2018 Wrap Up and 2019 Goals

I can’t believe that 2018 is finally over. It felt like the year that just would not die! I made resolutions last year, but most of them I don’t even  remember, except for wanting to start querying Dragon Steal, which I did manage to accomplish. For this post, I’d like to go over some of the awesome (and not-so-awesome) things that happened this year and cover my goals for 2019.

2018 in Review

  • Finished editing Dragon Steal and submitted it for publication.
    • I’ve received several rejection letters but recently got a full manuscript request. While the rejections have hurt, at least the book is out there!
  • I created my own website and started developing a branded persona on twitter, facebook, instagram, etc. I have over 1,000 followers both on twitter and on instagram.
    • Even better, I’ve met a ton of amazing authors and creators through these sites who I can’t wait to work with next year!
  • Wrote, edited, and published The Purple Door District.  I can’t believe I developed my own marketing and indiegogo campaigns, formatted the book, published it, and held a launch party all in the space of six months. The question is, can I do it for PDD2?
  • Had “Latte with a Shot of Poltergeist” and “Frozen Heart” published in anthologies.
  • Submitted more short stories and poetry than I ever have before. While I received a lot of rejections, I at least received a few publications.
  • Officially launched The Writers’ Rooms with my co-Director, Alexandra Penn. We also finished our Articles of Incorporation and got certified as a non-profit corporation.
  • Helped develop the concierge anthology through The Writers’ Rooms.
  • Returned to my college and taught a few classes about publishing and NaNoWriMo.
  • Wrote 50k words for The Purple Door District: Wolf Pit.
  • Lost about 45 lbs through exercise and healthy eating.
  • Attended my first book signing event with other authors and signed up for even more in 2019.
  • Hosted giveaways for my book and swag that was developed by local creators.
  • Started my patreon account to help raise money for my writing career.
  • Received honorable mention in Writers of the Future.
  • Truly started my profession as an author.

It’s been a really big year for me writing wise. I still can’t believe that six months ago I decided to publish The Purple Door District. It seems like ages since I made that decision. I’ve managed to publish a few pieces of work this year, including on wattpad and patreon.

Next year, I hope to do even more, but also find a way to take care of myself at the same time.

2019 Goals

  • Focus on my mental health and take better care of myself mentally and physically.
  • Find an agent and publisher for Dragon Steal.
  • Finish writing and publish The Purple Door District: Wolf Pit.
  • Work on Fates and Furies with my co-author, AE Kellar, and hopefully publish the first book, if not in 2019, then in early 2020.
  • Submit more short stories and poetry for publication.
  • Start working on The Purple Door District #3 and Dragon Steal #2
  • Return to working on Traitors of the Crown.
  • Lose more weight for health reasons and get healthier.
  • Attend multiple writing conventions to both sell my books and to meet other authors.
  • Start my path to becoming a full-time author.

These are pretty ambitious goals, but I think most of them are possible. I really do need to focus on my mental and physical health, though, because I managed to break myself a few times while working on PDD. If I can’t hold myself together, I won’t be able to accomplish any/all of this.

I’m really proud of what I did this year. It’s my biggest year as an author, and I can’t wait to see what 2019 holds. I’m also a little scared. What if next year doesn’t unfold as well? I guess that’s all part of growing up and making plans as a writer, though. Some years you’re going to make it big, and some years are going to be a lot slower. I hope 2019 is still a fantastic one.

What are your goals for 2019? Feel free to share them below! Also, let me know what topics you’d like me to cover this year!

Happy Writing!

Erin

Book Launch Day

It finally happened.

The Purple Door District officially launched on Saturday, December 15th, 2018, and it was spectacular.

If you had told me at the beginning of 2018 that I would decide to publish one of my books, I probably would have laughed. Over the course of six months, I started my own marketing campaign (with the help of other brilliant writers like Alexandra Penn and Brian K Morris), and began furiously editing my book. My social media realm exploded, and I delved into the world of being an indie author. There was joy, and there were tears, but it all came together on Saturday in a way I never could have imagined.

I started my day out at the North Liberty Community Library where I sat with five other lovely authors: Jolene Buchheit, Mary Chalupsky, Alexandra Penn, M.L. Williams, and Jo Salemink. The whole event was set up by Jenn Thompson and IABE. It was my very first time officially setting up my table, and it came out beautifully.

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I was delighted by a visit from my college professor, Glenn Freeman who has published a few poetry books of his own! All of the authors were incredibly supportive, and it gave me the courage to put on the event that night.

