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I Have to Make Time

A couple of weeks ago, I was filling out an interview for a blog site. One of the questions asked what books I was currently reading, and—sadly—I had to answer that I wasn’t currently reading any books. Things had been so crazy busy, I honestly didn’t have time.

I felt a small bit of my soul die when I typed that. After all, I’m a reader; I always have been. I love being able to escape daily life and go to another place. I love living experiences through other people’s eyes. That’s also why I write. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of time to do that either.

After typing those words, I told myself that something was going to change. No one was going to give me time to read, I had to take it for myself. So I did. And let me tell you, it makes a world of difference.

So, to answer the question of what I’ve been currently reading, I’ve been revisiting my teen reads. You may recall a blog post I did about finding inspiration in reading these texts, well, I’m still looking for it.

It seriously brings back a lot of memories and makes me feel so good to read these books. It gives me ideas for my own. It gives me the chance to escape. And because they are short, it doesn’t take me long to breeze through them. I’m just really enjoying my reading time again.

The most recent book I finished was The Eternal Enemy by Christopher Pike. At the back of the book are pages that recommend other authors. I’ve always known they’ve been there, but I didn’t pay too much attention. For some reason, one author drew me in. Have you heard of Richie T Cusick? I hadn’t, although she apparently wrote a bunch of Buffy books.

Anywho, I decided to check her out, so I picked up The Lifeguard. I’m not finished with it quite yet, but I’m really enjoying it. I’m definitely going to check out her other books.

It’s no secret that my life has been crazy busy lately—mainly because I keep telling you about it. It’s tough, and I’m trying to find a balance, but I’ve realized that I have to make that balance; no one is going to give it to me. I’ve started with getting back into reading, and the next step is getting back to writing. I think it will help improve my mood that much more. And trust, it’s been a super sh*tty mood.

What have you been reading lately? 

Attack of the 14 Nights of Halloween Giveaway

It's that time of year again. The days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler and the nights are getting spookier. Yes, it's time for tricks and treats, goblins and ghouls, chills and thrills and huge amounts of sugary sweets. But at the Laughing Vixen Lounge blog it's also time for the 5th annual Attack of the 14 Nights of Halloween Giveaway. Join Laughing Vixen Lounge and our bewitching co-hosts The Kids Did It, The Mommy Island, Herding Cats and Burning Soup, The Hopping Bloggers, Mama Smith's Reviews and Women and Their Pretties for a spooktacular Halloween event.

Enter to win a $250 Prize Pack filled with goodies from 10 wickedly fabulous shops. All shops are offering Gift Cards or your choice of item(s) so there will be something for everyone. Many of the shops have items perfect for any book lover along with lots of unique, handcrafted and custom designs to choose from.

Visit the Laughing Vixen Lounge blog daily during the giveaway for the Halloween Movie Marathon. Test your movie knowledge with the Guess the Movie Game. Then try to solve the Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt, if you dare! Each event will get you daily entries in the giveaway plus a special giveaway for the Scavenger Hunt. Find full details for these events HERE.

As a horror author and horror fan, I have so many horror movies that I enjoy this time of year. I don't know if I can list a favorite, but here are some I've seen many, many times and still enjoy:

A Nightmare on Elm Street (the series)
Friday the 13th (the series and the remakes)
The remake of the Halloween movies
From Dusk til Dawn
Any zombie film--but especially Zombieland, Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, World War Z.

What's your favorite movie?

After leaving a comment with your favorite movie, be sure to enter the fun by the Rafflecopter widget below. To experience all the games, movies, shop features, giveaway info and all around awesome fun make sure to stop by the Laughing Vixen Lounge blog HERE

The giveaway runs October 18th - November 1st and is open worldwide to anyone 18+. 1 winner will win the Prize Pack and 1 winner will win the Scavenger Hunt Prize Pack. Laughing Vixen Lounge is responsible for all giveaway details. Click HERE for full details.

The World Won’t Come to You

You have to go to the world.

Writing a book is hard. For days, weeks, months, years you dedicate your time to your work. You pour your heart and soul into it, shape it into what you want it to be, put words on the page that reflect the ideas floating around in your head.

