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Rantings of a Busy Writer

Hey, everyone,

So I know it’s been a while since I posted. I recently had an increase in work hours and some personal life stuff that got in the way of the blog. I apologize for leaving you guys hanging with The Alter Mysteries. I’ve had the next post for a few weeks and just couldn’t seem to get it right. I now feel comfortable with what I’ve come up with so I’ll make a post to share it on my site. I’ve recently been debating changing the theme of my blog and wondering where I am going with my brand. So there has been a lot on my mind about making this blog and my writing more accessible. You may see me experimenting a bit with different things to see what sticks.

My writing tends to have a paranormal or fantasy element to it. That is the most consistent thing across the board for all my stories. Most of my stories originate from my dreams, which are quite fantastical. So I’ve been thinking about revitalizing the blog in that direction. I follow podcasts that talk about writing being a business and branding. For people like me that want to self-publish establishing a brand is super important. So I’m trying to learn what I can about marketing. I’m trying to find my main outlet for sharing, podcasting, videos, writing blog posts? I’m not quite sure what approach works for me. Some authors find membership in certain sites helps them to spread the word about their books. I feel like in the early stages of developing my brand this is so hit and miss for me.

Busy season at my job is coming up and all I can think about is how it runs right through  Nanowrimo and makes writing/marketing myself even harder. I like participating in Nanowrimo every year because I feel like it helps me to reinforce a healthy writing regimen – you can’t edit or market a book that hasn’t been written. You need a product in order to have something to offer. For me, my writing is more than a product though, it’s a part of me. So wrapping my head around putting my work out there it’s like putting myself on display. Anyone who publishes a book is putting themselves on display, now I just have to figure out how to arrange my display.

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The Alter Mysteries flash fiction post, The Table, is up free and, Doll, is available on Early Access.

Hello everyone,

The most recent post of The Alter Mysteries: Death Shadow, The Table, has been up free since Sunday. TRIGGER WARNING alert for the post, The Table, because someone goes through some pretty horrible events in the scene. We get up close and personal with The Agent, which may be too much for some though by no means the most gory stuff out there. Today the next post in the series, Doll, is up on my Patreon for early access. Doll, shows you some of the aftermath of the attack and how it impacts characters’ relationships. Each post of The Alter Mysteries flash fiction is about 1500 words in length so you can read it in flash fiction format from the first post here. Or, if you prefer to read consolidated chapters check out this link.

For those of you who are new to The Alter Mysteries, it is a speculative flash fiction set in the near future that follows the Paranormal Investigation Task-force while they hunt down paranormal criminals. The Alter Mysteries: Death Shadow follows the paranormal investigator, Zara, while she pursues a serial killer that threatens the safety of paranormals in society.

I’ve been having fun playing with present tense in the series to get more inside the head of the killer and Zara at times. I’ve been wondering if I should just leave the entire series consistently in past tense. What do you think based on the scenes you’ve read?

Remember, if you want to tip me for my work you can become a patron on my Patreon. Thank you for following the series guys, please share and comment below!

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The Alter Mysteries Free Post and Early Access Warning for 3.3

Hello everyone,

Last week’s post, Priviledge Gained, is now up free. The newly free post follows Izzy and Zara’s date. I love seeing them together they’re so cute. Although that doesn’t mean its all rainbows and sunshine on their date—they are a poly couple in the real world. Today’s free post is a little break from crime before your thrust violently into the post released on early access today, The Table, which will be free on Sunday. If you would like early access ($3 tier and above patronage) and want to tip me for my hard work you can become a patron on my patreon (where you can also get access to all previous, The Alter Mysteries, posts free).

  Trigger warning for anyone with trauma experience the early access post, The Table, that is going up free next week is gritty. I dissociated like three times, had to force myself to live in it to write it. The scene from post 3.3 is important, which is why I suffered through writing it. I won’t say why, instead I hope when people read it they can see for themselves. The early access post, 3.3, is three times the normal post size in honor of July 4th. Though the content itself has nothing to do with Independence Day, or the United States specifically, but about the human condition and the realities of trauma.

Thank you for following my blog guys! What do you think of Izzy and Zara’s date?

—Laura Zabala

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The Alter Mysteries Goodies: Did anyone say free fiction?

Hello everyone,

So today I posted all of Chapter 2 from the flash fiction series The Alter Mysteries: Death Shadow on my Patreon and here on my blog. The first post of chapter 3 is now up for free on my Patreon. Today I felt like posting chapter 3.2 a full week early on early access so my patrons of $3 or more can get a peek. Anyone interested in tipping me for my hard work can become a patron. If you would like to purchase any of my art or goodies you can check out my shop.

I’m super excited because I actually exceeded my word count goals for The Dark Prince this month. The word count is up to 41,925! A full 88 pages of 300. I’m certain I’ll get a good head start on my 20,000 minimum for next month. Writing The Dark Prince has been so much fun; especially because it is an intimate thing where no one is taking a peek. The Alter Mysteries: Death Shadow will also be turned into a book eventually with the flash fiction series continuing afterward, but since I have been sharing as I write it has a different feeling.

If you’re interested in getting a sneak peek at The Dark Prince, there is an excerpt available to paying patrons of $5 or more on my Patreon. Thank you to all my supporters who remember to share, post links, and comments with any questions.

Love you guys! Let me know what you think of The Alter Mysteries so far?

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Hello, everyone,

The release of The Alter Mysteries: Death Shadow Chapter 2.4, is now up free. The newest posts of the flash fiction series The Alter Mysteries can be found on my patreon. Posts go free Sunday. My patreon allows paying patrons early access to my posts, exclusive access to content like a preview of my book in progress, The Dark Prince, and concept drawings for future books on my list. If you would like to tip me for my work head over to my patron sign-up page. There is also a shop on my site that sells accessories and clothing, like iPhone cases, mugs and shirts. For more information on the coupon and sale available for Pride Month and Father’s Day check out this post.

