Dragon Con 2014

We went to Dragon Con again this year. It was fun, even more than last year. There were still a lot of people, but it was not as overwhelming for me. I didn’t try to be there all the time; when I was tired I went home. I also did a much better job of scheduling my time, making sure to go to the sessions that were most important to me.

I went to several professional development sessions in the writers’ track and listened to some of my favorite writers talk about the creative and business side of being an author. This was the first time I have gone out of my way to talk to other writers one-on-one and get their advice. I realize networking is important to my career and it is something I need to get better at. However, walking up and talking to someone has never been my strong suit; in fact I find it quite rude and aggressive. I feel like I am assaulting people with my words and presence when I come up without permission. I mostly practiced it on writers who said it was something you have to do in the sessions, because I took that as them clearly giving permission. I ordered great business cards since then, so that will help in the future.

I also did real cosplay this year, as opposed to last year with general anime and general goth. I dressed up as the Flame Princess from Adventure Time and helped Puck be Simon and Lori be Marcelline. I loved being recognized. Several people even took my picture. Cosplay is something I definitely want to do again. I would like to do the Evil Queen from Once Upon a Time next year, but that will be pretty difficult. Maybe something from Avatar. I should decide soon and get to work.

Dragon Con 2014 - 2SimonLoriThis was the first year I have gone to the Walk of Fame and talked to a few celebrities this year. I was nervous and I babbled a bit. Sandeep is one of the cutest people, and one of my few celebrity crushes. I think I might have made him uncomfortable as I make all people I think are cute uncomfortable. He seemed to like Puck, who is for some reason way less creepy than I am. (Future post about how creepy other people find me and dating forthcoming).Sandeep

Richard Howland from “Lost Girl” reminded me of my paw-paw.Talking to people I have seen on TV is weird, it is like they are people and not people at the same time.

I’d like to start going to a few other conventions once I get a job or start making a bit of writing income. I enjoy being around people with common interests in a structured environment.

Trick

Oddly, Dragon Con might become something like New Years to me. I have felt so inspired to work since then. In the last few weeks I have worked harder at my writing than I have in months. This blog post is proof of that. I have also written and submitted a dieselpunk story. This week I am going to try to find five markets to submit to, write 600 words a day, and at least try to edit my novel. This weekend I plan to attend the Georgia Romance Writers’ monthly meeting. I hope I can keep this ball rolling; being around other people who are in the same business will help

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A Fortnight without Facebook – Complete

Normally I write fiction for the Trifecta prompt. That was on the to-do list for later today, but then I found that the word “juggle” being on my mind jumped into this piece of personal blogging. Enjoy a bit of my less-exciting real life:

I went two weeks without Facebook or Google+. In one hour I go back. I feel apprehensive. Aside from a little loneliness, it’s been a great two weeks. I’ve done editing, dancing, art, cleaned house, and gardened. My anxiety decreased, and overall I’m happier.

However, my stress now is high, just thinking about Facebook. It’s too much, which sounds silly, as it’s just a big page of people saying little things, but it’s so much pressure for me. I can’t juggle real life and virtual existence. The constant urge to check it, looking every five minutes for fear of missing something. I went two weeks without it. Obviously there was nothing important. The pressure to say something witty. When I comment on a status, I’m an insecure person at a party, desperately trying to seem relevant. When I post something, I’m a yippy dog barking for attention.

I’m not a one-sentence person, nor should I need other people’s approval. The last few weeks I mostly didn’t. I felt good because of what I accomplished and created, not for how many likes I got. What social media gives is not what I need. I want friends to work on hobbies, do activities, and actually care about each other’s lives. I don’t want hundreds of acquaintances, all barking simultaneously.

I need a plan. I have to keep my author page, because someday I will have fans. As for my personal page, I don’t know. I’ve tried time limits and schedules but it never worked. I don’t think it will work now. Once I start reading I can’t stop; once I post I become tethered. Maybe I could cut my friends list, but I don’t know who to cut. Should I delete it? If I do, I will never hear about social events, as I will not be invited directly. Will I become a social hermit? If two weeks without Facebook is a cabin vacation, deleting it is going to live alone in a cave.

