A year ago I was sitting in my bedroom drinking a cup of hot chocolate, questioning my purpose as a writer, while writing a repetitive “I’m going to change my life” post to ring in the new year.
I can remember it as if it were yesterday. It sure feels like it was. 2018 flew by, just as 2017 did. Without a doubt 2018 was a weird year. It was a year of big changes, both good and bad. A year that has brought reinvention, new experiences, and a whole lot of happiness.
In January I started my second semester of college. In February I grappled with writing lots of papers and keeping up with my job at the time. In March I finished my second novel, and started a new job. In April I started my third book and worked on editing the second.
By early May my second book came out from Southern Owl Publications. During May I took a break from writing to focus on family. In the first few days of June, my grandmother lost her two year battle with cancer. During June I spent time coping with her loss with a combo of writing, work, and spending time with family.
Come July, the fam and I headed to Orlando where we spent time at Universal Studios. By August I made the decision to change majors – best decision I ever made. In September I finished my third book and sent it off to the publisher. October brought the publication of an anthology I was part of with a group of fellow authors. November I spent going to events and preparing for the publication of my third book. And December has been the best of all. My third book came out from Southern Owl. I passed all my classes with my major change as I had hoped I would. I spent precious time with family and reflected on the most important things in my life.
I can’t complain because this year has been one to remember. I think it’s important to explain what you’ve learned over the course of a year. The main thing I took from this year is that you get what you want from life by making it happen. If you want to be happy then you have to find the things that make you happy and run with them.
I know some people say making goals for the new year is dumb because it’s something everyone does, but what can I say. What is the purpose of life without goals? Whether someone chooses to state them or not is their own choice. I have mixed feelings but this year I’m choosing to go into the year silent but stronger than ever.
In 2018 my major goals were to be happy and to stay successful in my writing goals. Yes, goals within goals.
In my way I succeeded in accomplishing my goals. But with accomplishment comes the building of more goals. We are always striving to do better, to be better, but sometimes it’s best to strive to be your happiest.
All I can say for 2019 is that in six months I will thank myself for the decisions I made in 2018.
I wish everyone a healthy and happy new year. To 2019 – For it can only get better from here.
By the words of acclaimed poet, Walt Whitman, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”.
Below are some of my favorite pictures from 2018 –
Sara in a rare photogenic moment . . .
Spending time at Universal Studios. Big fan of all things Jurassic Park and Harry Potter so it was nice to see those worlds brought to life.
Busy week taking in the sights, going on rides, and maneuvering through the crowds but such a fun trip!
I look soooooo terrified.
First time having a signing at Barnes and Noble. Evansville store is now carrying my paperbacks!
Loved setting up at the Evansville Extension Homemakers Craft Show for my second year.
She’s needy and stuck to me 24/7 but moments like this one are precious.
Got to spend the day with an awesome group of authors at the Christmas Gift and Hobby Show in Indianapolis!
My display at the Christmas Gift and Hobby Show.
A great evening spent with my pooch, watching Christmas movies.
Spent the month of December puppy sitting Eloise.
By far one of my favorite pictures from 2018. It was a nice way to end the year, but I’m ready for all the new adventures 2019 is going to bring.
Since her childhood, Ingrid has been in love with thriller, mysteries, and horror. She grew from reading Nancy Drew and Francine Pascal to reading Brandon Massey, Michael Romkey, and Tananarive Due. It was after watching A Nightmare on Elm Street that inspired her into writing her own stories. In addition to her love of writing, she is the founder of 1287 Pictures, a production company that will produce horror and thriller films.
Ingrid currently resides in Northern California, and is looking forward to thrilling, and scaring you with more to come…
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
In 6th Grade when I wrote my first soap opera. It was something for fun to have my friend’s read during recess. It was solidified the same year when I wrote a book of poetry for an art project and it won an award.
How long does it take you to write a book?
For my novella it took three months.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Mainly at night, sometimes between 2-4 hours per night.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like building dialogue where physical altercations follow afterwards. 1980s’ Dynasty was excellent in that regard.
How do your books get published?
My debut novella HaUNTED is published independently through Southern Owl Publications.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Research for medical and police based dialogue, the news and scenarios that I concoct in my head.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
10 years old.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love watching horror movies. Cam and Pooka are on my watch list as a must see. Collecting vinyl, music is such a vital part of my life. Baking, hiking, playing really bad pool, collecting and reading graphic novels and comic books.
