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Mailing Update

As of last night, I was completely caught up on mailings except for a few prize requests for things that aren’t available yet or were out of stock. All orders, Patreon gifts, and prizes were out the door. I even have the December birthday cards done already!

Of course, I immediately set up a giveaway for the ARC group… And Friendsgiving giveaways on my main pages. But I’ll try to keep caught up now that I’m not drowning.

The whole reason I had to get ahead is the holiday cards are looming. While waiting for the card stock and bookmarks to be delivered, I’ve cleaned up my mailing list, eliminated duplicates, fixed bad addresses by hand, and contacted people who didn’t submit full addresses. This year, we’re sitting at 987 cards. Whew. I hope I can get them all done and in the mail as quickly as possible so they’re not horribly late.

Molly jokes that I’m singlehandedly keeping the USPS funded lol.

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Omnibus Collector’s Box & Hardcover Versions

The shop reorganization is almost complete and will open back up tomorrow.

There were a couple of people interested in the House Isador Collector’s Box, so I wanted to let you know it’ll go up for pre-order tomorrow. I cannot guarantee shipping by the holidays – it depends on how quickly KDP can get the volumes to me. But I did “cheat” and ordered some a week or two ago to try and get ahead a little. I wasn’t sure how many people would actually want the box, so I didn’t want to go out and buy 40+ copies up front.

You can also get just the paperbacks (one and two) or if you love glossy, heavy books, I’ve also got hardcover versions available (one and two).

International peeps – if you’re interested, please contact me and I’ll get some shipping estimates. USPS is not shipping to Australia for the holidays, but I can see what prices I can get from UPS.

I also uploaded ALL my old copies of anthologies that I had lying around. All are limited edition, and most of them are no longer available for purchase anywhere else.

Happy shopping!

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Changes to the Shop

First up, I’m almost caught up on orders. My apologies to everyone who’s been waiting to receive your packages. I have two more orders to finish up – just waiting on padded envelopes, which should arrive Sat. I’ll get these two orders ready to go before I leave for Vegas on Sunday.

I’m not happy AT ALL with my very slow mail responses, so I’m going to make some changes that I hope will help me stay on track and not get so far behind.

I did some reflection, and there are three major places I tend to get behind.

  • Making shirts
  • Making jewelry
  • Out of stock books, waiting on KDP shipments

I don’t have any helpers with the shop. I’ve offered to pay my adult kids to help, but they just don’t have any desire. I have to make all the items, do the packaging, and arrange shipping. It’s time consuming especially on the bundles and takes away time that I could be writing another book. However, I LOVE seeing and thinking about House Isador merch out in the wild. I just need to find a happy place between minimizing disruptions to my writing and not failing to get orders out in a reasonable timeframe.

I’ve found over time that I really don’t like making shirts on a regular basis. I especially don’t want to put writing a new book aside to go make a specific sized shirt, and then find out I don’t have the right size or style. Or I’m out of vinyl. It’s always something, and if I dread doing it, I put it off until it’s a problem.

It’s different when I’m making a bunch of shirts for an event. I get in a rhythm, and I like coming up with new ideas and designs for that particular event. I’ve got some AWESOME hoodies I made for LLS but I haven’t listed yet. I just haven’t had the time.

I also love making jewelry – when I’m in the rhythm of making it. There’s a whole process to it, and it takes me several days (usually) to make one. I have boxes and boxes of beads organized by color, and it takes time to drag all that out and then put it all away again so I can write. It never fails that I have a red and black one made, but the order is for a purple one, or vice versa, and now immediately I’m behind on a several day project, that takes away time from me writing another book.

So… here are the changes I’m making to the store effective once it opens again.

