2020 Update & Upcoming Topics

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I know it’s been awhile since I last updated this blog. My writing has been… scattered, and to be perfectly frank, I haven’t done the amount of it I’ve wanted. I wanted to work on War Fury, the sequel to Mod Fury, as well as my other WIPs and short stories. I have plans, but time has been limited. Being a mom has taken up most of my time.

Back in mid-March I lost my full time job, a job which I loved, to the COVID-19 hardship and have been job searching ever since. In the meantime, I’ve been catching up with projects, freelancing, learning new skills and updating my portfolio website.

I am also a full-time mom now, as our shelter-at-home decree have forced the family to stay home, that means my daughter is not attending daycare as much. Taking care of a three year old is a full time job. I’m teaching her baking, painting, and we’ve mastered riding a bike! Being able to be with her during these pivotal life moments is a priceless treasure I wouldn’t trade for anything.

However, as job searching is starting to slow for me, I’m starting to shift back to my writing projects. There are a couple of projects in the pipeline:

  • Protector, a short story part of an anthology. This has been on hold as only half the group have turned in stories. I’m one of the authors behind… It’s in the editing process at the moment.
  • Blazing Heat – Just a short story romance story, almost finished.
  • Unbridled – 2nd version, with a new cover and some more editing.

I’m hoping to keep up with these, as well as begin to work on some of the other stories that need heavy editing and drafting.

I hope to keep the blog more updated and active. I’ve been thinking about posting some articles on various topics, like navigating the self-publishing world, as well as give some insight on some of my processes.

I became inspired to do this when a friend came to me to ask me where I published my book, and she seemed surprised that I did most of it myself, albeit with the help of freelance editors and betas, but as for the artwork, fonts and layout, that’s all me. She was surprised because a friend of her used a professional publisher to publish her children’s book, paid a hefty sum of money on it, and the artwork and layout of the story is terrible, the pictures are too dark and the font choice was COMIC SANS (RAGE), and it was not only used on the titles and sub titles, but also in the actual story.

No professional worth their salt would ever do the things this publisher did to this woman’s story. It was supposed to be a cute story about a dog, and it’s a huge mess.

No design student would use Comic Sans. No design student in MIDDLE SCHOOL would use dark pictures on dark backgrounds. Nor would they draw the main character in the CREASE of the binding.

I was appalled. This poor author saved up her money to have this half ass book made for her, a children’s book that was soft cover, no less, like something you get printed at Staples, and she has 3 reviews on Amazon.

I cannot stand predatory vanity publishers. Every time I see the commercials for publishing companies on TV peddling their book packages to new authors, I cringe. You can do the hard work and send queries and get an agent and have a big boy publish your work, or you can self publish and utilize the tools out there, do your own marketing, and build a network of freelancers, reviewers and betas to help with your book. Both situations do not promise a bunch of bullshit for a large fee and then you end up getting a subpar product.

So something must be done about this. I hope with some of my guidance and experience, I can help.

Take care, everyone, and stay healthy. See you next time very soon!

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Apologies

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I know that I haven’t been around here in some time. Unfortunately, we lost our dear beloved dog Malachy this last month, and things have been rough for me to get into any sort of writing or creative endeavors. His health had been failing for some time, so taking care of a senior pet up until we had to make that tough decision really takes a toll on you.

We adopted Malachy in 2007. He was three years old, so he was a part of our family for 13 years. It almost seems unreal that he’s not with us anymore, that he’s not at my ankles following me around, or that I can’t put my hand down and feel his cold nose sniff me as he rubs his scruffy head against me.

It’s rough. He was family and now adjusting to his absence is very painful.

So writing has been on a pause. I finally finished up a short story for an anthology and sent to my beta reader. Hopefully that’ll be polished for publication soon.

NaNoWriMo is coming up and I’m going to attempt to do it in order to make progress on my Avenging Sisters series.

If you have pets at home, give them a big hug for me. Treasure every second with them. They don’t have as long as we do, and their love is irreplaceable.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Fight for Your Right to…

I know this is an author blog, but it must be boring waiting around for someone to write about “writing” or books and never really get anything. I’m beginning to think that this blog is not all about writing. It’s my blog, so my choice, I guess.

