indie publishing, magic, new releases, personal journeys

New Web Home!

Tea, tarot cards, magic, and new book announcements await over at my new home on the world wide web: http://denisedyoungbooks.com. I’ve decided to go self-hosted. A few things you’ll find over at the new site:

  • A blog filled with offerings on magic, including my upcoming Magic Mondays series, which will feature musings, spells, Pagan-focused DIYs, rituals and more to awaken your inner goddess and god, and Tarot Tuesdays, which will explore the spiritual wisdom and meanings of the tarot cards. I will continue to blog about finding authenticity and simplicity in this crazy modern world, of course.
  • I’m launching my indie author career with a four-book novella series. Follow the Willow Creek Coven witches as they find magic, romance, true love, and wisdom in this earthy, mystical, sensual series–launching May 2019.
  • More offerings are pending but include videos featuring Pagan poetry and guided meditations, free fiction, featured guest authors, and more!

I am so thankful to everyone for their support of this blog over the years. The magic is continuing, but in a beautiful new home. Please pour yourself a cup of tea and follow the URL breadcrumbs to a land of faerie delights. 🙂

Blessed Be!

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#ROW80 check-ins, creativity, indie publishing, the writer's journey

Beyond Word Counts: Embracing the nature of creativity

Antique cup with tea bag.
Photo from Jabiru, at Dreamstime.com.

Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my creative path. There’s a lot of chatter in the writing blogosphere about word counts—how much we have written, or how much we should have written. I’ve heard some writers say they write 500 words a day. I’ve heard others say that if you can’t write at least 2,000 words a day, you can’t make it as a professional writer.

I’m a full-time writer. This is my job. But creativity is also a spiritual thing. Some people might say it’s not—and maybe for others, it isn’t. But for me, my stories, poems, etc. are gifts from the goddess. She sends them to me, and it’s my job to write them down and share them with others.

And sometimes, when I’m tracking word count, I forget that. Take, for example, the story I wrote this summer, Goblins and Grimoires. I wrote an average of 2,500 words a day on that story. And there were days when I was pushing myself to meet that goal. I would get stuck on the story and sit there until something popped into my head, and then force myself to keep writing until I met my goal.

And the first draft of that story is a mess. And now I see why: Because for me writing needs to steep like a cup of tea. You can’t just plop a tea bag in and start sipping. You have to wait for the flavors to release—and the stronger the brew you want, the longer you have to wait. Sure, some stories arrive nearly fully formed. Others emerge slowly.

For me, thinking is part of writing. And that’s why my crazy word count goals failed. I need time to think over a plot point. Time to mull over character arc and development. Time to figure out how to weave together romance and fantasy.

For now, I’m going slowly. I have plans to revise two short stories and a poem, indie publish one short story, and submit the other short story and poem to magazines. I played around with the poem a little this week and jotted down a few notes on one short story, Spirits of Embers. I’d also like to finish a final draft of Spellfire’s Kiss and submit it to publishers by early next year.

I’m also playing around with new stories as well, to keep the creative juices flowing. I’ve written 1,672 words in Entwined Magic, a new-adult fantasy romance novel, and 574 words in The Magic of Harthwaite Manor, a steampunk romance. I’m not setting deadlines or establishing expectations for those stories. For now, I’m playing.

And that’s the plan. Getting back in touch with my creativity—and the spiritual side of that creativity. Still moving forward, but allowing things to unfold at their own pace.

One of my other goals is to work on my social media platform. I’ve been doing a bit of that. I’ve been present on Facebook more and become approved as a Goodreads Author (yay!). My next steps are to set up my Amazon author page, reengage on Twitter, and create a Pinterest board for my published books. I’m behind on responding to blog comments and visiting blogs, so hopefully I can catch up on that soon.

All in all it’s been a productive week so far.

What about you? Do you think there’s a spiritual element to creativity? Do you need time to mull over your stories as you write, or do you just write without stopping? (And, of course, because creativity is a strange and intangible thing, there are no right answers.)

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#ROW80 check-ins, indie publishing, personal journeys

A Midweek Check-In—and a Request

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’m on sort of a mini-sabbatical. I feel like I pushed so hard with my writing for a few months, and I’m feeling a little burned out. I’m hoping a few weeks off will help me recharge my batteries.

So there’s not much to report on the writing front. I do need to do some editing to my short story Silver’s Stray and send it to my critique partners. We’re meeting later this month, so I hope to dig into that story tomorrow and Friday and get it sent to my CPs.

As far as reading, I just finished reading Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie. It was a little darker than I remembered it being at some points, but I hadn’t read it since grad school, so it was time for a reread. My mother-in-law lent me Shadow of Night and The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, so I think I’ll dig into those next.

I do have a request, though. I published two novelettes last week, The Beltane Kiss and The Faerie Key, and I’m offering free review copies to whoever wants them. A free e-book in exchange for an honest review. Let me know in the comments or via my contact page if you’re interested. And thanks in advance!

Click here to connect with other ROW80 participants.

What about you? How is your writing coming along? Have you ever taken the time to reread a book you haven’t read in years? Did the reread surprise you in any way? Are you interested in a free review copy of one of my stories? Let me know!

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#ROW80 check-ins, indie publishing

Oh? I need a budget?

In our house, I’m the budgeting nerd. I’m the one who knows how much things cost and how much we can save each month.

Which is why I was confused when, the past couple months, we hadn’t really been saving. I looked at the numbers and saw why: We were pouring a lot of money into launching my indie author career.

There are the normal expenses, such as editing, proofreading, cover design, web hosting, RWA dues, etc. And then there were expenses I didn’t expect, such as getting a P.O. Box because, apparently, you have to make your address public to create a newsletter through MailChimp. Lesson learned. I also found out that I need to apply for a copyright on my work, which costs about $35 per work. And I need to buy ISBNs.

