I have a super fan!

You know what? There’s nothing more encouraging than having someone comsuperfane up to your booth at a book signing shouting the words, “I loved your book!”

This happened to me yesterday, and I thought my heart would just burst right out of my chest. The lovely woman then went on to buy my other available book and promised she would leave a review as soon as she was finished.

In the end, I really think that’s all we writers are looking for. Sure, the sale was nice. Yes, it’s wonderful to see our rankings improve. Okay, okay, I absolutely want to write for a living a
nd not ever have another outside-of-the-house, nine-to-five gig again.

But you know what? One person can make all the difference in the world. All the struggles and doubt were completely erased from my mind yesterday all because ONE person came up to me in person and said they loved my book.

I couldn’t be more motivated or energized today. I’ve already spent my entire morning taking care of writing business so that my future titles will succeed and satisfy the hunger at least ONE fan has for my books. I sure hope there will be many more in the future.

Pardon me. I need to go write, now. Write. NOW!

J. Thomas-Like
May 23, 2016

Well that didn’t take long…

You know what? I have a need to rant.yikes

I need to hold on a little while longer. Just a few more weeks. Only thirty-six more days. Then Rowan is out of school for the summer and I can finally quit my day job. Well, sort of.

Ethan’s schedule is nutso and won’t allow me to work outside the house anymore. At least not for the summer. Not without spending wads of cash on summer camps and babysitters, which I am not willing to do. Which means I can only work my day job from home. Or quit. And write full time.

hobbes_yikesYIKES!

You know what? No one ever bothered to tell me that adulting doesn’t get any easier.

As I watched my parents get older, they always seemed so happy and at ease. They had their shit together. I didn’t glean a hint of worry or distress or any pending freak outs from them. I, on the other hand, at the ripe age of 45 (notice I didn’t say old), am scared to death and wholly uncertain of every decision I make every minute of the day. I feel as though I am having ALL THE FREAK OUTS.

Am I doing right by my son? Am I a good enough wife and partner to my husband? Can we really make it without my pittance of a paycheck? Should I really put all my life force (while still wiving and mothering) into writing? Are we really able to drink the milk past the sell by date?

You know what? I just need to hold on. Only a teensy tiny bit longer. Thirty-six days will fly by so fast I won’t know what hit me. And then, when I no longer have to haul my carcass out of the sack and badger my kid to get ready for school, maybe I’ll be able to think. All the buzzing in my brain will quiet down so I can really percolate on what it is I want and need and how to go about getting those things. Right now, I feel like I’m at the end of the rope, the knot is fraying, and my arms are getting all jiggly tired from holding on.

If you hear the sound of maniacal laughter and soft weeping then thunderous fist pounding, that’d be me.

J. Thomas-Like
May 5, 2016

yikes-2

Monday Musings: “Your Books Are So Good, I Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Them.”

Monday Musings: “Your Books Are So Good, I Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Them.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself, therefore I shall just repost! 🙂 Thank you for saying what needed to be said.

And So On...

This happened to an author of my acquaintance. She got an email from a “fan” and the gist of it was this:

Dear Ms. Author.

I really like your books. I think they are well-written and I enjoyed reading them. (So far, so good, right? Hang on.) However, I have returned them all because you priced them at $0.99 to $2.99, and that is too much to pay for them. I can’t afford to pay that much for a book, even though I liked it. In the future, can you make sure you make all your books free so I don’t have to return them?

And, when the author in question blocked this “fan” (and it seems, reported her as an abuser of the return system on ebooks), she sent another email chastising the author for blocking her and forcing her to open a second account (presumably to harass the…

View original post 601 more words

Z is for Zero (a cliche, I admit)

You know what? Z is for ZERO. As in ZERO blogs left to do in this challenge! YES!!!

bill-and-ted-3-script-finished__oPtI can’t believe I did it. Okay, so I missed ONE day technically. But I did post it before I went to bed, even if it was after midnight.

I really enjoyed this challenge. Most of them I did on the fly, without too much forethought. I planned it that way. I didn’t want to do all of them in one day and the lazily post each letter each day. That would have been cheating. Instead, I wanted them to be as spontaneous as the random thoughts that fly through my head all day, every day.

You know what? I think a few of them are pretty good. I think they offer up some insight that other writers might appreciate, either because they do/feel/think the same thing or they don’t. And if you aren’t a writer and have been following along anyway, I hope I gave a chuckle here and there.
aslfinished
I do believe I’ll be taking a break from the blog world for a bit. I’ve got a novel to finish, projects to administer (including two audio books and a translation), and a family to try not to ignore. I will be back, though. I want to be able to connect with other writers, readers, and people in general. I hope that it happens.

But you know what? If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. I like putting my thoughts into the universe just for the sake of downloading all the info in my brain. It cleanses my writing palate and allows what remains to percolate and solidify. I’m good with that.

