Blog Revival: Changing too Fast to Keep Up

Hello everyone. First of all, major thanks to the lovely Devon J. Hall, who designed my beautiful and mysterious-looking new banner, which I could stare at forever! 🌺

The Usual Catch-up Stuff

This past year has been transformative. So many changes, too personal and massive to get into but worthy of mention. I took a break from this blog due to being too burned out on writing and having no idea what sort of content I wanted to do. I switched my focus onto Youtube, which led me to a similar conclusion. I’ve been struggling to connect to my true vision for so long now.

The difficulties of needing income can lead you down the wrong path, but intuition always helps me readjust and go in a better direction. After chasing various dreams the last few years, I now see how unhappy I’ve been, and why it’s been so hard to manifest what I want.

I’ve spread myself too thin, pushed myself too hard, and hated myself way too much for not being successful. I’m now moving into a chapter of my life where I’m learning to accept myself easier. I just want to enjoy the ride, manifest what I can, and write as many great books as possible along the way.

Book News and the Plan for the Blog

I have a new book that’s going to beta readers in August. It remains top-secret until more of the details are figured out, but it’s a low/portal fantasy love story about an afterlife for suicides and a couple trying to right the wrongs they did on Earth. I’m nervous! This will be the first time my writing has been seen by outside eyes since I was still published.

I’d like to start using this blog for flash fiction and short series that interlock with my books. The process of writing books involves going through the story over and over, seeing it differently and learning things about what happened each time. I’m trying to streamline this best I can, but I also want my books to be perfect for you guys. While I’m working on that, it will be fun to experiment with shorter fiction and share whatever I come up with.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

A little late, but just wanted to say I hope you all had a great day. If you’re in a relationship, I hope you get everything you dream out of tonight. If you’re single, I hope you own it! Freedom and independence are gifts. Check out my latest video if you need a pep talk:

Quick writing update:

My apocalyptic series is flowing. I thought that writing my first book was the deepest learning experience I could ever know, but tackling this series has already taught me a lot. A lot of it writes itself, which is the magical experience I live for.

There’s a romance brewing, too. These characters developed an intense connection against my will. She was supposed to be with someone else. I didn’t want anyone to get hurt, but this was too powerful to be stopped. And I’m so glad it wasn’t! These two are one of the best couples I’ve written. They’re a perfect match, and it makes me happy that it wasn’t planned.

That’s it for now. Happy Valentine’s!

Andi

My Author Rebranding: Navigating the Jungles of Change

Happy 2017! I haven’t posted here in ages, but now that a new year and new wave of energy has arrived, it’s time to get this blog active again.

I’ve been going through the process of rebranding my author name for some time now. I mentioned this on my author Facebook page, Twitter, and Youtube channel (you can check out the video here), but I haven’t yet done a blog post to officially make the change, so here it is: After much thought, I’ve decided to switch genres.

Knowing Myself as an Author

In case you can’t tell, I’ve had a bit of an identity crisis as an author. All you have to do is look at this blog. Do I write fiction? Am I a self-help author? A lifestyle blogger? I have a huge spectrum of interests that I’m passionate about, and it’s taken a few years to start making sense of my vision for my career and life.

When I first started writing, I didn’t have any ideas about what sort of writer I’d be. I wasn’t even aware of genre. I knew that some stories were about murder or monsters and others were about high-school romance, but I knew nothing about author branding. I therefore had no plan for my career. I was just writing my book because I loved the story, and when it was revealed to me that I’d written a contemporary romance, I thought, great! Romance is a top-selling genre.

What I didn’t realize was that I’d be expected to continue writing contemporary romance, and if I wanted to write my other stories, I’d have to start over with a new pen name. I didn’t like that. Trying to build a following on social media is hard. As I went through the process of learning about the industry, I began to realize I might have made a mistake.

My main goal had always been to focus on subjects that were closest to my heart: the spirit world, the afterlife, aliens, alternate dimensions, space travel, time travel, monsters, and so on. I like the big stuff. The crazy stuff. Stories that keep you thinking after they end. So when I lost my book deal, I thought it could be a good time to change direction.

My New Genre: What the Hell is It?

