Life is a curious thing. Each of us has a completely different adventure, yet we all face similar challenges, experience wonders, and are given amazing blessings, even if we don't recognize them. My life has certainly been action-packed. A lot of it good, much of it bad, but I've learned valuable life lessons along the way and managed to become one of the happiest people I know. I'll be sharing my thoughts and stories, and things I know and believe. I encourage you to leave comments so we can all learn from each other! Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kickstarter Campaign Intro

Yay!! I'm so excited to announce that I'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign in just a few weeks. If I get funded, it will allow me to finally finish my book this year and get it published. The book, Mystic Manor: Book One, The Door to Tangwyn, has been my baby for a number of years now. I'm so close to the finish line...I can see it right over there...

This post actually has a two-fold purpose. To explain the crowd funding process to those unfamiliar with it (in very simple, abbreviated terms), and to get some feedback about rewards for my backers.

To start, crowd funding is an amazing fairly new way for creative types to get financial backing they need, but otherwise couldn't get, to finish a creative project. Projects are typically art, music, film, gaming, photography, dance, play, book or other creative product. There are a handful of sites out there that assist in crowd funding, but Kickstarter is probably the best known, having successfully funded over 35,000 projects and raising over half a billion dollars in just four years. The coolest thing about Kickstarter, for me at least, is that it's not just someone standing there with their hand out. It's a give and take. An even exchange of energies, if you will. But more about that in a minute.

It works like this: A project creator creates their campaign and posts it on the site. There's generally an introductory video, then a detailed written piece about what the project is, where the money is going, any risks and challenges to completing the project that might come up, and the rewards! That's the best part, see. Backers can pledge any amount they wish, from $1 up, and that pledge amount will fall into a reward tier designed by the project creator. Many of these rewards are unusual and clever, and well worth the pledge itself. So in addition to making someone's dream come true, to being part of something special that in many cases goes on to be commercially successful and widely recognized, the backer also gets goodies related to the project. What more can you ask for? 

An important thing to understand is that if the project doesn't get fully funded, the creator gets nothing. When setting up the campaign, the creator picks a dollar amount they think is the least they'll be able to complete the project for (figuring in taxes, Kickstarter's 5% fee, and the cost of producing and shipping the rewards) and a specific time frame, usually 30, 45, or 60 days. They must raise the entire amount in that time frame, or they get nothing. No money changes hands. If they do raise it, then at the end of the campaign Kickstarter will take the funds from the backers electronically, depositing it into the creator's Amazon account. If the creator raises more than the pledge goal, they keep it. Most will update their campaigns with stretch goals. For example, if I raise $5000 over what I'm asking for, I'll be able to get every chapter of my book illustrated. The money gets used to make the project even better. 

That's the gist of it anyway. You should go on over to the Kickstarter site and poke around. You may find someone's dream you want to be a part of. And remember, as little as $1 lets you be a backer. Every little bit counts, and the thought and energy behind pledging even a little bit is a powerful force, almost like a prayer in my view, that that person's project be successful. You could change someone's life! (Of course, I'm hoping plenty of people will still feel like being a part of a creative project when my campaign goes online.) At the bottom of this post is the link to the Kickstarter home page. You can take a look at more detailed information and search through all the awesome campaigns currently trying to get funding. When my campaign goes live, I'll update with a link to my project. Go check it out. I'll even have three of the llustrations for the book up. Yippee!

So that brings me to the feedback I'd like. I already have most of the tiers worked out. 

On the modest end: bumper stickers, decals, t-shirts 

Just up from there: signed copy of the book, personalized message in the autograph, named mention in the acknowlegements

A little more gets you: advanced copy of book, signed limited edition collector's copy, copies sent to schools or libraries of your choice

The Holy Cow! level: character named after you in Book Two or Three, having one of the characters in Book One bear your likeness (or a loved one, if you're out to give one of the most awesome gifts ever). 

There are a lot more, each attached to a dollar amount. But what I want to know is this, what do YOU think would be an awesome reward? If you were backing my project (even if you don't), what do you think would be a cool reward in exchange for backing my dream? Let me know in the comments. Be creative. I'll consider all ideas that are legal, moral, and humanly/financially possible. What say you, readers?

Monday, May 27, 2013

I'm Ba-aaaack!!...But Not in a Creepy, Fuzzy TV Kinda Way

Ah, my poor, neglected blog. All alone out in the one waiting, no one reading. Kinda puts a little block of guilt on my heart. After all, I had such great intentions. I had a vision. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, what I wanted it to look like, what I wanted it to become. But it just never happened.

In my defense though, I've had a lot going on. I've been working on freelance marketing, writing, and editing. I'm an herbalist, which is a never-ending learning process. I'm developing a comprehensive website that will educate people about herbs, herbal remedies, the different herbal traditions across dozens of cultures worldwide, and a number of other related topics. It will also be a place for me to sell my bulk herbs, remedies, and tea and spice blends. So I'm working on new recipes and new labeling and I'm creating a store on to sell them in the meantime. I also set up occasionally at local craft fairs and festivals to sell my baked goods and herbal products, which is a ton of work, but enjoyable. I'm growing a garden and am engaged in active, yet non-harmful (for them, can't say the same for me), warfare with a large group of deer. Right now I feel a little like Wile E. Coyote, fighting a losing battle with animals much smarter than me. But I have high hopes for winning through patience. Or when fall hits and what's left of my plants poop out, they'll be forced to give up and eat the stuff I've been throwing out in the front yard for them, letting me feel a tiny, tiny victory in some way. I'm a single mom of a teenager, have 9 pets, and am a part time caregiver for my 90 year old grandmother, so somebody always needs something. I have dishes that have figured out how to breed when I turn my back and laundry that spreads like lava if I forget it for a couple of days. Oh, and in my spare time, I'm writing a book. A real one, for publication this year. Actually, it's book one of nine, and I find myself piecing together the other eight here and there, but I'm getting there. I'm currently about 2/3 done.

In other words, I'm busy. Like everybody else, I guess. My time management skills are fairly good, and I'm an expert multi-tasker, but somehow my little blog just fell right through the cracks. And now, lest I be viewed as one who just makes excuses when the road gets difficult, I've decided to go in after it, to rescue it and pump new life into it. I've decided it may not look like I had originally intended. On days where I can't produce anything even mildly profound, which may happen more often than I'd like, my posts may be less meaning-of-life and more dangers-of-life-in-a-chaotic-and-chronically-sleepy-household. I have way more material for that anyways. But the main thing is, I want to write and put it out there as often as possible. And now that I've put this out there, if I don't follow through, I'll feel like a total schmuck. So there you go. Instead of just writing about my views on life, you may be getting a view into my life. Good and bad. Dirty laundry, dog slobber, teenage angst and all. But don't worry, we have plenty of rainbows and butterflies here, too. The view may be covered in cat hair, but it's really kinda nice overall. I'll be seeing you around.