So, farewell to those who have followed me as I crossed the finish line. I won’t be gone for long!FinishLine
Fondly,
J. Thomas-Like
April 30, 2016
I-Finally-Finished-Skyward-Sword-1093058

Y is for Yawn

You know what? Y is for yawn. I’m tired. I’ve not been sleeping well the last few nights and I’m preI respectfully decline to show a picture of me yawning.You're welcome..jpgtty sure it has to do with the pressure I’m feeling to get Orphan finished.

I have no one to blame but myself. Seems like a lot of the time I’ve had in the last week has been squandered instead of working diligently to get to the end of the project.

But you know what? It’s what I do.

I’m a procrastinator in the truest sense of the word. I always seem to work best under pressure. When the in-laws are coming and I know a week a head of time, I clean the morning of. When I know I have bills to pay, I wait until the last minute to log on and send in those payments. When I know Rowan had something due for school, I’m scrambling at the last minute to get it together. I rarely plan ahead and get things ready before I need to.

I guess I like the feeling I get of rushing around. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t get all mad at everyone else and blame them for the chaos swirling around. I admit it’s my fault and take full responsibility. But I like the “I can do four hundred things at once” adrenaline dump I get when I put myself into those situations.

You know what? It’s still safer than wanting to sky dive or bungee jump or do something else that’s completely over the top.

So, I’ll just keep putting things off until I need to pull an all-nighter or try to get a week long mission accomplished in under an hour. And continue to not sleep so I yawn a lot.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

J. Thomas-Like
April 29, 2016

X is for X marks the spot

20160428_215828You know what? X is for X marks the spot. Yep, I’m still high on the tattoo topic, having just gotten my sixth one yesterday. And I’m revealing it to the world here. Couldn’t yesterday because I had to show my mom first. She was the inspiration for it. 🙂

I haven’t the foggiest idea why marking my body with permanent ink is giving me such a rush.

Okay, that’s a lie. I do know why. I love to decorate my spaces. The walls in all my cubicles where I have worked were always adorned with pictures of family, quotes that made me tear up or chuckle, cartoons cut from newspapers. I’ve always made my little corner of wherever into a giant collage of things I felt were meaningful or important. The back of my car is now littered with bumper stickers and magnets. Why not continue on with my body?

I will admit that I was worried about regretting taking the plunge after my first one. But it was a tiny little cat face, so if I did have misgivings, it was easily covered and ignored.

But you know what? I didn’t regret it. I loved it! And I wanted more! I love the idea that I have placed images on my skin that make me feel good. They represent something special to me and if someone asks me about one of them (or all of them), I am happy to explain it. I am also happy to keep my tats to myself. Now, that might seem counter-intuitive given the nature of this blog post. If I meet someone new and the tattoos are covered, I don’t roll up my sleeve and shove my arm in their face. “LOOK WHAT I HAVE!!!” If they happen to see them or inquire, that’s when I gush.

All in all, I think the point I’ve been trying to make is this: I’m really happy about the choices I’ve made in the last couple of years in my life. I’ve taken control of certain situations. I’ve made progress with ensuring I remain happy. And if it all ended tomorrow, that’s okay. I’m good. Really.

X is for X marks the spot.

Now where should I put the Bugs Bunny tat I’m planning?

J. Thomas-Like
April 28, 2016

W is for Whim

10403485_10152643909927263_25310416496651499_nYou know what? W is for whim.

I do waaaay too many things on a whim. Oh, that’s a cute bag! Let’s get it. Gee, I had a ten second dream about Adam Levine. I think I’ll write a book! Today feels like a good day to get a tattoo!

Yep, a tattoo. Several now. I’ve done lots of spontaneous things before, but starting down the tattoo path is probably the craziest of all. I had always wanted one (them) from a very young age. When I was sixteen and utterly obsessed with Bugs Bunny, that’s what I really wanted. But because I was afraid of the pain, I never followed through.

11934987_10153114038962263_4539069770674538547_n (2)When my dad died, I knew I wanted a tribute tattoo, but I couldn’t decide what it should be. Then, I lost a dear writer friend named Nevada, and the idea was absolutely solidified in my mind. I would have a tattoo some day. I needed to honor them both in some way that was permanent and meaningful to me and to them.

I finally went through with it when my 18-year-old nephew basically dared me to. And now I’m addicted. Every time I think I’m done, I find myself driving to the same tattoo shop and seeing the same artist. I never make an appointment, I just show up. If Mark is free, it’s meant to be. That’s how I see it.

You know what? Of all the things I’ve done on a whim in my life, my tattoos are probably the only thing I don’t have any qualms over. There’s so much talk about how silly people will feel when they get to be old and wrinkly. If I look silly to others, fine. But I’ll 12631487_10153390662457263_7087640303397546852_n (1)remember how I felt when I had them done and why I chose to do it. I feel exhilarated when I climb out of the chair and look at the image for the first time in the mirror. I feel happy and content. I’ve experienced buyer’s remorse many a time for that bag or pair of shoes or whatever, but not once over the tats. I’ll admit I tell myself I’ll never get another one, once the artist starts and the pain kicks in. But by the time I’m paying the bill, I’m already planning what I’ll do next and where it’ll go. I joke with my husband that if I’d started when I was 18, I’d be covered by now. But the truth is, I might still be getting them when I’m 80. Who knows?

