Are you slowly getting back into your normal routines? I am, kind of. Holy cow does it feel good! I am totally enjoying those things we normally take for granted, like working (I was out of work for two months and when I went back I cried I was so happy to still have a job), going out to eat, and having a drink or coffee with a friend. Which just goes to show, even an introvert like me who likes to stay home and really loves her alone-time misses the simple pleasure of being "out" and around people. I did, however, have an interesting experience doing freelance and ghostwriting work. Read more about my adventures these past months here.
I'm behind on where I want to be with book writing. My day job, which is a self-owned business, is requiring a lot of my time and energy to get back up and going. I did manage to complete book one in my new series, the Badass Demon Bounty Hunters, and it's now up for pre-order on Amazon. A little more editing and it will be ready to release, earlier than the September date I posted, I hope. Exciting!!! Wish me luck on getting book two moving along. Writing is such a wonderful escape for me and I can't wait to continue with this series, since I fell in love with Sable and Jack, the heroine and hero. And I adore all the secondary characters too, even the bad guys. Bet you will, also!
Tell me what you miss or have missed the most during this tough time and be entered to win an Amazon gift card. Visit the Survey Monkey here. Good luck! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7M2579Y
Beautiful Photo of hugging people by Helena Lopes on Unsplash
What Does a Writer Do When Her Day Job is Deemed Non-Essential? Old dog learns new tricks #lockdown#amwriting
She writes, of course, but with a different twist. I needed money and I needed it fast. After I spent a few days crying, day-drinking wine and binge-watching Netflix, I slapped myself a couple of times and said, "Girl, get your shit together. You have skills; use them." So instead of working on my awesome new fiction series like I've been doing, I did a mental adjustment, put on my freelancer hat, and got active on Upwork and Constant Content, two companies I've used on and off in the past.
To start at Upwork you take a few tests, fill out information about yourself, then scroll through the jobs that clients have listed. If you see one you like you apply for it and if the client selects you, begin a conversation via the website. Clients can also invite you to interview for jobs and you can accept or decline. You'll get an email if a client sends an invite. My experience this time around with Upwork was as positive as it's been before. I edited and added content to one fiction story, wrote another short story from scratch, did a brief online interview, and wrote three chapters of a longer book from an existing outline. I also rewrote and embellished a non-fiction article about dogs, which involved fun research. I only took on small projects as I planned to return to work at some point and I made sure the clients knew that I was short-term only.
Constant Content is looking for non-fiction articles. You set up an account with them, read through their guidelines, then write on whatever subject you like. The article may or may not get edited by staff after you upload it and if it does, make the requested changes and resubmit. Then wait. My articles on this site have been purchased immediately but some sold after months or even years. Articles will stay active forever or until you take them down. It's a good idea to noodle around the site and see what's selling and/or being requested.
This is the basic info about these two companies and there are many more details on their websites. Both websites take a bit of getting used to but are fairly easy to navigate. Both companies take a percentage of your income and I had no problem receiving payment from either.
As with any new adventure, freelance writing and ghostwriting gigs have pros and cons. One of the cons is my aching back! I'm not used to sitting for long periods and if I ever write full-time, I will be buying my little body a super-duper chair and also figure out a way to stand and write for a portion of the day. Also, I'm not used to rejection, which sucks. I know it's not personal but it often feels that way. Sending my cover letter for a job I knew I'd be perfect for and not being selected made me hit that bottle of chilled Chardonnay long before happy hour. (That's right, I like drinking wine. We all get a pass for these last few months.)
The amount of money I made writing was far less than I earn at the day job so I had to keep shushing my ego telling me I was working for peanuts because even peanuts add up over time. If I pursued freelance writing I would expect to eventually earn a higher rate as my skills developed and I could show a client I had experience. It takes time to acquire expertise. And like anything else, I know I would get faster and more proficient at finding the right jobs for me, at developing relationships with clients, and also at the writing in general, so I would write more words. Practice, practice, practice.
I'm damn proud of myself for earning a few dollars and stepping out of my comfort zone to write fiction and non-fiction that's not in my usual genre. I'm proud I hung with it and managed to focus on writing when my brain was a stressed-out mass of noodles. My daily inspirational calendars, yoga, a cool meditation app called Insight Timer and other uplifting material helped me through this tough time by reminding me that I'm strong, smart, and putting one foot in front of the other and doing my best is all I can do. I made mistakes, did dumb things and kicked myself more than once, (when you do yoga you can literally kick yourself) but in the end, I feel like my freelance/ghostwriting venture was a success.
