Every Step Is a Victory

 

The Grand Canyon from the upper portion of the South Kaibab trail (beginning of the hike)

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to complete one of the goals I set for myself for this year: to hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. It was something I had been thinking about doing for a while, but finally decided the time would never be quite right, so I might as well do it now. Besides crossing another goal off my list, I also learned something from my experience. What I re-learned was that most times, the way we look at what happens to us is more important than what actually happens to us.

I know, that sounds deep and philosophical. It sounds like another motivational story where the teller (that would be me) tries to impart some kind of life lesson on the reader (that would be you). Let’s not suffer through that. I’d like to apply what I learned to the process of writing. Grander applications can be left to those who want to make them. I’m going to keep it light.

Let me give you some background. We can all agree that the Grand Canyon is huge. Hiking it from rim to rim can generally be done either from north to south or from south to north. I chose the latter. Traveling down the South Kaibab trail from the South Rim, it’s nearly seven miles to the Colorado River at the bottom, with more than four thousand feet of elevation loss. The hike up the North Rim is more than fourteen miles, with an elevation gain of 5700 feet. Altogether, it’s a hike of over twenty-two miles.

Not surprisingly, I got tired on the hike.

Part of the North Kaibab Trail

The trail is fantastic and there are adequate opportunities to refill water containers, but it is a long hike. The last four miles or so were an experience in torture and longevity for me, mainly because I never condition adequately for these things. I found myself trying to convince the part of me that just wanted to lie down to keep going, to make it to the top.

I chanted to myself, “One step after another. Keep going. Every step is a victory.” It worked. I was slow for those last few miles. I hurt. I wanted to stop and take a nap, for maybe a day or a week. But I continued and finished the hike.

As I drove home after the hike, I thought a lot about my little mantra. It was true on the hike that every step was another victory, every time I put my foot forward it was closer to the major victory of finishing the hike. Each time I resisted the urge to stop, I won a tiny battle. I thought about how true it is that all the little wins are really what’s important, whether hiking or doing something else.

It applies well to writing. Often, in the writing process, there are sticking points. There are times when we are so tired, so overwhelmed, so sick of editing or structuring or any one of a number of other things, that we want to quit. Just one more word or sentence, paragraph or page, and we have taken another step. We have declared another small victory.

Will this new—although it’s really not new so much as something familiar viewed from another angle—idea help me in my writing, in life? I’m sure it will. The lesson is real to me, branded into my soul by the pain through which I have come by the experience. It makes me feel a little better when I’m tired, beaten down, or just plain want to quit.

The Grand Canyon from near the top of the North Rim (North Kaibab Trail)

The physical experience of the hike was hard, but the exhilaration of finishing and looking back over the canyon, one of the natural wonders of the world, that I had crossed, is indescribable and priceless. It was very nearly the same type of feeling when I hold in my hand a new book I have just published. In my opinion, we can all use a few more of those types of victories. What do you think?

 

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Water & Flame Launch

Water & Flame, a new collaborative story, is now out and available on Amazon in paperback and in Kindle formats. It’s my first foray into the world of paranormal romance (PNR) and advance copy readers have good things to say about it. It’s on special for release week, only 99¢ until June 10, 2017.

 

Fire and water don’t mix…

Water witch Abigail Henderson is focused on one thing: finding the fire witches responsible for murdering her mother. Her coven has finally allowed her to go undercover at the estate of the prime suspect, Margaret Huntsman. The job is to get magical evidence to prove the woman was the mastermind behind the killing and that she actually cast the fatal spell. It’s a dangerous mission, but worth it if Abbie can bring the killer to justice.

But she never counted on meeting Margaret’s handsome, estranged son, Ben.

Now, Abbie must choose between completing her mission or pursuing a relationship with the son of her enemy. It’s not only the success of the mission that’s at stake, either. If Ben is in on Margaret’s schemes, Abbie could follow her mother to the grave.

Even worse, she may have stumbled across a bigger conspiracy than she ever imagined—one that could lead to all-out war among the elemental witches.

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Magic After Dark Boxed Set – On Preorder Now

 

A boxed set consisting of twenty-three brand new stories is available now on pre-order.

These heroes and heroines are redefining the meaning of their lives…and the villains are about to get what’s been coming to them. 

Journey from the hills of Ireland to Victorian England, from medieval Italy to eighteenth century Egypt, from the United States to the sand-baked Middle East and beyond to explore forbidden magic, navigate the pitfalls of ancient prophecies, battle vampires and shifters, and defeat evil sorcerers and hellish demons.

This unique collection, inspired by the ability to empower yourself by redefining your identity on your own terms, contains over one million words of captivating urban fantasy and paranormal romance fiction that’s guaranteed to keep you up long after dark.
Discover worlds where heroes roam and magic reigns with twenty-three brand new works from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors.

Each book within this collection is exclusive to the set and can’t be found anywhere else. Preorder now for a future filled with mystery, adventure, romance, and magical thrills!