Fortnight without Facebook – Day 8

I will risk the cliché and say that time has slowed down. It is 9:01 am, and it feels around lunch time already. There is more time to do things, and nothing feels as hurried. My house is cleaner than it has been for a while, and I am thinking about reorganizing and taking some extra things to Goodwill. I have been working in the garden, editing my novel, writing short stories, and playing the piano. I have a stack of books I have been wanting to read, and I think I might actually start on them today instead of reading Terry Pratchett’s Nightwatch books over and over (I have comfort books. It’s a thing). I went to belly dance drills on Tuesday and I have a yoga class tonight. I got out a half-finished sock I gave up knitting several years ago which I plan to figure out.

The days are open.

My stress is so much lower that I am even thinking about getting a job outside of the home, which normally would put me into a panic. It is strange how in the center of a stressful situation, even if you know the things that would help fix it, the idea of doing them seems impossible. Money has been a big point of stress for me for a little while now. We were doing great while I had an accounting job, and even great while I was on unemployment. I had enough saved up that for a few months after the unemployment stopped we were fine. This has been a wonderful year for working on my writing, and I firmly believe that someday I will make at least a minimum wage income off of my overactive imagination. I am so frugal that it would be plenty. Right now I am making an average of $10 a month, which is a good start. I am not complaining; to be making anything at all in an artistic career should be counted as success. I have enough confidence in my writing that I think even with a job I would still write; not as much, but I would keep doing it.

I plan to do a very small Kickstarter once I finish editing my Young Adult novel. Not money to pay me for the writing of it or anything. I want to have a professional editor look at it, which I think will run me about $250. And I would like to pay the cover artist, Jamie Moore, who did the cover of Treacherous Nature for free earlier this year. It would also be nice to get a few physical copies of the book to start with and maybe a box of business cards for it. I think I could do all that for about $350. If Amanda Palmer, who is already rich, can get $600,000, then I should be able to get $350. But I am getting off topic. That is at least a month away.

I have enjoyed not having social media and I am starting to not even miss it. I’m still afraid that important things are going on without me, but not as much as a few days ago. I’m reaching out more, intentionally connecting with people I care about instead of throwing out word-nets and hoping to catch someone.

Fortnight without Facebook – Day 5

I lived the majority of my life without social media, so it is obviously not something I need.  However the world has changed. The way we interact and build community and relationships has been drastically altered in the last five years or so.   Social media keeps us in constant superficial contact with our “friends”.  We get little glimpses of peoples’ lives, people we might never see in person.  I have people on my “friends” list that I have not spoken to in person for 15 years, people who I have never met in real life, and people who live in the same city as me who I see maybe once a year.  I have “friends” who I have met once at a party or event, who I would not recognize if they walked past me on the street.

What is the value of having “friends” who you don’t actually know or care much about?  What is the cost?

I guess I should tell you how this is going instead of waxing on about the downfall of human interaction and society.

Thursday, the first day, was the hardest.  After every chore or task, I would sit down at the computer and stare at the screen.  Sometimes for several minutes.  I felt annoyed most of the day.

Friday I kept doing the staring thing, but the annoyance was mostly not there.  I was just coming back to my office over and over again out of habit.  On Friday night I went out to dinner with a few friends and then went to a concert.  It was not until I got home that I realized how low my anxiety was while I was out.  I have always been an introvert, but over the last few years the social anxiety has gotten very bad.  Sometimes I can’t go to something that I wanted to because the anxiety is so strong.  I sometimes take medication for it.  On Friday I did not take anything or drink at all, and I was perfectly at ease.  That might just be a coincidence.  But it might be worth exploring.  Has all-day exposure to social media been the cause of my increased social anxiety?  Is my brain counting Facebook like being in a crowded room?  Without it will I be more social in real time?

Saturday and Sunday were easy.  I mostly spent them hanging around the house with my partner.  We did a lot of gardening, watched some TV, cooked, read, and napped.  It was fun and relaxing.

Today I am home alone again and not logging onto any social media is hard.  I don’t feel lonely exactly, but more disconnected and a little bored.  The friends I actively interact with are at the same level as normal. I talk to Lori in New Orleans almost every day, Jeff in Atlanta and Issa in Tennessee a few times a week.  But my social media friends have almost entirely disappeared from my life.  No one has tried to contact me.  My feelings are not hurt or anything, but I am more aware of my relative worth in most people lives.  I am one of a hundred people who post statues updates at them every day.  My absence is likely going entirely unnoticed, because my daily effect on their lives was so minor.  Whereas I am no longer being interacted with by the 100+ people who posted status messages at me.  I have lost several hours of quasi-social interaction; each of them has lost no more than a few minutes from their total.