Many working people, including myself, are still struggling to get businesses going and make ends meet. Please be kind and patient to everyone, shop at your local stores, if you can afford it tip your service workers generously, and let's get our economy functioning and up to speed again. Big thanks to all of you who buy books and support authors. You're the best!
Delightful image by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash
We need exercise, right? Why not dance our frustrations away at a Home Dance Party? Penny Sansevieri at Author Marketing Experts is having a dance party and wants you to join in. She put together an awesome playlist on Spotify so even if you don't enter the contest, check out a few tunes and get your groove on. If I have enough wine to drink, I might actually enter. Right now I'm sad and worried because my day job is gone, concerned for my friends and family who are out there working in public, and grateful for all those who keep going even though they're scared. But I'm also an eternal optimist, so I believe we'll come out of this soon.
Check out the dance party and have yourself a little fun! https://www.amarketingexpert.com/quarantine-life-home-dance-partycontest/
Dangerous Addictions is an intriguing adventure about select people who have developed superpowers and a sweet enemies-to-lovers love story. Grab your FREE e-book copy today. And if you want to binge on this trilogy while you're stuck at home, I've reduced the next book in the series, Dangerous Liars, to .99 and extended the sale for another month so nab that one now and also Dangerous Vengeance, the third book in the series. I hope you're safe and using any downtime you have to read a shit-ton of books, and if you have a job that puts you out there with the public, thank you and please stay safe. I hope you end your day with an escape to a good book. Take care!
PS Great link from the New York Times, How to Get Books When Bookstores and Libraries are closed https://nyti.ms/2wdAJwm
I don't know about you but I'm getting a slow start to the new year. Lots of Netflix binging and book reading here. Exercising and smoothie-making? Not so much. Are you having a hard time getting your butt in gear too?
My body wants to hibernate but my brain has been kicking ideas around. Would you please go to my website, scroll to the bottom of the page and answer the two quick questions about humor/comedy in books. Any comment you want to leave is much appreciated also.
Thanks so much!
Very cute bear photo by Parth Patel on Unsplash.
Not really me sleeping. But it could be.
Woo-eee! I've been running around like a crazy girl getting ready for the holidays and I suspect you have too. It feels really good to end the day with a book in bed, doesn't it? Join me at this fabulous Book Fair and stock up on .99 books to read all year long.
We’re Giving Away Amazon Gift Cards Dec 18-21!
If you're craving a great read but your wallet is down to pennies, check out this Holiday Book Fair. 99 books on sale for 99 cents each. All genres and heat levels of romance, plus mysteries, thrillers, romantic suspense, sci-fi, fantasy and more! That’s just 99 pennies for hours of awesome fiction! Be sure to scroll down to Good Season for Justice, my holiday romantic suspense novella.
Plus, check in daily to play the scavenger hunt games for your chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card. A new hunt will be posted every day of the fair.
This will be my last post of 2019. I've enjoyed sharing the year with you and I hope you take some time out during this busy season to read, relax, and do those things that make your soul happy.
Joyous Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!
Is this your family at holiday gatherings? Ha-ha, mine either. But some families don't get along too well and it turns into a big old hairy mess when you put everyone together, add alcohol and the tension that holidays bring. We're busy people anyway and when you pile more items on the to-do list, it often creates mental turmoil which equals stress. We feel like we're not doing enough, not doing it as well as the neighbors (OMG, they added another inflatable on their lawn. Quick, run to Walmart and get us one), or we're doing things we really don't want to out of obligation.
As Dillon and Lily visit his sister and niece, he remembers all the good and bad from their family's past. Trouble is, he's letting his parents' failed marriage ruin his chance at a relationship with Lily. Is Christmas a good time to work that out? While he and Lily are hunting for a bomber? Yeah, no pressure here.
HOLIDAY WISHES ROMANCE GIVEAWAY
A Sleighful of Prizes! Dec 5-25
Some of your favorite romance authors are giving you their best wishes for the holiday in a special video. To celebrate the season, we’re also giving away a grand prize package that includes a Kindle Fire, 6-months of Kindle Unlimited, and a $20 Amazon gift card. Santa even has a bag full of runners-up prizes, including gift cards and ebook prize packs.
Still want more? Check out the heart-melting (and some pantie-melting) romance reads in the Holiday Wishes All Romance Genres Book Fair, and play the Scavenger Hunt Game for your chance at a $50 Amazon gift card!