What does your family think of your writing?
When my mother threw away my soap operas when I was younger I did bother to share with her anymore. Fast forward to 2018 and she asked if she could read HaUNTED and she really liked it. My niece enjoyed the book as well, along with my boyfriend who promotes it every chance he gets.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I can be as descriptive and intense as I want.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
HaUNTED is my first and my favorite, naturally.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Be yourself. Create characters and stories of your choosing. Every writers approach to drafting the story will be different. Some like to outline, others may work on the characters essence. Dedicate to write even if it is an hour a day. Make your area where you write a haven that you want to come to until the book is completed.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Sometimes, most post their reviews online. One reader said they really enjoyed the story and did not put the book down until finished. Others want a sequel.
Do you like to create books for adults?
Yes. The subject matter in my books are adult themed.
What do you think makes a good story?
The plot, tone, characters, and the overall universe the story is in.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Become an actor, which I did.
Any books in the works?
Yes. It will be the second book to HaUNTED. Not necessarily a sequel however, it introduces a character that is mentioned in HaUNTED.
What are your plans for the future?
Staying focused on the present, one day at a time, as I have a lot planned.
HaUNTED: A Novella
You never know who you can trust…
Camille Isaacs has all that Hollywood devours – likability, looks, talent, and mass appeal. Her career is on the verge of stardom until a savage attack leaves Camille scarred and uncertain of her future in Hollywood. Now on the mend and getting her life and career back on track, Camille finds herself prey to a predator as she is faced with another demented attacker. Camille has a choice to make. Take her life back, or succumb to the perils that have been thrust in front of her yet again. Is the attacker coming for revenge, or is it a copycat? It’s survival of the direst circumstance. Can she make it out a second time?
Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/HaUNTED-Ingrid-St-John/dp/1980873178/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Amazon Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/HaUNTED-Ingrid-St-John-ebook/dp/B07C7HBT4K/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Please visit Ingrid’s pages:
I write this as I sit here waiting for my last final exam. I survived. Successfully I should say.
This semester has been a whirlwind, going to events/juggling this whole author thing along with studying and working all the time. I’m not beat because I’ve been through much worse but it’s nice to say that I am motivated.
Guess it’s weird to say that I’m prepared and ready to tackle next semester with all that life is going to throw at me. Yes, Christmas break is going to be a nice refresher but I’m ready to get to work. Odd I know, I just finished finals.
Though if I’ve learned anything over the course of the near two years I’ve been in college it’s failure is an option. Failure is real and it can be a very daunting thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Same with saying “next time I’ll do better”, if next time isn’t now then when does next time come, because next time sure doesn’t come next time. I know what a real tongue twister.
Anyway what I’ve learned as a college kid and as a young author is that you have to hold yourself accountable for your life. You are responsible for taking away your option of failing. Instead of eliminating the I cants you are not acknowledging them, you just do what must be done. It’s learning to live without the limitations of your fear.
I’ve had other students say to me “oh you are always so put together and organized”. I will be the first person to admit I am highly unorganized and naturally I’m a mess 24/7. But do you know what the difference is? I try to do better. I don’t accept my failures, instead I continue to do better.
Whether you believe it or not, failure provides a new opportunity to grow. It’s called making good out of ugly. It’s true with taking finals in college, shit happens and there’s a lot of times we don’t want to get up after a failure. But what can I say, we do. Every single time.
As some people tend to detest positivity, they may not like what I’m saying here and that’s fine. But, in the aftermath of this finals week, whether good or horrendous, us students and others should take away a few things.
We now have a new opportunity to do better and we will be fools if we choose to waste it. Yes college kids, get your head out of the gutter.
As one of my all time favorite quotes goes – “We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde
Yesterday I celebrated a big milestone in my career as an author – one year of being published.
It’s hard to grasp that it’s been that long. Yes, one year and soon to be three books later. I look back and think what a hell of a year it has been. At the beginning of last year this was all only a dream.
Over the course of this year I have gained a mass of new friends and have garnered more support than I ever could have imagined. It has not been without personal struggle but through hard work, I have accomplished so so much.
