Life is What Happens When You’re Making Other Plans

I’ve been dreading doing this. This is not something I’ve wanted to do. I’ve tried to find another solution, but I’ve come up empty handed.

The release of The Psychic Within is going to be delayed until October.

I’m sorry.

It’s not a decision I took lightly, but there’s no other option. The series is self published, done by my own effort and on my own dime. I’ve worked hard taking the first drafts I posted on Wattpad and transforming them into versions that I am proud enough to sell. My readers wanted them, and I wanted to deliver. It’s been a labour of love.

But it has been labour. It took work, time, money. Yes, money. Self publishing is not free. Though I am fortunate that I can do the much of the work myself (as a designer, I can do the cover and format the book), but there are things I can’t do on my own. Editing, for one.

Editing is expensive. Not surprisingly, either! It’s a lot of work, and I understand the costs involved. I value the time my editor takes to comb through my words, sorting through the madness, adding insights, focussing my efforts to make it stronger. I know that it does and should cost more than a little something to have a book edited. In fact, I  budgeted for it.

It’s just that, now, my budget has needed to be reallocated. Things in my life… have gone sideways.  (more…)

The Psychic Next Door… and the Sequels!

psychic-cover---ebookBy now you’ve probably heard my announcement of the release of the new edition of The Psychic Next Door. I’m so excited to share this new version with you! I’ve spent a lot of time refining it to make into something better, stronger, something that I can proudly offer for sale without worrying. And it’s finally come! It’s here, for sale, and I can now focus on writing other things… like the sequel, for example.

But if you’ve been following me on Wattpad, you know that the sequel, The Psychic Within hasn’t been updated in a while.

I’ll tell you why.

The Psychic Within is still being worked on, which you’ve heard before. It’s been slow going, but that was because most of my time has been dedicated to getting The Psychic Next Door ready for release (edits are a LOT of work). In addition, it was because I wasn’t writing just the one book…

…I was writing two.

Well, I am writing two. I am still currently working on them. And while most of you know that my hesitance in updating The Psychic Within is because it’s not finished, there’s something else you should know. While I’ve been working, I’ve actually made lots of changes to The Psychic Within (this is why I shouldn’t post before it’s finalized! *kicks self*) and now the older chapters are, well… out of sync. I can’t just tack on a new chapter because so much has been shifted around!

That’s where I’d love some of your help. What do you think I should do? Should I just “archive” the first draft of The Psychic Within on Wattpad, and start fresh? Or should I overwrite the current chapters with the new material, and erase the first draft entirely? Let me know in the comments on this post!

#LiveCoverDesign: My Cover Design Process

The Other SideI get a lot of questions about the covers of my books: Where’d I get them? Who made them? Where do I get the images for them?

The answer is simply… Me. I’m a designer and illustrator, so I make (almost1) every part of the cover myself. However, that answer doesn’t seem to satisfy the questioner… They seem to wish that my answer would lead to them getting one too!

Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the time to make free custom covers for everyone. I may, one day, offer my design services, but not any time soon. However, that doesn’t mean you guys are out of luck… I figure I’d help you guys out to make your own covers by sharing my process, resources, as well as some design tips.

Tips & Tweeting

After showing a friend the process I went through to design the cover for The Psychic Next Door (above), she mentioned it’d be cool if I shared the process online. I had been wanting to do a cover design tutorial for a while now, but every time I attempted it got to be very unwieldily… spanning multiple posts! Yikes!

I really wanted to do something short and simple… And what’s shorter and simpler than Twitter? The limitation of 140 characters would stop me from getting too longwinded, and it’d let me instantly answer any questions that might get sent my way. So anyway, I went for it, using the hashtag #LiveCoverDesign.

For easy reference, I’ve collected my tweets — and expanded on some points with extra notes and resources — from the session below. 🙂

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The Origin Story of Yvette Russell

If you enjoy my writing, I have something surprising to tell you: you have a lot to owe to Taylor Lautner. Sound a bit strange? Well, I can explain how that all happened, but it’s a bit of a long story.