So far, not having “friends” has made me aware that I would like to have more actual friends, but I have not figured out how to go about this yet.  I have nine more days without social media in which to think about it.

A Fortnight without Facebook

Day 1

I have a social media addiction. I love the little happy burst I get when someone replies to my posts. It is a sweet cyber-hug that tingles my whole body with joy. Sounds great. But when I am sad, I try to make myself feel loved by posting on a social media sites and them obsessively staring at it all day. If I don’t get the right number or type of responses, I get sadder. Sometimes I will be having a great day and then not getting enough Facebook or Google+ love can ruin it. This often happens on story posting days. I will post a story on here and then push it to my social media. None of my friends read the story, which is fine of course; no one has to read my stories. And yet, I get so sad. I feel like that lonely little kid I used to be, sitting behind a tree listening to the other children play, wishing they liked me.

I can get the same happy brain chemicals by completing chores and tasks, by writing stories, working in my garden, actually talking to a friend. But once I get stuck in the “no one loves me” zone, I can’t seem to do anything but beg for social media attention.

This is not healthy for me. This is repeating old patterns that I felt I had long since moved past.

So starting today I am on a 2-week social media fast. I wish it could be more, but as an indie author, social media is important to letting people know about my books. I am still going to blog, which is in my opinion a higher-value use of my time.

Right now I feel panicky. Sick to my stomach. Before I closed Facebook and Google+ I posted a status update about this. Are people replying to it? Are they asking me questions? How many likes do I have? It has only been 30 minutes, and I want to go check it.

The important thing for me to keep in mind is the time I am getting back. These are a few of the things I can do with my extra 4 hours every day:

Write more stories
Read a few books
Practice the piano more
Get the house really clean
Work on my garden
Take a walk
Paint
Bake
Talk one-on-one with friends
Plan a party
Exercise
Scrapbook
Knit
Take naps
I will post here from time to time about how life is different without social media.

Wish me luck.

People Farming

veggiesEveryone on the writing sites, blogs and communities are talking about “fans”.  Some say that social media is the way to get them; others talk about the “million fan fallacy”.  Some talk about “true fans” as opposed to people who just ‘like’ your facebook page.  You can find countless people talking about the correct marketing strategy to get all these fans.

It occurred to me today that this is farming, with people as the crop.  When you friend as many people as you can on every social media site possible, start a blog or Youtube channel you are planting the seed.  When you comment here and there, show an interest in other people life/work/family, write blog posts, read blog and comment, make a new video or put your stories up as podcasts that is the fertilizing and watering.   The idea is that if you do this enough you will get “fans” who are harvested when they buy your books.

If your books are good then the “fans” will buy each new book.

I am doing this.  There is a good chance that you are doing this.  Many of the blogs I read are those of other writers.  Most of my communities are for writers.   All of us say we are there to learn new skills and make friends, but really we are thinking “I am a reader, I read tons of books, all writers must be readers, I bet writers will buy my book”.

But there might be a big problem with this theory.  I don’t think about buy and selling at the same time. This is not like going to a WoW merchant, where you sell all your old stuff and buy new stuff in the same window.  I don’t often think of reading as work/research.  Sure, each time I read a book it sparks my imagination and helps me be a better writer.  But when I am “working” I am not actively looking for the next book to read in my leisure time.

When I am farming for people that is work.  Marketing is the most worky work I can think of involved with writing.    So far, I think I have only bought two books while doing people farming; one because the book looked interesting and the other because I liked the blogger.  So, it can happen, but I have looked at the pages of maybe a few hundred people, so don’t hold your breath.  I don’t think a single person I have met from writing communities or blogging has ever bought my book. So far people I know in person buy it. Some of them just because they want to support me emotionally, not because my writing interests them.

I have two goals that don’t play well together:

-Find my future “fans” when I market and convince them to give my work a try.

-Find the best new writer each time I finish reading a book.anne-geddes-cabbage-kids

There are people out there who would love my stories or want to be my “fan” because of how awesome I am.  I am a fan of lots of people, but honestly very few of them are indie writers. I know there must be indie writers out there I would love, but I mostly read popular, established writers because it is easy to find the ones that matches my tastes.

Here in lies another problem; the soil in which we plant our seeds.

