Monday, December 31, 2018

2019 Vision & Goals

It's that time again!  We're all making promises to ourselves for the upcoming year that we can only hope we'll actually end up keeping.  I have a theme that I'd like to carry through 2019: Mindfulness. More on that in a minute.  First, let's revisit my goals for 2018 and see what I actually stuck to!


This was one of my best years as a writer since it saw the first publication of one of my books through a traditional publisher.  ROAM was released by NineStar Press in October and I signed the contract for the second book in the series to be released next year.  Prior to this, my books had been self-published.  I had also set forth to complete the second book in my YA series, THE DEAD OAKS, and succeeded in getting it out into the world.  I would say that I even went beyond my own expectations by managing to get halfway through the first draft of another novel.  Overall, I'm extremely proud of what I accomplished in this area in 2018.


I began this year intending to sell more art than the previous year through my Etsy and Redbubble shops, which I did.  A design that I created of "Call Me By Your Name" sold more than any other piece of art that I've produced in my entire life.  That being said, I don't think that what I accomplished overall was quite what I'd pictured at the beginning of the year nor was I left with the feelings that I'd intended to have.  So, while I was successful in my goal on paper, it has all left me thinking differently in a way that I will delve into more as I reveal my 2019 goals.


Of course a writer would fail in this area!  Bring on the ROTFL emojis!  I was terrible at pretty much all of these goals.  Eat Healthy And Exercise: NOPE.  Learn To Relax: NOPE.  Not Push Myself So Hard: NOPE. Read At Least 20 Books: NOPE.  In fact, the only thing I did do right was go on the vacation that we had planned in advance; which I am insanely thankful for because I definitely needed to take a break and reset.  Hopefully, I'll do better this coming year to take time for my personal goals.  Now that I know I have an issue with that, I can make it a point to prioritize it.

Now that that's out of the way, here's what I'm feeling heading into 2019.  I stated that my theme is "mindfulness".  My intention with this is to have a constant reminder that I want to "act intentionally".  Everything that I put time and effort into should be of value to my overall life vision.  If it hurts it or doesn't fit it then I'm not wasting time on it.  A decluttering of the soul and mind, if you will.


A huge thing I'm looking forward to is the release of HUNTER through NineStar Press in the Spring.  My goals for this year are to finish writing the third (and final) book in the ROAM series and to write the next DEAD OAKS book.  After these, I hope to start working on a new novel.  I also have some ideas for short stories that I might release periodically throughout the year.  Two lofty goals are to attend some sort of convention (maybe...) and toy with the possibility of finding an agent.  This is a lot for one year, I know.  I hope to achieve at least two to three of these things.  Wish me luck!


NONE.  Zip.  Zilch.  Can't and won't be bothered.  Contrary to the picture above, I have no real art goals.  This doesn't mean that I won't create art.  I know myself better than that and I do have some little things that I'd like to work on.  I also have some new art interests other than just drawing that I'd like to explore but I'm viewing this area of my life as more of a "leisure" category this year that will probably morph and change quite a bit.  No need to place expectations here.

"Don't half ass two things.  Whole ass one thing."  Thanks, Parks & Recreation!  That quote has also been stuck in the back of my mind for quite a while more than I'd care to admit.  A big reason that I'm changing my attitude toward my approach with art is that I want to be able to mainly focus on my writing because that's where my passion lies!  Drawing is fun and a great way to defrag at the end of a day which is why I'm viewing it more as a hobby now. 

So, after I made this list, I realized there was no need for art goals starting out 2019.


Okay!  This area has to be more of a priority this year as I had mentioned.  I don't want to be a failure at it again. :)  I really will try to be healthier (*cringe face*) and I'll let myself have time to relax (even if I have to literally schedule it in); in conjunction, during that relaxation time, perhaps I'll actually manage to read 20 books.  A simple goal I have is to get the house organized from top to bottom; I'm sure that will take all year.

Another big goal is: Cultivate Healthy Friendships.  Some of you are great friends already and I plan on keeping you around, don't worry!  But that isn't the case for everyone in my life. . . Nor have I freed up enough time for some of you.  So, I want to focus only on the friendships that I have (and that have been seeking me out) which really add purposeful and positive value to my life.  Without getting too personal and wordy, I'll just say that my goal is to make time for the people that I think actually deserve that time.

Well, there you have it!  My 2019 vision.  Basically, I just want to write and chill and share worthwhile conversations with worthwhile people.  Hopefully that's not too hard to live up to.

Have you shared your goals for the new year?  If so, leave a link in the comments so I can check them out!

Have a Happy New Year!!

