2017: The Recap

2018The Misdirected 2017 Recap

By the time you are reading this, it will be 2018.

I’m actually putting this together on New Year’s Eve, 2017, during the early morning hours while everyone else in the house is asleep. But, by the time it reaches the world, another year will have passed. Our household will be on our way to Colorado to return our nephew to his parents. And we’ll be staring down the throat of another oncoming year.

Why the negative imagery? Reflexive action, I suppose. We were SO happy to see 2016 in the rear-view mirror. “Wow, glad that’s over with! 2016 was such a lousy year. We will never see anything that bad again!”

2017: “Challenge Accepted.”

So, now, I want to be a little more circumspect. Yes, I am glad this year is over. Yes, 2017 was a pretty crap year for the general public residing in the USA. But, it was actually a decent year for our household, all things considered.

The Good…

In terms of fitness, it was really a banner year.

Our fitness journey continued from 2016’s double-barrelled bariatric surgeries. In May of 2017, I actually hit my post-surgical goal weight of 185 pounds. That same month, Lor and I participated in our first ever 5K, the Albuquerque “Run For The Zoo”.

By July, I had settled in at what is apparently my new “normal” weight – 175 pounds. I was able to go into my one-year follow up at this weight, and at 25% body fat to boot. I’ve successfully lost just a hair under 130 pounds total, thanks to the combination of surgery and lifestyle changes.

July also brought me my exam for the ACE Fitness Physical Trainer certification. I have never been prouder of a “C” passing grade in my life. Since my development of Adult-Onset Epilepsy in 2004, I had pretty much resigned myself to never being able to learn anything long-term again. That professional certification means the world to me.

I was also able to meet another long-term personal goal: In September, my first novel, Inheritance, was published by Fiction Vortex. I literally have placed the novel on a shelf above my desk, just above eye level. Not as an ego-prop, mind you. (Though it certainly works for that.) Mainly it reminds me that I can do things that I had never thought were possible for someone with my disabilities.

Just to top off the year, we were able to re-enter foster care in November. We didn’t expect it and had made no plans for it. But, when a previous foster kid calls out of the blue and asks for help, you do your best to pitch in. We did, and now have a seventeen-year-old girl in our household. She is wild and unsettled and drives me crazy and I love her to death.

Other parents inform me that this is just about par for the course for raising a seventeen-year-old.

…The Bad…

Yikes, where to begin. Our country still reels from crisis to crisis like a drunken monkey. Racism and factionalism have been released to begin openly taking a place among us again. Our national governmental processes were screwed with at the highest level by a hostile foreign nation. Hundreds of our fellow citizens are being gunned down in the streets by both private individuals and bad-apple law enforcement officers.

Yet, we still manage to pay attention to the Kardashians as if they were somehow of equal importance to all this.

Personally, our families are aging and ailing. We buried family members and watched others continue wasting away. The immortal titans of our childhood were revealed to be mortal, and fragile. The very bedrock that our families are built upon seems to be shifting and eroding.

And, as a bitter topping for the crap-cake, freakin’ Tom Petty died.

…And, The Ugly.

For a year filled with success, there were sure a bunch of failures to go right along with them.

We were supposed to actually run a 5K before the end of the year. Never happened.

I wanted to tackle the La Luz trail up the front of Sandia Crest this summer. It was to be my demonstration of my personal victory over the limitations of obesity and epilepsy. Except it never happened, either.

For that matter, we never managed to go camping even ONCE in 2017. Mainly this had to do with my work with Fiction Vortex. But this does not represent any malice on their part – it just represents my inability to plan.

And NaNoWriMo was probably the biggest single artistic failure I have ever undertaken. Not only was I unable to complete the goal, but it left me so emotionally tapped out that I lay mostly fallow for the entire month of December. No fiction, no blog posts, no marketing, barely any contract work and editing. Very little contact with the outside world, in fact.

Basically, I lost two months of productivity by trying to write an entire novel in one.

So, yeah. There was that.

