fbpx

Tag: published

Summer 2021 goal review

Once again, it’s time for my quarterly check-in to see how I’m doing with the goals I set for myself in January.

I’m still adjusting to my new-ish job. Someone quit when they moved, so I’m picking up an extra shift every week for the next I-don’t-even-know how long. Which means 50 hours, over 4 days. Sometimes it’s slow and I have some free time to write or crochet or read or whatever, but for the most part life right now consists of work, sleep, and loading and unloading my dishwasher. As you can see, my annual goals don’t really fit into that very well.

Anyways.

  1. Continue to publish and promote my Heartsbane Saga series. I’m still picking away on edits on books 1.5, 2.5 (which has to come out before book 3), 3 (which has to be edited to match book 2.5), and now book 3.5.
  2. Publish something at least twice a week. I’m at 29 stories published on Medium so far in 2021, which is just over one a week. I serialized the first Heartsbane Saga story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” into 7 parts, but even excluding that I’m not doing bad for this. Aim for the stars, still on top of the world, and all that Pitbull jazz. I’m also looking into a series for Amazon’s new Vella thing, which would bump this number up too.
  3. Marketing. I have several things on my radar, as soon as I get another Heartsbane book or two out. September, maybe?
  4. Travel travel travel. Now here is somewhere I’m exceeding my goal. Since my last update, at the end of May I went to Rapids City, SD, and eastern Wyoming to hike around the Badlands and Black Hills (and tried Runza in Nebraska for the first time, after driving past them for years. Verdict: okay). Then the next weekend, I headed up to Bemidji, MN, to vanlife around the Frigid Northlands (and eat pasties), but it was almost 100F so I headed over to cooler North Dakota instead. Last weekend, I picked my kid up from his aunt’s in Kansas City, MO, so I’d have an excuse to go back to that German restaurant in Wichita I ate at in February, and then head to Oklahoma City to get some more goat sausage for ravioli. I’m hoping to squeeze in another weekend trip in early August, and then in the middle of that month I’m heading to Hawaii for a week, where I plan to make myself sick eating fresh pineapples and lychee smoothies daily.
  5. Continue to Marie Kondo the shit outta my life. My current project is my office, and specifically the yarn that covers every surface. My problem here is that every time I sort through a box of it, I get sidetracked by starting a new project with every skein. I have a couple craft shows planned for this year, so at least the projects aren’t wasted (assuming I finish them).
  6. Read 100 books. I haven’t made much progress with this since the last check-in; I’m currently at 28 books (26 behind schedule). I’m looking forward to spending some time reading on the beach next month, to try to catch up.

If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How are you doing with them?

Weekend Writing Warrior 5/9/21 #8Sunday

Happy Mother’s Day, Weekend Writing Warriors! I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the weekend with my son, hiking in a local nature preserve and then cooking. He’s inherited my love of the kitchen and made us chicken parmesan with triple chocolate mousse cake (and I’m very proud that I helped him and not the other way around).

Chocolate mousse cake

Since it’s Mother’s Day and my main character in the Heartsbane Saga is an orphan, I thought I’d switch things up and post a flash piece I wrote last year, titled “Motherhood.”

* * * * * * *

Abyzou tells herself she has no regrets. She loves her child and its father. She loves the life they’ve created together, so different from her past.

But outside the weather is changing. Calling to her. And inside, the baby’s cries cannot be consoled. For days now it’s had a slight fever and a new tooth and doesn’t want to be held or set down in its crib. Aby walks the house, bouncing the child in her tired arms, as she longingly glances out the windows at the changing leaves rustling in the cool fall breeze, until finally, finally, the baby falls into an exhausted sleep.

Gingerly she lays it down in the cradle that’s been in its father’s family for generations. She tiptoes to the window and opens it, then backs away, as the wind whips in, caressing her skin like a lover’s touch, murmuring sweet nothings in her ears.

* * * * * * *

And the rest, since it’s short:

She takes a small, tentative step towards the window, then another larger, more confident one, guided by the wind and the beckoning chill beyond the panes of glass. She opens the window wide, inviting in the wild night and all it brings with it, when the baby stirs.