I haven’t faced the daunting task of trying to write a blurb about the series I’m working on now, which follows a group of survivors through the apocalypse and beyond. I’m calling it a fantasy with elements of science fiction and romance. It has some typical apocalyptic juiciness you would expect from such a story. At its core, it’s really about an intense connection between a group of people who experience the unimaginable together. They slowly put together a shocking bigger picture that continues to grow from there.

I talk a little bit more about it here.

The Law of Attraction and Happiness with Writing

I’m starting to accept that I’m a slow writer. I took seven years working on my first book. Did I end up with something I’m proud of? Yes. But at that rate, I’m only going to complete a few more books before death. I’m working on speeding up, but I also need to make this the priority in my life if I want to live the dream.

Then again, I’m already living the dream in some way. I love my characters. I love the adventures they experience and how those experiences make them grow and change as people. I love watching them learn. I enjoy witnessing them go through joy, grief, falling in love, or sometimes, even dying. Not every writer is blessed enough to enjoy the experience at the level I do. So while I haven’t found the full dream in life yet, I still feel grateful.

What the Future Holds

I hope to get a solid draft of book one within a few months. I’m not quite ready to reveal the title yet, but I’m getting there. I’m going to be giving it my full effort. Then, maybe some beta readers. I’m glad to be getting involved with the writer community again. I’m navigating the jungles of change, and I’m becoming the person I was meant to be.

To my future readers: I love you. Please exist. Please find me. Please let me provide you with stories you’ll enjoy. Thank you.

Happy 2017 everyone!

Andi

Happy Birthday to Me: AKA, My Official “Separating from My Publisher” Post

Monday is my thirty-fourth birthday, and on paper, I’ve accomplished nothing.

Actually, if we’re being technical, I’m going in reverse. I once had a book deal. I once had a cool apartment in Denver. I once had a plan for my life that looked different from what is currently happening. To quote one of my favorite romantic comedies: I am “Benjamin Buttoning.” And you know what? I’m okay with it. Sometimes you have to back up if you want to get on the right path again.

How Book Deals Disappear: What Happened with GMMG

As some of you might already know, my publisher, Georgia McBride Media Group (GMMG), who owns both Month9Books and Swoon Romance, dropped many of their authors recently. There was a lot of scandalous craziness going on with the situation, but I don’t see much point in bathing myself in that negativity any longer. Other people can investigate if they want to, and if you’re interested in learning more about what happened, here is an article. I’ll just say that it wasn’t working out anyway, and I’m happy to be able to start over with self-publishing.

I should have known that I was always meant to be an indie author. I want the freedom to release books on my own schedule, with my own covers, set my own prices, do sales/giveaways when I want, etc. And most of all, I want access to my sales. I still have no idea how many books I sold. I’d guess it isn’t many, but still, I’d like to know. I don’t do well with being kept in the dark about things, and I’m pleased that I’ll never have to deal with that again.

Still, I’m not bitter. It’s hard to shift your perspective when you had hoped something would be your “big break,” but it can be done. This experience gave me a place in the writing world. I can walk away and wish everyone involved the best.

What Happens Next: The Future Feels Much Brighter

I have to sign a bunch of paperwork to get the rights to my book returned to me. That paperwork will be taken care of within a week or two. As soon as GMMG stops selling the book and takes it down from Amazon, I’ll be free to self-publish. So while the book is going to be temporarily unavailable, it will return.

The sequel, Edge of the Permanent Always, is coming soon!

I have another new book that I might release first, but I’m keeping quiet about it for now, because it might need a bit more work. It’s with a beta reader at the moment.

I have tons of stuff going for my other pen name, too! Aside from my epic supernatural horror love story, which will probably be in-progress for a while, I’m working on a new comedy-horror that I’m really excited about. I had no idea I would ever write anything like this, but I’m loving it!

In Conclusion: My Thoughts on My Birthday

So yes … I’m about to turn thirty-four, no longer a published author, and on paper, I’ve accomplished nothing. I also have far more freedom and opportunity than a lot of people my age, and for that I’m very grateful. I’m like a thousand high-quality parts that are just sitting on the ground in a big room waiting to be assembled. I’m not sure what this fully formed me will look like or if I’ll even live long enough to see her in the mirror. But I will keep working on building myself. I refuse to let people bring me down.