You might not ever be a fan of my writing, and I might not ever like yours.  You can market to me all day about, a Christian romance novel or a sports related mystery, and no matter how good it is I will not buy it.  Ever.  If you don’t like sci-fi, fantasy and feminism you will never like my books.

The big publishers marketing works for them, because they can throw so much advertising out that some of the seeds will have to germinate even if they don’t try to find the right soil at all. They put up posters of their new books in the book stores, we can’t do that.   They send their author’s out on book signing, advertising it on the radio and newspapers. I don’t even have a physical copy of my book to sign.   They send their authors to conventions, where I am just possible person to farm.  They make deals with movie people and famous readers.

As indie authors we don’t have their reach or resources to do that sort of throwing to the wind marketing, and yet we try so hard, wasting our efforts.   But there must be something we can do.  I can’t think of anything right now to try to make you love me (other than be lovable  which I am rocking), but I do have an idea of how to maybe find some indie authors I might like.

My mind is fertile soil, come plant your seed.

Off the top of my head my favorites you have heard of are Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, Christopher Moore, Susan Collins, Neil Gaiman  Octavia Butler, Lovecraft, Douglas Addams and Poe.

I like fantasy and sci-fi with a nice amount of action, but not all action.  I like humor thrown in as well as the strange or absurd.  I am a big fan of YA novels, especially with strong female characters.  I like urban fantasy, steam punk and weird westerns.  Creepy and dark, without being gory torture porn, is also a favorite.

I don’t like the type of fantasy that is centered on romance/sex.  Some romance and sex is great, but if that is the main plot then I am not your audience.   I don’t dig non-consensual sex especially  or women being abused.   I am not a big fan of books where sadness is the goal.

If you like at least half of the above authors and you think your work or something you have read is what I am looking for then comment here.  I will check you out.  If I buy your book I will review it honestly.  So don’t try to trick me.

Thank You to My Tens of Fans

First off, I have been out of town for the last week in Chicago, so I have been too busy having fun to post to my blog. Also sadly too busy with the fun to get much work done on my novel, which I am about 5000 words behind on. But don’t worry, I will work hard and get caught back up soon.

Today, what with Thanksgiving being tomorrow, I wanted to write a little thank you note to some people who are making this becoming a professional writer thing a lot easier. A huge thank you to everyone who has bought my book or told people about it. I can’t express how much your support means to me. I have wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. In fact my first memory of it was a summer night when I was ‘swimming’ in the above ground pool my mom had just gotten. It was a full moon that night and I wrote a poem while I floated around. Of course my little poem when I was 8 was not very good, but I still have it around here someplace. It was that night that I first thought that someday maybe people would want to read my thoughts and care about the things I make up.

Anyway, since I was 8, I have been writing and dreaming of someday having people read my stories, and even better of being able to make a living off of people reading my stories. When I was 11, I got a type writer for Christmas (not a useful tool when you are a horrible speller). But until this year I have always been too afraid to actually give being a professional writer a a try; afraid of rejection, afraid of not being very good, and afraid of losing the dream forever if the reality was that I could not do it.

Something changed this year. I think the first change was when I realized that sometimes people write stories and books that are not “masterpieces” and they do just fine. I don’t have to write something so OMG amazing that it rocks the world. I just have to write.

The second thing was that I can publish my own stuff. I don’t need any “professional” publisher’s approval to be awesome. I can be awesome any time I want, no waiting.

So between giving myself permission to not be ‘great’ and the ability to self publish, my last fear was just that I might lose the dream. Fuck a whole bunch of that. What is the point of a dream if you never even attempt it? It was time to stop waiting around for someone or something else to convince me to write and publish. It was time to take control and do it.

So I did. I worked hard and I wrote something. Yay! But some of that fear was still there. What if no one read it? What if everyone thought I was being dumb and made fun of me? What if it just sits there on the internet getting cyber-dusty? What if this is it, no one buys it, and I lose faith in myself and the dream really does die?

But then people stepped up and bought my book. Most of them are my friends in real life, supporting my creativity. But some stranger has bought “Treacherous Nature”. Friends and strangers alike, it has meant so much to me. Each time I sell a copy I feel so happy, and I feel the urge to keep going. I even sold a story to a publisher. I am writing a novel. I am submitting several stories every month. I am getting paid to write. And I don’t think I would still be working so hard if it were not for all the wonderful people who have bought my book, asked what I was working on, told people about me, commented on my blog, and just said “Good Luck!” or “You can do it” when I needed it.