On that note, I work at an IT company and I have a big important meeting tomorrow with a great company in Chicago – on a project that could really boost my career and I’m really excited about it. Unfortunately I’ll be going there on the tail end of a sinus infection and pink eye thanks to my five-month old (don’t worry, I totally plan on bringing this up to her later when she’s older), but life is full of pitfalls. One thing I will not compromise on is my breast pumping. I damn well plan on breastfeeding my kid for a year (or until she weens herself) and I’m sticking with it, no matter where I have to go.

It’s been easy to go to work, pump 2-3 times in the spare office, and then do my work and not worry about being somewhere where I *can’t* do my motherly duty. I asked the Project Manager to make sure they talked to our client and ask where I can go to do my thing, and of course his response that they probably didn’t have some place. I try not to get discouraged about this, because I’ve pumped in bathrooms before — really bad, disgusting ones too, and I made it work.

When he called, they DO have a lactation room, and we got the contact number and person and I’m all set! I get excited when this happens. I ADMIRE companies that have designated rooms for mothers. Then, I kind of want to work there, because the room I have to use, I have to put on a sign to stop people from coming in because there is no lock, and as expected, no one reads signs and interrupts me anyway. Hey dudes, your problem not mine if you saw something you didn’t want to see.

I guess the lesson here is don’t get discouraged. Fight for your rights and take a stand on things that make others uncomfortable. You don’t have to settle for “No.” If I have to bring my cover and sit in the break room and pump with people coming and going, I WILL. I hope I won’t have to, but I will. Anything for my daughter.

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She’s the reason I procrastinate on my writing projects.

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Two short stories are coming soon. I gave myself a deadline for the end of April.  Yes, Mod Fury is one of them. I’ve teased that enough. The cover reveal is coming shortly too. I promise!

I’m going to attempt Camp NaNoWriMo again this April. It’s hit or miss to find time for myself with a baby, trust me. Sometimes I’d just rather cuddle.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Boy and Girl Clothes

Happy Ostara! Happy Spring!

I’m hoping 2017 will be good for me to do some spring cleaning. I have already begun my Great DeCluttering of 2017 and 2018, where I’m making goals for myself – read all the books and empty one bookshelf by end of 2017 and sell the books. Unfortunately I tend to accumulate more books. I don’t know how that happens…

I did clean out one shelf so that’s good. If anyone is my friend on Goodreads you’ll see a mass addition of “read” books in the coming year. Next I want to clean out closets again, especially the baby’s as she grows out of clothes, and then start on the kitchen with dishes that we don’t really use. My friend and I intend to have a garage sale soon, so I’m gathering up stuff in boxes in a place in the garage for when that happens. I just hope the weather gets nicer so I can go out and start pricing things.

Speaking of kid’s clothes, I have another friend who’s expecting a boy soon and she’s always lamenting how boys clothes are not at cute as girls clothes, and it’s funny because I’ve kind of felt that both clothes are cute, and I’ve wanted to buy my daughter boys clothes before, and we have, but clothes with dinosaurs, super heroes, and power rangers on it were cute too, and made me miss having a boy as well. I love my daughter, but maybe some day I’ll be able to have a boy? I know it’s not really up to “me” if that happens, but I would love a little boy to buy clothes with dinosaurs and lizards on them, as well as play outside in the mud with him, find toads and earth worms — I guess I can do that with a girl too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not limiting what my daughter can do either…

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We definitely bought this boy’s onesie for our daughter. Because this is totally her. You can find this at Target.

But maybe I feel cliche as a mom that wants to have one of each. I’d love to see my husband bond with a son like I do with my daughter, and hope that he has a relationship with a son that he had with his father.

Oh, and yeah, I’m sure he wants to buy our future son dinosaur shirts too.

No matter what, if we have girls, a girl and a boy, or just one girl, I hope we can take them to Gatorland like we did for our Honeymoon in Florida. No matter what gender you are, they have to enjoy seeing big crocodiles, pythons, turtles and all the other kinds of animals they have there. That’s my hope anyway.

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In other news, I’m still working on the short stories. I was looking for stock art for covers the other day and enjoyed it very much.

There is this stock photographer that I follow at DeviantArt that has a lot of book cover contests with her art. Sometimes I vote on them, but I also think in the back of my mind that I can do a better job. I know that’s rather pretentious of me, so I kind of thought if I think that, why don’t I do it? I can’t be all talk. I have to show that I can do it. So I looked at her current contests and downloaded the images and plan on entering. Fingers crossed!

