Goodbye 2016! Hello better new year?

This was me last night, ready to go to a much anticipated party at a friend’s. I look forward to NYE at his house all year! Then BOOM, snowstorm. Blizzard. NOT the yummy kind with bits of cheesecake, either.

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So we curled up in the comfy chairs and watched an Ice Age marathon, including the Christmas special.  And had a few drinks. And watched 2016 die on my 55″ TV. Not as satisfying as if I’d made it to the party, but not too shabby.

Actually, aside from a number of my favourite celebrities (whom I didn’t know in person) dying, and the Syrian war which I feel helpless and disappointed in humanity about, 2016 was pretty good to me.

I know, I should just cover my head and run now.

But… At Ad Astra last year, I got to meet and actually talk to one of my favourite authors. She basically gave me the courage to start sending my stuff out. I had a shit-ton of half-finished novels, completed short stories and poems, but never showed anyone anything.

So I started walking my talk, and changed my profile from “aspiring author” to WRITER.  I sent out stories, I pitched books, and I shook hands/ kissed babies.

And I won a short story competition which paid actual money (alright an amazon gift card, but I bought writing books, so it’s sorta money), 3 stories were published in anthologies, 2 YA/NA novels were self-published, and I am breathlessly awaiting a contract from a real publisher!

My marriage is strong, my friends are awesome, my Mom got married!  I blogged some, and got followers that I don’t even know, so they’re not obligated to read it. Nor are they expecting surprise quizzes on what I wrote last week.

Pretty good year.

So, if 2017 is supposed to be better than 2016, I got some work ahead of me.  More poetry, more novels, more pitching, more cookbooks….

Which brings me to New Year’s resolutions. Hate resolutions, one weak moment and you F.A.I.L.  I like New Years Goals. One weak moment, shrug it off, dust yourself off, and start again.

So, mine this year are all doable, if I keep myself focused and bear the main goal in mind. All these are just steps to being able to live off my earnings.  (WARNING: I write dark fantasy)

Goals for 2017:
Get website back up and running
Finish 2 novels and possibly other stuff *shiftyeyes*
Get contracts signed soonest
Post 1 or 3 happys for every depressing post I make on FB
Get back into the habit of healthy eating , no I don’t need more chocolate or pringles.
Get back into my writing process/schedule
Deepen my religious practice, figure out who to sacrifice to pay the blood-debt of 2016.
Clean my frigging house! Purge the crap!

What are your goals, writing or otherwise?

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Free ebook reminder!

My first YA novel, A Test of Loyalty is now free on Smashwords with his coupon! FP66D You just enter the coupon code before completing checkout)

My second novel in this series is available on Kindle, Kobo, Sony, etc for $3.99US ($5.35 CDN), and in paperback for $9.99US ($13.37CDN). It picks up a few weeks after the climax of A Test of Loyalty.

Check out my website for more books, and a FREE horror-fairy tale short story.

www.lauriestewart-author.com

Facebook; Laurie Stewart; writer, film-maker, painter

 

As Promised: COUPONS!

I will be receiving my paperback copies of Mechanicville book 2: Alone in the Night within the next couple weeks. Hopefully before the big Xmas craft fair I have a table at.

To celebrate, I am giving away copies of book 1: A Test of Loyalty, on Smashwords. This is a limited time offer, only until Dec 28th. But those who get ereaders for Yule can still pick it up!

The code is KE56Y, paste it into the appropriate spot BEFORE paying.   Feel free to share the link and code with everyone you know.

Also, I will be putting up a free horror-fairy tale on my website today.

 

My last film

As you may or may not know, dear readers… I am also a film-maker. Low-budget, independent, first step for new actors and crew… films.

Well, my last two films are likely to be my LAST films. The chronic pain in my back and hips is not conducive to 16 hour days. Even with a friend whose only job is to make me sit down, I was in tears from the pain by the end of every day.

The one closest to completion is Reliving Marilyn, an intimate look at the woman behind the legend. Painstakingly researched, vetted by experts in Marilyn Monroe’s life, and thisclose to finished.

We are holding an Indigogo campaign to raise the funds for for finishing the last 10%. Go to the page to see the trailers, photos etc. The film is visually stunning.

“Completing the film is just the beginning of the journey. We need your help to cover our final sound mix, festival submission costs, marketing costs, Errors and Omission insurance, without which, we cannot distribute the film.

