This week’s hypnotic song:

My darlings, this song gave me SUCH cool ideas for a villain fantasy romance. What I wouldn’t give for more time to write all the ideas I have 😭

Speaking of writing, I’m about to release a Kat and Nex one shot as a freebie on the newsletter! Make sure you subscribe so you can get the bonus steamy scene 😏

What do I mean by adventures behind and ahead? Behind, I’m referring to the reason for my lack of a post last week which was due to the fact it was my birthday (time is relative. It snuck up on me, more on how funny that is later), but ahead is in reference to where I’m at in the publishing process and that’s what I’ll start with.

The manuscript is in the proofreader’s hands now. I will hopefully have it back this week and see what I need to revise (lowkey though, I already know of 3 things I need to fix because I saw them AFTER I’d already sent my proofreader the files. Oops 😅 this is why a proofreader is important 🤷‍♀️). So, what next? Well, I’ll have to go through all her corrections and fix the manuscript, then reupload the files into the formatting software I have. I’m using Atticus, which makes the files all nice for printing at my distributor, and makes an epub file for ebooks. I’m still kind of learning Atticus, so we’ll see if there were any formatting issues since my lovely proofreader checks for that as well. How long that will take, I’m unsure. All of this is completely new territory for me and I’m slugging through a learn as I go kind of deal. Next book for publication should go smoother since it won’t be all brand new, and then I’ll have a much better idea of what timelines are reasonable to work in. This time, I did not work in reasonable timelines. I thought I was, but… Yeah, I’ve learned a lot and next time will go smoother. That’s how you learn and improve.

So, once I’m done with the proof reading part of it, my proofreader is actually also going to help me with a blurb. When I have that, I then email my lovely cover designer, send her the blurb to put on the book, send her the barcode and ISBN to add to the back, and then send the measurements for the paperback and hardback sizes so that she can send me the right file size for uploading. Then it gets to the real part. The real scary part. The part where I upload the files for distribution and then wait for their approval that I’ve formatted everything correctly, and then…

Then I get a proof of the book. I will be holding the actual book in my hand, hopefully within the month. It takes some time for Ingram Sparks to approve files, because they go through and make sure everything is perfectly ready for printing so they don’t waste money printing something that wasn’t formatted correctly. From what I understand, that normally takes 5-7 business days. Assuming I have no errors (cross your fingers, I’m doing everything I can to make sure my formatting is right, but again, I’m attempting this as a total noob), as soon as I get it back approved, I get to order an author proof (AAHHHHHHH. Anyways…).

Phew. I’m not scared, I’m petrified. But also so excited it’s not even funny. I don’t think it’s fully set in that I’m publishing a book. I’d say it probably won’t until I have the author proof but let’s be honest, it probably won’t until publication day. Or until my first sale 🤯

So, that is my adventures ahead, at least part of them. Adventures behind, however…

So, last week was my birthday. Funny story, I legitimately kind of forgot and didn’t really plan on doing anything. My honey told me a while ago he took that day off, but me being busy and having zero concept of time was like “cool”. Not connecting he meant he took it off for me 🤦‍♀️ Anyway, so the day approaches and I’m like, I gotta work, and he’s like … I took the day off. And I’m like yeah I figured you do whatever you want man. He’s like, “baby, I took the day off for your birthday”. Cue me being like “it’s the middle of September already???” Sigh. I didn’t use to be terrible with dates. I actually used to be known for being scary good with dates. I don’t know, between losing my brother and COVID, I sometimes feel my brain has been rewired in places I wish it wasn’t but here we are.

Anyway, so I started the day off by brushing my insanely fluffy dog. I say started off because I’d already been brushing her while watching The Witcher when midnight struck, at which point my honey scrambled into the room to attempt to be the first person that told me happy birthday. He wasn’t. My best friend texted me and beat him to it 😂 Poor honey.

Anyway, my man makes the world’s best banana pancakes, and he makes them with strawberry cream to have on top and they’re just 😋😍🤌. So he made those for me for breakfast, which was scrumptious. We hung out with our puppies for a bit, but then left them with the promise my sister would be coming to hang out with them for a bit. Honey and I then ventured down on one of the prettiest drives in Albuquerque (I’m talking within the city, not outside, there are too many lovely drives outside the city to narrow it down). This drive is on a road called Rio Grande, and you drive past probably the greenest part of the desert city because it’s right along the Rio Grande River. You can’t see it from the car since this is also where a bunch of fancy houses are. It’s just a beautiful area, and down that road is a farm pretty well known in my area for many things, but mostly for green chilé. However, as I am so not a chilé person (please don’t hate me my fellow New Mexicans, but I don’t like spicy food, I was born in the wrong state), we went for the sunflowers. They have a huge field full of gigantic, gorgeous sunflowers and they give you shears to go cut off as many as you want for a bouquet.

So that was lovely, and we got a gorgeous bouquet out of it. After that, we drove to the mountains and on our way there, saw a stunning double rainbow in front of the mountains. It seriously was one of the most vibrant rainbows I’ve ever seen in my life. That drive only got prettier, even after we left the rainbow behind. We finally got a little rain and so our mountains were looking healthy and green, but also bursting with wildflowers. Then, because I believed the day couldn’t possibly get lovelier, we saw several deer and two even hung around to let me get a quick picture.