At the same time, my co-creator, AE Kellar, received a gift package in the mail full of swag and the book. And I got to see her joy and excitement as she tore into it and realized that the world we’d created over the course of 6 years had finally come to life for everyone to see.

I hosted the official book launch at The Makers’ Loft in downtown Iowa City. It seemed like the perfect location for selling, reading, eating, and meeting other incredible people. And the table just dazzled, especially surrounded by my friends.

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Throughout the night, people joined us for the celebration. I met new fans and welcomed fellow Writers’ Rooms writers and former professors with open arms. We even got to celebrate with a delicious cake that welcomed everyone to the District.

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After a great evening of selling books and talking to people, I actually held a reading. This was the first time I read my book in public, and I was so nervous. But everyone was supportive and receptive. I couldn’t have asked for a better audience.

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Most of all, I can’t thank my friend Desiree enough for being with me to set things up, take them down, and just help me through the nerves. She even dressed to match my table! It made me realize just how lucky I am to have this community in my life. With you all, I’m never really alone.

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I had hoped at least a handful of people would come to help me celebrate, but you all more than came through for me. Thank you for making this a night and experience to remember.

When I first started writing, I ached with loneliness. I didn’t know any other writers and I didn’t really have many people to share my craft with who understood what I was trying to do. I was the oddball, and all I wanted was someone who got me and shared my passion.

I’ve found that literary family in Iowa City. The passion and excitement for writing is intoxicating and infectious. I felt it first through Cornell’s English Department, and then the Iowa Writers’ House, and now through The Writers’ Rooms. We all come from varied backgrounds and have different stories to tell, but in the end, we’re all writers. We all need companionship and people who understand where we’re coming from.

That’s why The Purple Door District is so special to me. It’s all about community coming together, and that’s what my friends and fellow writers did for me. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making me feel like I have a place to call home. Thank you for welcoming a scared kid hoping to be a writer into the world of being an adult author. I hope that I’ve been able to give as much support and love back to you as I received last night.

And it’s not over. The Purple Door District is the first of many books to come, and I can’t wait to see what happens next on this journey.

Happy writing to you all!

Erin

You can purchase The Purple Door District at:

Amazon in kindle and paper!

My website for a signed copy.

Prairie Lights in Iowa City

M and M Bookstore in Cedar Rapids

The Maker’s Loft in Iowa City

 

Launch Week and What Comes Next

I can’t believe it’s finally here. After six months of planning, plotting, and procrastinating (we all do it), The Purple Door District is finally going to see the light of day. I’ve already sent a few copies out to ARC readers and to my indiegogo supporters, and the reviews thus far have been great. My favorite has to be:

“Casey caught me hook, line, and sinker and I’m already impatient for the sequel!” -Rebecca Daniels.

At this moment I’m putting the final pieces of the launch together. I dropped books off at Prairie Lights and M and M Bookstore. It’s surreal to be handing them a paper copy of my book. My bookmarks at Haunted Bookshop are gone already, and a couple press releases should be appearing in the paper any day now. Everything is headed in the right direction.

On Saturday, December 15th, the book will launch both on amazon and in stores. My first signing is at the North Liberty Community Library where there will be free cookies and pictures with Santa for the kids while parents do last-minute shopping. It’s my first chance to sell my books beside other authors, and I can’t wait. I’ve met so many incredible people over this past year, and it’ll be such an honor to actually sell my book beside them. If you’re in the North Liberty area, stop on by from 10am-1pm. You can find more information here.

Saturday night will be the big event. From 6:30-8:30 pm, I’m holding a signing and reading event at The Makers’ Loft in Iowa City. This is a fantastic new business that helps support local indie creators. They’ve agreed to sell my books there as well because they want to start a book section. People can come get their books, celebrate with dessert, and then listen to a reading at 8 pm. I’m also holding a raffle. Authors Shakyra Dunn, R.C. Davis, Alexandra Penn, Eliza David, and more, will donate their books to the prize pool. You might walk away with more than a couple of gifts!

And speaking of gifts, Marion Mavis, author of The Supremacy Witch, and I are doing a giveaway on Instagram! Go check out our guidelines on how to win signed copies of both of our books!

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I really hope to have a great turn out to blog about. You can be sure I’ll take pictures, and I’m planning to do a brief live recording as well.

Then, on Sunday, I’ll finally face plant my bed and get some rest.

This whole experience has been incredible, but it’s also been draining. There have been more than a few times that I’ve wanted to throw up my hands and toss in the towel. Publishing a book is practically a second job. When I’m not doing my daily work and volunteer positions, I’m usually busy with writing, editing, or marketing. I’ll admit I haven’t taken quite enough time for myself since the whole process started, but I’m hoping to get some breathing room now that the book is going to be published.