She stops and looks in its crib. By some miracle the child is still asleep. Aby strokes its cheek, just as gently as the wind strokes hers. The baby reaches over and grabs her finger, grasping it firmly in its tiny hand, as a delicate smile graces its lips.

Aby looks at the window, at what she knows waits for her beyond the room’s feeble light, and then back down at her sleeping child. He sighs softly in his sleep, his grip on her never wavering.

Aby carefully scoops him up into her arms, his small warm body fitting perfectly against hers as she walks over and shuts the window.

* * * * * * *

I originally posted this on Medium. I usually post several short stories or microfiction pieces over there each month, so if you use that platform, hop on over and read some of my other stuff, clap, follow, all that good stuff. Thanks!

Spring 2021 goal review

Clyde happens

Clyde from Heartsbane still does not care about my goals.

Once again, it’s time for my quarterly check-in to see how I’m doing with the goals I set for myself in January.

I started a new job in January, doing intake assessments at the psychiatric hospital that recently opened in town. I’m enjoying it pretty well, although the schedule of three consecutive days of 12-hour shifts looks a lot nicer on paper than it does actually working it – especially when that third day rolls around and my brain is numb. And especially especially when I pick up an extra shift. My bank account is loving it, but my writing goals not so much.

Anyways.

  1. Continue to publish and promote my Heartsbane Saga series. Books .5, 1, and 2 are all out. Books 1.5, 2.5, and 3 are ready to go as soon as I’m done with edits. Soon, I hope.
  2. Publish something at least twice a week. I just checked and I’ve published 15 stories on Medium this year, which averages out to about one a week. Not twice a week, as per my goal, but still pretty good. Most of it is microfiction, but that’s okay. It’s something.
  3. Marketing. Brian Cohen just started another Amazon ads mini course this week, and I’m hoping to follow along. My Amazon ads have been doing decent for sales, and I want to kick them up a bit. I’ve also started participating in the Weekend Writing Warrior blog hop again after a long absence, which is helping with marketing a bit too, I think.
  4. Travel travel travel. I made it to Dodge City, KS, in February. The museum was a bit of a whitewashed disappointment, but I still enjoyed getting out on the Plains. On that trip I also ate at a delicious German restaurant in Wichita, explored Truckhenge in Topeka (not as good as Carhenge or even Cadillac Ranch, but A for effort), and managed to sweet talk my way into a private self-guided tour through a closed-for-renovations psychiatric museum in St. Joseph, MO. A couple weeks ago my kid and I went to Chicago for his belated birthday trip and found some awesome arepas, which is his thing right now. This weekend I hope to go to Detroit and eat pasties from the Eastern Market, Middle Eastern from my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant in Dearborn, Belgian from this little restaurant with awesome beer, and maybe even some Aramaic from this Chaldean restaurant. Yes, I am all about food when I travel. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I’m hoping to use my 3-4 day weekends for some solo vanlife hiking trips pretty regularly.
  5. Continue to Marie Kondo the shit outta my life. I Marie Kondo’d my living room last year and it’s still pretty good. Now I’m nearly done with my dining room; my dad is building me a big floor-to-ceiling cabinet so I can organize all my kitchen gadgets and pantry stuff. Next it’ll be on to my office, which is a godawful mess.
  6. Read 100 books. My usual goal. I’m currently at about 16/30 books, but I’ve been able to read a bit recently at work to catch up (another nice perk of the job; when we’re full or on hold for admissions at night, my supervisor doesn’t mind if we read or whatever as long as we’re caught up with everything else). I’ve also started going to the gym 2-3 times a week, and I read for about 20 minutes while walking on the treadmill. Two birds with one stone and all that.

If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How are you doing with them?

New cover for an old short story collection!

A few weeks ago, I updated the cover for my short story “Tim and Sara.” Now I’ve also breathed new artistic life into another backlist book, Us, Together: A Short Story Collection.

Us, Together cover

No one ever said being a teenager is easy. These six stories are proof.

An unexpected pregnancy leads a high school student to plan out his life with The One, but does she feel the same way?