The excellent photo at the top is by Photo by King Lip on Unsplash
Now on Kindle Unlimited, book 3 in the Agents of Dart series. Good Season for Justice is a Christmas Novella and can be read as a stand-alone
If you like the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods and want to take a trip down an interesting rabbit hole, check out the Society for Creative Anachronism. Fascinating! The SCA is devoted to the research and re-creation of pre-seventeenth century skills. They take their activities seriously, like the Pennsic War, a ginormous event that will make all you festival-lovers go bat-shit crazy. I want to attend! I don't necessarily want to fight in the war, but would love to be a merchant or an entertainer. One year, maybe I'll make it there.
In my WIP, Dillon's niece Jenna wants to join with a group of guys who sword fight in the SCA, even though they don't welcome Jenna with open arms. Lily, who never puts up with crap, tells Jenna, she doesn't have to put up with their crap to get into the SCA. But Jenna wants to belong to this squad and she's no quitter so she sticks it out.
My trip down the research rabbit hole led me to two posts by women who sword-fight in the SCA. I greatly admire these women for hanging in there and overcoming obstacles to do what they enjoy. Links to their posts are below.
So, I need a name for this group of hot-shot SCA guys that Jenna wants to join. Please visit the Survey Monkey and tell me what you think.
Two excellent posts about women in the SCA
Cool image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay
I sit at my computer and look for creative ways to kill people. When you write romantic suspense, you have to. I'm waiting for that knock on my door any day now and a visit from the men in black, wanting to know why I'm so interested in pipe bombs. Good thing I have a few books published to back up my "doing it for research" claim.
Book three in my current series is coming along nicely, and yes, there is a pipe bomb involved. I learned a lot about those, the Irish Republican Army, and the Society for Creative Anachronism while writing this book. Research is fun!
If you'd like to know when my next book will be available, check out this contest and sign up for my newsletter or my BookBub page. And maybe you'll even win one of the cool prizes that are being given away. Good luck to you!
Book one in the Agents of Dart series is on sale for .99 until the end of August, so grab your copy today!
What are you doing? Pull your pants up! It's a drink recipe, silly. That's right, Shit on the Grass is the name of a shot, made with melon liqueur and Irish cream. I'm participating in a fun event, and needed a cocktail. Since Lily, the heroine in my new series cusses a lot, I came up with this in her honor. Scroll down to find the recipe.
Join me at the Online Cocktail Party Romance Giveaway, and enter to win a delightful prize or two. Thirteen Fab Prize Packs! Thirteen Chances to Win! You need to stock up on your summer reading material, right? I'm under door number 11, so check it out and good luck! Oh, and if you're not familiar with BookBub, it's a great way to get notifications when your favorite authors have a book released, and to find new authors at discount prices. Many authors at this event use BookBub, so give it a whirl.
As promised, here's the recipe. I had to test a few and ended up freezing the melon liqueur, because I couldn't find Midori, and the substitute I used was too thin to hold the shit, I mean the Irish cream, on the top. I had to test quite a few, actually. The things I do for you guys! Here's a picture of mine. Make your own, and let's have a toast to lots of summer reading. Cheers!
Shit on the Grass
• 1/2 shot Midori or Creme de Menthe
• 1/2 shot Irish Cream
In a shot glass, chill Midori or Creme de Menthe on bottom of glass and then add Irish Cream on top. You can also use Midori and Kahlua.
Very cool top photo by Praveen Gupta on Unsplash
I freaking love Etsy! I love that they support artists from all over the world, and I love the creativity of using art for everyday items. Any time I need something that can possibly be handmade, I search for it on Etsy, so I grabbed a few awesome stickers from there to add to this Romance basket. Sometimes I drink wine while I shop on Etsy. Scroll down a bit. Can you guess which stickers I bought while I sucked down that wine? Ha-ha, bet you can! I love them all and I can't wait to share with you.
What else is in the basket? Eight gift cards, 20 paperback books, a T-shirt, three mugs, five pieces of jewelry, chocolate from Ireland, a teacup and saucer, book tote, romance calendar, bath bomb, swag galore, and loads of other goodie. That’s what one lucky winner will be awarded as a grand prize. Enter now, good luck, and I hope you win!
Book Fair page with bonus giveaway. Visit here, too!
Lily is the heroine in my new series, and she's a lot like this bonsai bougainvillea plant. Short, pretty, but tough as hell.
This site contains adult content. Please do not continue if you are not 18 or older.
Psst, Chrome users, you may need to do a little tweeking to get the RSS feed to work. Great YouTube short video here. http://bit.ly/1D9Deu5
To have my blog delivered to you automatically, please enter your email below.
I would love to hear from you! Drop me a line at naomibellina AT live.com