And then, the day it gets published, it’s the best day of your life! There’s a mix of emotions, from relief to fear to excitement to dread. But underneath it all, there’s accomplishment. All your hard work and dedication paid off.

But you’re far from done. Anymore, the author is expected to take part in promoting their work—especially if you’re mid-list, indie, of self. And promotion is not really where any of us want to be. We want to be back in front of our computer or with our pen and paper creating the next work. The euphoria of getting one story out is still with us, and we want to keep riding that wave for as long as we possibly can.

When my first book came out in 2009, I thought for sure all I had to do from there on out was continue to write. I was convinced that since my book was in the world, readers would come flocking in droves. The movie offers would come flooding in. Unfortunately, the reality was different—much, much different.

It took me several years (and several books) to realize that the world isn’t going to come to me. I have to go to the world. And that takes a lot of time.

I’m not very good at promoting myself. I always feel like I’m gloating or bragging when I talk about my work. In fact, more often than not, if I’m in mixed company and someone mentions that I’m published, my face turns bright red and I have a hard time talking about my books.

But the thing is, as authors, we’re the best people to promote our work. We know it inside and out, we get excited about it because we know our characters better than anyone. And that excitement can be infectious. If we can get others just as excited as we are, then maybe they’ll read our work. So why is it so difficult to do?

It’s hard. I know. It takes a lot of time and dedication. Even doing blog posts or posting on social media takes time—let’s not even talk about doing readings or presentations or attending conferences. How in the world are we supposed to find time to write with all of that extra stuff going on? Especially since the vast majority of us also have to work full-time jobs! There’s not enough time in the day.

But that’s why you have to make time. These past few months, while I’ve been learning a new job, I’ve let my book promotion slip. I haven’t had time to do much of anything except some Twitter and Facebook posts. I’ve done a couple Facebook takeovers and guest posts, but not much else.

With the way the publishing industry has changed, anyone can be an author. There are literally millions of books out there. But that’s not a bad thing. Having more to read and more choices for readers can be overwhelming, but as long as they’re reading, I’m happy. But how do you stand out from everyone else? You have to put yourself out there.

I’m not saying I’m a pro or that I even know what I’m doing when it comes to promotion. But I have learned over the past few months that it is easy to fade away and get lost. You don’t always have to be out there yelling, “BUY MY BOOK” because that won’t work—it’s nice to sell books, of course—but you need to be out there being engaged and talking to people. Find others who share your interests and start chatting.

Personally, I love talking horror, and I haven’t been able to get onto my favorite horror sites and read the latest news. That makes me sad. I miss that connection. As much as it embarrasses me to talk about my books, I miss being around people who like to read and who want to talk books—even if they are mine.

I need to change that. I need to get myself back out there. It’s tough, for sure, and it takes a helluva lot of time, but it’s worth it. Don’t wait for the world to come to you, go to the world. Show the world how passionate you are about what you do and they’ll share in your enthusiasm.

I Have to Find My Happy

My oldest finished his football season on Saturday. It wasn’t a good season. The poor kids didn’t win one game. It was kind of mind boggling because there were only two teams, and they practiced together, but once they got on the field, one was way more dominant than the other.

On the whole, however, it didn’t bother my son. There was one game he was bummed out because they weren’t playing the way they were supposed to, but otherwise, he just enjoyed being able to play.

Even after losing his championship game on Saturday, he said he didn’t care. He is excited for next season and can’t wait. He had fun, he enjoyed playing, and that was all that mattered.

I am extremely proud of him for having that outlook. It would have been so easy for him to throw his helmet and say he was never playing again. He could have crossed his arms, threw himself on the couch, and cried. But he didn’t.

Watching my son react that way reminds me how important it is to look at the good things in life and just have fun. So often, the world weighs us down. We get caught up in drama or a crappy job or whatever and let it rule our lives. We stop being happy and just go through our days.

The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to be happy. Life is so short. Granted, there are always responsibilities we have to take care of, but they shouldn’t drag us down. They shouldn’t be the only thing we have to look forward to.

I’ve been in a rough place for a while now, and sometimes it’s hard to see the good or the fun. But it’s out there. If my son can see it through defeat, then so can I. I just have to look a little harder.

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