After I graduated from college in 2009, like most college graduates, I was broke. I originally planned to move to Vancouver after graduating, but seeing as I had not a cent to my name, I needed to replenish my funds before I could even hope of making that happen. And so I did what many recent college grads did… returned to my hometown to live rent-free at my parents for a few months.

At first, it wasn’t so bad. I have a pretty good relationship with my parents, but the town is definitely on the small side. As such, it can be pretty boring, which was exacerbated by the fact that many of my friends had moved away. And to make matters worse, the few months I had planned to stay fell right in the middle of winter. If you’re not aware, my hometown is in Northern Canada (officially — we even get a tax credit for living there!), and when the winter hits, it’s not pretty. It regularly drops to -40 celsius, and when that happens everything pretty much crawls to a stop. As you might imagine, people prefer to stay indoors.

Aside from braving the bitter cold to go to work, during most of my free time I was essentially trapped indoors, with no one to see and nothing to do. But this was a problem I had faced before, and usually when I’m bored I get creative. I drew a lot, and worked on websites, but those were my usual channels of creativity, and I wanted to try something new. So when November rolled around, I was drawn into particpating in NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month, where you write a novel (or at least 50,000 words of a novel) in a 30 days. (more…)

Stop Saying Your Work Sucks

You are your own worst critic. At least, I know I am. Depending on the day, depending on my output, depending on so many tiny, fluctuating factors, my opinion on my work completely changes. I cycle through stages; one stage I’ll think my work is actually pretty okay, and that I just need to keep working; then the very next day I’ll swing to thinking my work is worst kind of shit and that I should just scrap it and do something else. It’s a thing that anyone who has created anything has experienced. Self doubt just comes with the territory of being a creator.

When I take a look at my own work, there’s always the temptation to really cut into myself. Sometimes, I just want to be honest with the world; I want to announce that I know the truth, that I get the joke, and I do, in fact, know just how much my work sucks. I see my flaws, and I want to acknowledge them so people don’t think I’m deluded or lying to myself. I know, guys! I really do! (more…)

Entitlement, and the Love of Writing

It seems insane that I’ve been a member of Wattpad for nearly four years. In that time, I’ve gone from being a nobody, to featured on the site, to having one of my stories reach an incredible 3 million reads. I am thankful for all of it, and never cease to be amazed at my fortune… and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg! Lots of things have changed for me, both on and off Wattpad.

But some things haven’t.

When I first came across Wattpad (which is a story for another time), the first thing that struck me about the site were the fans. Of course, at this point, I had no fans of my own; I was merely looking around and reading some of the most popular works on the site, just to get a taste. And the thing that stood out the most to me were the comments left by said fans…

“Please update!”

“Update soon! I might literally die if I have to wait too long!”

“I love this! I can’t wait for your update.”

“When are you going to update? I hope it’s soon! :)”

For someone who was looking into sharing their work, this seemed incredible. The passion and love that these people had for the stories they were reading was heartening… even if it was often Justin-Bieber-as-a-werewolf fan-fiction (hey, you do you). These comments gave me the kick in the pants to start posting my own work.

Of course, those weren’t the only kinds comments I saw. I also saw critiques, general gushing, theorizing on the plot, swooning over characters. But there was one kind of comment that I noticed were different from the rest. There was something about its tone that made my skin crawl…

“Where’s the update? Have you died? It’s been way too long! Why would you write this just to leave me hanging? This is the worst! If you don’t update by tomorrow I am never reading this story ever again. [AUTHOR] should be ASHAMED!”

If you’re an author on Wattpad (or any other publishing site), then I’m sure you recognize this kind of comment.

(more…)

Welcome to my new site!

So, surprise! Using my always impressive procrastination skills to dodge writing NaNoWriMo for a bit, I’ve finally launched a new site.

It is, at the moment, unfinished in many aspects, but I have great plans for this. Firstly, I plan to expand upon it over the next few months as I make an actual attempt at selling my books. But don’t fear! This won’t be some hollow vector for me to distribute my work; I intend for this place to also become my regular blog, and a place of experimentation. Think short stories, and perhaps some more of my illustrative work. Graphic novels, even?

Anyway, this is more of a informal hello rather than a booming grand opening, so forgive the broken bits for now. It’ll be shiny soon enough.

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