I know how important it is to thank those who have supported me along this journey. I could not have accomplished all this without the positive words of those around.
I want to to say thank you. For every call and text message, every like and share and comment, every positive word put out in the community about myself and my work. They have all been appreciated along this wild adventure.
Through my time in this difficult industry I have learned many things. But the most important lesson has granted me a gift for life. How others respond to you is by the reflection of your character. Every word, every expression, becomes part of your brand. It becomes your identity. You can choose how you want it to look, or you can be yourself and face what comes with it.
I am lucky because I know my choice has become clear. It helps having a powerful support system and being signed with a publisher who is positive, motivated, and eager to find success for their authors.
Once again I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. This year has been one to remember.
Today is Halloween and tomorrow National Novel Writing Month begins. One week ago, I think I would have jumped a fence if someone brought up both NaNo and Halloween in a conversation. I was having those secondary thoughts, you know the severe panic that comes from an intense deadline approaching.
Dressing up and writing fifty thousand words in a month are both tasks I slightly cringe at the thought of.
A. Because the last time I dressed up was for a middle school dance and I was a go go dancer. You know bright costume, curly hair, tall white boots. Oh a fun time it was. I don’t really have a reason for why I don’t dress up anymore. I guess I should be a vampire at some point as I only sleep when it’s light out.
C. Writing fifty thousand words in a month is STRESSFUL. Now if you write more than that, kudos. But for me, writing nearly an entire novel in less than thirty days is like whacking a sleeping tiger with a baseball bat. It’s grouch city with a case of haven’t slept for three days and dog ate all my k-cups.
But you know what. I am ready. I’m in the mode, the “get this done and sleep the whole month of December ready” mode.
Last year I went silent or most of the way as I did not make it through. I wrote about fifteen thousand words and caved, but not this year. No, I’ll be documenting the process. Book four is outlined and ready to go, with plot finalized and lined up with other books. Hint Hint. Coffee grounds are ready with my favorite mugs washed, Sara has been bought treats so she doesn’t try to bark at her squirrel friends while I’m writing. My sanity is in a box, ready to be put back in pieces or made to disappear.
I’ll be sharing more soon. So we’ll see how things go.
And no – I’m still not dressing up!
My mind is oddly clear, though the slight pounding in my head is an irritant. I’m loving this colder weather but not the headaches that come with it.
This is the first time all week I’ve been able to peel my eyes away from one finished manuscript and put my attention on a work in progress.
After reading The Devil’s Den over thirty times or more, it was time to give my editing eyes a rest.
I’ve started on book four but to be honest it has been a challenge. After three books I have learned the importance of having an outline and learning how to properly edit. Though a thirty to fifty page outline for a 250 page book might have been a tad excessive on my part but it eliminates having to worry about plot holes. I think they’re every writer’s nightmare. Get too close and you’ll get sucked into a pit you can’t write your way out of.
Ah, November is coming up. Meaning NaNoWriMo, yes national novel writing month. Fifty thousand words, one month, and enough loss of sanity to make bystanders run far far away from grumpy writers.
Naturally I’m set to participate. Stock piled my favorite coffee and tea, my desk is visible, outline about finished. I’d say all in all I’m pretty pumped for it. A 1666 word minimum a day is not much but it’ll be enough to help me finish my final project for the year.
Speaking of my final project, I set a due date for it. Didn’t realize that week is also finals and my third book’s release week (unless it changes). Oh the chaos! I guess I better start typing faster.
Today I got edits back for novel #2 meaning one more round and boom it’s out for the world to see. Hard to believe novel #1 made its professional entrance in November. This means I am on the cusp of completing a new year’s resolution and life goal.
Meanwhile within this month two beautiful opportunities have presented themselves to me. To which I have jumped on them.
In the meantime I have started novel #3 which is set to be released late this fall. So it’s safe to say busy is not a word I acknowledge currently. Though I wouldn’t partake in all this if I didn’t want to.
That’s the beauty of opportunities. They pop up right at the time you need them.
With such a bustling schedule I have been on hiatus. I haven’t really been on social media either. That’s not exactly a bad thing though!
Now it is time to come back for the umpteenth time and start sharing my musings. My ways of finding motivation in the midst of crazy everything.
I look forward to connecting with everyone. Have a positive week all.