What then, do you ask? What’s the future of The Purple Door District?

The answer is twofold. This will not be the only book. I started working on book 2, tentatively named Wolf Pit, and I’m already 50,000 words into it. My hope is that I can publish it in 2019. At the same time, my co-creator and I, AE Kellar, plan to work on our main series to get that ready for publication. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but with The Purple Door District finally taking flight, we think we’re ready to crank the work out.

The story doesn’t end here, my friends.

The journey is just beginning.

The Purple Door District: Behind the Scenes

The world of The Purple Door District started out as the stubborn brainchild of AE Kellar and myself. We have spent years writing together, researching, brainstorming, and developing characters and rules governing our parahumans and worlds. Our main series, Fates and Furies, is still in production but occurs in the same urban fantasy setting.

But let me backtrack a little.

AE Kellar and I met each other on a Redwall roleplaying site when I was still in high school. We had a mutual interest in the book series by Brian Jacques, obviously, and the forums gave us the opportunity to create our own characters, be they cat in AE’s case, or a silver-striped red squirrel named SilverRose Brighteye. Some of you may recognize my NaNo name.

For those unfamiliar with roleplaying on forums, basically one person writes out a few paragraphs of a scene with their character, someone responds, and the two people (or more) write back and forth to create an adventure. Redwall provided the world for us; we just had to worry about the characters and plot.

We wrote together for years, developing characters and immersing ourselves in the world. Eventually, we sought after a change and started roleplaying on an urban fantasy website that has long since closed. That’s when we realized that we might have found our niche. We took our characters, built a world, and ran with it, rping back and forth most nights. We’d alternate taking point on a plotline and naturally switch to the next person.

Unless we both brainfarted, in which case we just started up a new plotline.

Years of writing produced thousands of pages of writing (I’m not joking, AE took a picture of the pile of paper). Eventually, we realized we wanted to do something with it, and thus Fates and Furies was born. But in order to fully create the series, we had to know more about our world.

When we started to design the District, I latched onto it and suddenly had ideas blossoming in my head about creating one in Chicago (I grew up around the area). Plus, as a birdmom of seven feathered kids, it gave me the chance to professionally write about a werebird, even if I still get the side eye. With AE’s blessing, I wrote The Purple Door District to introduce you to our insanity.

But what about the PDD struck a chord in me? It was the community. I loved this idea that people of different talents, appearances, and strengths could come together to protect one another. A lot of urban/paranormal fantasies focus on the battle between werewolves and vampires or different magical groups. It was nice to think that there was a neutral ground where everyone could get along under the direction of The Violet Marshall. With the way the country is going today, I felt it was important to show that it’s possible for a mixing pot of people to actually come together peacefully. I chose Chicago specifically because I knew I could create a diverse cast. Even more characters will appear in The Purple Door District Book 2.

Community plays a huge role in my life. I help bring writers together through The Writers’ Rooms, a non-profit corporation that focuses on providing a free, safe environment for writers no matter their background, income, experience, gender, etc. And I work with The Iowa Writers’ House which also supports writers through workshops, lectures, and bicultural fellowship. In the writing world, I firmly believe that the only way we can succeed is if we support one another. Rising Tide, as Brian K Morris calls it.

Even through the book production, I reached out to the community for help. I asked Oni Algarra and Gabriella Bujdoso to create art for the book, indie artists who post on deviantart and instagram respectively. My cover artist is a Fiverr creator named Les. Sara Cunningham used her marketing magic to create sand jars and postcards for my book. Amanda Bouma taught me how to make jewelry so I could develop Bianca’s necklace. Leona Bushman, a fellow urban fantasy writer, guided me through editing my book and polishing it for publication. Alexandra Penn helped me format the book and was one of my main supporters who gave me the courage to publish the book. And my wonderful proofreaders, Shakyra Dunn and AE made sure the book was ready to go. I couldn’t have done this without my community, and I’m excited to support them just as they supported me. That’s partially why I created the Indiegogo campaign. I wanted to help give back to them.

As of November 5th, The Purple Door District is available for pre-order on amazon. There are no words I can use to convey my pride, joy, and hint of terror at having my book out there (I think I used up all my words in the manuscript haha). I do know that, had it not been for AE, I never would have been able to create such an immersive world.

We jokingly say that AE is the brain and I’m the heart, but I think it’s very true. While AE fills our books with well-researched facts and logic, I add feeling, creativity, and literary flare. I couldn’t have done it without my walking encyclopedia. All you see in The Purple Door District exists because of our love for storytelling and our incessant need to get fewer than 8 hours of sleep a night.

