Tag Archives: career

The Return Of What’s Up Wednesday: SoDakCon, My First Book Signing, And Giving My First Interview

Hey Guys. Long time no see.

As always, life is still crazy, but at least this time it’s been in a good way.

I may have mentioned a little event known as SoDakCon before. If I haven’t or you’ve forgotten, SoDakCon is the biggest anime/nerd convention in the black hills. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still small comparatively, but it’s growing every year. This year’s theme was Pirates versus ninjas. (Yes, the choice of capitalization was intentional.)

Having identified as a pirate for many years, I of course had to finish my cosplay. Still, there’s a long tradition among cosplayers and being new to the scene, who am I to break it? In keeping with tradition, I waited to finish my costume until the last minute. Still, I think it turned out pretty well and I got a lot of compliments on it. I was even stopped by the event photographer and asked to pose for several pictures. They haven’t been posted yet, but when they are I’ll post them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For now, here are a couple of shots Shannon took of me.

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What do you think?

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I just had to stop by the green-screen booth and have a professional picture taken.

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Check my Instagram for more of me and a few of the other amazing cosplayers who put me to shame.

So anyway, while I love going to con every year as a spectator and mingling with my kind,

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this year was somewhat special. Thanks to my friend and fellow author Adrian Ludens, I was able to set up at his table to sell some of my own books. While I can’t say I sold as many as I’d hoped I would, I did sell a lot more than I’d feared I might.

I was hoping that I’d have something professionally printed in time, but yet again, I dropped the ball so at the last minute, I had to come up with what I could. I ended up designing a cover for my short story “Blood Moon” that translated to black and white. I was shooting for something reminiscent of the old dime store novels.

I think they turned out nicely. I still have plenty of copies. If anyone is interested, I’ll be selling them on my website. www.JustinMKelly.com.

One of the most thrilling moments of the weekend was being interviewed for public radio about being a writer. I have to admit, I got tongue-tied and stumbled a bit, but I made it through even though my heart was beating like crazy.

Then of course came THE moment. The moment when I sold my first copy and got to sign my first autograph. I wish I could say I did it smoothly, but the combination of it being such a momentous occasion and the fact that I honestly hardly ever write longhand, especially in cursive anymore, made me even more awkward than normal. I actually had to stop and try to remember how to make the letters I needed. Luckily, my first sale was to a friend who didn’t mind so much.

After that, things went a lot more smoothly.

All in all, it was an amazing, if exhausting weekend.

And that’s where I think I’ll stop. I could tell you more, but if I told you about every amazing thing that happened over the weekend, this post would be a mile long and I wouldn’t finish writing it until next Wednesday.

I’ll see you all on Friday with a fresh piece of flash fiction.

As always, you can find me all these places online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

I’m even on Pinterest

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Filed under Uncategorized, What's Up Wednesday, Writing

The Importance Of Getting Started

What’s up guys?

Today, I thought I would talk a little about the importance of getting started.

But first, a little about what’s been going on with me.

As you may know if you watched my last apology video, I had a minor wound on my right leg that became infected. I didn’t think much of it and made a doctor’s appointment. By the morning of my appointment, I was feeling dizzy. When I got up on the exam table, I started seeing bright flashes. Long story short, the infection had gotten into my blood and I was nearly septic. Luckily, we managed to control the infection with antibiotics or I would have been hospitalized.

Needless to say, I haven’t gotten much writing done in the last couple of weeks, which is really starting to worry me. At the beginning of July, I’m going to New York for Thrillerfest and Pitchfest. Pitchfest is the main reason I’m going. Sandra Brannan, author of the Liv Bergen Mystery Series and the director of Pitchfest, described it to me as “speed dating with agents”. You get a few minutes to pitch your book, the agent lets you know if he’s interested, then you move on to the next one. I was really excited about going. I still am actually. But I’m also scared. I only have about two full months left and I don’t even have a completed first draft. If I have any hope of having something presentable by July, I’ve really got to start busting my ass.