Mindfully Yours,
- Dez -

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Top 5 Favorite Reads of 2018

Continuing a new tradition!  Last year, I shared my Top 5 Favorite Reads so I wanted to do the same again this year.  To be clear, these books did not have to be published in 2018; they are just stories that I read this year.  I've included links to their Goodreads pages in case you'd like to add them to your TBR lists.  Here goes!

5.  ACE OF SQUIDS by Elliot Cooper

It's surprising that this one made my list.  Not because I didn't expect it to be good.  Elliot Cooper is a fantastic author.  But because it was a short story that came free with a newsletter signup.  Nonetheless, the concept was right up my dark alley and I enjoyed it immensely.  Definitely go take the time to sign up so you can receive a copy.  The concept is very Lovecraftian but also calls out Lovecraft's racism by featuring a POC main character.  It's also great LGBTQ Paranormal representation.

4. THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho

Let me preface this by saying that I am decidedly non-religious.  When asked, I will usually just tell people that I'm a "free thinker".  I don't tend to like books with religious overtones.  However, I think I found this one engaging because it's a period drama told in a traditional older style that you don't see often anymore.  Coelho masterfully leads you through the character's journey and keeps you anticipating what will happen next.  I liked that it was nothing that I had expected it to be nor anything like everything else that I read this year.


I am so glad that I took the time to read this one.  I feel as though there are so many different blogs and resources online with random people telling you how you should be conducting yourself as a writer and my jaded side is very much, "Oh yeah?  Who even are you to tell me what to do?  What have you written to give you such credibility?"  That may sound terrible of me but I figure if they knew what they were talking about then maybe they'd be more well-known?  Send me hate mail on this if you wish. I will own my unpopular opinion.  Conversely, I will take advice from Stephen King who obviously knows a thing or two about the business of successfully writing books!  And he does give great advice in this book, even providing examples of his work.  I highly recommend this one for all writers looking to improve their craft.

2. THE STRINGS OF MURDER by Oscar de Muriel

This book.  THIS BOOK.  Oh my.  It was so good!  It had everything that I love about gothic Victorian stories.  As you can probably guess by the title, it's a murder mystery and involves one of my favorite things: supernatural violin history.  The main characters, at times, are as clever as Sherlock Holmes but they are not the compatible duo that Holmes and Watson were.  They can't stand each other and butt heads at every turn, which makes them a brilliant pairing in the end.  I was excited to learn it's the first in a series and I'm very much looking forward to reading the rest!

1. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by Andre' Aciman

This was the first book that I read this year because I wanted to read it before I watched the film.  I love to compare/contrast movies to their books.  Obviously, both were insanely good as everyone already knows.  The book was incredibly powerful and so very well written.  I can easily see myself re-reading this multiple times.  It's such a beautifully crafted piece of literary art.  So much so, that nothing else that I read this year after it could knock it from the top spot.

So, there you go!  I hope you'll give some of these a read in 2019 or if you've already read them, I hope you liked them as much as I did.  What are your thoughts?  And, based on these, do you have any recommendations for books that I should read this coming year?

Yours With Her Nose In A Book,
- Dez -

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Julbock In Review

"The Julbock is equal parts adorable and sexy."

"Aubrey and Patrick are like the two sides of the holidays, the enthusiast and the skeptic."

While romances play a large role in the plots of my books, The Julbock is the only official Romance genre story that I've written so far (although, I am working on more).  As we head into the final few weeks of this holiday season and wrapping up our 2018 Reading Challenges, this short story provides a quick read at 26 pages.  Grab a cup of hot cocoa, find a cozy place, and dive into this magical M/M Yule hygge romance.

What You Can Expect:

  • Dapper Reporter meets Boho Witch
  • Adorable Yule Goat
  • Holiday Festival
  • Witchcraft in the Woods

Writing reviews for a living has trained Patrick Moon to internally criticize everything to the point where he rarely enjoys anything. That is until he takes on an extra assignment which whirlwinds him into the good graces of Aubrey Blackwood, a local craftsman and occult dealer. With the help of a rambunctious little goat and his - very tight knit - circle of friends, Aubrey opens Patrick's eyes to the magic of the world around him and shows him that the spirit of the holidays resides in your heart and not in your head.

As an added bonus, it contains some ROAM-related easter eggs. (Hey, wrong season!... 
Did I really just type that cheese?  *puts coal in own stocking*  I'll see myself out.)

If you've yet to read The Julbock, you can find it on Amazon (Kindle).  And if you have already read it then please consider leaving a review!  It's the best gift you can give an author.

Festively Yours,

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It's time to face your nightmares.

Soon To Be Released

HUNTER (ROAM, Book Two), coming April 2019 through NineStar Press.