 

 

 

Don’t miss your opportunity to get this collection for only ninety-nine cents. You can pre-order the book now in the following marketplaces:

Amazon

Nook

IBooks

Kobo

Google Play

 

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Being a Hero is Not as Easy as it Looks

Unfurled: Heroing is a Tough Gig, Book 1 of the Unlikely Hero series, is out now in paperback and e-book format. For this one, I used the pen name Eric Padilla.

Heroing is a tough gig…

When seventeen-year old Daniel Nickers gains superhuman abilities, he believes his dream of becoming a superhero will finally come true.

But life isn’t like the comic books and the job’s harder than he expected. He’s constantly in mortal danger as crime in his city soars. He can’t control his powers, and he’s faced with criminals who act instead of giving speeches about their plans.

If that weren’t enough, a new supervillain named Crusher is gathering all the city‘s criminals together into one organization. Their first order of business is to eliminate the pesky superhero who is the city’s only protector.

Daniel must learn to use his powers to stop Crusher before the villain can implement his mysterious master plan or all that Daniel cares about could be lost—including his own life.

Until January 7th, get this superhero action & adventure story for only 99¢. Click the link here (or on the cover graphic) to find out more, including the first 10% of the book as a free preview (use the Look Inside feature)

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Continue the Journey – Harmonics is Out Now!

 

Book 2 in the Harmonic Magic series, Harmonics, is out in paperback and e-book format. Follow Sam’s further adventures in the world of Gythe.

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A fledgling government in threat of extinction. Three artifacts of power that hold the key to safety, or to doom. A powerful energy user who will stop at nothing to rule over all.

Sam Sharp faces the end of all he knows and loves on his adopted world of Gythe. Ayim Rasaad, mage and expert fighter, along with her army of humans and mutated creatures, searches for three items of power. If she collects them, she will be unstoppable in her plot to conquer the world.

With only the smallest seed of a plan and not nearly enough information to act with certainty, Sam and his allies must foil Rasaad’s campaign or watch as Gythe is plunged into the darkness of her tyrannical rule. The people call him the Hero of Gythe. Now he needs to prove that he deserves the title.

For just a few days, get the second book in the Harmonic Magic series for only 99¢. I have also reduced the price of book 1 in the series, Vibrations, and the prequel novella, Gray Man Rising, to 99¢ for a very limited time. The audiobooks for the other two books are also available and if the e-books are purchased (or have been previously), you can pick the audiobooks up for less than $2 each. I will begin the process for creating the audiobook for Harmonics within a few months. Watch for news of its release.

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Whispersync: Why I Think Amazon’s Audiobook Program Is Kind of Cool

Amazon has a functionality with some of their Kindle books and the associated audiobooks is called Whispersync, and I am a big fan. First off, let me explain what Whispersync is.

Whispersync

Whispersync is a coordination function that allows synchronization between a Kindle e-book and it’s associated Audible audiobook. So, for example, if you read your e-book and are at page 50, and then get in the car to go to work and want to continue the story, you can start up the audiobook and it will remember where you left off reading. It will start at page 50. No more trying to figure out where you were. I typically read a book and then, after I’ve finished, listen to the audiobook while I’m in the car, driving to work or running errands. Because of this, the functionality to keep my place isn’t that important to me. Some people only listen to audiobooks and do not read text books, so again, this feature wouldn’t be attractive.

Another feature is that when you buy the e-book, the price of the audiobook is drastically reduced for a Whispersync qualified title, and this is more important to me (as a reader and as an author) than synchronizing page number. Put plainly, it can save you money, and everyone likes to save money.

Let me use my book Vibrations as an example. The e-book is $3.99, the normal price for the audiobook is $24.95, and the reduced price for the Audible audiobook is two or three dollars (it seems to change, for some reason). If someone wanted only the audiobook and not the e-book but bought it anyway, they would still save about $18 over just buying the audiobook by itself ($6 or $7 vs. $25). Because I have no control over pricing of the audiobooks for my books, this is great for me because people can read (and listen) to my book for less money. As a reader (and listener), this is great for me, too because whenever I buy an e-book, I always pick up the audiobook if it has Whispersync. I’ve never paid more than $3.99 for a Whispersync audiobook, so adding it is a no-brainer.

One other reason I like Whispersync is that in order to qualify, the audiobook has to keep a pace that allows it to synchronize with the e-book. That means the cadence of the narration can’t be too jerky, can’t speed up and slow down, which can be distracting. I know that titles qualifying for Whispersync have smoother narration that those which can’t qualify and that is an important piece of information for me.

So, whether you are a reader first and listener second, solely a listener, or a hybrid consumer of stories in text and audio formats, I think Amazon’s Whispersync is a good program. I’m a fan of anything that will allow readers to experience the books I write in varied ways and to do so without spending too much money. Both of the titles I have out right now, Vibrations and Gray Man Rising, have Whispersync functionality, and I plan on making sure all subsequent titles have it as well. I am already planning for the audiobook for Harmonics, the second book in the Harmonic Magic series, the e-book and print copy due out this month. Let me know what you think. Do you like Whispersync, too? If so, why?

 

 

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