For those of you who are new, welcome! And as newbies you may not know that, in addition to The Sword & Shield I have completed another, completely separate novel. Seer is a Young Adult standalone fantasy that I wrote in a freakishly short time (less than a year). I know some people can pump out multiple books in one year but that’s not me so let me bask in the glow of my own accomplishment.
Anyways, I wrote Seer, my agent shopped it out, and the lovely publishing house INtense picked it up. As of now it releases in late April and the final cover is being polished as we speak. Shortly thereafter I expect to get the editor’s notes on the manuscript for me to review and then my second book baby will be that much closer to being born!
In other news, we were assigned the task of creating a vision board for work and this is what I came up with:
The top picture is rather self explanatory, I plan on completing The Sword & Shield sequel this year. Given that I had originally intended on completing it by this month I intend on finishing the sequel this year or die in the attempt. To the right of S&S is a picture representing my aspirations for an organized and clutter free condo. Bottom left is my goal to work towards a healthier self and bottom right is my ambition to get promoted at work.
Something I feel is necessary when setting a New Year’s Resolution, or creating a vision board is that the goals are attainable. I have no intentions of setting myself up for failure which is why I am confident that I have the power to achieve everything on that board!
A lot was going on in my life last week and I had no mental energy to spare for a blog post. That being said, after a quick respite, I’m back on my A-Game!
Updates in the life of Emma:
My agent is shopping a children’s book I wrote out to publishing companies and if you guys could send me some positive vibes and luck that would be greatly appreciated!
I have finished my edits on Seer and now am just waiting for the final proof before the whole thing is approved.
I haven’t written much for The Sword & Shield sequel as of late but that’s about to change. Starting this week I will be dedicating 30 minutes in the morning/30 minutes in the evening to writing and I will not be allowed to leave my desk until I have expended those 30 minutes on writing and ONLY writing.
Re-arranging my external and internal spaces. I’m making some changes to the layout of my condo to take full advantage of the space. In addition I’m going to be going through every piece of clothing I own and either selling/donating it or keeping it and PUTTING IT AWAY. Internally, I went to a seminar that prompted me to buy one of the speaker’s products. It’s a 30 day mindfulness journal and I’m hoping it will help me to realign mentally.
That’s everything that’s been going on in my life,
So anyone who knows me knows I don’t handle stress well. If at all. Ok I don’t handle it, period. The idea of this post came to me after a morning that I affectionately referred to as ‘2020 condensed’ and a ‘dumpster fire’ as well as a ‘fustercluck’. Over the past couple of months I have gathered a toolbelt of coping skills that I want to share with you because if I can reduce the number of stressed people in the world then I will have made the world a better place.
Buy some pens and a guidebook and get started! Trust me. It is very cathartic.
Learn a New Skill
For my new Work in Progress I am learning the art of reading Tarot cards. Sometimes the ambient noise of our lives gets to be too much and you just need to focus on one thing. Pick a new language, a card trick, a special knot. Whatever catches your fancy. Just pick something and, when the world begins to get too loud, spend five minutes perfecting that new skill. Not only will it redirect that anxious energy, but it will help you grow as a person!
Now many of you will scoff at this, stating that TikTok is ‘for teens’. And they would be correct. But they would be right in the same way that Disney movies are technically for kids. While that is their target demographic, there is definite spillover into the older age bracket. TikTok allows your brain to go into power-save mode and enjoy some mindless entertainment. The most I’ve ever laughed was a direct result of a TikTok video. Give it a try. You might surprise yourself!
Don’t have a fur-baby of your own? Now is the time to rectify that gross oversight. Pets bring that extra level of love to your life and, when you’re doting on them, the bad in your life just doesn’t seem as bad. Even if it’s only for a little while, that brief alleviation of stress is a godsend.
Walk Away/Give Up (Temporarily)
Sometimes you have to take a step back from something to really find your inner zen and focus your productivity. If you try to brute force your way through every situation you’re going to be left with a mess of stress and a mess as far as results are concerned. Take a beat, get a coffee, pet your cat, and start again.
And sometimes, seasonal inspiration will take over. See above for my method of coping during the aforementioned dumpster fire of a morning.
