February 2018 Newsletter: Writing through fear, The Terebinth Tree Chronicles News, and More

February is here! YAY!!! That means three things:

1) Colors of Fear is officially out! *showers everyone in confetti* AWESOME.

2) WriteOnCon is just around the corner (more on that later).

3) I have to stare at the word February more than usual, which is unfortunate because I hate the word. WHY is it spelled that way? 

Ahem. Okay. Onward: 

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Book Recommendations

Batman Vol 1: I Am Gotham by Tom King - Oh my gosh. Guys. This is one of my new favorite Batman comics. It has some amazing, hard-hitting themes, cool art, beautiful writing, and my beloved Bats. I'm happy. 

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech - It's been a while since I've read this one and I honestly couldn't tell you why I suddenly thought about it. I don't even remember what it's about. I just remember liking it when I read it several years ago. So....yeah. Check it out, read it, then come remind me of the storyline. 

Wool by Hugh Howey - Hugh Howey is an incredible writer who knows how to world build and is a master of prose. This dystopian novella is mysterious, exciting, and well-worth the read. You can read my review of it here

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells - classic, thought-provoking sci-fi that everyone should read at some point.

Fractured by Rae Elliott - this indie published fantasy novel has a touch of steampunk and a whole lot of amazing characters. You can check out my review of it here


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Writing Tip of the Month: Write without fear

I'm going to tell you something. Something that I probably shouldn't be admitting out loud. Ready? Okay: 

Publishing Colors of Fear scared the hell out of me. As soon as I finished writing it, I had the horrifying thought: People won't like this story. It's too experimental, too odd, the main character is too different, the writing style too elusive. People won't understand it. 

Maybe I shouldn't publish it. 

But I was in too deep. I'd already announced the release and all I could do was move forward. 

So I published the thing and I waited. Waited for the 2-stars and the "I don't get it" comments. 

But that's not what happened. The story came out on 02/02 and, as of the publishing of this newsletter on 02/05, it has 7 reviews. All 5-stars. 

So what did I learn from this? 

That I need to trust myself. Because here's the truth: I was proud of Colors of Fear. Even when I was nervous and afraid, I was proud. I knew it was a good story. But I let my fears override that. I stopped focusing on what I knew about my writing and started worrying about what I didn't know: Other people's thoughts on the story. And that is one of the most lethal things a writer can do.

Writing is scary. It always has been and it always will be.  There will be projects that will frighten you to death. Times you're worried about what other people think. And that's when you have to ask yourself: Is this story good? You have to answer this question truthfully and all by yourself. If the answer is no, then edit. If the answer is yes, then be proud of what you've written. Don't let fear overtake you. Keep moving forward. 

And make sure that you're constantly reminding yourself of your strong points.  For example: I know I have a killer writing voice. I know my dialogue is on-point and I know my world-building and themes are always solid. Is that arrogance? No. It's simply recognizing what I do right. Because yeah, there are aspects of my writing that aren't up to snuff and those are never things I'll lose sight of. But the strong points? Those get buried beneath my fears. So I need to work extra hard to dig them up every chance I get.

The fear that overwhelms us writers? It can only be fought by moving forward and refusing to give into it. Because that fear is probably never going away. Neither is the desire to write. So that means you're going to have to fight to write through the fear. It'll be hard. But will it be worth it? Yes. 

So this month I challenge you: That project that scares you? Write it. Acknowledge what makes it good. And don't give up until you've turned it into something you're proud of. 


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Last Month

I got back into the world of formatting. Because yes, I format my short stories all on my own. There is a lot of cursing involved...which is sad and ironic considering I'm writing Christian fiction. But seriously. Why is formatting so hard? But....*does Drax impression* I won, as I win at all things! Which is why you can now find the story on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

I started a new college semester. I'm taking Microbiology, which involves looking at bacteria through fancy $1500 microscopes and learning words like Bacillus thuringiensis (which sounds fancy, but is really just the name of a bacteria that murders grub beetles. Not sure why that's important to know, but apparently it is). 

I visted an amazing local library. It's nine stories tall. NINE. And it has microfiches on the top floor. And cool books like this one: 

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Fascinating. I wish I had checked it out. I'll go back for it someday. 

The first PFW podcast launched. Phoenix Fiction writers E.B. Dawson, Kyle Robert Shultz, and I talked about the future of indie publishing in an epic podcast that can be found on Youtube, iTunes, and Soundcloud. A rotating cast of PFW members will be doing monthly podcasts with me as the host, so you don't want to miss out on that. 

This Month

Colors of Fear came out! But you already knew that (assuming you read the intro to this newsletter or the writing tip above). It's been out for three days and I've sold 25 copies. Is that good? I don't know, but I'm happy with it. Check out all the fun ways you can support the story and series by reading this post (it involves fanart, hot air balloons, and other things). 

I did a series of live stream videos and didn't die. Live streams used to frighten me, so I'm very proud of this feat. I did live stream release party videos for Colors of Fear on Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook. If you missed out on them, feel free to watch them after the fact and leave comments.

WriteOnCon is happening. The amazing online writing conference for which I am the Live Events Coordinator? Yeah. It's running from 02/09-02/11 and it is going to be EPIC. I made a video about it so you can learn all about it. This video is releasing on my Youtube channel on Wednesday, but I thought I'd give you all the first look for being my special Newsletter followers: 

Yes, I realize I look crazy in this thumbnail. One of my special talents is creating video thumbnails that make me look psychotic. At least it's entertaining. 

I'll start writing Flames of Courage. Flames of Courage is the second short story in the Terebinth Tree Chronicles and follows the story of Jayel, the halfblood that makes an appearance in Colors of Fear. I plan to release it on 04/06. Yep. Get excited. 

I'm going to the Long Beach Comic ExpoOn 02/17 to represent Constant Collectible. Anybody else going to be there? Let me know and we can meet up! 

What do you have planned for February? I'd love to hear from you! Especially if you have any cool writing projects going on. Let me know in the comment section below! Thanks for reading.