  1. All bundles are obsoleted. I will do SPECIAL bundles with limited stock when I have shirts made, etc. But only when I have blocked the appropriate time to make or gather whatever items are in the bundle.
  2. All bracelets and accessories are marked out of stock. I won’t take new orders on them.
    • What I will do instead is make jewelry when I have all the beads and tools out, when I have planned time away from the book. Then I’ll list what I make, and all you’re waiting on is for me to put the finished product into packaging and slap a shipping label on it. I’ll post about items being ready on the blog and in the Triune.
    • This also allows me to be more creative. If I’m in the mood to design something new, I can make several of them at once. If I’m tired of red and black and want to experiment, I can do so without feeling guilty about making someone wait.
  3. I added inventory to all the items in the shop. That way you can’t buy a book if I don’t have it, and you’re not stuck waiting on the next KDP shipment to arrive.

I am going to try and get all the books I have on hand listed. e.g. there are currently some copies of the Omnibus House Isador volumes up, and all the short novellas. I will be listing the House Isador hardcovers soon, as well as the special limited House Isador bundle.

I will also list all the shirt stock I have already made individually in the size I have, so if you want one great. it’s already made! No waiting on me to get to the Cricut room.

I’ll revisit this new setup in a few months and see if there are any more tweaks I need to make. Eventually I’d like to get to having “events” where the shop is open with special items that I’ve already made, though I will have signed books available all the time (assuming I have the stock).

Let me know if you have any questions!

Long live House Isador.

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General Update, Happy Thanksgiving

Oh my, where to begin. It’s been quite the month at least mentally.

The divorce is finally almost wrapped up. I’ll be free on 11/29 and plan to have a party in the Triune! I’m sure there’ll be Zoom and wine and lots of laughs. I went through a few weeks of thinking through my options about what to do with the house, and decided this is NOT the time to move. It’s too scary out there, and finding a rental that would allow 2 dogs and 2 ferrets without costing me $1000 non refundable deposit was impossible. Even finding anything available to rent was difficult, and the list of things I’d have to do to get the house ready to list ASAP was overwhelming.

I had to stop and ask myself a very important question. A question that I’ve not been able to answer in a very very VERY long time.

What do I want to do?

In a perfect world, what’s the best option for me and the kids? What’s the best way for the next few months to unfold?

I know it sounds dumb, but since I was 18 years old, it was never what I wanted to do. It was what “we” wanted to do – and I’m a very adaptive, and yes, passive, person for the most part. I don’t like to rock the boat. I don’t like anyone to be mad at me.

Once I stepped back and really asked myself what would be the perfect outcome… I realized that scrambling to move and list the house was not something I was prepared or wanted to do. I’d have to table my writing projects YET AGAIN. I’d have to use my holiday vacation for stressful packing, moving, and cleaning. Any savings would be sucked up by movers and deposits. It’s just not the right time.

The perfect time will be in the spring. That gives me several months to clean, declutter, minimize, pack non-necessities. That allows time for my youngest to decide where she wants to go for college. I can still finish my book as I planned – as soon as possible! – rather than stressing out about nothing available to rent.

Even more importantly, we can hunker down and wait out the winter surge of COVID. The housing market in my area is really good right now, which was why everyone was telling me to sell, but it’s not worth having strangers in my house fixing or loading things right now, putting us at risk. We cancelled Thanksgiving plans. No big family dinner. My dad stayed home. Molly stayed home. We’re not going to my mom’s. Why on earth would I sacrifice family time – but then risk us all with movers in and out of my home? It just didn’t make sense. If the housing market crashes before I can sell, so be it. At least I’ll have a roof over our heads.

So I’m a little off my schedule with Sunfires2 thanks to all the mental gymnastics I’ve done the past two weeks, but not completely off the rails. I have about 1/4 of the book to write. Maybe 1/3 if the last few scenes get really long. I may not finish this month as I hoped – but it’s definitely SOON.

Today was a cooking day, since my youngest is working at the hospital all day tomorrow. We didn’t do the turkey today because it’s still frozen (I ordered a breast – but got a full 27 lb bird!), but I made some of our usual dishes to eat over the next few days. I’ll hope to roast the turkey tomorrow for carcass soup and homemade noodles. I’ve got a huge stack of dishes to do yet, but I’m hoping to get back to a decent writing schedule and use the next few days to see how far I can get.

If you’re in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! I’m so grateful for all of you.

Long live House Isador!

