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Holiday Blog

Sara General

The holidays are finally here and I’m so excited to spend the next two weeks being creative! The last six months have been a flurry of activity between school and work and family. Although I often think it would be awesome to be a full-time writer, I really enjoy my job and just before the holidays started, we received some very wonderful news. I work for an Indigenous postsecondary education institute called Six Nations Polytechnic. For the last three years, one of my projects was to work with language instructors and people in my community to develop a language degree for Cayuga and Mohawk. And just before the holidays started, we got word that our application had been approved! As some of you know, I’m very passionate about languages and trying to become a better speaker. The degree is definitely only one small piece of many excellent efforts happening to revitalize Haudenosaunee languages but it’s a cool part and one I was happy to be apart of. So yes, awesome stuff is happening at work and I’m glad to be there—even if my greatest passion is storytelling.

Back in July, I wrote a blog where I was talking about all of this writing I’d done that I wanted to get into a publishable state by the end of the year. You see, joining the #MonthlyWritingChallenge and writing 500 words a day turned out to be a completely transformative experience for me. (I actually started out writing 300 words a day after reading this interview with Stephen King by Neil Gaiman and then I stumbled onto the Writing Challenge and the rest is history). Suddenly, I had all of these drafts of stories. Unfortunately, it started to become too much pressure to keep writing when I knew I had these half-finished drafts waiting to be polished. I knew I had to finish them and get them ready to publish.

As I’ve gotten closer to the end of the year, I thought it would be a good idea to take stock of whether or not I accomplished what I set out to do in July. Happily, I can share that I have four books that are for the most part ready to go. Yay!

·      Spirit & Intent: A Collection of Short Stories & Other Writings (Being formatted as an ebook)

·      The Vampire Skeleton (Ready to go!)

·      The School That Ate Children; and (With a copyeditor)

·      The Fortune Teller’s Daughter (Headed for copyedits in January)

So I’m super excited for the holidays because I can do more things—especially on the business/admin side—to get my books ready for sharing. For example, there’s some confusion about the process for registering tax information on Createspace for authors who reside in Canada (to avoid paying taxes for royalties twice). In a way, this is somewhat more complicated for Indigenous authors. Complicated might not be the right word—maybe it’s just strange because our rights and responsibilities are not very well understood by mainstream business practices and nowhere is that more evident than in these kinds of situations. Anyways, hopefully, I can figure things like this out over the next few days.

Also, just minutes ago, I finished prepping my YA fantasy book, The Fortune Teller’s Daughter for copyediting, which means tomorrow I can get started on a second round of edits for The Skeleton Key—a book I wrote back in the summer. But it’d also be nice to finish the script for a comic I started writing in the summer as well. Whichever project I choose, I know it’s going to be a great way to spend my break! 

The first two books in the list above will be published in January 2016. The other two will likely be published in April 2016, if not sooner. I'm very excited, because it means I can finally start writing something new. Which begs the question (at least for me) what have I been doing for the last six months, if not writing new stories? The quick answer is editing, formatting, designing covers, reading about the industry, setting up accounts with online retailers and otherwise navigating how complicated this can all be. What’s been great is that there are so many resources out there that are helpful. I’ve read a lot of blogs and watched a lot of videos that helped shine some light on virtually every part of the process and I plan to write a blog that gathers together all of my favourites in one place for my own reference (since it gets tricky finding everything in my ever expanding Reading List) and also, to share with anyone else who might be looking for information.

Til then, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season with your family and loved ones!

Happy writing!