Author Business & Publishing, Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

2017 Year-End Update

Kate on Golden GateLooking back on 2017, the year hasn’t been as much of a dumpster fire as I originally thought. Author-wise, I published my third Desertera novel, The Tyrant’s Heir, re-evaluated my writing and business goals, and strengthened connections with my amazing readers and author friends. On the personal side, I lost two beloved family members to chronic illnesses, moved from Connecticut to California (with a brief vacation at home in Kansas), and traveled to new places in the United States.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I accomplished far more than I did in 2016! My husband and I have a tradition of making one resolution per year we’ve been alive, so I made 24 goals for 2017. I never expect to achieve them all — but if I shoot for the moon, I still hit the stars. And I hit quite a few stars this year.

Writing & Publishing

Desertera books1. Create (write, edit, outline, or research) 5 days a week
My average ended up being four days per week, as I allowed myself extended breaks for my cross-country move and two bereavement periods.
2. Write Desertera #3
3. Edit Desertera #3 (C)
4. Publish Desertera #3 (C)
5. Write a second novel
While I didn’t start drafting, the world is built and ready to write for 2018!
6. Edit a second novel
7. Start Desertera #4
8. Make 2018 production schedule

Business

9. Make $2,000 from Boxthorn Press
Just a little short!
10. Create freebie for Writing Newsletter subscribers 
11. Create freebie for Reader List subscribers
12. Blog 2x per month
13. Maintain social media schedule
14. Diversify existing products (audiobooks, box sets, etc.)
I’ll be focusing on this in 2018 instead!
15. Do one marketing/promotion task per month
Choosing to forgo marketing until I have a larger catalog is why I didn’t hit my income goal. While I’m disappointed with myself, I know playing the long game will pay off eventually.
16. Read 52 books
I read 40 books. Now that I don’t ride the train every morning, I need to find a new reading time!

Personal

Tommy travels17. Work on positivity
18. Exercise 3x per week
19. Break a bad habit
20. Recoup savings account post-Yale
21. Make post-Yale plan
22. Visit final NYC sites
23. Visit new state
24. Visit new country
I achieved ALL of my personal goals! Here’s to leaving 2017 a happier, healthier, and better-traveled human!

Overall, I’m pleased with how much I accomplished in 2017. I’ll be finalizing my 2018 New Year’s resolutions today, and I can’t wait to dive into them. Here’s to a fantastic year!

What did you accomplish in 2017? What goals are you setting for 2018? Share them in the comments!

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Author Business & Publishing, Musings & Bookish Things, Writing & Publishing Articles

Why Do You Write? (An Idea Revisited Two Years Later)

If you’re reading this, I assume you want to be or already are a writer. I also assume that there’s a decent chance you want to be a full-time author. So, if that’s you, let me ask you two difficult questions: Why do you write? And why do you want to be a full-time author, when there are hundreds of easier career options?

writing and coffeeNow, your gut instinct is probably something like, “Come on, Kate! Writing is my life. Those questions are so easy!”

But do me a favor and really think about it. I’ll give you a personal anecdote while you ponder your own situation …

After my recent move from New Haven to the Bay Area, I’ve had a difficult time getting back in my creative groove. I have a lot of perfectly valid excuses: organizing the new place, adjusting to a new work and household routine, exploring new shops and landmarks, to name a few. But, I think I finally understand the real issue.

Whenever I meet new people, I introduce myself as a writer. I include my novelist side, but I always admit, with a twinge of unnecessary shame, that my books don’t pay the bills. I’m “really” a copywriter for a wine marketing company (which has actually helped my fiction writing). It sounds super-sexy on paper, and while most of the time I just stare at a computer screen like every other office worker, it is a great job. Though I’m still the lowest rung on the company ladder, I could make copywriting/marketing a long-term career. And I think it would make me happy.

It would be SO. MUCH. EASIER. to just let go of my author ambitions and relax into the 9-to-5 life. I’m NOT saying every 9-to-5 job is easy, and I’m definitely challenged at my work, but giving up the author stuff would relieve me of several challenges. I could stop spending nights and weekends at the computer. I could stop heaping guilt on myself when I don’t meet my creative goals. I could stop spending hard-earned, harder-saved money on editing, cover designs, and marketing expenses. I could stop all the other nuisances of indie authorship and still call myself a professional writer.

Live your dreamBack to you: your situation is obviously much different from mine. Maybe you’re working a job you loathe. Maybe you have tons of extra money to shower on self-publishing. Maybe you view writing solely as a career and aren’t bothered by any of the emotional, passionate aspects.