I want to thank everyone who has offered me love, support, and friendship during this rough time—especially my fellow authors. Getting closer to a lot of you guys was the best part of this entire experience. I feel blessed to be part of such a supportive community.

Stay tuned for more!

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Romance on the Road: How a Fling with a Foreigner Changed My Life

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Photo Credit One: Prince Roy

 

It’s easy fall in love when you’re surrounded by beauty. Vang Vieng, Laos, is one of the most breathtaking spots on the planet. My experiences there have been a huge influence on my current work in progress, a contemporary romance about escaping demons from the past and embracing self-discovery through travel. That story—and this one—is set in 2009, when the famous “Death Slide” and big swings were still in full operation along the Nam Song River. They’ve since been removed, so despite the fact that I ended up with a minor injury from a rope swing attempt gone wrong, I feel blessed to have experienced that wild river and all the romance that came along with it.

Strangers to Lovers: Submitting to an Overseas Romance

My first night in town, I was dining with some friends, and this guy walked into the restaurant. He was cute, but in a sea of tanned backpacker hotness, I can’t recall anything in particular that stood out about him. Still, I couldn’t look away. He scanned the room and walked back out. I didn’t think much of it.

My guesthouse was gorgeous.To this day, it’s one of the best places I’ve stayed anywhere on the planet. If you want to check it out, you can do so here. The pictures should give you a good idea of how pretty it was, so you can imagine my happiness when I discovered the random cute guy was staying there too.

His name was Peter—not really, but anonymity and all that.He was an Israeli expat who had been living at the guesthouse for a while. The place had a communal area where everyone hung out and passed around spliffs, so after a few days, Peter and I became friends.

I was mesmerized by his piercing blue eyes and soft voice. There were butterflies in my stomach and all around us, resting on the wildflowers and floating through the open sky. We ate together, explored together, partied together, and after a short time, we moved from our individual rooms on one side of the guesthouse into a shared suite with the best view the place had to offer. Through so much condensed time, intimacy was developing fast. Travel can do that to you.

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Photo Credit: Angie

Lovers to Strangers: Facing the Harsh Reality

I had plans to backpack on through the southern part of Laos and into Cambodia, but the thought of leaving Peter and Vang Vieng was gut wrenching. I didn’t want the pleasure to end, and this river paradise was the coolest place I’d been so far. I fit in there. I debated staying and riding out my time and money, but I never said so out loud. I waited to see if he would ask me to stay. He didn’t.

None of my friends in Laos wanted to go to Cambodia—or as Peter put it, the “Wild West” of Southeast Asia, so I went by myself. I was afraid I would regret it if I didn’t. I spent the next few days alone and depressed. I wandered the city streets, pondering the meaning of suffering. I stared out of bus windows as sad music wailed in my headphones. I vented to friends back home, hunched over in a pathetic mess as I typed away in my own little corner of the computer café. All around me were happy backpacker couples, and only a short time before, that had been me.

I don’t want to feel this way again, I thought. It’s not for me.

A Broken-but-happy Heart: The Lesson from My Travel Love Story

My travel love story marked a huge turning point for me. It was one of many bridges between my previous life, which involved a lot of alcohol and heartbreak, and the life I live now, where happiness is priority and I’m unwilling to settle for less. There was still tons of pain in between, and there will probably be some in the future, but I know who I am now. When you set a standard for yourself and aren’t afraid to walk away, you develop a strong center that no one can take from you. I deserve a guy who is looking to stick around and stand by me long-term.

I got a sweet email from Peter a few weeks after we parted ways, but nothing after that. He didn’t love me, but that’s okay. I didn’t really love him either, and had we stuck together, I’m sure we would have found many reasons why. This way, I’ll never have to discover any of his flaws, and he’ll never know the majority of mine—although I did puke in front of him once, and another time he took care of me through a terrible cold. What a soldier. If he remembers our time together at all, hopefully the yucky stuff has faded more than the good. I know it has for me.

 

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For more love and adventure on the open road, check out Edge of Something More, a contemporary romance set in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.