Feel free to leave comments and questions below. What do you think of the most recent post in The Alter Mysteries?

As always, thank you for following my blog!

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Sales, a coupon code and more of The Alter Mysteries!

Hello, everyone!

I have some goodies for you guys. First, the next flash fiction post of The Alter Mysteries: Death Shadow is available on early access for $3 patrons and above on my patreon. Don’t worry, the post will be free on Sunday, but if you can’t wait, feel free to tip me for my hard work and become a $3 patron. For those of you who do contribute, thank you for patronage! I can pump out more content, because of your support. Speaking of work, guess what? My shop has its first coupon available! The coupon is my gift to you in honor of Father’s day and Pride month. The coupon code is “gift10” (without the quotations marks) and can be applied to full priced merchandise only. That means you can get ten percent off my art, iPhone cases, and clothes. Aside from the coupon, there is also a sale on many items including my totes and pillows. The sale and the coupon both expire on Father’s day. Hurry and get your shop on before the sale is gone!

Thank you for following my blog guys! Feel free to leave questions and comments below!

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Meeting Your Goals

  Keeping track of our goals with creative endeavors can sometimes fall out of line with our inspiration. The last time I wrote an update about The Dark Prince was May 8th, since then my plans have changed in unexpected ways. I wrote far more for The Alter Mysteries than expected and opened a shop that sells posters, mugs, and other goodies. As a result, I am woefully short of my word minimum for May.

My word count has gone up to 12,242 words, which is 7,758 words short of my 20,000 per month goal. However, recognizing where I have come short can go a long way toward getting myself back on track. Analysis of what was done well and what needs attention can help get a creative back on track.

 

 Many creatives know that moment of intense inspiration where you can’t help but make what comes to you. The muse took me and forced me to write more of The Alter Mysteries. The ideas were so intense I could not stop writing. I feel that is a win. Since I plan to publish, The Alter Mysteries: Death Shadow, as a book. However, The Dark Prince is a book I want to publish on its own. Sooner rather than later. I want to prove to myself that I can write flash fiction while simultaneously pumping out books.

Since I have been productive I won’t punish myself for the low word count on The Dark Prince. However, this post is me reevaluating my metrics and refocusing on my goals. Creatives should review their goals and where they are in regards to meeting them. Granted sometimes you have to adjust plans and forgive yourself from taking unexpected detours. If I can manage to finish the month meeting my 20,000-word count for The Dark Prince – I consider that a win. If not, then I did well enough by writing at all and working toward my goals. Being productive in itself a great accomplishment – it is better than having no word count at all.

 

 Once an evaluation has been done of where you fall in terms of accomplishing the goals you set, now it is time to go about improving in the areas you fell short. By June 1st I will attempt to bridge the 7,758-word gap. A big goal, but one worth working toward. The more momentum I can put towards writing my book the better. I want to have a working first draft in my hand to tear apart and gripe over editing. As my word count goes up my thoughts go toward beta readers. Every time I reach a milestone I am already thinking up what will I do next. Sometimes it can shift focus away from what’s important, but this check in I do with my word count helps me go back to basics. Once the evaluation is done, and a creative sets up new goals based on what needs work, now it is time to focus on what was done right.

 

As a creative, producing results, you deserve a pat on the back, yes? This month I have been releasing new posts for The Alter Mysteries consistently, writing my book, and even opened a shop. I have been productive so I plan to treat myself by doing something I enjoy.

Purposely going out of your way to reward yourself for doing work is important. Just like a good company rewards its employees, you should reward yourself for working hard. Rewards are a way of incentivizing yourself to go above and beyond to meet your goals. Just remember that output isn’t always necessarily about volume, it’s about quality too. That is why we stop and check in to see where we are with things, not just by measuring our accomplishments, but taking a look at how others have responded. Did you get more followers? Has anyone taken the time to appreciate your work? It’s okay if no one has yet, but don’t forget that quality is extremely important.

 

Do you have any tips for reaching creative goals? If so, feel free to share. As always, thank you for reading.

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Making Our Dreams a Reality

  Many of us have that moment when we commit ourselves to a goal that feels impossible. For me, that high goal is publishing books. I decided that I would pick one of my books in progress to publish by fall of 2018. The Dark Prince is my pick. I will share regular updates on my progress and thoughts. Right now, The Dark Prince has 11,297 words. I have to produce roughly 20,000 words a month to finish a rough draft of approximately 150,000 words by January of 2018. My goal will be broken down by the week. Every week I need to write at least 5000 words.

  Along the journey of publishing my first book, I am working on solidifying my author identity. What genres do my books fit in? How long will I continue to write The Alter Mysteries: Death Shadow? What are the common content and grammatical issues my work exhibits? How can I improve my product? I am following fellow writers who give tips on how to improve your writing, like Joanna Penn at her blog, The Creative Penn. Even the use of programs like Grammarly can help with honing the writing craft. With every question, I search for a solution. We might not get all the answers we seek quickly, but patience is a huge component of passion. Sometimes what we pursue is not easy, but by doggedly pursuing our goals we achieve knowledge that can help us along the way.

  Whenever I feel confident about my work I go back to edit it again. In my opinion, a dose of humility goes a long way toward improvement. Criticism can be used to make our craft better. Few people would be amazing right out the gate with their craft. Perfection is an impossible result, but making things the best we can is within reach. A part of my process is holding myself accountable by doing research, listening to feedback, and posting my goals publicly. Maybe you can work towards your goals too by breaking them down into simpler steps day-by-day. Asking yourself what you can do to improve is a crucial part of making your dreams reality.

  If you have any questions or tips, feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for following my blog.