The Shining Goals of 2018

I have no desire to jinx us all by talking about how 2018 has to be better than 2017 or anything like that.

That said, I do have some intentions and goals for 2018.

Misdirected will continue on its merry way for 2018. Now nearing 2 years out from surgery, we will be focusing more and more on lifestyle and diet maintenance, social and emotional issues, and other community-specific thoughts. Given that I am now a Personal Trainer we will probably include some exercise-based content.

The rest of my Fiction Vortex team will be finishing up their Season One novels in February and March of 2018. I am looking forward to getting those novels published and into the hands of our readers. And just wait till you see what Season TWO has in store…

Speaking of Fiction Vortex, Fictionite has launched and is gaining traction as we speak. I am pretty excited to be acting as an ambassador for our awesome fiction-sharing app. (Starting at the Albuquerque Comic Con, January 12 – 14, 2018.)

I am going to get my Patreon site out of Neutral and moving forward once more. My patrons have been essential in making sure that I am able to create blog content, market books, etc. Imagine what we will be able to do with, say, double the amount of patronage…

And, of course, I will be completing the next book in the Brian Drake series in 2018. In fact, the first episode of Inheritance: Executor will be arriving on Fictionite in March of 2018.

You’d better go download Fictionite now, in fact. You’ve got a lot to read through to get ready for Season Two of Ash Falls.

Have A Safe, Happy, And Blessed 2018,

-Jeremy

 

You Had One Job….

So, from the “distracted by real life and NaNoWriMo” file:

I forgot to press the Publish button.

No, really. It’s not like this is the first time this has happened, either.

So, for all those that were hovering around your Inbox on Monday, waiting for an update notice that never came, my sincere apologies.

This turned out to be a serendipitous mistake.  Yesterday  I was invited to write a guest blog post on the very subject I thought I had published on Monday. So, there is that. A repurposed blog post is still a valid one, right? (I will blast the link  out to social media as soon as the guest post is published.)

Also, in the “distractions” file: I found out that the seller we went through to sell Inheritance online was a clunker. Several hundred copies of the book were abandoned in shopping carts when potential buyers couldn’t complete their transactions.  I attempted to fix the damage, but then Providence intervened: my novel finally got published to ebook format on Amazon. And immediately started selling copies – top 500 in pretty much any subject involving the word “Vampire”.  Feel free to head to Amazon and pick up a copy for the handheld device of your choice. Heck, buy two copies. It’s only $5, after all.

And, we’ve had some changes in our household. We’ll bring you up to date on that for our pre-Thanksgiving episode on Monday. When I will NOT forget to press the “Publish” button. Honest. I’ll have Lor stand behind me with a baseball bat and everything.

Darn time change. And NaNoWriMo. Or maybe Real Life. And…

Excuses and Excuses,

Jeremy

 

Boise Book Fest 2017

Boise Book Fest 2017

Howdy, readers! Bet you thought I had abandoned you, right?

But, no, actually I have been a little busy. First, I was sick as a dog. Then, after I recovered, I had to start preparing for the BIG IMPORTANT EVENT coming up in my life…

I am going to the Boise Book Fest. In Boise (duh), where I have never been. To hang around with the folks from Fiction Vortex, who I will be meeting in person for the first time.

But, most importantly, I will be going to Boise as an author. Like, of my very own book.

The Dream Is Real

As anyone who follows me on Facebook, Twitter, or here knows, I have been waiting for Inheritance to get published for several months now. And it turns out the book got to FV headquarters a couple of days ahead of schedule. (Our pre-order period is still in effect, though: 4 more days till the 15th, then they go up to full price!)

And, with that, I am officially “official.” Even if I never write another word of fiction (not likely), I will forever be a professional fiction author. People are actually paying to read a story I wrote.

How about that?

I was discussing this with my writing group over the weekend. Authors have very strange egos, consisting of multiple personalities. On the one hand, we think so much of the stories in our heads that we want to share them with the world. Egotism, maybe? Narcissistic personality disorder, possibly?