Still, I ask again: Why do you write? And why do you want to be a full-time author?

(If you’re a fan of the Sterling & Stone trio, you can probably guess that I’m a big believer in Sean’s “Know Your Why” mantra, which this insightful article discusses more eloquently than I can.)

While contemplating this question, I remembered a blog post I wrote over two years ago. It lists the reasons why I write, along with some great additions from fellow writers in the comments. They all still hold true, but they don’t answer why I want to write fiction professionally and not just as a hobby.

After giving it some careful thought and seriously evaluating my larger personal/life goals, here are a few of my reasons:

Writing is my greatest passion.
Writing is my most employable skill.
Creative satisfaction means more to me than conventional success.
I want to be my own boss and set my own working hours.
I want the freedom to vacation when and how I choose.
I want to work be able to work from anywhere in the world.
I don’t want to regularly manage other people.
I don’t want to give up my dream to help someone else achieve theirs.
I love storytelling.
I want the opportunity to make my daily work meaningful and valuable.
I want to entertain, inform, and educate others.
I want to make a difference in the world and provide a source of escape for others.

Conclusion? Being a full-time writer both satisfies my creative passions and provides several practical benefits that “regular” jobs cannot.

If you’re in a similar situation to me (and I know at least one of my friends reading this is), do yourself a favor and ask these questions. You might realize that writing is just a hobby for you — and that is 100% awesome. Or (more likely, I bet), you’ll realize that full-time authorship is really the career you want. If that’s the case, you’ll be armed with a list of reasons to keep you motivated when the going gets tough. And trust me, it will get tough.

But, if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s also wholly, completely, utterly worth it.


Leave your reasons in the comments and cheer on your fellow authors. If you’re already living the full-time dream, I’d love to hear whether your “why” remains true now that you’ve reached your goal. 

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

champagneWelcome back to another episode of “Kate’s ambition and optimism give her temporary insanity and delusions of invincibility.” With my first full year as a published author tucked away in the history books, I’m ready to push forward into 2017. The first step? Announcing my New Year’s Resolutions.

As I’ve said in years past, I love planning, organizing, and dreaming BIG. So, crafting my annual resolutions is one of my favorite things. In my 2016 Year-End Reflection, I talked about my theme for this year (Growth) and my 2017 motto: Always Be Creating. You’ll see both reflected here.

Why so many resolutions? Longtime readers will know that my husband and I have a masochistic FUN tradition of making one resolution for every year we’ve been alive. I’ve added in personalized difficulty levels, based on the likelihood that I’ll hit each goal.

E – Easy
C – Challenging
DD – Damn Difficult
LOL – Yeah … probably not happening

You might wonder why I include ‘LOL’ goals at all. Well, I’m a “shoot for the stars and still hit the moon” type of person. I know I might not have the time, money, and strength to accomplish all of my resolutions. But if I try for all and only make half, I’m still miles beyond where I started.

Without further ado, here are my 2017 New Year’s resolutions:

Writing & Publishing

1. Create (write, edit, outline, or research) 5 days a week (DD)
2. Write Desertera #3 (E)
3. Publish Desertera #3 (C)
4. Write Desertera #4 (DD)
5. Write separate fiction book (LOL)
6. Publish a second fiction book (LOL)
7. Write nonfiction book (DD)
8. Publish nonfiction book (LOL)

Business

9. Make $2,000 from Boxthorn Press (DD)
10. Create freebie for Writing Newsletter subscribers (E)
11. Create freebie for Reader List subscribers (DD)
12. Blog 2x per week (C)
13. Maintain social media schedule (DD)
14. Diversify existing products (audiobooks, box sets, etc.) (DD)
15. Do one marketing/promotion task per month (C)
16. Read 52 books (E)

Personal

17. Work on positivity (DD)
18. Exercise 3x per week (LOL)
19. Break a bad habit (DD)
20. Recoup savings account post-Yale (DD)
21. Make post-Yale plan (E)
22. Visit final NYC sites (E)
23. Visit new state (E)
24. Visit new country (DD)

As you can see, I have a lot to do this year! I’ll let you know how it goes with my monthly updates.

Share your resolutions in the comments so that I can cheer you on, too! Or, if you need a little help crafting your goals, check out this post on making attainable New Year’s resolutions. Just remember: do as I say, not as I do!

