrote 40 000 words in the beginning of 2016. So I just had to add the next 50 000. If I had to start from scratch and write 100 000 words right now, I think I would cry and never stop:)

But breaking the word counts down into smaller amounts for each day is better for me. I don't tell myself, "you're gonne write 5000 words today." I tell myself "I'm going to have multiple writing sessions today. Lets see what I can get done in the first 30 minute session." In the end, every word written was a victory compared to where I had been just a few months ago. I didn't think I would ever write again. Now I feel like I can actually do this writing thing. That I have the stamina and determination.

Also, I decided to focus on production this year only. What does that mean? Simply, writing more. I want to publish a few short stories this year. I want to keep working on book 2 in The Thelum Series. I'm not going to worry about marketing. Growing or finding "my audience." I'm just going to have fun, and write this year.

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Just a reminder, Indie Author Fringe is is taking place next week. It's free and online. If you want to sign up, go here.

If you want to publish a paperback, you can get your set-up costs waived at IngramSpark. Thanks to the Indie Author Fringe. But only for a limited time. Check out the details here.

** I actually applied for this deal. Unfortunately, being from South Africa it meant I had a lot of forms to fill out for tax exemption reasons. Basically, I forgot that my intention is not to work on producing more paperbacks. I had gotten stressed and I felt lost. My focus should be my e-books. So, I didn't complete my application in full. But if paperbacks are important to you, check it out.

I personally like Createspace. Its easier for me and there are no costs for me.

Hope you guys have a lovely week.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Interesting (kind of scary week)

How was everyone's past week? I hope it was kind to you. I had a rather interesting week. It was mostly scary to me. But, you can be the judge of that.




So, every few months I google myself (my pen name Murees Dupé), just to see what pops up and to make sure there's no strange sites popping up. Last year I found a site posting my blog posts on their site without my permission. Luckily they took it all down, after I contacted them.

Anyway, moving on. I also check that all my links and listings on the various publishing platforms, (that my book is listed on) is working and that the info is accurate. When I got to Amazon however, I noticed another listing for my book. It used my old cover, the green one, and the name of the person listing new and used books had a variation of my pen name. Also, their publication date was 1659, or something similar like that. Strange right?  Of course I jumped to the worst case scenario. I panicked and my mind went racing. I wanted to know why this was happening to me. My book wasn't popular. It wasn't selling. So why me and my book?



Luckily for me, I had just read a post on The Creative Penn about How to Protect your Creative Work with Kathryn Goldman. I highly advise anyone posting their content online to read it. It is brilliant. So, I contacted Amazon about the strange listing. I first wanted to make sure what was going on, and whether the person was allowed to do that. 

It was kind of a pain to find the proper people to contact. It took me a while to get to the right department, but the representative was very nice and explained that anyone is entitled to sell anything on Amazon. But what happened in my case is that the person in question, was reselling (New) paperback copies of my book on Amazon for a lot more than it is listed for on Amazon. They couldn't do much aside for merge that listing with mine, so if anyone was looking for my book, that they would only see my listing. I was a little upset about that.




But, I immediately filed my copyright with the U.S Copyright Office, even though I'm South African. Thanks to the Berne Convention, if your book is available in the U.S. you can file there. And you're covered in any country that signed the Berne Convention. You pay a once off fee (in my case $ 55) and you're covered. No renewing or any of that. I provided them with a digital copy of my book. I didn't want to take any chances, especially in the future. You get a certificate stating that you're the copyright owner (it takes a few long months though), so if you ever get in some kind of legal dispute (heaven forbid), you have a foot to stand on.

I wouldn't have known any of this if I wasn't following stalking The Creative Penn Blog. These days whenever there's a post available I'm there. If I hadn't read the above mentioned post I would have freaked out and gone crazy. But having read it, it made me take a step back and think of how I can approach this madness logically.

I was never the kind of person who thought I should bother with the registration of my copyright, but these days I think about it differently. Especially since I'm popular with finding myself and my book in the strangest situations, and a favorite target of online predators.

So, has anything like this happened to any of you? Do you have a scary story to tell?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Time to declutter












I don’t know about you, but I find that life is hard enough. So, if possible, I prefer other aspects of my life to be as easy as possible. Lately I’ve been decluttering my life. This includes my online activities. If I feel overwhelmed, it makes me anxious, which then leads to me having a depression episode. So, I have to keep things as stress-free as possible.


So here is what I'm doing:

- I found that I’ve subscribed to dozens of newsletters, but most I don’t read. Honestly, there are only a handful of those newsletters I actually find helpful. So, I unsubscribed from those I feel is just junk-mail basically. I know it’s not for me, when someone tries to sell me something on a regular basis. I want to freelance, so I subscribed to tons of newsletters that promised to help me make it work. Needless to say, most weren’t helpful. And yes, I fell for the sales pitch:)


- There are also tons of apps promising to help you organize your work and life. Well, all the sites recommended Evernote. I tried it. I wanted to pull my hair out. At the end of last year I discovered OneNote on my computer. (Yes, I had it on my computer, as it came free with my operating system). I tried it and found it easy to work with. It suited me perfectly as I could still use all the info offline. But all the techie sites promised Evernote is the better way to go. So, I abandoned OneNote for Evernote. Regretted it almost immediately.

So, for me, OneNote is awesome. I have a folder that contains pictures that inspire certain scenes in my book. Yep, I use Pinterest too, but when I’m writing, I don’t want to keep going on the internet, so I just open OneNote and keep it in the background if I need to remind myself what certain places in my novel looks like, I can take a look without being distracted.

*Keep in mind, I found above mentioned pictures online, so I don’t have copyrights to them or anything. I don’t use it in any other way than as an inspiration wall (document) for my own personal motivation, not for public use in any way. For my eyes only. So please, don’t use other people’s pictures on your blog or for commercial use without the creator’s permission.




 - Always be aware of how much you are taking on. Writing, and blogging, paired with keeping my social media current, is already more than I can handle. There was a time when I could’ve juggled three or four things at the same time. That time has come and bounced away like a crazy rabbit. So, it might sound selfish, but these days I’m only focusing on projects that are for me, or my writing.
 



- One thing that I love is attending webinars. It is fun, and sometimes informative. But do you know what? Most of them don’t really offer a whole lot of info. They give you tiny bits of pieces of info, but you never see the bigger picture, as you have to buy a course from them in order to get the info you’ve basically waited 45 minutes for. I like free stuff. Sorry. I guess I’m just cheap like that. So, just be careful which webinars you sign up for.

Anything by Joanna Penn, or The Alliance for Independent Authors, and I’m there. I follow both their blogs and newsletters. I’ve attended previous webinars by both, and I know they won’t waste my time. 

*I do understand that the webinar hosts need to make a living. But these days my time is precious, so I can’t spend 45 minutes having someone tell me why I should buy their course. Which is usually expensive, and I'm always broke:)
  
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If I ever have info that I think is relevant, or could help someone else, I’ll share it. I like to think of it as adding some positivity to the world. I don’t know about you, but the world can sure do with more positivity. 

**So having said that, if you’re a writer, there is an online event coming up in March. It’s called the indie Author Fringe. You can sign up to attend for free HERE.

I know many of you are traditionally published and you’re probably sick of hearing about all things self-publishing, or Indie. But, many of these online events are relevant for you as well, as it doesn’t matter how we’re published, we all have to deal with marketing, writing and such things. You never know what info you might find useful, no matter what your career path.

Do any of you have more tips on how we can declutter our life?