Tag: khajit

Bum Knees and Writer Conferences

I came to a pretty frustrating conclusion this week. Over the past month and a half I’ve been training for a half marathon on Father’s Day.

It started out pretty good – we’d do 3 miles here and there, and I was starting to get into a rhythm.

Maybe I trained too hard. Maybe I should have started out earlier. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Hell, I used to show up and run without any training.

10371557_10152096819956408_1094040853685535485_n
Back when I was SUPER-PUMPED to get going

But, as has happened so much more frequently over the past few years, the knee pain started to creep in. It started as a dull ache right in the joint, annoying but manageable.

Over the weeks it began to get worse. At thirty years old I was limping in the mornings, having trouble sleeping because of the pain.

So, something had to give.

I think the biggest turning point for me was examining why I was running in the first place. Was I the fastest? Definitely not. Even at my fastest, there were still a bunch of people finishing the race a solid half an hour before me.

Do I get a runner’s high? I don’t think so. I mean, there is usually a time in the run when I don’t feel quite as shitty, but it’s not like I feel good.

So… Fitness, I guess?

images

Yeah… there’s got to be a better way to do that.

Writer’s Conferences

I’ve been working on ways to make myself more appealing to agents lately. I’ve always wanted to get signed, though I realize that this is a bit of a conflicting subject for many writers.

Nowadays more writers are choosing to self-publish their work. That’s what I did as well, for reasons that I’ll get to shortly. So why do we do this?

Creative control.

When you sign with an agent they will do whatever it takes to get that book picked up by a publishing house. Oftentimes what that means is that the writer will need to change parts of their novel.

Some of us are a little put off by this since our novels are a bit like our children. I remember the first time I held my book in my hands. The feel of the spine in my hands, the smell of the pages – all these little details just seemed so surreal. Like how could these be my words? My words.

So yeah, I get that. But at the same time, I’d bet dollars to donuts that whoever is suggesting an edit to me knows a bit more about the market, and probably literature in general.

More royalties

This one is a bit of a catch 22. Yes, if you self-publish you get more royalties. I get about 70% of the proceeds of an ebook and 60% of a paperback, minus the printing cost. This comes out to about $1.50- $2.00 per book on the (fairly reasonable) price which I’m currently selling at.

With traditional publishing, prices can fluctuate but you generally earn less per book. But you also have the opportunity to sell a lot more books, too. It’s not just me on an Instagram account or a Facebook page, there are bookstores and publicity events and all the stuff that indie authors just can’t afford.

So I’ve weighed both options and I’ve decided that I want my next book to be published traditionally. The reaction to Far from Ordinary has been fantastic – I’ve sold more copies than I ever expected and I’m SO grateful for that.

But, looking at the demographic reports that Amazon makes for me, the majority of my sales are concentrated in Winnipeg and Calgary. Two cities where I’ve got strong connections.

Imagine how awesome it would be for my writing career if I were able to branch out into the U.S. market, or Europe.

I want to walk into a bookstore in Houston and see an M. James Murray on the shelf.

So there’s that. But also, I think that traditional publishing has always been the goal for me. So that’s what brings me back to what I was originally talking about. Full circle. It’s tough to get picked up by an agent. It involves a lot of skill and even more luck.

But I think it also involves doing something differently. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

So I’ve published an article. I wrote a book and published it. What else can I do to set myself apart from the other tens of thousands of aspiring writers out there?

The next step for me is getting myself to a writing conference. If I can get myself in front of an agent and talk about my upcoming book, Fade to Black, I think that I stand a pretty good chance of getting picked up. At the very least I’m going to become a lot more visible in the writing community.

Now, they’re not cheap – most range in the $500 USD range for a couple of days, not including hotel and food and all that minor stuff. But I don’t really care about the cost all that much. Ten years from now I won’t be talking about how expensive that trip to New York was, I’ll be talking about how I wish I had done it sooner.

That’s what really matters.

What did we learn this week?