When substance use drives a father from his family, can his son fill his shoes?

A troubled home life pushes a girl to her teacher for help, forcing her to realize what she wants might not be what she can get.

When a historic flood threatens two teens on opposite sides of the river, can they realize what matters most before everything is destroyed?

As an undocumented student struggles to get an education, can he keep learning when he can’t even control his life?

When a young girl looks for love and belonging, who will help her find it in the right places?

These six short stories, all loosely based on stories and students ED Martin encountered while working with at-risk kids and families, highlight the struggles teenagers face today, from relationships and unplanned pregnancy, to absent parents and poverty.

Like “Tim and Sara,” this collection is just $.99 and available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Fall 2020 goal review – ‘Ronaverse edition

How is it that 2020 feels like a million months’ long yet is still flying by?

I did an online writing conference in August, and that’s really helped me to focus. I love to-do lists, and so I now keep a planner with weekly goals. I don’t always hit them (okay, I never hit them all), but it’s helped keep me on track a lot better than my previous method of wishful thinking. It’s especially been helpful as I’ve ramped up Amazon ads and systematically gone through and updated my backlist covers and blurbs.

Anyways, here’s my quarterly review of how my progress towards my goals is going.

  1. Finish and submit/publish my Heartsbane series and 7+ related short stories.
    I DID THIS!!!!! I released the first short story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” in mid-July, followed by book 1, Captive and the Cursed, at the beginning of September. I’m finishing up edits on the second short story, “The Brave Little Thrall,” and book 2, Sleeping Shaman, which is also finished except for edits, is available for preorder, set to release December 1st. I’m currently working on going wide with books .5 and 1, and 1.5 will be wide probably by early November.
  2. Publish to Medium at least twice a month.
    So far in 2020 I’ve published 22 stories on Medium, with one more submitted and waiting on publication. I didn’t publish anything in September, which I can definitely feel in the decline of views. It can be difficult to get that momentum back, but I have several pieces in the works to try to recover and continue publishing regularly.
  3. Continue to increase my networking.
    I’ve reconnected with Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly blog hop that shares snippets of works in progress. I’ve also joined a couple Facebook writers groups. As part of #2 above, I plan to continue to try to clap for 15+ Medium stories every day, specifically those written by people I follow and people who follow me.
  4. Buy a cabin on Lake Superior.
    Last goal review, I mentioned how the transmission went out in my minivan. I was able to get the warranty company to pay for it (yay me!) but they wouldn’t pay for a new timing belt. And then just a couple weeks ago, as I was about to embark on another cross-country road trip, I ended up needing a new catalytic converter and four new tires. Ouch. BUT sales have been decent on my new books for the past month (although not enough to buy a cabin, sadly) and I’m signed up to do a craft fair at the end of the month. Depending how that goes, I may do another one in November and/or December. Although who knows what’ll go out on my van next month….
  5. Marie Kondo the shit outta my life.
    As the weather is starting to cool down, I’m starting to get back into this. After the craft fair, my plan is to tackle my dining room: fix the stuck pocket door, repaint, and declutter. Then onto the upstairs bedrooms.
  6. Read 100 books.
    Right now I’m at 30 books for the year, which is 46 behind where I should be. This is not going to end well.

On the positive side, I’ve gotten a lot more travel in, which is really important for self-care. I just got back from a 10-day, 5300-mile roadtrip around the American southwest, with lots of hiking and vanlifing. It was wonderful, especially Death Valley, and I’m already planning out the next trip. (I also tweeted my observations during the trip; follow me on Twitter for lots of random musings that don’t make it onto my blog.)

Like most years, I’m making progress on some goals, not so much on others. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen for the year when I set my goals back in January, and I think this year wins for least predictable year ever. But I’ll keep going. As my buddy Armando Perez says, “Reach for the stars and if you don’t grab them, at least you’ll fall on top of the world.”

If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How are you doing with them?

New cover for an old story!

Tim and Sara” was the first story I published, and even now, 8 years later, it’s still one of my favorites. Every few years I try to breathe life into it with a new cover. Here’s the latest.