But, after the stories are created, we are inevitably crushed with self-doubt. Everything else we read is so much better than anything we could ever create. Why on Earth would anyone want to read what we have written? Much less pay for it?

I don’t know if I will ever cease being surprised when someone buys a copy of Inheritance. Check in with me after I’ve sold a few hundred thousand copies.

Into The Wild Blue Wonder

And so, it is with equal parts excitement and trepidation that I am planning on getting on a plane to head to Idaho.

For one thing, I am just flat out excited to go somewhere I’ve never been before. I love to travel and haven’t done much of it the past several years.

On the other hand, I’ll be sharing oxygen with several other, much more successful authors at this conference. That is a bit intimidating. Part of me wants to soak up brain-share from those who have Been There and Done That.

The other part of me wants to be recognized as an equal, fellow author.

I mentioned the split-personality thing previously, right?

Conferences are supposed to opportunities for learning. You should be spending your time in workshops, metaphorically sitting at the feet of the masters of the craft. Time should be invested in networking and making important contacts. If the opportunity presents itself you might meet a publisher or an agent who is interested in a potential project.

I, however, will be spending my time behind the Fiction Vortex table, explaining episodic fiction and trying to sell my books. Since I may have overestimated demand for our samplers on my initial order by about half a case’s worth.

Still, I will be doing even my sales routine as the author of a real, live book. Of my very own. That I totally wrote.

Who am I kidding? I am as giddy as a preteen at a One Direction concert.

One Direction is still a thing, right? I haven’t been paying attention – I’ve been busy writing a book.

Boise Here I Come,

Jeremy

The Long Silence, Broken

So, last you heard from me, I was getting ready to go in for VNS replacement surgery. The surgery took place last Friday and was successful. I have been unable to do much writing on the PC without the use of my left arm, so I have been more quiet than normal.

So, what else have I been doing since then?

Oh, not much. Just this:

Ash Falls Sampler Vol I

Malum Non Dormita

Yes, it is true: Evil Never Sleeps. And neither do I, even while supposedly recovering from surgery. Instead, I have been working feverishly with the editorial staff at Fiction Vortex to get our baby to the printers.

That’s right: the printers.

In two weeks, we will be releasing the print version of the Ash Falls Sampler. The lovely, oversized tome contains all five of the first episodes of the current storylines from the Ash Falls Storyverse. Anyone wanting to explore the different “origin stories” for our current tales will have them all in one attractive volume, suitable for bookshelves, coffee tables, and spider-squashing.

Many of you will recognize that this is similar to the NoiseTrade e-book we released a few months back. This tome contains all the material that went out in our NoiseTrade version with a couple of pieces of short fiction to boot! We’ve included Joe Mankowski’s “Rodolfo’s Pizzeria”, as well as my own “Walk in the Shadows”, just as a bonus to those who want to own a physical book to accompany the one on their e-reader.

One-Armed Bandit

And, yes, all our proofs, edits, and revisions took place this last week. While I was recovering from surgery.

How, you ask?

By doing all the work one-handed on my phone. Much to the chagrin of my caregiver and delight of my editor at Fiction Vortex.

Because, how could I not, right?

Everything else came to a screeching halt, really. No studying for my upcoming certification exam. No creation of new blog posts or fiction. Certainly no video gaming.

And not much sleep, either.

But I couldn’t be prouder of the result. All our authors, gathered inside the covers of one (large-ish) manuscript, ready to draw you in to the world of Ash Falls.

The Nuts And Bolts

Now, how does the adoring public go about getting ahold of one of these fabulous manuscripts?

As I said, the book “goes live” as of August 4, 2017. It is retailing at $14.99. For the readers of Misdirected, I am willing to charge a whopping $.01 for shipping, bringing your total to $15.00 even.

Heck, I am even willing to add a signature to “my” section of the book, for those so inclined. Getting sigs from the other authors might be a bit problematic since it would involve tracking them down across the country (and in England, in the case of Mr. Cotterrill.) But I am willing to do my part!

Anyone interested should contact me at jeremycschofield@gmail.com to work out the details. Paypal seems the most likely avenue, to protect both sides of the transaction.