Keep an eye out. Fates and Furies is on the horizon.

And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all of your support during this crazy and amazing journey.

Welcome to the District.

 

Purple Door District Cover Reveal!

I have some exciting news to share! I’ve been posting The Purple Door District on patreon for the past 6 months. After receiving positive feedback, I’ve decided to publish the book on December 15th, 2018, exactly 1 year since my first patreon post.

But first, The Purple Door District needed a bit of an upgrade. So I enlisted the help of an artist to create a brand new cover for the book. On Monday, July 9th, I’ll release the book cover on the front of my website. I can’t wait to share it with you! Once it’s released, I plan to also make bookmarks and other merchandise to promote to help promote the series.

I couldn’t do this without you. I’ve received so much help from the writing community, and I can’t thank you enough. I hope that I’m able to give back.

If anyone is interested in becoming an ARC reader to leave a review when the book comes out, let me know!

Let the countdown begin!

Wattpad: New Journey

I’ve been struggling to gain traction on my patreon account. So, I reached out to one of the many facebook writing groups I joined and asked what I can do to improve my process. 

Her suggestion? Wattpad. 

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I’ve been struggling to gain traction on my patreon account. So, I reached out to one of the many facebook writing groups I joined and asked what I can do to improve my process.

Her suggestion? Wattpad.

For those of you who don’t know, Wattpad is basically a free writing site. Authors create stories that people can read, comment on, and vote for. Think of it like a fan fiction site, only a lot of the material on there is original.

That’s not to say you can’t write fan fiction though.

Authors can build an audience there by providing free writing. It’s an opportunity for you to meet other writers, modify and improve your writing, find beta readers, enter contests, etc.

Some people do have qualms about writing for “free,” and I completely respect that. You work really hard on your book. Why should you just give it away?

The thing is, if you’re interested in Indie publishing, Wattpad seems like a great way to get people interested in what you do. You can post things on the site, and if you decide you want to publish it, you can always leave a teaser chapter up for people and take the rest off. Just make sure you warn your readers, otherwise they may feel a little misguided.

Also, Wattpad has plans to introduce Wattpad Future where authors can insert ads between their chapters, and that will provide them revenue. It’s still in the beta testing period right now, but I hope it gets opened up to everyone soon. What a great way to support a writer without having to drop a dime!

I’ve only been on the site for about a week, but I have about 33 followers, and I’ve posted two stories. It gives me the opportunity to write little tales running around in my head and get feedback. I also get to play around with covers (like the Gossamer one above).

Keep in mind, though, that you have to work towards getting a following. You not only have to post material, you have to interact with the readers and other writers as well. As I get more used to Wattpad, I’ll write informational blog posts about it for anyone who is interested. You can seriously find just about anything on the website, so if you’re looking for good stories to read, take a look!

And feel free to follow me here: https://www.wattpad.com/user/erincasey09

Happy reading!

The Purple Door District

Bianca was supposed to attend art school in Chicago, not run for her life from Hunters. The only chance she has to survive is to find The Purple Door District, a safe haven for a parahuman like herself…

Long time no write! As many of you may or may not know, I started up a patreon page for my fantasy stories. Today marks the release of the very first chapter of The Purple Door District, an urban fantasy story full of parahumans, magic, and witty banter. This is set in a world created by myself and my co-author, AE Kellar. We’ve been working on this for the past 7 years or so, and we’re both excited and nervous to share it with our readers.

The main series, title pending, revolves around parahumans, such as lycans, witches, and fae, (oh my) of both the past and modern world. The stories focus on their daily lives, their government, and how the sins of the past don’t always stay buried. There will be something for everyone in this New Adult series we are hoping to launch by 2019.

The Purple Door District itself is a safe-zone for parahumans to be themselves without fear of exposure. The series of Purple Door District novellas and short stories posted on here will touch on different story arcs that are set within the world we have created, but are not necessarily connected with the main series’ story line. While the main series will be co-written by myself and AE, the novellas and short stories will be single-author unless otherwise noted.

So what is this first novella about? Here’s a little taste…

Bianca was supposed to attend art school in Chicago, not run for her life from Hunters. The only chance she has to survive is to find The Purple Door District, a safe haven for a parahuman like herself. When she stumbles upon a magus named Gladus and a fellow avian named Carlos, she thinks she’s found safety. But the Hunters are relentless, as is the dark force driving them. Vampire, werewolf, avian, magus…It’s up to the parahumans of the Purple Door District of Chicago to put their differences aside to save Bianca and stop a dark threat from destroying their peaceful community.  

To read the first chapter, become a patron here!