And that leads me to today’s main topic. Getting started. See what I did there?

So anyway. Getting started. Now I’m not going to tell you how to get started. It’s something I haven’t even begun to master yet. I just know that getting started is the important thing.

Hopefully, since you’re watching this video, you’ve already started your path to becoming a writer. If not, DO IT! Even though I still have a huge problem with procrastination, I know that getting started is the hardest part. I will sit, staring at a page for hours, thinking of all the things I wold rather be doing. Which is funny, because writing really is my favorite thing in the world. Once I’ve finished for the day, especially if the writing was good, there’s no greater high. Sure, I’m usually exhausted and feel like I’ve just run a marathon with my brain, but the high of having created is better than any drug.

So then why, when I sit down to write, does it seem like everything in the world is more important? I have no idea. Suddenly I have a need to watch every episode of every show on Netflix. Or to clean my perpetually messy house.

The best I can come up with is that one, writing is exhausting. I never sleep better than after a long night of putting words on the page. Most people can relate to not wanting to go to the gym, even though most of us feel much better once our workout is done. Not wanting to write, no matter the benefits of having written, is exactly like not wanting to go to the gym.

Secondly, writing is daunting. It’s completely possible, and let’s face it, probable that after all the work you put in to writing a novel, nobody will want to read it. Imagine being a pregnant woman, only you’re pregnant for over a year or more. Also imagine that instead of your body doing the work fairly automatically, you have to create that baby cell by cell with your own hands. Then imagine finally giving birth to that baby, only to be told your baby is ugly. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that if an author has put his heart and soul into a manuscript and has done his absolute best to make sure it’s the best it can possibly be, it will find its market. That being said, it’s the fear that I’m wrong that paralyzes me and makes me feel like my time would be better spent binge watching something. At least then, I could maybe make some friends by talking about the things everyone else is talking about.

But something magical happens once you force yourself to get started. All those fears, all those doubts, all those worries about whether it’s any good fly right out the window and you lose yourself in the story. Even if you never show another soul what you’ve written, you’ve created something out of thin air. You’ve made magic.

Now then, I know you’re all waiting with bated breath for my advice on how to get started. I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you. The only advice I can give is to quote the immortal words of Shia LaBeouf.

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“JUST DO IT!!!!”

Seriously, that’s the best I can do. Force yourself to type that first paragraph, that first sentence, that first word. Hell, that first letter if that’s what it takes. Even if it truly is garbage. Even if you know what you’re writing is never going to make it past the first round of edits, write it. Get your fingers moving and before you know it, you’ll be making that magic only you can make.

Currently Reading

Right now I’m reading a few things. My current bathroom book is “Shada” It was originally a lost episode of Doctor Who written by Douglas Adams for my favorite of the old doctors, Tom Baker, and adapted into a novel by Gareth Roberts.

On my Kindle I’m reading “Kidnapped” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

And on my tablet I’m reading “Cycle Of The Werewolf” by Stephen King and “The Ask & The Answer” by Patrick Ness.

I don’t currently have a book on my phone, but that will probably change soon.

As always be sure to check out my website http://www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

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Filed under Career, Uncategorized, Writing

I Swear, I’m Still Alive

Let me start off by misquoting Twain and say, “The Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” I swear I’m still here. I’ve just been going through some personal issues lately and while I have been writing, (at least some, but not nearly as much as I would like) my social media efforts have been forced to take a back seat. Without going into too much detail I can tell you that while it’s not the most ideal situation, I have come to a solution so I can now get back to living my life. At least my trials and tribulations will make good story fodder. Right?

I have to admit something. Thanks to everything going on, I have broken my new year’s resolution. While I tried desperately, I haven’t written every day. Truth be told, I fell into a pit of depression over my situation and some days, it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed and go to my daily (well, nightly) job. Even when I was writing, most of it was unfit for human consumption.

Anyway, now that the worst is past, I can get back to the business at hand. I have two stories in need of editing. I’m hoping to have at least a few stories published in the next few months. As you can see, I’m back to being my usual over-optimistic self. It’s time to make this writing career a reality.