If anything it’ll be good for my portfolio.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Hobby Doesn’t Mean Free

Sometimes I am just baffled by people who still don’t think being an artist, photographer, videographer or designer deserves compensation, that the jobs that we get should be for “exposure” because it’s just a “hobby”.

Today our Program Director came up to me (the resident Lead Designer) and asked me if I knew any students/interns in art or photography that would come to our Meetups downtown Chicago and take photos and videos for us.

Me: “Like for internship credit?”

Him: “No, not interns. Students that like to take photos and video. It would be like a hobby. [Our Company] would not pay them.”

Me: “But you’d have to pay them. Even interns get paid these days. And if you want them to come downtown to Chicago, there’s parking expenses, train ride expenses. Plus no one would do it for free.”

He gives me this blank look. “These students wouldn’t even do it because they like it? Because it’s a hobby?”

Me: “Nobody, not a student or anybody, is going to do photography or videography for free. At least an intern should get minimum wage.”

He looked completely baffled that we would pay someone to come to our events in Chicago, whether by train, bus, or car of their own expense, let them take photos and video of our speakers, and not pay them a single thing.

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I’m kind of livid, as an artist, you know? Like it’s unreal.

No, artists do not do things for free. We do not do things for trade. We have these skills, hone them, and use them for money so we can eat, put a roof over our heads, and clothe ourselves and our family.

Don’t let anyone try to persuade you to do things for exposure either. Work = $$$. Bottom line.

Cheers,

HK Rowe

 

Stuck in a Time Warp

It’s been ages since I last updated here. And like the last time I don’t intend to abandon this blog.

I never realized how busy I’d become being a new mom. Sometimes I’m “not” busy, and am just caught up with all the moments of my daughter. To say that my writing has suffered because of this is an understatement… but I’m not really complaining. I’m happy being a mother and taking in all the new experiences.

Someday I hope to write about them.

But I “have” gotten back into my groove. I’m catching up with my to-do list since I went back to work and got used to being a 9 to 5 professional again, as well as with my daughter now in daycare, and I have to continue my motherly duties at work by making milk for her.

Sometimes on down times at home or during my lunch break, I work on my writing. I’ve been doing some drafting lately, as well as planning out a couple of short story series.

All of the things I want to do takes time to get used to, even more so now that I have a baby, but I’m determined to get my writing out there again.

I’m hopefully going to update this soon with a more concrete writing schedule. Mod Fury is about 85% done.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Unscheduled Sabbatical

It seemed like only yesterday since I updated this blog. Though I know it’s been longer. Wow, I feel so bad how behind I’ve been on my writing and my blogging and catching up with my friends’ posts. Though it was all for good reasons, I assure you.

I wish I could say I was writing. I’ve been thinking a lot about writing, and I’ve been writing for work and personal things, but other than that…I’ve just been enjoying this roller coaster that is my life.

We sold our townhome, moved into a new house (in which we are still not settled), and I’m happy to report that after two years of stressful trying and worrying, my husband and I are finally going to be parents! I’m still early in my pregnancy, but the last month or so I’ve been ill (creating a human as my friend calls it) so I’ve been resting.

I hope eventually I will find some time to write, though, now I’ve just been “writing” my experiences of pregnancy in my journal. The descriptions and accounts may come in handy someday, especially since babies grow up so fast – I hear. It’s a different experience for sure, one that needs to be thoroughly recorded.

I hope to share some of my writings with you here soon. Thanks for those who stick around and I shall definitely catch up with you as well.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

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It’s almost over!

In one week, I will be moving! Well, moving from a small condo into a single-family home, hopefully the home of my dreams! Haha, after all the moving, house hunting, house showing, and processes, I’m ready for this to be the last house of my life. My husband is another story.

I have been pretty incapable of writing lately. I’ve done SOME writing, but it’s little stuff and more for practice than anything.

I have a lot of plans, especially when I get in the new house. I have a lot of WIPs to work on to get ready for betas and my editor, and it’s my goal to get to them this year. I know that should be an easy goal but for me, it’s a challenge.

Besides the WIPs, I am accumulating a list of short story anthologies that I want to enter. I’ll probably be looking into that as well.

So, other than writing, my free time will be taken up by decorating and settling into my new house. I’m already making plans for my office room, which is currently a medium shade of blue and really pretty – and I’m not changing it. I am thinking of adding a decorative element to the door. Such as this…

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😀 I think the space would be very creative if I did that. It would be a big project but definitely enjoyable. But of course, this is just one of many projects I want to do.