Tim and Sara cover

The victim of debilitating flashbacks, Tim is content to spend the rest of his life at Kirkbride, a state mental hospital. But his friend and fellow resident Sara is concerned that she has to save her soul before it’s too late, and so she devises a plan to break them out of the hospital.

Can Tim help his friend while holding onto what’s left of his sanity?

This story is just $.99 and available on Amazon and Smashwords. And if you’re a Medium member, you can read it there too.

New release!! Heartsbane Saga book 1: Captive and the Cursed

After years of working on these books, I’m super excited that Captive and the Cursed, book 1 of my Heartsbane Saga series, is finally released today! These books have been so much fun to write. I love all the characters, and I’m glad I finally get to share them with the world!

Captive and the Cursed CoverShe has to choose: follow her head or follow her heart?

Nyah’s merchant father raised her and her younger sister Payton on tales of treasure and excitement, but after he returns home from his latest trip addle-minded, Nyah must put aside her dreams of adventure and focus on more practical matters, like her betrothal to the illiterate son of the village chief. But when a roving band of barbarians kidnap Payton and the village leaders do nothing to rescue her, Nyah has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. She offers herself in her sister’s place, doomed to travel with the barbarian army until their price is paid.

The army is led by warrior Brandulfur, a man who suffers from a hideous, painful curse that’s been put upon him and his court. Although he’s officially in her country to aid his childhood friend in raising an army to support the king, he’s on a personal quest for the book that holds the cure for his curse – a book that Nyah soon realizes her father stole from him.

Determined to return to her family, she’ll need all the allies she can get. But she soon realizes no one is who they seem, including the people closest to her. She’ll have to make hard choices if she wants her life to be the same as before – but is that even what she wants anymore?

Captive and the Cursed is the first book in a series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. If you like sassy heroines, adventures spanning the medieval world, and a touch of romance, you’ll love The Heartsbane Saga, E.D. Martin’s new historical fantasy series. Get your copy and start your adventure today!

*****

Plus, as an added bonus, if you subscribe to my mailing list you can get the standalone short stories, like “The Maiden in the Tower,” about how Nyah’s parents met, for free! The next short story will be out next month, so subscribe now. Please.

And if you have gotten these books, please make sure to leave reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, and anywhere else you like to review.

Thanks for your support!

 

New release!!

The Maiden in the Tower coverAfter months and years of talking about The Heartsbane Saga, the new series I’ve been working on, I’ve finally released a book into the world!

Two books, actually.

The first is a standalone short story, “The Maiden in the Tower.”

Rapunzel – with Vikings!

Carys barely remembers her life before her father sold her to pay his debts. Locked away in her mistress’s chamber, she doesn’t dare to dream of anything better for herself, until a chance encounter with a traveling merchant changes her life forever.

Storm has traveled the lengths of the known world, yet when he sees a servant girl locked in a tower, he knows he’ll do anything to rescue her.

Can Storm and Carys overcome the obstacles in their path and reach the happily ever after they both want?

Captive and the Cursed CoverThe second release is Book 1, Captive and the Cursed.

Beauty and the Beast – with Vikings!

Nyah Llanfaell’s merchant father raised her and her younger sister Payton on tales of treasure and barbarians, but when he returns home from his latest trip addle-minded, Nyah must put aside her dreams of adventure and focus on more practical matters, such as securing their future through her betrothal to Wynne Maddox, the illiterate son of the village toísech. That future is threatened when a roving band of Karjalander barbarians kidnap Payton, and the village leaders, Wynne included, will do nothing to rescue her. Nyah has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. She offers herself in her sister’s place, doomed to travel with the barbarian army until their price is paid.

The army is led by Karjalander warrior Brandulfur Gudrodarson, a man who suffers from a hideous, painful curse that’s been put upon him and his court. Although the official reason he is in Llogeria is to aid his childhood friend in raising an army to support the Llogerian king, he’s on a personal quest for the book that holds the cure for his curse – a book that Nyah soon realizes her father stole from him.