  1. You’ve got to be a little bit crazy to be a long distance runner
  2. I have bad knees. Who’d have known?! Definitely not my surgeon, although he probably figured it out when I came back in for the fourth time
  3. I’m a Hank Moody looking for my Charlie Runkle
  4. Yes I wrote that last one for you, Col
  5. It’s much easier to write these blog posts sitting outside with a cold beer. Even if I get distracted easily

Next week it’s the RETURN OF THE KHAJIT! That’s right – my sister’s cat has a plan to kill me. And it’s now one step closer to fruition. She’s 11 pounds of stealth and death. I’m worried.

STAY TUNED.

Later days,

M

 

 

 

 

Cats are Evil. OR, Why Winter Sucks

It’s minus thirty today. Again. You can tell it’s cold because the sky is so clear. The cold air chases away the clouds and it’s invigorating. Cold and crisp.

It’s the type of day that you don’t want to do anything or go anywhere.

It’s also the type of day where my sister’s car doesn’t like to start.

“I’ll help – not a problem,” I said, even though the last time I helped her boost the SUV my jumper cables melted.

There’s only one problem, besides the obvious car-not-starting problem, I mean. I haven’t driven since last Wednesday. Since then there’s been two or three big snowfalls.

Winnipeg, amiright!

IMG_2420
This might be a problem

“No worries,” says the sister-roommate. “We’ll just kick some of the snow away and it’ll be fine.”

Now I know right now some of you are asking: Why not just shovel it out!

Well, I think that’s a tremendous idea. If you own a shovel, that it. Maybe that was an oversight on my part. Maybe.

I admit to nothing.

Really, though, there’s been no reason for me to have a shovel until RIGHT NOW. I live in an apartment so they take care of all the shoveling needs, and my little balcony never really gets snow.

Regardless, no shovel.

So we kicked away all the snow and I got to the front of the car to push it out of the spot.

“Okay, we’re going to rock it out. Got it?” I said. The sister gives me the thumbs-up from the driver’s seat of my car.

“No, Lisa. We’re rocking it. That means you SHOULDN’T step on the gas. Last thing we want is for the tires to spin.”

I start pushing the car, rueing the fact that I left my glorious white snow boots at work yesterday as I stepped into a snow pile a foot and a half deep.

But try as I might, straining with all the strength in my arms, the damned thing wouldn’t budge.

“Should I have this thing in reverse?” The sister asks.

Facepalm.

#

The cat hates me.

To give you a little bit of context, I’ve never been a cat person. To this day I’m allergic to em. My chest gets tight and I get sneezy.

But still I want this damned cat to like me.

I think she senses this.

IMG_2439.jpg
And she judges

I don’t know why it bugs me so much. I think it’s a game for her now. She’ll stare at me at a distance. If I ever get too close to her she leaps away.

Dramatically.

So you know how cats like to push things off counters, right? Well the Khajit likes to do that too. But ONLY to my things. She also likes to hang out in my closet and sit in my dressers.

But ONLY if I’m not around, of course.

IMG_2267
No, I’m not crazy. She sheds EVERYWHERE. I find the hair in all the things

It’s some sort of a game to her – psychological warfare designed to slowly make me crazy, break me down.

A war of attrition.

But there is ONE place where she seems to adore me:

The bathroom.

IMG_2339
It’s weird, I know. Just go with it. 

Sigmund Freud would have had a field day with this one. I really don’t know why she’s so obsessed with the bathroom. But she is. She paws at the door and meows until you do something about it.

And then she’s the most affectionate kitty in the world.

I think it’s another part of her psychological warfare. She’s probably constantly plotting of ways to kill me, and what better way than when I’m most vulnerable?

Or is it just her way of judging my shower-beer habit on weekends?

Nature’s deadliest predator. A seven-pound ball of soft fur and hate. The perfect killer.

She’s staring at me now. Wish me luck. If you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know why.

Blame the cat.

SO. What did we learn this week?

  1. It usually helps if the car is in the right gear. Or, at the very least, that it’s trying to move the way you’re pushing
  2. It’s best if your shower beer is Bud Light or PBR. They’re mostly water anyway
  3. Cats are cunning, intelligent creatures who WILL hold grudges for no reason
  4. It’s a lot easier to boost a car if you spent more than $9 on jumper cables
  5. If you don’t have one already, you should probably get a shovel

Until next time.

Later days,

M.