Whether you believe in nature or nurture, there is no denying that the people in our lives have a considerable effect on who we grow up to be. We are the sum of our parts and those parts are largely made up of the things in life that influence us. Music, current events, people both fictional and real.
Some of those people are with you from the start and some join you after you’ve already begun the journey and how you live your life plays a big part on the quality of people who are with you in the end. This post revolves around someone who was with me from the beginning and left too soon, my ride-or-die, my Tata.
Family and friends are a huge part of why I am the “adult” I have grown into. In some cases I can narrow down a personal trait, quirk or bad habit down to the person it came from. If Tata were to be represented on the pie chart that is my personality she would occupy a significant portion of it. In her last years I probably spent more time with Tata than any other person.
Personality traits that we shared, for better or worse, include but are not limited to:
Shopping as a coping mechanism (currently trying to unlearn that one)
A whackadoo sense of humor
etc etc and so on
I will always treasure the memories I have of her and will honor her memory by living my best life and by inserting some of her more hilarious character traits into the people who reside within my fictional worlds.
Eminem I am very much not, but the line fell in line with my current emotions. I have been back from Florida for a week. Part of me (right before I clocked in on Monday) wished I’d taken the day off for the purposes of easing back into things. Part of me realized that I’d just be antsy and bored all day or just nap on and off, rendering the day utterly wasted.
It was a good week when all was said and done. I got some chores done that I’d been putting off since the Cretaceous Period so that felt good. It wasn’t difficult to get back into the swing of things with work. The person who covered for me is a capable Team Member and a stellar human being so I wasn’t worried.
The afterglow carried me through to the weekend which, for once, I had off. One thing that I had to do which was less than fun was take all the edits me and my lovely editor Annie worked on and put them in the document for my publisher. The editing process itself was fun, but the legwork after the fact was a bit tedious. AND that’s only Binder #1. There’s a second. Seer is roughly 100,000 words so it’s a bit longer than The Sword & Shield.
I quarantined for the week following my return and made a quick trip to Beaumont Urgent Care to get a COVID test just to be safe. Just because I haven’t developed any symptoms that doesn’t mean I’m not an asymptomatic carrier, capable of spreading the virus to others. I absolutely refuse to let carelessness on my part lead to the pain/suffering/death of another human being.
So all in all re-entry into the real world was relatively smooth. I, unfortunately, managed to bring Writer’s Block down to Florida with me as it related to the Sword/Shield sequel but I did think up and outline the premise of a new (and my first) sci-fi novel! It currently sits atop a precarious pile of projects that must remain on the backburner until this sequel is complete. I’m going to finish The Sea & Storm by the end of this year or I’m going to die trying!!!
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been feeling a bit worn down. Maybe it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder (damn you Michigan with your clouds and shit) or maybe it’s the realization that, just because the calendar changed that doesn’t mean anything else did. There’s still the same ignorance, hate, and bile that 2020 had. With those cheerful thoughts in mind, I packed.
Why was I packing, you ask? Because I was LEEEEEEAVING ON A JET PLANE!
My parents are slowly evolving into snowbirds. Snowbirds, for people not familiar with the concept, are people who flee their homes to spend several winter months in the much warmer southern half of the country. They rented a house in Naples and I put in my week’s worth of PTO request in back in October.
Needless to say, I was excited. My carry-on was packed a solid two weeks before I checked in. And despite the fact that I didn’t need it I scoured the condo for my passport. I mean – you never know when you’ll need to flee the country and I like to be prepared.
I left for Florida the 17th and returned home last night.
I had a blast!
Reading on the beach is one of my top five favorite activities of all time. I love digging my toes into the sand with the salty breeze wafting over me as I dive into an adventure. The best part of reading about rather than experiencing an adventure is that I can be lazy and don’t get the injuries that are inevitably thrust on the main character.
It was a week of fun, Floridian sun, and relaxation. I feel like I kind of mentally unclenched. It was exactly what I needed and I’m so grateful to my parents for making it possible.
I’d hoped to get some writing done but I accidentally brought my writer’s block with me. 😅
I posted the above picture on Facebook Saturday as a joke but then I went back and really looked at it. While I have heard those words many many times before I don’t know if they’ve ever really sunk in before.