Also, as a reminder, any of you that have been supporting us on Patreon at the $20/month level will get a copy of the book for free, just because you are awesome like that.

One Last Thing…

Oh, yeah, by the way:

We’ll be doing this again in August for the print release of Inheritance!

Inheritance Book Cover

Now, I am not able to discount the Sampler, since mine is not the only name on the cover.

But anyone interested in pre-ordering Inheritance can get it at a pre-publication price of $10+shipping !!

Again, if you are interested, just drop me a line and we will set up the details.

Thanks for supporting Misdirected and my other writings. We’ll catch you all again Real Soon!

Meanwhile, I Am Off To Go Put An Ice Pack On My Shoulder,

Jeremy

The Week That Got Away

The Week That Got Away

A few of you sent tentative questions wanting to know what happened last Friday. Was I on vacation? Had Misdirected switched to a weekly publication schedule when you weren’t looking? Had some other mysterious event befallen me?

In truth, it was a series of events…strap in and I will bring you up to speed.

Puppy Gymnastics

First, meet our new exercise program:

The ghosts of Samson and Frankie watching over her little doggie bed…

Her name is Delilah. She is a 6-month old Chi-Weenie, and no I didn’t come up with that breed name. On the 9th through the 11th of June, our local Albuquerque Humane Society ran an event where they were attempting to “empty the city shelters” by adopting pets for only $5. We visited, and Delilah was the result.

At six months old, she came to us very confused about life in general, and about house rules like potty-training in particular. So she has completely destroyed our daily schedules, including gym attendance.

However, she herself is a profound exercise generator. A few weeks ago I was speculating about how to get over 10,000 steps a day consistently. We have found the answer. Socializing and playing with a new puppy has kept us above our daily step goal every day, with one marathon of a day putting us at nearly 14,000 steps. She hasn’t been great for our weight-lifting routines, but boy is she good for the heart. In more ways than one.

The Inheritance Marathon

Inheritance Book Cover

Speaking of long-term exercise, my longest-ever writing exercise is over. I finished writing Inheritance last week. It has now been handed off to my editorial review team. Who will undoubtedly find so many issues with it that I will effectively have to re-write it. I couldn’t care less.

This is a big one for me, folks. When I started writing Misdirected all those years ago, it was a daily journal of my gaming activities. I had no idea that it would begin a chain of events that would lead to me completing an entire novel. But, it has done just that, and I couldn’t be happier. Even if I never sell more than two copies (I have two parents, remember), I will be able to go through the rest of my life knowing that I actually sat down and wrote an entire novel. This is huge for someone who couldn’t put a sentence together ten years ago.

Once again, if you too are suffering from a disability, keep pushing those boundaries. You never know how far you will get until you try.

The ACE Fitness Iron-Man

I also finished my course of study for the ACE Fitness Personal Trainer course last week. I got myself revved up, sat down for the practice exam…

And flunked it.

I even got a consolation note from the ACE Fitness on-line study system: “That’s why we call it a practice exam!”

So, yeah. I now have just over 30 days to get my real exam scheduled and to take another practice exam, this time (hopefully) passing.

Needless to say, I am glad I already finished Inheritance. I won’t be doing any fiction writing of any kind in the next month. I am going to be busy.

Studying for this certification may be the hardest thing I have ever done. I have never been an athlete. I have never had any aptitude for biology. I always watched bodyworkers like Lor with a certain mixture of awe and jealousy.

Becoming professionally certified as a personal trainer could not be further out of my comfort zone.

But, if Misdirected has taught me anything, it is that there are a bunch of people out there looking for support and advice. And the ACE PT certification is my first step toward feeling comfortable providing advice from a professional background, rather than just shooting from the hip. Personal experience and internet research can only take you so far.

So, yeah. Here we are. Wish me luck as I study constantly for the next month. I have a feeling I am going to need all the luck I can get.

Hitting The Books Like I Used To Hit The Girl Scout Cookies,

Jeremy