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General Update, WTFIJW

WTFIJW (What the Fuck is Joely Writing?!?!)

I usually post these in the Triune (Facebook group) but I realized I hadn’t blogged in a while and thought I should try and get back into the habit. (Incentive to join the group – I’m running giveaways every day through Sunday for some signed goodies I picked up from BABE 2020.)

I’ve been pretty quiet the last few days, weeks, and maybe a month. I am still working the Evil Day Job, which I’m extremely grateful for and glad the entire company is able to work from home. It’s been fun to see team members join me at home (I’ve been a telecommuter since 2000) and it’s pretty much business as usual, except for not being able to find certain items in the stores. The girls are all home and the school year is over other than online classes for all three. Poor Middle! She’s a senior this year and missing out on prom and graduation. The school is going to try and schedule an event later in the year.

I believe I’ve posted here before in very general terms about the “C and D situation” I’m going through right now with That Man. His C is back and the D is still delayed. It’s been a stressful few months waiting on everything. Mediation was postponed thanks to Covid-19 and now he’s dealing with health issues, so I really don’t know what’s going to happen, how long it’s going to take, and what that all means. I feel stuck. Trapped. Unable to move on with my life. And it sucks.

For someone who really needs stability, all this uncertainty is draining.

I hadn’t been able to write much at all. It’s been all I can do to keep up with the EDJ, and I’m sleeping way more than usual and still feeling exhausted. Needless to say, I’m pretty behind on everything.

I know many of you are frustrated that I haven’t written anything really long and meaty since Queen Takes Triune. My plan was for Sunfires2 to be a really nice long book, but the D is still dragging on, and my creativity has taken a huge hit. I delayed the preorder 30 days, but I may need to delay it again. We’ll see. I don’t want to risk losing my preorder ability for a year, but I can also only do what I can do.

The shorter stories may seem like a distraction, and not worth your time. But I can say from a creative standpoint, they’re easier for me to do right now. They don’t take as much extended mental and creative flow to put together. Usually I just need the idea, and they’re small in scope and I can pull them off in a few days rather than months.

Another benefit of writing short stories: they help me with the inertia problem. Bodies that are at rest are really hard to get moving again. The same goes for words and the creative flow. I had been blocked this entire month, but once I had the story idea for Coterie, the #BBBPublishings Mafia anthology, I wrote it in a matter of days. Now that I’m making words again, I’m going to switch back to one of my other projects (Queen Takes Venom and Sunfires2) and see if I can keep that momentum going in my favor.

4thewords has also been a great help to get me making words again. Small goals, even 100 words in 30 minutes, may not seem like much, but again, inertia takes a huge amount of effort to overcome initially. Once I’m moving again, it takes less work to keep that momentum. I may not be fast right now, but I’ll take what I can get.

Stay safe and healthy everyone.

Long live House Isador!

PS Order updates. Shipping from KDP has been sloooooooow but I did finally get all the TVQ books back in stock. I’l be doing my best to get the next orders out this weekend.

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The first of my holiday giveaways

I’ve got all sorts of goodies planned for you over the next few weeks! The first two giveaways are currently live.

Win an iPad and prize back from L. A. Boruff, Katie May, Kerry Adrienne, Skye MacKinnon, and Joely Sue Burkhart worth $500. Enter or click the image below.

I’m also giving away a signed print copy of Queen Takes Camelot and winner’s choice of a “Winnifred in the Library” bookmark on my Facebook page.

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Upcoming Giveaways and Free KU Books

I have allllll kinds of stuff going on this month!

Free books, this week only:

Giveaways I’m participating in:

I also have a Halloween Giveaway coming soon – just waiting on the prizes to arrive so I can snap a picture!

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Meditation and Gratitude Tools

These are a few of the tools I’ve been using over the past few months to reduce my stress and improve my overall wellbeing. Some of the links are affiliate links.

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I first read this book over a year ago and it was one of the first steps I took to making a better practice of self-care. I started doing meditation right away, but the visualization and affirmations took longer to stick.

I used Headspace to learn about meditation. I really love his sessions on creativity and self confidence and have listened to both series at least twice.

