Monday, May 25, 2015

Favorite Characters Blog Hop

A wonderful Ms. Megan Reyes tagged me for this fun character blog hop like, months ago. (So sorry Meg!) All I have to do is name ten of my favorite characters from movies or T.V. shows. I'm not an avid TV watcher, but I think I can do this easily enough. (I might have to start another one with fictional novel characters at some point, but I might have to list more then 10.)

Johnny Lee Miller as Holmes in Elementary 

Adelaide Kane as Mary in Reign 

Robert Carlyle as Rumpel in Once Upon A Time.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannaster in Game of Thrones (This is NOT my favorite character when reading the books!)

Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma in Marvel's Agents of Shield.

Benedict Wong as Kublai Khan in Netflix's TV Series Marco Polo.

Bailey Chase as Branch Connally in Longmire.

Richard Armitage as John Thornton in BBC's TV drama Serial North and South. Have I ever mentioned  that I'm maybe, sort of, kinda addicted to all things BBC?

Ricky Whittle as Lincoln in The 100. This picture doesn't do Lincoln's character justice. Plus he's hot. Still waiting for the next season... I must know.

James Spader as Raymond Reddington in Blacklist. All I want to know if who's side he's really on, the bad guys, the good guys, or just Lizzie's?

See a couple trends here? Crime drama and historicals for sure, but also I have a thing for characters that have questionable loyalties and some twisted humor or witty personality.

Not sure who all has done this already as I've been out of touch with the movie. If any friends want to participate, just leave a comment with a link so I can come laugh and support.

    Monday, May 11, 2015

    On Increasing Your Freelancing Workload


    Remember last week when I mentioned that in all the struggle, a major issue was being offered additional work when I didn't have regular internet access needed to do it? Well, today I'm joining to share the internal struggle involved in not only the thought process (and freak out, in a mostly good way) that went into my decision to do so. I'll also give you a list of things to consider before you increase your freelance workload.

    How I Decided

    Up until a few weeks ago, I was plugging away as a blog writer and social media contributor for three clients. We'll call them I, C, and D. I was working about 8 hours per week at $12.50 per hour. I'd call this "helping out" wage, working just enough to help practice writing and bring in some additional funds while my husband was in school.

    Then all the craziness of the real work hit, and I realized that not only did I need to make a more substantial income but that being hidden away on deep, limited service property made everything take more time. Not to mention frustrating. I applied to local part-time work, but no one would hire me.

    Then client C offered me a part-time virtual assistant work on top of the 2 hours I was already working at a slightly lower per hour rate. A lot of the work was doable offline, so I took it on and ran into town 30 minutes or 1 hour away a couple days per week for research and emails. It sort of, kinda worked and thankfully I wasn't quite doing the full 10 hours as we eased into it.

    But client D called and said the current work wasn't enough and he also needed to gobble up as much of my time as he could get. I knew there was no way I'd be able to accommodate until we moved into town closer to my husband's work and told the client as much. Plus, working full time required a whole new level of commitment and scheduling. I asked for some time to consider and asked for his patience.

    Then came the hard questions, things every Mommy probably considers when they work. Would I be able to schedule and commit to full-time work? What would I be willing to give up in order to make sure I wasn't distracted? Would working from home make focusing hard to do? Would my children handle the transition well? Could I afford a mommy's helper through the summer? Would my children be scarred if I wasn't with them all the time? (That last one stemmed from guilt, and I had to push it aside.)

    At the end of the day, it came down to some lists and some planning. 8-5pm wasn't realistic for my family, so that meant my husband had to understand if I worked a few hours in the evening after the kiddos went to bed, or even after he did. I'd have to be better prepared, commit to house cleaning and meal prep on the weekends, and still carve out time for editing my novel manuscript and my other WIPs.

    In the end, the best decision was to take on the work. After all, we're still recovering (and paying) for my husband's school and trying to pay down debt. But most importantly, it feels wonderful to have clients request my skills and expertise.

    Things to Consider

    If you are thinking about increasing your workload, consider each of the following things.

    Time: How much time are you willing to commit? What, if any, are the time requirements for assignments? Be sure to include phone calls/emails of duties, as well as research time. If you're realistic about it, then your clients will know what to expect.

    Getting paid: Be upfront with any clients about pay. Its often an awkward situation, but its important for both of you to be on the same page. Offering invoices will help you keep track of work hours and budget by knowing what to expect when. Your clients get the added bonuses of a paper trail, work monitoring, and an easier time come tax season.

    Family Dynamics: If you have a family like me, it's really important to not only make sure everyone is on board, but to also to consider the pulls and requirements of time to care for them and your home. If you're taking on a lot more work, it may be time to divvy up some chores or ask for help from your partner. Don't be afraid to do it, and don't worry if things are a bit unsettled at first. You'll get into the swing of things. (At least, that's what I tell myself.)

    What sort of things have you considered as you take on freelancing work? Have you ever had to consider whether you need to increase your workload and what it might cost you personally? Please tell me in the comments below.


    Pppsss... check out my eBook giveaway on twitter, TONIGHT 9PM PST.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2015

    Two Necessary Traits in Writers, plus Contest Period Extended

    Hi All!

    I warned about high emotional content in this blog post, but I'll reiterate it. I don't often talk about my personal life on here, but the last month has taught me a lot that I'd like to share. Expect choking up, frowns, smiles, and probably some venting because, well, moving sucks.

    Just before April, my husband graduated from his tech school. He had high hopes for a quick job, as two big companies showered him with interest at the school job fairs and had even set up phone interviews. He convinced me to pack up everything we owned in a livestock trailer we bought so we could head out to Idaho, where both companies were located. We'd go have a quick week with my in-laws, stop by both companies and see which one offered the better job package.

    You guys, they both turned him away. Devastation, confusion, and frustration ensued.

    This lead to a frantic and massive job search in five states, and all from a 35 foot RV where our family of four, a ferocious cat, and an energetic terrier dwelt for going on 33 days. It took three weeks to find work, but the depletion of funds kept us there until the first paycheck and our previous rental's deposit came in the mail. My husband is currently commuting an hour each way.

    Now those of you that know me personally (or for longer then a few months via twitter or facebook) know that I'm a glass-half-full type person. My faith and my family keep me afloat, and years as a navy wife have made me resilient.  But this was tough. The property we're staying on is in the armpit of some Northern Idaho mountains, where the fastest internet available moves slow as molasses in a cold February. I'm not over exaggerating. Of course, it is during this limited accessibility that I'm trying to maintain our only income, and that two of my freelance clients ask if I can take on more hours. Hours I need to keep my family from floundering. Oh and did I mention that I have an agent now, one who thankfully wasn't as demanding of edits as I was making myself of work?

    Okay, venting aside. All this to say that as writers, especially cooped up and strung out amateurs (moi), we need to be completely and utterly okay with being patient and optimistic. That's really the only way to get through life, but especially in the writing industry. Without creating our own happy moments and staying busy when waiting takes forever, we'll spiral into a deep and dark place. I know, I've been there. Recently.

    If you are the praying or finger-crossing kind, please do so for our family. We look at a rental much closer to my husband's new employment place today. Less commute, more internet access, it all adds up to settling down. And then I can be online with all you wonderful, writerly friends more often.

    By the way, I'm not sure why but my book giveaway last Monday had ZERO entries. I was in complete and utter shock. So I've extended it another week. Please, please, please check out the interview, book review, and info to enter here. It's for a wonderful cause and an awesome read!