Aren’t they cute? 😍

In case it isn’t obvious, I’m a nature and animal lover, so this is like peak excitement for me. So we carry on, drive all the way to the Sandia crest (Sandias are our main mountains in Albuquerque, the big ones you can see from anywhere in the city. The word “sandia” is Spanish for “watermelon”, and they’re so named because often at sunset, when the light is right, they turn a beautiful shade of pink until the sun goes down. Anyways, there’s a trail at the top that connects to our famous tram. Now, honey packed a little picnic and I had my camera equipment (the one time I don’t bring it is the time I see a bear. Twice. TWICE this has happened. So now it comes with me no matter [even tho holy shit it weighs like almost 50 pounds] what because goddamn, I WILL get another picture of a bear some day), so we didn’t anticipate hiking the whole trail or even very much of it, what we were looking for was a nice place free of people where we could sit and enjoy a picnic.

So we carry on, we end up not really finding a place until we’re getting close to this place called Kiwanis Cabin. So I tell honey, I’ve been on this trail about a billion times and I know a gorgeous spot near Kiwanis cabin, so that’s where we went. Now, this particular part of the trail is right on the edge so you can overlook the city, but my man has a fear of heights so in the interest of having a view but not freaking him out, we got nestled under this beautiful pine tree that grew at an angle so it’s almost like a tent, and has a gap where I could still see the view. This was actually better anyway, because it offered more privacy and wind shelter. Plus, look at that:

Now imagine that view, in cool, wonderful air, under a tree with the love of your life, and this adorable light lunch

There was even more variety of cheese and nuts not pictured

Blissful sigh. This right here was one of the most beautiful, peaceful moments of my life. And then honey made it better because he brought his stove and some mugs for us to warm up with a cup of hot tea right there on the picnic. I’m not convinced I’ve ever had a better cup of tea (that’s saying a lot. You should see my tea collection. Actually, you shouldn’t. It’s out of control and spilling out from the cabinet it’s supposed to be in all over the kitchen counter. Oops).

So, doesn’t that all sound lovely and peaceful and wonderful? It was. Do the clouds in the back of that previous picture imply a storm is headed our way? I mean, I didn’t think so, but right about the time we started packing up to head back to the car (getting close to sunset and hello I’m terrified of forests at night, thanks PTSD), I feel rain. At first it’s just a couple drops and I’m like eh, no biggie. Then came the hail. And MORE rain. A lot more rain, mixed with giant pieces of hail. Turns out our tree did not have as much coverage overtop as we thought, because it did nothing to protect us from the sudden onslaught.

So, honey and I very quickly pack everything up, but one of the things he brought was in a paper bag. A paper bag + rain = disaster, but we’re like “it’s fine, we’ll just get to the tree line and maybe the rain will ease and maybe…

Oh, what’s that? A HUGE dark cloud dropping down over us and covering the trail and forest both in a thick fog and torrential rain?

*nervous laughter* I’m in danger.

At this point, honey is fully aware of my paralyzing fear of being around a lot of trees in the dark. And now, not only is it dark, but it’s also foggy, so we can’t see more than two feet in front of us, and the rain is pouring, and the light we thought we’d have to get back to our car is gone, leaving us in almost complete darkness. In the forest. At one point, my legs were like “no”. And I was like “you better get the fuck over it. Is it scarier to force myself to walk through my fears, or stand here all night, in the fog and rain, with no shelter, in the dark, for hours until daylight? The answer is obvious, but I wish my body would’ve responded as well. I had to actively focus on breathing exercises while my honey felt absolutely terrible because he knows it’s setting me off, and he just talked his ass off to try to distract me the entire wet, dark, slippery hike up to the car. But of course, the forest didn’t provide much shelter either, so the paper bag disintegrated. Honey had to wrap it in the blanket we sat on for the picnic and carry it over his shoulder. Thankfully, he did have a flashlight on him so we weren’t completely blind, and the fog got less thick the closer we got to the car so we were able to see farther ahead than just a couple feet.

Yes, this is too dark and fuzzy but considering the weather and the fact I would NOT pull out my camera in these conditions, this is the best I got

Now, you may be thinking. Wow, that sounds like a good day that ended in a nightmare, but truth was, it was a fucking blast. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the triggering hike through dark, wet fog and several instances of almost slipping on the slick rock and muddy trail certainly was terrifying in the moment, but, by the time we made it back to the car, we were laughing, freezing, and very much looking forward to the turkey honey had roasting in the oven back home. As I told my brother who I spoke to later that night, it’s one of those things where it’s like, in the moment I could’ve done without, but looking back, it was a cool fucking story and experience, so I wouldn’t change one bit of it. Can’t hurt to conquer your fears. Plus, hello, imagine the cool and terrifying scenes I can write based on that experience? Get ready readers, there may be a foggy scene in one of my books in the near future 😉

Anyways, I must get back to work now as my publishing to-do list is somehow evergrowing even after I check things off 😂

Take care, dear readers. I look forward to writing more adventures to share with you.

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