I’m afraid that’s about all I have for you today. I will ask all of you for a favor. Whatever your beliefs or lack thereof, please send good vibes my way. I could really use them right now. I promise you this, I will be back next week.

I-Am-Alive

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Filed under Career, Future, Writing

Here Comes The Guilt Again

Well friends, We’re over a month into 2015 and I’m proud to tell you, I’ve written every single day. Sure, most days I only get through a page or two, but at least it’s something.

And that’s where the guilt comes in. No matter how much I tell myself that a page or two every day is good enough, I have this nagging voice inside my head telling me that it isn’t. As much as I try to tell myself things like I’m just trying to build good habits or that I’m taking baby steps, it all has a familiar feel to it. All those things I keep telling myself feel remarkably similar to the excuses I used to tell myself back when I wasn’t writing much at all.

Part of the problem is that I’m still not exactly sure where the story I’m writing is going. I thought I had a definitive plot but it seems like page after page of people not doing much of anything other than talking. I’m really trying to train myself to finish what I’ve started, but I feel like I’m going around in circles. I’m tempted to start on something else, but I hate the thought of giving up on this one. (Yes, I realize this last paragraph has been yet another excuse.)

Still, I’m soldiering on. I am proud of myself for sticking with it and getting closer to my ultimate goal of sitting on a beach, earning twenty percent. I mean of being a successful writer. I just wish that I had started sooner. I have a feeling that a little down the road I’ll be kicking myself for not pushing myself to do more each day.

Maybe the solution is to get my page or two done on the current story as a warm up, and then switch to a new project. Perhaps some short stories are in order.

Other than that, I’m (sort of) looking forward to my birthday on Wednesday. I think I’m finally reaching that age where birthdays are something to be dreaded rather than celebrated. I just pray to god that I’m published before I’m forty.

As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter @JustinMKelly1 and on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/jmkelly60. I’m only two followers away from breaking triple digits. How about helping me out?

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I’ve Got Good News And Bad News

I know I’m a few days late with this update, but at least it’s not a few months this time like it usually is.

Like the title says, I’ve got good news and bad news. Let’s start with the good news, shall we?

The good news is this, It’s been over three weeks since I pledged to write every single day this year and so far, I have been true to that pledge. What’s more, I think it really has turned into a habit. Yesterday I came close to falling off the wagon. I realized I hadn’t written a word just before I needed to get some sleep before work. I was disappointed in myself but I tried to tell myself I would make up for it by writing twice as much today.

Although I was dog tired, the knowledge that I had failed ate at me and kept me from sleeping. Sure, I could have lied about it and nobody would have been the wiser, but I would have known. So I did the only thing I could. I got my ass out of bed, sat it down at the computer and proceeded to type. This is a big step for someone who has never been very good at following through with anything.

Now for the bad news.

This story sucks.

I mean it really, truly, SUCKS.

It still seems like a decent plot, but I’m having a hard time making it work. Each day I add to it, but I’m 34 pages in and it just doesn’t feel like the story is going anywhere. I feel like I’m spending too long on things that don’t really matter and glossing over the things that do. I feel like ninety percent of the story so far is people talking. There is nothing wrong with a dialogue heavy story, particularly for a drama, but this is supposed to be a fantasy story with lots of action. Other than the initial scene, (which I must admit is what sparked the idea to write the story in the first place,) not much has happened. It feels more like a day to day account of a person’s life. I really need to sit down and try doing a more thorough outline, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t feel like I have much passion for this particular story.

I really hate the thought of quitting in the middle of the story, but this one just feels like a dud. Maybe it just needs more time to ferment in my brain before it’s ready to spill out onto the page. I think I might step away from it for a couple of weeks and then reread what I have and see if I think it’s salvageable.  I do have a couple other ideas I’m itching to play around with.

Anyway, that’s about all from this neurotic mind. I’ll see you next week.

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Is It A Habit Yet?

I’ve heard it said that it takes two weeks to break a bad habit. I wonder if the same rule goes for creating a good one.

