Friday, December 2, 2022

Feeling Fragile

I'm tired of being fragile.

And when, pray tell, did this happen? One day I'm a hellion carving my way through the world, the next, I'm this ephemeral... thing.

And just how did this happen? Is it a function of aging, compounded by letting go of my day job and relying on Social Security to pay my way? Or is it the breaking down of my body compounded by my shitty diet and lack of exercise these days? Thank God for the healthy smoothie packed with fifty fruits and vegetables I consume daily.

I'm trying to do better. I am, I promise. But the truth is, I'm fragile, y'all. And it ain't a laughing matter. 

As I free write, I seem to be reverting to my native Southern. I'll likely leave it here. I hope you don't mind.

As usual, today I woke early and had my shot of cacao, followed by my tall cup of White Peony Tea, while checking my KDP dashboard to see if the ads I'm paying for are bringing in sales. Then, perusing social media, there's a tickler message on Facebook about two books I keep forgetting to mail. Dang.

So, rather than dressing right away for the library, I trudged downstairs and looked at/around/into every box in the basement, trying to locate the large box of envelopes I special ordered from Uline to mail my signed books to readers. Y'all, we have a lot of boxes. But these two books need to go out, don'tcha know. I found nada. The envelopes refused to be found, and I'm wondering if they made it here from Idaho.

So, now I'm frustrated. Plus, there's a weather alert beeping on my phone (they're like amber alerts, y'all, and my first EVER!). A snowsquall's coming.

Huh. Really? It's sunny and beautiful outside, so I decide it'll likely pass us by, and I'm about to change for the library where I plan to write, and SHIT!!! There's that freaking snowsquall! A minute earlier, the sun was shining. Literally

I wished I'd taken a picture. For ten minutes, maybe longer, the wind howled, howled, I tell you. HOWLED. And it was white outside. Not solid white. That would be crazy scary. But sideways white—fine ice crystals mixed with snow, blowing and blowing and blowing—white air blowing twenty-five miles per hour. Then it petered out and stopped. Then, the sun came back out. But my plans to go to the library didn't.

See, y'all. I told ya I'm fragile. And it ain't no laughing matter. It's keeping me from writing. From living. From having a life.

Oh, poor baby. People would kill to have your life. Sitting at home day after day watching movies and eating ham sandwiches and watching tv and drinking Coca-Cola and Perrier and loving on Rambo.

Most days, the only exercise I get is letting the dogs and cat out and in, out and in. Oh. And trekking to the bathroom and back. And the kitchen, 'cause Lord knows I need to keep pushing food and drink into my mouth. Why is that, y'all? Why? Why?

Because it's comforting, baby. And when you're fragile, comfort is the thing you seek.

Just ask me. I know. I'm fragile.

That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O. J. Barré.

P. S. With any luck at all, I'll toughen up. But wait. Why? After sixty-five years of kicking and screaming and bucking the odds, did I not earn the right to be fragile?

P.P.S. David at Davissa Ranch (Northeast of Cheyenne) caught the snowsquall on film and posted the video to Instagram.

P.P.S.S. Check out this really cool inspirational website I found called "I'm Fragile."

P.P.P.S.S. Ooo, when I entered the labels for this post, "I'm Tore Down" popped up. Yeah. That fits too. And here's my old flame Calvin B. Streets performing Tore Down.

O. J. Barré is the author of the Awen Trilogy, a fun, fast, and epic urban fantasy set in 2042 Atlanta. Steeped in current, ancient, and future history twists, Book One, Awen Rising, debuted July 2019. Book Two, Awen Storm, released May 2020. Book Three, Awen Tide, will release in late 2022 or early 2023. All are (or will be) available in both paperback and ebook, and the hardback versions will be available soon.

Free For Subscribers

O. J.'s Awen Prequel novelette, The Druids of Marduk, Part I, is also available as an ebook - for purchase on Amazon (or free by signing up for her newsletter). The second installment, The Druids of Marduk, Part II: UnderEarth, is an ebook novella on Amazon. Part III: AboveEarth, is scheduled for a 2022 release.




Friday, November 11, 2022

November News - Words, Snow, Review, & a $300 Gift Card

It is getting colder in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but my writing has heated up. So far, during the month of November, I've added 12,000 words (representing several chapters) to Awen Tide, bringing it to 90K out of what will end up being around 120K. Or so.

Then, last Friday, November 6, we had our first significant snowfall of the year, getting 6 inches in 6 hours. The next day, the winds screamed in and blew it all away. Or mostly. But it sure was pretty while it lasted.

I also read a book. That might sound funny, but I rarely indulge my fiction fetish because I'm supposed to be either writing, researching, or chilling out watching streaming services. But while doing category research for Awen Rising ads on Amazon, I ran across Leigh Bardugo's Ninth House and, after reading the blurb, had to buy the darn thing. Then it took me a whole month to finish it, but dang, what a ride!

I was struck by Ms. Bardugo's writing style, which is very much like mine. Here is the review I left on Amazon, Book Bub, and Goodreads:


And in case that's too small to read, here it is:
"While researching comps for my Urban Fantasy books, I read the blurb for each of the top 50 in my categories to ascertain similarities. Out of these, the one description that reeled me in was Leigh Bardugo's Ninth House. As a Gilmore Girls fan, I was intrigued by the references to [Yale's] Skull and Bones. Ninth House is all over that... and the other societies as well.

In the beginning, I was a bit confused with the non-linear POV changes between Alex and Darlington... and with the occasional inclusion of a page from Lethe House's manual. But Bardugo's easy, loping writing style kept me reading. Like Alex, I got caught up in drugs and that lifestyle as a teen. And though I was lucky enough to avoid any fatal consequences, I could totally relate to her and loved her as the main character. She is flawed, imperfect, stubborn, persevering, determined, and a total badass with heart and common sense.

I also appreciated the third-person POV, the fabulous insights into New Haven, Yale, and the societies, the moral dilemmas, the slow friendship between Pammie and Alex, the flashbacks, the twisted ending, and the setup for Book 2. Kudos, Ms. Bardugo!"

So, if you enjoy my books, and I'm guessing that if you're here, you do, you'll likely enjoy Leigh Bardugo's Ninth House. By the way, I haven't yet read her other books, but I'll soon plunge into Shadow and Bones on Netflix, the adaptation of her Grishaverse novels, and if I like that, will probably be buying those books as well.

OH, I almost forgot. If you would like to find new Fantasy and Sci-Fi authors to read and follow, you can do that while entering to win a $300 Amazon Gift Card AND support me at the same time. Here's the contest info. Just click to enter.

Click Here to Enter to Win a $300 Amazon Gift Card

I am looking forward to the next twenty days of November. Why? I will finish writing the first partially-edited draft of Awen Tide, and that's a big deal for me. Plus, for the first time ever as an author, I have a booth at a craft fair. It'll be in downtown Cheyenne on November 26th - the day after Black Friday - and I'll be selling and signing paperbacks. If you live in the area, please stop by. I hope to connect with many new readers.

How is your November shaping up?

UNTIL NEXT TIME!

That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O. J. Barré

O. J. Barré is the author of the Awen Trilogy, a fun, fast, and epic urban fantasy set in 2042 Atlanta. Steeped in current, ancient, and future history twists, Book One, Awen Rising, debuted July 2019. Book Two, Awen Storm, released May 2020. Book Three, Awen Tide, will release in late 2022 or early 2023. All are (or will be) available in both paperback and ebook, and the hardback versions will be available soon.

Free For Subscribers

O. J.'s Awen Prequel novelette, The Druids of Marduk, Part I, is also available as an ebook - for purchase on Amazon (or free by signing up for her newsletter). The second installment, The Druids of Marduk, Part II: UnderEarth, is an ebook novella on Amazon. Part III: AboveEarth, is scheduled for a 2022 release.




Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Wild Wyoming & Online Fantasy/Sci Book Fair

Hopefully, you’ve had a fantastic summer. And now that we’re coasting into the colorful Fall Season, temperatures are cooler in much of the Northern Hemisphere, including my new home in Cheyenne, Wyoming.


First, let me tell you about C. L. Cannon’s (Online) Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fall Book Fair. It is in full swing, and there are over 150 Sci-Fi and Fantasy books listed. Some are free to buy, some are available at reduced prices (such as $.99!), and many, like Awen Rising, can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited. (Did you know it only costs $9.99 a month - less than the price of some ebooks?!)

While you're browsing the Book Fair, make sure to register for the prize - a Kindle Fire, a 1-month Owlcrate gift subscription, and a $10 Starbucks gift card!

If you’re in the market for great new books (and as readers, aren't we always?), click here to shop at the Book Fair. A few are featured at the top but keep scrolling. Some of the juiciest nuggets will be found lower down!

Rambo - Contemplating the Day
This past spring, when my sister informed me of her decision to move to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to be near her grandbabies, I was thrilled for her. And since I was beyond ready to get out of Idaho, I chose to move too. Yes, it was hard to leave my Idaho friends and patients, but I never thrived in Idaho.

Somewhere in the middle of the moving insanity - packing, yard sales, goodbye lunches, and more packing, all while still working - I lost three pounds, and Rambo lost two! My 24-pound cat needed to lose weight. Me? Not so much. But it’s all good.

Thankfully, it's been much cooler in Cheyenne than in Nampa. Now fall is here, and our temps are dropping. We had rain yesterday with a high of 61, and today will be similar. Tomorrow, the warmth will return for a bit. 

Glen Dome, Vedauwoo, WY
A huge side benefit of moving? For the first time in six years, I am beginning to feel like myself again.

Two weekends ago, I took a short class on developing intuition through art and photos, mainly to meet like-minded people in my new town. Mission accomplished. There were only three of us, but we gave each other goosebumps via eerily accurate drawings and messages and then agreed to continue meeting monthly.

I also attended a fabulous, life-affirming 2-day Vocal Empowerment for Women retreat this past weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado - a fun city only 45 minutes south of Cheyenne and an hour north of Denver. After hearing an NPR segment about it this past summer, I've been itching to experience vocal freedom, not only as a woman but as a writer.

If you're interested in hearing more about it, let me know. I'll be happy to share my experience in the next blog. In the meantime, I can post about it on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. And who knows, maybe I'll dust off my LinkedIn account.

Me, Michelle, Havilah, & Donovan
We also made it to Vedauwoo. And the Greek Festival at Frontier Park. None of this would have happened had I stayed in Idaho.

Oh, I almost forgot about the Laramie County Library! It is in downtown Cheyenne, has a café with yummy food on the first floor, and the third floor is – yep, you guessed it – a SILENT FLOOR! Nampa had an amazing library, but it was too noisy to write unless I scored a private room. Plus, there are nearby coffee shops and restaurants - all within a 10-15 minute drive from my home.

Greek Dancers

I have missed having varied places to write, and my productivity has suffered from it. In addition to the above spots, our new townhome has a partially-finished basement. I have my desk set up with a new, comfy office chair and am writing this newsletter down here. Even before Covid, I was stuck writing in one spot in our home in Idaho - my semi-comfortable chair in my bedroom!

Now, hopefully, all these new writing venues, classes, getting out in nature, and making new friends will translate into many, many more completed manuscripts, beginning with AWEN TIDE!


HEY, what a great segue! The third book in the Awen Trilogy, Awen Tide, is about 75% complete, and boy, is it a doozy. I am stumbling along, but the motion is forward, and I plan to kick it into high gear once the women’s retreat is over. The manuscript will likely be available for beta readers in a couple of months. If you would like to beta-read this trilogy finale, please let me know.*

*Beta reading entails reading the lightly edited, mostly-finished version of the unpublished manuscript and providing feedback. My betas usually get a free copy of the book once it’s published, so you will also get the end product. Just reply to this newsletter, and I’ll add you to the beta-reader list.

And in case you missed it, Awen Rising received a fabulous review from Kirkus Reviews! You can read about it here!

That's all, folks!

May this Fall season be a time of giving thanks as well as a time of going within and letting go of all that no longer serves you and/or anything that is keeping you stuck.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, Olivia/O. J. Barré

That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O. J. Barré

O. J. Barré is the author of the Awen Trilogy, a fun, fast, and epic urban fantasy set in 2042 Atlanta. Steeped in current, ancient, and future history twists, Book One, Awen Rising, debuted July 2019. Book Two, Awen Storm, released May 2020. Book Three, Awen Tide, will release in late 2022 or early 2023. All are (or will be) available in both paperback and ebook, and the hardback versions will be available soon.

Free For Subscribers

O. J.'s Awen Prequel novelette, The Druids of Marduk, Part I, is also available as an ebook - for purchase on Amazon (or free by signing up for her newsletter). The second installment, The Druids of Marduk, Part II: UnderEarth, is an ebook novella on Amazon. Part III: AboveEarth, is scheduled for a 2022 release.





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...