Determined to return to her family, she’ll need all the allies she can get. But she soon realizes no one is who they seem, including the people closest to her. She’ll have to make hard choices if she wants her life to be the same as before – but is Nyah even the person she thinks she is?

“The Maiden in the Tower” is available through Amazon for just $.99, and Captive and the Cursed is available for preorder, scheduled to release September 1st. The short story will be wide within the next couple weeks, and Book 1 will be within a week of its release.

Make sure you get your copies, then read and review!

Summer 2020 goal review – ‘Ronaverse edition (again)

What is normal anymore? This pandemic has been going on for months. We’re adapting (kind of), but then what we’re adapting to changes. I don’t even know any more.

Anyways, here’s my quarterly review of how my progress towards my goals is going.

  1. Finish and submit/publish my Heartsbane series and 7+ related short stories.
    Still working on edits. Two short stories are done (.5, “The Maiden in the Tower” and 5.5 “The Fabiranum Town Thieves”). Edits are almost done for book 1 and I will FORCE MYSELF to get it to my editor in the next week. I need to get this done already.
  2. Publish to Medium at least twice a month.
    So far in 2020 I’ve published 16 stories on Medium, with one more submitted and waiting on publication. I’ve gotten at least 2 stories published every month since January, and 3 months I had 3-4 stories. Writing microfictions definitely helps with this.
  3. Continue to increase my networking.
    My goal is to comment on, clap for, and/or share at least 15 people’s blog posts or works, at least 4-5 times a week. I thought I’d be better with this since I’ve been mostly working from home the past several months, but I’m probably only meeting this about once a week. I’m doing a conference (virtual, unfortunately, due to the ‘rona) with Brian Cohen next month, and that should be great for networking.
  4. Buy a cabin on Lake Superior.
    Everything is still on hold with this. Craft shows are starting back up, but I don’t feel very comfortable being around unmasked people. Side counseling is also on hold due to the pandemic. AND the transmission just went out in my van; I’m fighting with my extended warranty company over fixing it, which could be very expensive if they won’t cover it. With retail and everything opening back up, I’m looking into maybe getting a part-time job, at least for the time being, because I really need this cabin for my mental well-being.
  5. Marie Kondo the shit outta my life.
    Living room is done and hasn’t really filled back up with clutter (other than the bags of stuff to go to Goodwill and my mask-making stuff all over the coffee table). Due to the nice weather I’ve switched gears to outside. My dad and I put in a retaining wall out front, with an herb garden in one bed and flowers in another. I added more vegetable beds and fruit trees outside too. It’s now super hot and humid here in the Midwest, so I’m back inside more than out. Time to tackle probably my dining room and my basement. One of the problems with the dining room, however, is that it’s filled with yarn and so every time I move a ball or skein I start making something with it. Oh well.
  6. Read 100 books.
    Right now I’m at 16 books for the year, which is 35 behind where I should be. I just haven’t been in the mood to read anything; work has been really emotionally draining over the past couple months, with lots of tough client situations, and when I unwind I don’t want to have to think. A few authors I enjoy have new books coming out soon though, so maybe this’ll pick up for me.

One thing I have done, that’s not reflected in the goals above, is knocked several travel destinations off my bucket list. My son and I drove out US Rte 6 to Boston in March (we drove the western part of it in 2016), so I’ve now driven the entire 3200 miles of it! We were supposed to go to New York too at the time, but our trip was cut short by the pandemic. I also finally made it to Carhenge on Memorial Day weekend, a place I’ve wanted to go since I was probably about 12 or 13. And I just got back from a road trip with my son to Delaware, which was the last of the lower 48 states we hadn’t been to. (For the last two trips, I camped most of the way, wore a mask when I was in public, and generally avoided people.) Google has this timeline thing where they put a dot on a map for every place you go when you have the location turned on for your phone, and my goal now is to fill in the missing dots. Upcoming possible destinations for camping road trips include southern Missouri/Arkansas and Michigan/Wisconsin/Minnesota, depending on how many vacation days I have and how stupid other people are being.

Carhenge

Carhenge is both stupidly awesome and awesomely stupid. Definitely worth the drive to see it.