Kate's Nonfiction for Writers, Writing & Publishing Articles

The Final Booklet: 100 Horror Writing Prompts

10-horrorWell, that’s all she wrote. For now, anyway.

I’ve published my final creative writing prompts booklet: 100 Horror Writing Prompts (Fiction Ideas Vol. 10). Writing these booklets has been an incredibly fun and inspiring challenge. Not only have I learned more about these 10 fiction genres, I’ve also pushed myself creatively and have been deeply humbled by all those writers who I’ve helped along the way.

If you’re looking for a little spooky inspiration for the season (or the upcoming NaNoWriMo), grab a copy on Amazon. It’s FREE through Halloween (October 31).

You can read the full description below. Happy writing!


Do you want to write a bone-chilling horror story? This booklet contains 100 writing prompts to help spark your inspiration.

Do you feel that novel burning inside you but are unsure where to begin?
Are you an established horror author looking for a fresh new idea?

If you’re ready to stop staring at the blank page and start writing NOW, 100 Horror Writing Prompts is the booklet for you. There’s no fluff and no wasted words – just 100 fiction prompts to get you back to what you do best: writing.

100 Horror Writing Prompts is packed with character- and story-focused prompts to jumpstart your fiction writing. Each prompt has been carefully designed to address the motifs of horror fiction – from terrifying creatures to spooky haunted houses to bloody death scenes.

Inside, you’ll find prompts on the following subgenres:

1. Creepy Kids
2. Dark Fantasy
3. Dark Mystery
4. Fabulist
5. Hauntings
6. Monsters
7. Occult
8. Psychological Horror
9. Quiet Horror
10. Splatter

Each section contains 10 thought-provoking prompts. Practice them in order, or dive right into to what inspires you most. You’ve already wasted enough energy on writer’s block. It’s time to get started on your next great horror story.

Make your readers afraid of the dark. Buy 100 Horror Writing Prompts today.

Kate's Nonfiction for Writers, Writing & Publishing Articles, Writing Updates

500 Prompts Down, 500 More to Go!

5 HistoricalEDIT: This promotion has ended…BUT you can still pick up the booklet for $0.99 USD. To be the first to hear about future sales and booklets, sign up for my author newsletter.

I’m pleased to report that 100 Historical Fiction Writing Prompts, the fifth volume in my Fiction Ideas series, is published and available for FREE on Amazon. You can read the full description below.

So far, I’m really happy with these booklets. I’ve received enthusiastic feedback from a few readers, and it seems the booklets are doing exactly what I’d hoped: providing inspiration to others. On a personal level, they’ve also been very fun and challenging for me to write. I’m stretching my creative muscles, pushing myself to explore genres in which I never thought I could write, and even learning more about the literary world (and in this case, history!) along the way.

At the halfway point (500 prompts, 5 booklets), I’m very relieved that I’ve yet to run out of ideas. One concern I had going into this project was that I would really struggle with coming up with so many prompts without repeating myself. While a few sub-genres have been tricky, and I’m sure a few themes have repeated, so far so good.

Thank you to all who have read my booklets and are looking forward to the rest of the series. I couldn’t do this without your support and encouragement. Happy writing!


100 Historical Fiction Writing Prompts (Fiction Ideas Vol. 5)

5 HistoricalDo you want to share your love of history through fiction? This booklet contains 100 writing prompts to help you get started.

Do you have an adventure burning inside you but feel trapped by writer’s block?
Are you an established author looking for fresh, new ideas?

If you’re ready to stop staring at the blank page and start writing NOW, 100 Historical Fiction Writing Prompts is the booklet for you. There’s no fluff and no wasted words – just 100 fiction prompts to get you back to what you do best: writing.

Since Homer’s The Odyssey, writers have used historical events and legends to inspire their writings.100 Historical Writing Prompts is packed with character- and story-focused prompts to help you join this tradition. The prompts have been designed to address various historical events, locations, and cultures.

Inside, you’ll find prompts related to the following time periods:

1. Ancient Egypt
2. Ancient Greece
3. The Middle Ages
4. Feudal Japan
5. The Renaissance
6. The Age of Discovery
7. The Age of Revolution
8. The Victorian Era
9. The 1920s to 1950s
10. The 1960s & 1970s

Each section contains 10 thought-provoking prompts. Practice them in order, or dive right into to what inspires you most. You’ve already wasted enough energy on writer’s block. It’s time to get started on your fantasy tale today.

Relive the past. Download 100 Historical Fiction Writing Prompts today.