I don’t want to sound too cosmic space bunny here, but this process is not just about writer and words. The reader is just as important. So, if you are reading this  — Thank You! If you have read my book THANK YOU!!!!!!

My Life Rocks Game

My blog is called weaving reality, because it is about the things I put my determination and energy into making.  Up until now it has mostly been about tangible  holdable, viewable things.   Like pictures of my garden and the food I cook from it,  directions on how to make a rainbow skirt, or my musing on writing, publishing and marketing my work.

But things you can hold are not the only things I make.  I have a vision of the world I want to live in, and I do things all the time to make that world happen.   I can’t change it alone of course, but I can make a little change here and another one there and weave in little threads of my reality into yours and everyone else’s.

Part of the way I can do this is to talk about what I want to change and how.  I can talk about the sort of social system I would like to live in, the sort of government that would make me happy.  I can tell you when I see injustice and how best to combat it.  I can talk about fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia,  fat-hate, poverty, and meanness.

I don’t want to do it in a “this things sucks” sort of way and leave it at that.  I want to tell you how I deal with a situation and try to make my world a little better.

Today I want to talk about something I am calling “the tragedy game” or the “my life sucks game”.    This is where one person says something bad that happened or is happening to them and then you have to one-up it, then someone else has to one-up you, and so on.   This game works on the principle that in our society it is OK to talk about things that are bad in our lives.  It is OK to reach out and try to get support and sympathy.  And it is. I 100% agree that if you are having a problem or you need help, you should reach out to a friend or family member.  As humans we are social creatures; we form tribes and we help each other.   But this game sometimes goes too far, because we all want attention.  If one person is always getting attention by being hurt, sad or broken, then I think we tend to rummage around until we can throw something into the pot.

For example, I had a rough childhood.  But I have dealt with the bad things that have happened really well.  I don’t often think about it; I talk about it even less.  It is depressing, it is in the past, and I am mostly healed emotional and physically.  Talking about it has no profit for me.  Until we start playing “the tragedy game”.  I have found myself in groups of people I hardly know telling them very personal things, just because “my horrible abusive childhood” somehow became the topic of the game.     By the same token, I have found myself telling people about my illnesses or emotional problems, just because that is what we were doing.   This is especially bad when the person who starts the game does so with something that is way less horrible than something that has happened to me or is happening.

And that is the problem with this game. The very first rule is that we have to rank other people’s suffering.  For example, I once had a woman tell me this story about why she does not wear shorts.  Once when she was young, her father hit her with a belt so hard on the back of her legs that it left huge red marks for a few days.  To me, to the person I was then (about 10 years ago) this seemed so little.  Compared to some of the things that have happened to me, her experience was cotton candy.  But now I get it.  I get what she was saying.  She was trying to tell me about the lack of control she felt, about the humiliation, about how someone else took her body and hurt it and marked it. She was telling me that even years later as an adult, in some way her legs still did not belong to her.   So I said, “well, you think that is bad? Once my mom….” or whatever I said I don’t remember now.   But I one-upped.  I tried to get social points by having been abused.

People play this game with all sorts of things.  Mental illness,  physical illness,  discrimination, lack of money, bad relationships, abuse, etc.

I don’t want to play this game anymore.  I want to be the sort of person, who when someone tells me something bad I want to just listen and be supportive.  I will give them attention, and then when I can, change the subject to something more cheery.  I don’t want to sit around talking about all the horrible things in a person’s life or mine, unless we are looking for solutions. I very much don’t want to listen to people tell me all the things they can’t do because of their problems.  This does not make their lives better and it does not make me happy.

At the same time, while it is acceptable to talk about how hard something is, or how broken and substandard you are,  it is not OK to brag.  Sitting around talking about how great your life is, how wonderful you are, how hard you work to get great things in your life, or just how naturally amazing you are is not OK.  We are supposed to be modest.

Fuck that!  I don’t want to be modest.  I am fabulous.  I don’t want to talk about the bad things that have held me down.  I want to talk about how I kicked those bad things’ asses and climbed over them to reach my goals.  I want to talk about how my experiences have made me strong, smart, or creative.    I want to talk about all the great things I am going to do.   I have problems, sure, but I can work through or around all of them to do what I want.  And that is what I want to talk about.   I want to brag, and I want you to brag.   I want you to tell me something amazing about you.