It’s going to take some sacrificing, and it means slowing down a little, but really, I needed to slow down anyway and give each story time to become whatever it needs to be. Time for the characters to whisper in my ear and reveal their secrets. Time to add layers to my stories.

And, going forward, I actually have a budget for my indie author business instead of just randomly paying editors and designers. Yet another lesson learned.

A midweek ROW80 check-in…

Writing: The Faerie Key is finished! I had one scene that really wasn’t working, but I hunkered down and dug in deep, and now it’s where I want it to be. My plan for the rest of the week is to finish the second draft of Silver’s Stray. Next week I’d like to start revisions on Spellfire’s Kiss.

Reading: I’m currently reading Harvest Hunting by Yasmine Galenorn, and it’s an enjoyable, fast-paced read full of magic and adventure. I haven’t read any craft books this week, but I need to read Let’s Get Visible and finish reading The Anatomy of Story.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

What about you? What lessons have you learned on your creative journey? Any cost-saving tips for a new author?

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#ROW80 check-ins, indie publishing, the writer's journey

Countdown to Publication

The Beltane Kiss fantasy romance book coverI’ve chosen September 6 as the release date for two of my short stories, The Beltane Kiss and The Faerie Key. That gives me a little more than a month before those stories are out in the world. Both stories are back from the proofreader, all edits are made, and they’re currently on my Kindle, awaiting one final read-through. I’m hoping (knock wood!) that I’ve done the formatting correctly—that’s something I’ll be checking when I do the last read-through.

Wow. This has been a long journey. I graduated with my M.F.A. in 2008, and I’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs on this journey so far. In some ways it’s still overwhelming because I don’t know what to expect. Will I even make back the money I’ve spent on editing and proofreading and cover design and all the miscellaneous expenses associated with my writing business? How badly will my first negative review sting? Will I ever receive an email from a reader who was inspired or moved by my work?

Unknowns. There are a lot of those. Ten years ago they would’ve driven me crazy. Today, although I’d like to know more, I feel like I’ve accepted that the unknown is just part of life. Being an indie author means embracing a level of uncertainty and carrying on without knowing exactly what will happen.

Overall I’m excited. I want to share my stories with readers, to get my characters out of my head and off my computer and into the hands of others so their stories can somehow be solidified, so my characters can live.

One month to go.

Lastly, an ROW80 check-in…

Writing: Did a read-through of Silver’s Stray, a short story, did some editing, and sent that piece off to a beta reader. I’m hoping to get comments on Spirits of Embers, another short story, soon and to get that piece edited and submitted to magazines this month. Entered my proofreader’s changes to The Faerie Key. The Beltane Kiss and The Faerie Key are formatted and are now on my Kindle, awaiting final read-throughs. And then begins the process of uploading files to KDP.

Reading: Read Taming the Dragon by Kendra Leigh Castle. It was a cute story. I just bought Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and am looking forward to reading that one.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

What about you? If you’re an indie author, any suggestions for a newbie? Are you reading the new Harry Potter book? Thoughts (but no spoilers!)?

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#ROW80 check-ins, indie publishing

Tiptoeing into Indie Author Land

I mentioned months ago that I planned on starting my indie author journey this year. Not my writing journey. That has been going on since…well, since I can remember. But this year I am making that leap into new territory: the life of a published fiction author.

And it got real this week. My first story came back from the proofreader, and I entered her corrections. And then a voice inside me spoke: You know you cannot change this story anymore. This is it. This is the version.

Whew.

I also contacted a graphic designer to get some covers for my first two books, two novelettes in a series I’m calling Into the Faerie Forest.

And then it dawned on me, how much I have to learn. I’m already playing with learning how to format a file for Kindle, which isn’t super difficult (so far—knock wood), just a little tedious at times, and I want to make sure that I don’t  mess it up and leave readers frustrated with the reading experience. But that’s why I’m giving myself plenty of time between now and release day—so that the reader’s experience of the story, whether the words themselves, the cover that hints at them, or the formatting of the text, is a positive one.

I still have to learn about keywords and categories and a bunch of other stuff I haven’t even thought of yet. There’s probably a lot I don’t even know that I don’t know.

But you know what? What I’m feeling isn’t the fear I would’ve expected.

It’s excitement.

Here it goes…

Lastly, a Sunday ROW80 check-in…

Writing: In terms of word count, this past week wasn’t stellar. I wrote 6,138 words, below my target of 10K/week, but still not bad. Most of that was in Red in the Woods, a novelette-length retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. I did a lot of other little stuff too. Mainly I received corrections back from my proofreader, entered her changes, and began the process of learning how to format a book for publication, including how to create a table of contents. I’ve also been working with a graphic designer on some cover design for my stories.

Reading: It was a busy reading week. I read Reflected Desire by Kendra Leigh Castle, a short, steamy story about the Man in the Mirror from Snow White. I also dug into a couple of books on writing—Writing into the Dark by Dean Wesley Smith, which, if I can follow his process, could allow me to avoid the massive rewrites I end up doing even when I outline; and Self-Publishing Attack! by James Scott Bell, which was helpful, although a lot of it repeated info I already knew. Still, it was a good refresher. I am on track to meet my goal of reading 65 books this year, according to Goodreads.

Goals for the upcoming week:

  • Finish a first draft of Red in the Woods—and come up with a better title. (Any suggestions?)
  • Read-through The Faerie Key, edit, and prep for proofreader.
  • Edit Spirits of Embers and send to beta reader.

A Round of Words is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

What about you? How are your writing goals coming along? What has surprised you on your writing and publishing journey?

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