The I AM Journal. This was one of the first tools I started using to get into a better gratitude habit. I loved the idea of writing down only THREE THINGS every day that I was grateful for and concentrating on my feelings. What I wanted most of all. How I would feel when I achieved those things. I don’t currently use this journal just because I don’t like to have yet another place to write stuff down in. But it got me started into the habit I’m using now.

I bought a copper fountain for my office and I love the constant gentle sound. I’ve got some crystals in it too that I’ve collected from various places. I don’t know that they make me feel better, but they’re pretty and I like them. Water is important for my muse (I’m starting to understand this more). As in my wizard story Nightgazer, “wellspring” is a metaphor for where the magic happens. I often picture Story bubbling up inside me like a fountain, and the sound reminds me to let the water — and the words — flow. It’s not so much work/effort, but tapping the well and letting the water come.

My Himalayan salt lamp is always on in my office. I love the gentle, warm glow that it casts so much that I bought another for my bedroom. I also have these salt tea light votives that I use in my office and around my tub when I take a bath. Again, I don’t know that they truly make me “feel better” fighting the negative ions in the rooms and such, but I *like* them. The glow is very comforting and makes me feel good when I see the light.

When I start a low-key sprint, I always do better if I put on my headphones and use one of my apps to help block out noise. Usually Naturespace but lately I’ve also been using Brainwave 35 with my own playlist of songs like Tibetan Singing Bowls, Crystal Bowls, etc. Very zen and relaxing.

Be Focused Pro is my timer app with set 10, 15, or 25 min sprints. The hardest part for me is stopping at the break and actually starting again. It’s easy for me to get distracted. I typically struggle with 25 mins. I lean toward 15 usually, but sometimes all I can manage is 10 mins. I do what I can when I can.

I’m experimenting with Productive – Habit Tracker this week to keep an automated list of my basic self-care tasks each day. So far I really like it, but I don’t know that I’m ready to spend for the Pro version yet. I love that it lets me color code items (so I have gold stars for sprints, and blue for zen stuff like meditation) and it keeps stats for me – though long-term, it’s hard for me not to get too focused on perfection and stressing about checking off an item. Which defeats the whole point of relaxation!

I’m still experimenting with visualization tools.

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Sterling Silver Bracelets – In progress

I had a request for sterling silver bracelets, since many people are allergic to the inferior metals. Unfortunately, the charms are VERY expensive, ranging from $5-15 each. Yes, each. Shara has a lot of Blood… So that makes a complete House Isador charm bracelet in silver very expensive to make.

However, I’m going to experiment with fewer charms to keep in the $30-40 price range. Like I’ll have a “Shara Isador” one that’s an ankh and Isis charm only. Or a cobra charm with the ankh. With all sterling silver findings and chain.

If you’re in the market for something like this and I haven’t already talked to you, feel free to message or email me so I can be sure to stock the materials. I have some supplies ordered and will experiment with them over the next week or so. Hopefully I don’t mess them up! Even the silver wrapping wire is $17 a roll.

But they’re going to be pretty!

I also have a House Camelot charm bracelet made – by accident. Middle Monster picked out some matte black beads at Michael’s when she was shopping with me, and loved the crown charm I’d picked up. I made her an all-black crown bracelet – but she didn’t actually like the dangling beads. So I’m going to make her an elastic stretchy one, and I repurposed this bracelet to have all of Gwen’s Blood represented, as I know them today. If the weather cooperates, I’ll take some pictures tomorrow.

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New Charm Bracelets in the Shop!

I finally got the House Isador charm bracelet listed in the shop! There’s an optional form that you can fill out to tell me what colors or sizes you’d like. These are handmade by me in my free time. Yes, I know, that sounds crazy when I’m writing all the time and work full-time too, but making the jewelry is FUN. It’s actually a stress reliever for me.

Soon to come are purse/planner charms and themed bookmarks. I also have charms ordered for House Camelot and House Ironheart!

Queen Takes Triune is also now listed in the shop. I’ll work on a House Isador bundle once I get previous orders out the door.