20160427_233724Now, I’m not advocating living your life all willy nilly and not thinking things through. What I am saying is that not all spontaneous decisions are bad ones. Everyone has to do what’s right for them.

Pardon me, I’ll be over here planning my next ink.

J. Thomas-Like
April 27, 2016

V is for Veeblefeetzer

You know what? V is for veeblefeetzer. Why? BecaV-8use I thought it was funny.

But seriously, I didn’t have anything v-themed for the blog today. Victory, validation, vanity, vicious, vacuous; they all felt too obvious. And let’s not go the “vagina” route.  I could write about vegetables and how I don’t eat nearly enough of them. But I’m not all that interested in doing that. No one needs to be inundated with my inadequate dietary habits.

You know what? V doesn’t need to stand for anything.

Today is the 22nd day of the A to Z Challenge and I’m still with it. I’ve hung in there. Not every post has been thought provoking or meaningful. I hope most of them have had a bit of humor attached to them. All in all, I’m proud of myself for having kept at it.

I probably will not continue to blog every single day when this challenge is over. While it’s given me some good insight and inspiration for how to blog, I have not yet decided what kind of blog I really want.

Can’t do the “mommy” thing: my kid is nine. He’s too old for cute baby and toddler anecdotes. He’s too young for the teenage complaints.

Don’t want to do the “writer” thing (at least all the time) because there are far more talented writers than I in the world who are already doing it more successfully than I could. If I’m going to get lost in the sea of blogs out there, I’d rather drown by way of my own spin.

I don’t have anything useful to say. I’m not terribly funny, just slightly amusing on occasion. I have a LOT of opinions on a LOT of subjects, but I don’t like to argue or fight, so anything political or volatile isn’t really a good idea.

You know what? I don’t know that it really matters. I’ll just throw it out there and see where it sticks. If someone comes across my blog and enjoys it, great. If they don’t ever see, that’s okay, too. And if someone else gets a chuckle over something silly I’ve said, all the better.

I’ll be over here thinking funny things for the future.

J. Thomas-Like
April 26, 2016

U is for UNSTOPPABLE!

You know what? U is for unstoppable! I wrote like a demon this weekend and the finish line is now CLEARLY visible. It’s no longer an ambiguous possibility. It’s THERE. I see that light at the end of the tunnel. And I am GOING for it!

The struggles of writing are always the same. I hesitate at the same moments. I second guess myself the whole way through. I vomit write and then give up for days or even weeks at a time. I restart over and over and over, never sure if I’ve gotten it right, even after I hit the publish button.

But you know what?

I AM UNSTOPPABLE!

I keep going. I seek counsel and encouragement from my writer friends and groups. I beat back the voice of uncertainty and listen instead to the angel on my shoulder telling me that I can do it and WILL do it.
Orphan - High Resolution
The Widow and the Orphan was conceived last fall and it will be born this spring. It might not be an all natural birth. It might require being induced. It’s definitely kicked and screamed and resisted my every effort to see it brought into the world.

But you know what?

I AM UNSTOPPABLE!

‘Scuse me. I think I need an epidural.

J. Thomas Like
August 25, 2016

T is for Titles

You know what? T is for Titles today.

I absolutely loathe having to come up with a title for my stories. I can write hundreds of thousands of words and not be able to come up with even a few that can encompass the story or hook someone. I only chose The Widow and the Rock Star because I googled it and searched it on Amazon and no one else had it. Ha! That just made it easy to come up with the other titles of the other stories of widows I wanted to tell.

But you know what?

I’m not going to write widow tales forever. I’m going to move on to other subjects, other characters, other themes. And then I’m going to be stuck in the same boat all over again. Ack! I’ve tried researching ways to come up with good titles, but I haven’t found much. People always say “Oh, it’ll come to you” or “You’ll know it, when the time comes.” Bah! That’s never happened for me!

But you know what?

I actually can come up with snappy titles. All. Day. Long. I can think of ALL THE TITLES. I have lists and lists of titles I think would make for hilarious stories and novels.

The problem is, I can’t write the stories if I come up with the title first. When I wrote Rock Star, it actually had a totally different working title. Several, in fact. It wasn’t until it was finished and under the gun that I committed to The Widow and the Rock Star.

Since I was being told that “series” sell better, I decided I would just write another story about a widow, since I didn’t have a series in mind for Rock Star. I must have come up with a zillion “The Widow and” titles, all of which would have been fun or interesting to write (and hopefully to read). The problem was, every time I started writing the story to fit the title, I would get stuck after a few chapters, or even just a few pages. I just can’t do it.

You know what? T is for Titles and titling your work can be HARD. So can writing. And now I refer you to my blog post “This Writing Shit is Hard.”

I’ll just be over here banging my head against the wall.

J. Thomas-Like
April 23, 2016