I’ve been writing at least a page a day for the past two weeks and a couple of days now and I don’t feel much different. Although I did consider skipping writing tonight and I couldn’t bring myself to. I just had to write, at least a little. I think it was partly not wanting to break my streak and knowing how disappointed I would be in myself if I did. At the same time though, it just felt weird not to write at least something.

I have to admit, I’m not thrilled with the story I’m writing right now. In the past, I would have chucked it and started something new. Luckily, I’ve learned doing that is no way to get anywhere. I have to push through and hope it all comes out right in the end. I’ve also learned that if I ignore these feelings of doubt, eventually it will be replaced by an abundance of confidence and I will love every word I write.

I’ve never been an outliner, but I think I may have to give at least a loose outline a try. I feel like I’m wandering all over the place. I’m forgetting some things I meant to put in that will help what comes later make sense. Then again, some things I know I want to have happen are happening too early. I really just need to sit down and organize my thoughts. As long as I’m not too rigid, it should all be okay.

That’s about all I’ve got right now. I’ll see you guys next week.

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Building The Habit

Well, friends. It’s been a week since the start of 2015.

I’m proud to tell you that I have written every single day so far. Sure, it’s only been a couple pages a day, but it’s much more than I did the week before that, or the week before that. I figure if I can write just a little each day, just get my butt in the seat and do it, sooner or later, I’ll have a respectable body of work. Talking myself into whipping out a couple pages is much easier than talking myself into spending an entire night exhausting my brain. Right now, I’m just trying to build the habit. Once it’s a habit, then I can work on making it an obsession. I promised myself one page a day, and some nights that’s all I’ve been able to produce. But other nights I’ve gotten through two or three without even realizing it. I’m already wanting to do more, but I want to wait until the habit is fully ingrained before I start pushing myself. I’m just stretching the muscle right now. I don’t want to strain it just yet.

Of course that analogy brings me to my other resolution. I’m sorry to say, I haven’t been as successful with that.

I have been trying to make better choices as far as meals go, but now that the holidays are over, I find that we still have an abundance of sweets in the house and more are still coming. It’s funny how friends and family will judge you for being fat and tell you how you need to lose weight, but when they need to get rid of sweets because they don’t want them in their house, guess who they dump them on. Yes, I know. I could just throw them out. Unfortunately I have a problem with wasting food. Combine that with my well documented absolute lack of will power, and the sweets get eaten, then I hate myself for doing it. Okay, rant over. I just hope the weather climbs above freezing once in a while so I can get out and get some exercise.

That’s about it for this week. I think I might crank out another page of two before bed. See you next week.

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I’m Not Normally a New Year’s Resolution Kind Of Person, But…

So like the title says, I don’t normally do new year’s resolutions. I generally feel like resolutions are a sure way to be depressed at the end of the year. Still, I keep making promises to myself and breaking them. Maybe having a realistic goal for the coming year will help.

First, and foremost. I WILL write every single day in 2015. This is whether I feel like it or not. Whether I’m feeling sick, or tired, or just plain don’t feel like doing it. I WILL sit down at the desk every day and force out at least a few paragraphs. I have a terrible habit of procrastinating until I have no time left to write. If Grisham could finish a novel in the courtroom during recesses, I sure as hell can do it on my schedule. I daresay I could finish at least a few thousand words during the roughly six hours a night of downtime I have at work. The bonus is, after a long night of writing, my mind is usually exhausted and I sleep the sleep of the justified. The main thing though is this. Write every single day, even on my off days, sit down at the damned computer, put on my headphones and write.

I also want to get healthier. Yes, I know everyone makes this one. In my case, however, I am not setting unrealistic goals. I am not expecting to become some Adonis that makes all the women swoon. I already have one of those at home that swoons no matter what I look like. Nor am I making some ridiculous claim like “I will run a marathon by the end of the year.” I would however like to be able to run down the block without getting winded. No friends, I just want to get healthier because I’m starting to worry about myself. I’m not even 40 yet and I already feel my body breaking down. The once nearly inexhaustible strength is gone. I creak when I stand up. Even more worrying is the ever present threat of diabetes. I want to live long enough to at least see my books become bestsellers.