The fact that I have value as a person and contribute to society is something I’ve always had a hard time conceptualizing. The idea that I provide something unique to the world that isn’t already being provided by someone else, especially since there are so many people in this world. It seemed like a statistical improbability to me.
Confidence is something I struggle with but it is also one of my goals for 2021. To own my excellence, if you will. I am aware of the problem and am actively working to better myself on that front. That being said, I know that (sadly) I am not alone in feeling this way about myself.
In this day and age of social media where we are bombarded from all directions with posts from talented individuals it can be difficult to protect your own self worth. Like a small flame on a windy day. But know that you have value. You matter. Not just to the world but to the people in your life. A small flame to you is a raging bonfire to an ant. It’s all about perspective.
Ok, that went off on a weird tangent but you get what I’m trying to say.
Love yourself. I love you. I love each and every one of you. Because your willingness to join me on this batshit crazy ride I call writing is the kindling I need to keep my own flame alive.
Well if you’re reading this you survived 2020. Congrats! But we can’t let down our guard just yet. There are still many unresolved plot lines that 2020 has left for us to complete. For example, what the heck happened to murder hornets??? Weren’t they supposed to be a thing?
I rang in the New Year in a festive manner. By working till 7PM and then hanging with my guy friend. He took me bowling and we went through a drive through Hines Park to see the lights.
It was beautiful and I only got a little car sick.
For the most part I was really looking forward to January 2nd. On that night I went to the Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo. If you aren’t a Michigan Native you probably aren’t familiar with this magnificent event but it is a sight to behold. And given that we’d be outside, wearing masks, I decided to go and hope for the best.
I went with David, a guy I have been dating, and we had a blast. One of the aspects of it that I am initiating the ‘Year of the Yeti’ at work featuring Yuri the Yeti. In my efforts to promote a positive work culture I will be putting a Yuri the Yeti related post every week. Here are the pictures I managed to snag from Saturday night!
I love gift giving. It is, I would go so far as to say, my primary love language. I take my time methodically selecting presents that will bring that specific person joy, and then receive my reward by enjoying the look of delight on their faces when they realize what kind of meticulous time and planning I have put into making their holiday extra special.
Holidays are meant to be spent with family but as the saying goes, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” What does that mean? Well first of all it means all those people touting ‘blood is thicker than water’ as a way to justify toxic family members are wrong. But also it means that found families are every bit as important as the one you’re born into.
I had the pleasure of enjoying four separate Christmas celebrations this year:
Secret Santa – My team at work did a secret santa wherein we were given the name, address, and likes/dislikes of a team member as well as a $30 cap and a plan to do a video conference December 18th to open them. I was apprehensive at first because my person was one of the newer TMs and I knew very little about her but I needn’t have worried. She ended up loving what I picked out!
Neighbor Xmas – During shelter in place, from the view on my balcony, I first met my next door neighbor Amanda. It is borderline freakish how quickly we’ve gone from strangers to besties but when you click you click. We enjoyed Christmas with myself, Amanda, her son and her boyfriend on the 17th.
My Kidnappers (for legal purposes that is a joke) – When I was 12 my mom thought I was going to be a weirdo loner kid so she signed me up for a mentoring program. That’s where I met Susanne and, later, her husband Eric. I have been hanging out with them almost every week (aside from college and shelter in place) for the past 18 years. They are a second set of parents and I love them dearly. It is also an ongoing joke that they kidnapped me to raise as their own.
The Big Kahuna – Christmas Day! I celebrated with immediate family and took great pleasure in dressing Gipsy Danger up in an array of holiday themed sweaters.
I know the holidays are not always happy for everyone. I am very aware of how blessed I am in the number of loved ones I celebrate this season with and that not everyone is similarly endowed with that same level of love in their own lives. But I also consider all of you as part of my family. A family that has supported me through my highs and lows, my bursts of inspiration and my grueling writer’s blocks, the good/bad/ugly and everything in between. And if I had your addresses I’d write you all Christmas cards, that is how much you mean to me.
That being said, if you didn’t receive a card this year and you want one (and don’t mind it being hella late) shoot me a message with your address and I will personally send you a heartfelt and handwritten holiday hello.
Bye 2020, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!