My first brag in this round – I am so confident.  My life experiences have led me to be the sort of person who thinks she can do anything she sets her mind to.  I often think things I do are great and I love showing them to people.

Please, one up me!  Tell me something amazing about you.  Tell me why you are worth knowing and worth having my attention. Tell me how you have overcome something or your plans for overcoming something now.

All Hallows Read

A few years ago Neil Gaiman came up with the idea of giving away scary stories at Halloween. I wanted to write a new story, but it is turning out to be a tough one so there is very little chance I will have it live by tomorrow. So I have lowered the price of my book from $2.99 to $.99. Yes, I know that is not free, but that is as low as Amazon will let me go. So think of it like this – you buy one story I will give you 4 free. :-/ And at this price point I get so little that unless there was a miracle and 500 copies sold I would not keep any of it, all the money would end up going to local art, music and theater.

Here is a link to Gaiman’s explanation of all hallows read and info about the story he is giving away:

http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/34321545955/download-a-free-unpublished-halloween-scary-short-story

I love the idea of giving away stories this time of year for lots of reason.

One of them is trick and treat.  As kids we got to go around and get candy.  It was a little scary and fun all at the same time.  With the other people wearing costumes, all the decorations and often walking around after dark the world was a alien place.  Walking from shadow to light as you went from house to house leaves a special memory in my mind.   I remember at first running to get out of the dark areas quicker, because that is where the monsters were hiding in wait for me.   Then after a while, lingering in those dark spots, no less frightened but now also intrigued, curious.  I wanted to see the horrors that hid behind decorative hedges and old tool sheds.

Another is community.  Up until this point most of the people who have read my stories are people I know, but most of the stories I have read are by people I don’t know.   It is like a web, connecting me to all the authors of all the stories I have ever read.  Also to you, who are reading these words now.  We are not community in the sense of sitting down to dinner together or helping each other raise a barn.  But we are community in other ways.  Maybe you love fantasy or horror, maybe you like to homestead.  For some reason you are reading this so we likely have something in common. I want to be able to gift my stories to you, in this sense of community.

I guess the last is a more complex and does not have an easy single word to describe it.  As a writer I want people to read my work.  I want to get paid for it to, but that is secondary to wanting it read.   I want my words in your eyes, my ideas in your brain.  I want you to see something like what I saw when I wrote the stories, but colored by your experiences and feelings.

So go here: http://www.amazon.com/Treacherous-Nature-ebook/dp/B0098N9CGI/

And here for the PDF version:Treacherous Nature PDF

Pick up my book, read it, tell me what you think.  Or don’t, it is just there if you want it.  The price goes back to $2.99 next week.

 

Post Publishing Doldrums

For the last few months putting out this collection of stories was my main goal as a writer. I did some other writing too. I submitted and got rejected for an anthology and worked on a novel idea. But now the book has been released and I feel sort of flat.

What now?

I don’t expect this book will do well. So far I have sold 7 copies, which I have to admit hurts my feelings a lot. I am trying not to let it, but it is hard. I am a big supporter of the arts where I live. I spend more money than I care to calculate right now on plays, local music festival, my friends’ art and their artistic endeavors. I go to art auctions and give donations to local groups. I am not saying I expected these people to support me, not exactly. But I expected some sort of boost. I know, I sound like Earl in “My name is Earl” – “You do good things, and good things happen”. And now I feel sort of stupid for having these expectations.

I am trying not to take this personally, but it is really hard. Sure, lots of people might not like the sort of stuff I write. And that is ok. I give time and money to the thing I do because I like them and think the work they do is good and worthwhile. I wonder how many people think what I am doing is worthwhile?

I need to think about my next moves? Should I start submitting short stories to anyone who will take them? Should I work on a novel? Should I take a break and get a real job? Should I try to save up money and go to a writer’s workshop like Clarion West? I could use the pointers and practice, but I could use the contracts even more?

To the people who read my blog who have some success at selling their work, do you have any advice? How do I get my stories to the people who would enjoy them? What is a good balance between traditional publishing and self-publishing?

This is Cheese-Burger taking a nap. This is about how I feel right now, but that is ok. After he sleeps like this for a few hours he is full of energy, so it must be a restful way to be.