Finally, and I know I make this promise to you constantly. I am going to blog more regularly. At least once a week I think. I owe that to you guys at the very least. You have all been so supportive and the very least I can do is check in once in a while to let you know how everything’s going. Once again, if you notice I haven’t posted in a while, please call me on it. I need you guys to keep me honest.

Oh, one more thing. Although I won’t be upset with myself if this one doesn’t happen. I want to be published by the end of the year. I realize I can’t control publishers or the publishing industry, but I would like to have at least a couple short stories in print. The only way I will blame myself if this doesn’t happen is if 1. I haven’t produced anything worthy of publishing, or 2. I haven’t submitted my work like crazy. That’s all I can do. The rest is up to the gods. Wish me luck.

Well that’s all for now. See you next week.

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I’m Finished!!!!!

Finally, after much procrastination, I have finished my 35 page short story.

I know this may not sound like such an accomplishment to some of you, but for someone who’s well known for getting halfway through a story and losing interest, It’s a major accomplishment. Even better, after a little polish, I think it will actually be publishable. So far my readers agree.

Of course now I’m considering expanding it into a novel. I’m going to let it sit for a while and work on another short while I consider my options. I’m just so excited. It feels like I’ve finally broken through a wall I’ve been bumping into for years.

And now that the good news is out of the way, it’s time for a mini-rant.

I want to start by saying that I’m a huge supporter of independent writers. I think the time of the big publishing houses is drawing to a close.

(If any of them are reading this, I totally didn’t mean that. Please sign me.)

Still, many of the independent writers I’ve read have made one seemingly common mistake. They assumed that since they were self-publishing, they didn’t need to have their manuscripts looked over by a professional editor.

I will say that some of the things that are like nails on a chalkboard to me probably don’t even register with most readers. Still, I think professional authors should do everything they can to make sure their work is the best it can be.

When I see a glaring error in a book, particularly pertaining to usage, it takes me right out of the story. If there are too many of them, I may even give up on it. Let me make this clear, I almost never stop reading a book once I’ve started, but if I’m constantly being jerked back out of the story I finally have to admit defeat.

Now I’m not saying this will stop me from reading independent books but it may stop me from reading a particular author.

As for me, I will hire an editor.

Okay, rant over.

As always, check out my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jmkelly60 and follow me on Twitter @JustinMKelly1. I’m also on Tumblr http://www.tumblr.com/blog/justinmkelly .

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I Am Officially A Professional Artist

Hey guys, you read that right. Since my last post, I’ve officially become a professional artist.

As you know, my current job will be ending at the end of summer and I’ve decided to try going out on my own selling my handmade copper jewelry. It’s art as far as I’m concerned. Check it out and tell me if you agree. https://www.etsy.com/shop/mythicflames #seewhatididthere?

An example of my work.

An example of my work.

Anyway, I’ve always been told that the definition of a professional is someone who makes money at what they’re doing. If that’s the case, I’m officially a professional. So far it doesn’t amount to much, but people have been buying my stuff so yes, I am making money at it.

Don’t worry. This doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. Okay, I haven’t writing as much as I would like, but starting a business takes time. Still, I have been able to carve out at least a little bit of writing time every day. I have a new (long) short story that just needs a little more polish and will be ready for submission. That is once I manage to get it part my editor (read girlfriend).

I am spending the weekend helping a friend get ready for the 2014 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This means a lot of hard work for the weekend but it will be worth it when I have a place to crash during the rally itself. It’s always a blast. I highly recommend it to anyone that likes motorcycles or the motorcycle lifestyle.

Well, I suppose I should get back to work. As always, like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @JustinMKelly1 and check me out on Tumblr

I’m not going to promise because we all know how that’s turned out in the past, but I hope to get back on track as far as weekly blogging goes.

artist

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