Overall, I’m making progress on some goals, not so much on others. A large part of this is the pandemic; I have more time on my hands, and I’m always less productive when I don’t have dozens of things that HAVE to get done. I need external deadlines, not internal. If you have similar issues with ignoring self-imposed deadlines, please let me know in the comments below!

If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How are you doing with them?

Spring 2020 goal review – ‘Ronaverse edition

Heartsbane Saga PromoHow is it that it’s already April and yet this year feels like it’s lasted a million years already?

I’m working from home right now, which is weird. I usually spend my work days running from the 3 area hospitals to the shelters and other places my homeless clients hang out, from the courthouse to the treatment facilities, and for the past couple weeks I’ve had to do everything by phone because I can’t have face-to-face contact with clients. It’s an adjustment, definitely. I’m trying to stay busy, but let’s be honest, I definitely have more free time now. So maybe I’ll make some progress on these goals?

Regardless, every three months or so I try to provide an update on how I’m doing with my annual goals, and it’s time for my spring update.

  1. Finish and submit/publish my Heartsbane series and 7+ related short stories.
    I’ve pitched the series to my publisher and am working on polishing up book 1 to give him very soon. I have an editor assigned, and we’re working on getting the cover artist. So, maybe mid summer for the release of book 1, possibly a little earlier for the first short story? The first 4 are written, just need revisions. And of course something I revise in the first book (“I’m a secret agent!” “I’m a secret villain!”) has to trickle down to the rest of them.
  2. Publish to Medium at least twice a month.
    So far in 2020 I’ve published 5 stories on Medium, with one more submitted and waiting on publication. And I’ve also done parts 1 and 2 of a short story, “Spice Pirates,” that’ll probably end up being 4 parts altogether. Yay, I’m meeting this goal!
  3. Continue to increase my networking.
    My goal is to comment on, clap for, and/or share at least 15 people’s blog posts or works, at least 4-5 times a week. I’ve been going in spurts on this, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to do this more consistently with the extra time I have on my hands right now.
  4. Buy a cabin on Lake Superior.
    Reaching this goal right now means upping my side hustles, which are kinda on hold right now. I’d intended to do some craft shows this spring but that’s obviously not happening. Neither is a side job at the moment, since counseling places aren’t really hiring for evenings right now. I’m still keeping my eyes open for extra income, and crocheting a TON so I’ll be set when/if things go back to normal.
  5. Marie Kondo the shit outta my life.
    I’ve been doing decent with this. I decided to go through each room of my house and make it exactly how I want it. I started with my living room; I repainted the tan walls pale blue and painted all the dark wood trim white, then rearranged the furniture. My dad made me a couple book shelves as well as some little shelves tucked into the walls, and I’ve put everything on those. Decluttering, as well as keeping the room decluttered, has been good for my mental health. I’m now working on my entry hallway and stairs. I repainted the lighter tan hallway a lighter pale blue and repainted the trim white as well. I got rid of a lot of the clutter that tends to congregate in the entryway. We stripped all the old stain and carpet glue off the stairs, and now I’m in the process of restaining and painting them. I should be done in the next couple of weeks, depending on how motivated I am. I’m also building a wall ladder plant holder (since my cats love eating my plants) to put at the bottom of the stairs. The colors are very calming, as is not having stuff everywhere. Then it’s on to my dining room, which is a cluttered disaster since it currently doubles as my office.
  6. Read 100 books.
    So far I’ve only read 9 of the 25 I should be at. I just haven’t been in a reading mood, I guess. I’ve been spending a lot of time writing and crocheting instead of reading. And I’ve started a bunch of books but lost interest in them halfway through. Maybe this would be a good time to unpause my reading around the world challenge.

So, there it is. Like usual, I’m making progress on some goals but not on others. Life is throwing us all a massive curveball right now, and I guess all we can do is try our best to keep things normal while everything is definitely not normal. Welcome to the ‘Ronaverse, I guess.

If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How are you doing with them?

The Musings of E.D. Martin © 2011-2020 Privacy Policy Frontier Theme