I just hope that 2016 is productive for writing and great for creative energy!

I’ll be back soon, hopefully less frazzled once I move in.

Cheers.

HK Rowe

 

Trying to Make a Comeback

So I suck at keeping up with this blog, but my goal this 2016 is to keep up with this more regularly. Let’s see how that goes! I’m definitely determined.

The main reason I haven’t been online is that I’ve been busy. Plain and simple. We’ve been trying to sell our house for more than two months and it’s stressful and daunting, and I honestly didn’t want to overload people with my personal battles with it. This is why I still keep an LJ, and I even suck at keeping up with that journal.

Now that we’ve got a contract with someone to buy our house, as well as a house to move into, I’m hoping my life will have more order after February.

I can’t tell you how much this whole process has disrupted my creativity. My house was basically torn apart, packed and put into storage. My safe haven writing room was stripped of my beloved books, artwork and files and made to look like nothing for house showings. It was very difficult for me to write in this space that no longer felt like my own. I hope this changes for the new place, but I will probably struggle through the malaise through the holidays as we pack some more in our old house.

In the meantime, I’ve just been making plans on what I’m going to write for 2016, drafting ideas, writing character profiles and basically writing down any haphazard thoughts that skim across my brain. I’m hoping to do some fiction prompts soon just get back into the swing of things.

Ready or not I’d like to get Killer Orange available for publication, as well as a second edition of Unbridled. Somewhere in between those projects I want to do some short stories.

I will be back trying to keep up with everyone. I hope to post some writing snippets soon.

I’ve missed this blog and everyone I follow, and I intend to make it more active again!

Cheers and Happy Holidays,

HK Rowe

And now… for something completely personal

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H.K. My artwork – 2002

Let me tell you a little about myself, not just the writer and artist, but ME.

(Although this post may be a bit random…)

I don’t like opening up about myself. I don’t like sharing my feelings with people. I don’t even like sharing feelings to my best friends, my family, or even my mom. I have a hard time opening up to my husband. It’s not that I can’t; I just don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want people close to me to see the flaws or to find flaws in my hard work. I want them to think of me as strong, determined and capable.

I want to see myself like that, but that means I have to work at it. As an abuse survivor, I had to grow up rather quickly and become independent. I don’t even remember my childhood. It’s a dark space in my brain that I can’t access, blocked off from all the things that happened to me. I know what happened to me, I remember my feelings, but I don’t remember events clearly. Most people have memories so clear it’s like a movie. In my movie, there’s a big ink spot in the center and I can only see faint unrecognizable shapes on the sides.

Counseling aside, I didn’t talk about it like most things. I knew that it was a part of me, and that I am the person I am today because of it. But I also know that it has influenced me to have some rather infuriating social skills. I prefer a loner’s life, even though I enjoy being with friends. I enjoy listening to my friends, I enjoy their confidence, and helping them. I enjoy being the shoulder they cry on. I enjoy giving them advice. But I do not enjoy asking for such things in return.

I have chosen this behavior, and I am aware of it. I’m comfortable keeping most things to myself. It takes a lot for me to even show pride in anything I’ve done or accomplished. For example, when I published my book, I distributed it as much as I could, but when I would meet new people, it was always someone else telling them that I wrote a book. They were immediately entranced. “Tell me about your book!” And… it was awkward for me. I didn’t feel they’d be interested at first. When I talked about it, I was cautious. Most people are kind, and they are excited to know someone that has written something, but sometimes I feel like I act like a complete stone-faced moron, like I can’t even be excited about it and promote myself.

I internalize praise just as much as I internalize criticism. Criticism wounds me where praise embarrasses me.

I feel like a weirdo. But it’s my nature to be more introspective than overt. It’s my nature to plan and do things rather than talk endlessly about things. It’s in my nature to make impulsive decisions without telling others or getting others’ advice. I feel sometimes this makes me seem snobbish or aloof, but I don’t know how else to be.

I was once a young girl who sat in the corner with her drawings, her paper and pen, her books and her dolls in a different world while the rest of the real world carried on. I was the young girl who wanted to do things to show people I wasn’t this victim, that I wasn’t to be pitied, rather I could show people how self-sufficient I am.

I guess I just got to good at it because when my friends or family find out that I’m doing something or something happened and I didn’t tell them, they take it as a personal slight. Trust me, I never intend to hurt anyone. I’m just not good at sharing pieces of myself.

Most of the time I just don’t know how.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe