Category: Personal

Personal Life

It’s 2018? Holy Crap, Life Got in the Way.

Happy New Year! It’s 2018, and I’ll turn forty in a few weeks.

Some of my peers have enjoyed major leaps forward in their career, or their family, during the past year or two. I don’t feel as if much has changed for me. That’s a frustrating feeling. When I look back at what I accomplished in a year, it doesn’t seem like enough. I finished the final draft of Book 1, and I’m halfway through finalizing Book 2. I also began writing Book 6. I’m on track to finish my enormous epic series this year or next.

But where’s my audience? Shouldn’t I be building my readership? How do I expect to compete with the millions of other SFF authors who are busy promoting and cross-promoting?

Yeah. That’s what I need to work on.

If you are one of my readers, please understand how grateful I am. My blog posts sometimes veer into naked angst, as I’m on the journey to becoming an “authorpreneur,” or self-made author. My heroes are Scott Sigler, Hugh Howey, Andy Weir, Drew Hayes, Michael J. Sullivan, and a bunch of other self-made authors who built an underground following and made it into the mainstream. I want a career like theirs. I write epic sci-fi and fantasy, and I’m confident that I’ve got something original and unique, and, well, exceptionally good. But proving that is different from doing it. There’s writing books, and then there’s selling books, and those two endeavors are not the same.

Before I publish Book 1, I need to send out ARCs (advanced reader copies), and ask for reviews and endorsements. I need to firm up my launch plan and set a date. I need a good cover artist, and I need to find a good audiobook narrator. I want to hire a virtual assistant to help me with ads and promo and newsletter activities. I’m afraid of blowing a lot of money on the launch, only to have the whole series fizzle and die along with my author career. This launch will be the culmination of decades of hard work, for me. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime risk. I’ll publish other series, but I doubt I’ll ever put this much effort and stress into one again.

You can help by asking for a copy of the first book of my series. It has an ending, so even if you’re not a series reader, you’ll still get a kick out of it, especially if you have any interest in exploring crowd psychology through a SFF lens. I’ll be happy to send you a free e-book version, in exchange for an honest review when I hit the “publish” button.

Here’s a few highlights from my past year:

  • I enjoyed a vacation in South Korea, right when all those nuclear threats were flying around.
  • I visited New Orleans for the first time, during the French Quarter Festival.
  • I made a few dollars worth of passive income, through RedBubble, 3DExport, and TurboSquid. I only have a few illustrations and 3D art assets for sale, so it’s cool whenever someone buys one, because I know they’re a random browser who doesn’t know who I am.
  • I’m very proud of the short story I have published in the Futuristica sci-fi anthology. This is one of my best.
  • I got into trading cryptocurrencies, and it looks like I may make a few extra hundred or thousand dollars, although nothing is guaranteed in the crypto underworld. It’s a lot more exciting than investing in stocks, since it’s so volatile, with so much mystique.

And a few things upcoming in 2018:

  • I’ll have an article published by Writer’s Digest.
  • I’m going to get a Lasik consultation. Since my eyesight is -10, I probably won’t be eligible for the surgery, but I’m curious about new alternatives, such as lens implants.
  • My travel plans include the Cayman Islands, thanks to the awesome company where I work.
  • And I’m likely going to take a trip Europe later this year, possibly to Scotland, or to Austria.
  • I’m still co-hosting the Stories for Nerds podcast, but I’m considering attempting something strange and new on Twitch.tv.
  • I will try my best not to let being forty years old and single get me down. Treasure what you have.

Maximus Post-Mortem

I had some great times and lived a lot of life in my 2000 Nissan Maxima.

There was that road trip through New Mexico in 2010 with my friends Amy and Brian, when we visited George R.R. Martin at his home office, and explored Taos and White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns.

And that 2009 road trip around Texas, from Austin to Corpus Christie to Houston and back, with my friend Kendra. We got pulled over late at night, and the cop seemed to think we must be Thelma and Lois.

And that 2008 road trip down Route 66, from Los Angeles to St. Louis, with my friend Valerie, when we hiked through the Painted Desert and stopped at ghost towns.

That Maxima took me to the Grand Canyon with Tom, and to San Francisco with Kate, and to the Sequoia Forest with Sarah, and to San Diego Comic Con several times, and through Joshua Tree forest, and along the Pacific Coast Highway, and many dozens of times through Topanga Canyon and Angeles Forest and Newport Beach.

I used that Maxima to commute to my first job in the video-game industry, at Paradox Development in Moorpark. If the 118 freeway was clogged, I used an alternate route that wound through orange groves and then up a steep switchback mountain pass, where I’d sometimes get stuck behind a slow-moving truck from the nearby mine.

That Maxima took me to clubs and movies in Burbank and Hollywood. I have so many memories of cruising in it down Sunset Blvd. or Mulholland Dr. or Fairfax, or visiting the Getty Museum, or Pasadena, or Santa Monica. So many memories of traffic on the Hollywood Freeway and the 5. There was that one nightmarish 7 hour long jam when the 5 freeway shut down when the Hollywood Bowl was letting out, and cars had to back off the freeway on ramps, one by one, to get out of the gridlock.

At some point in its life, the Maxima acquired the name Maximus. I drove Maximus from Springfield, Missouri to Austin, Texas. Maximus took me from Austin to San Antonio dozens of times, and also to Houston and Dallas and San Marcos and Corpus Christie.

After that crazy road trip through Chaco Canyon, where I drove 17 miles down a washboard dirt road with cattle and dust in the way, Maximus needed his first major repair. It was a catalytic converter, I think, and the suspension and muffler needed to be replaced.

Then Maximus needed CV axles replaced. The battery died, and then the alternator, late at night. Huge thanks to my friend Mike for fixing that. The tires began to go flat on a regular basis. I got a flat tire driving home from a New Year’s Eve party in 2015, which was fun with the fireworks going off everywhere.

I kept putting off buying a new car, because other things in life were so much more important and immediate. My career and my relationships needed attention. Maximus seemed fine after each repair, and I figured that I would know when Maximus stopped being reliable. He only had 135,000 miles on him. Surely he could go until 200,000. Heck, I have two different friends who drive Fords (an Expedition and an old pickup truck) with more than 250,000 miles on them.

Well, towards the end of 2016, I realized that I could no longer trust Maximus to keep going without a lot of major repair work. He might only be at 145,000 miles, but he was old, manufactured before the turn of the millennium. I’d rented cheap economic Versas that felt more spry than him, and they had modern bells and whistles, such as USB connections and Bluetooth. Maximus used to be a powerful, fast car. Now he’s slow to roll and slow to stop. When I took him to the local dealership for yet another repair, they gave me a list of recommended fixes that looked expensive enough to buy a younger car, and I knew it was time to send Maximus on to his final stages of life. I don’t know where’ll end up. But he’s gone now, sitting in a dealership lot, probably ready to be auctioned off or sold to someone in need.

Maximus the Maxima was a good car. I think he should have lasted longer, but I’m very glad to be driving something from this decade.

Maximus the Maxima

Maximus the Maxima

My Blog is Special

I’m not the sort of person who overshares about my mundane life. I have a day job that I enjoy, I have wonderful friends, I have a love life, I come from a family, I used to own dogs, and I’m fully aware that all that stuff is irrelevant to a complete stranger. Sure, I could spice it up and make it all fascinating (I am a writer), but then truly personal details would slip into my posts, and I’m not comfortable with that.

At least not on social media.

This blog is my corner of the internet, so here I’ll take risks and touch on touchy topics. I solemnly vow that my blog posts (and my newsletter) will always contains substance and depth. If you just want my version of sarcastic quips and fun media, then follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

Also, I’m not here to shout into the aether. I want discourse. I want interaction. The more comments I get, the more I’ll blog about worthwhile subjects.

Thank you for reading.

The Time Has Come

Thanks to developer Adam Thompson of First Earth Game, my website was converted from a hacked-together HTML framework to a professional-grade WordPress site, hosted on Digital Ocean. Artwork is by the ridiculously talented Byzwa Dher. I did the visual design. I’m so excited about this change!

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© 2018 Abby Goldsmith