Distribution deliverables, licensing fees for one Marilyn Monroe song , and something for our hard working crew which have been volunteering to help make  Reliving Marilyn a reality.”

We expect it to be in several film festivals before going on a limited theatrical run, and DVD sales. Many of the perks include Advance release copies of the DVD.

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The other film is a medieval semi-historical-semi-post-apocalyptic story of a group of people living in a village, several generations after a nuclear war. It is also totally filmed, it just needs an editor. And a sound editor. (contact me if interested, but be aware, cost is a big issue)

It was filmed in the log cabin and rambling acres of a local  Pagan Priestess. And appropriately enough, I called it Our Pagan Heart.

It stars local actors and story-tellers, some who have gone on to many more projects. At this time, they were all volunteers, but some have been on Sons of Anarchy, and other local films including those by Brian Lutes.

The film is about 78 minutes long, separated into 9 mini-stories, each centered around a Pagan holiday. The story is also the overall tale of a year in the life of this villages, including marriages, deaths, and battles, both between personalities and between other villages.

Comment if you are interested in helping out, or helping pay for a good editor.

 

 

Nano killed me this year

I have officially given up on Nano for the first time in years. I had a good streak, 4 straight years, but this year it was not working. It was closer to pulling teeth from a live, awake and pissed off bobcat, than writing.

It didn’t help that we had a long, warm Fall which encouraged mold growth up the wazoo. Usually we have had several days of hard freeze by now, which kills off the mold. Mold of pretty much any kind, but especially cellulose mold, gives me migraines. Bold, visual, pounding, nauseating migraines. Guess what the moldy leaves and grass are made of?

Staring at a computer screen trying to force out a set number of words didn’t help either.

Neither did the pressure of a deadline, trying to get 2 books up on every imaginable platform, a sinus infection thing that may be mold related since I’ve had it for a month (same length of time as the migraine, more or less)

Now, I can hear a few fellow migrainers questioning the month long migraine and my still being able to function at all. And in most cases, you would be right. But I’ve been living on antihistamines, migraine meds, tylenol, etc. And I’ve had them for 42 years. (OMG does that make me sound old!) I started them the year before puberty hit. (That’s a bit better)

And since I have always been allergic to mold and cigarette smoke, although undiagnosed until 2003, I am accustomed to being able to function. Not brilliantly, witness my 500 word days on Nano, but enough to eat, dress, wash dishes, go to my Dr for more meds…

I end up with a “migrainey”. Flashy lights, but no real hallucinations, some light sensitivity, but not crippling. (except making coffee before 9am because the sun bounces off our neighbour’s barn’s tin roof right into my kitchen by the… you guessed, coffeepot.)

Other things are difficulty focusing; both eyes and attention, slight nausea so I munch salty things constantly, short temper and other migrainey things, just in smaller amounts.

But don’t worry about A Ring of Earth. I will still write it, just without that kind of pressure. I have someone who wants the complete, perfect manuscript next fall. So… deadline, but reasonable. Hopefully, it will be the first in a series of five books. I’m hoping to pitch it to an agent and/or publisher next year.

To celebrate my freedom to be migrainey, I will be posting a free coupon code in a few days for last year’s Nano winner, Alone in the Night. It’s a gritty, realistic look at teens from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds fighting to survive in the worst neighbourhood in Ottawa. There are elements of sexual/ physical abuse, drugs, homelessness, and street gangs. Recommended for 14+ years

If you have not read the first in the series, A Test of Loyalty, comment and I can send you a coupon for that, too.  My goal is to get 25+ reviews up on Amazon so they’ll put me on the “People who looked at this book, also looked at this one” list.

So, see you in a few days with the codes!

Nanowrimo and/or die

Looks like “and” this year. For the first time in years, I don’t see how I’ll finish on time. It’s very frustrating, as I know the story and characters, have written a 22 point outline and a 9 plot point spreadsheet. But the words just won’t come.

I blame the migraine I’ve been fighting with for weeks. This warm fall has been a boon to molds of all sorts, and I’m allergic to most of them. an allergy that gives me sinus infections and migraines. Not to mention that all the rain is playing havoc with my arthritis.

I have just under 20k words, when I should have 27k.  I know that could be fixable, but it’s harder than pulling teeth, and every day I’m further behind.

Even if I wasn’t sick, I’d be depressed. BUT the novel will be finished, just likely 1st draft done in Dec rather than Jan.

And I can live with that.

Write, Paint, Film, Create!