vampiresversus

One writer…too many projects…a whole lot of vampires


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On Adulthood

Well, guys, it’s official. I’m an adult now. By some sort of miracle I managed to land the job that I actually wanted with a B2B marketing firm that specializes in web marketing for manufacturing and construction equipment businesses. I’ve spent the last week learning how to draft online marketing materials and pestering my manager with questions. That man has the patience of a saint.

I’ve been working there about a week now and I’ve been navigating the treacherous waters of 401K planning and company insurance. I still can’t quite believe I’ve landed a job that gives me both. Part of me still thinks I’m a student. But I’m not. I have to keep telling myself that I’m not because University of Iowa classes started the day I started working. For the first time in my life, I’m not in school. And I never have to go back to school if I don’t want to.

That’s quite a feeling. It hasn’t really sunk in until now. I’m a working girl now with a grown up job. Now all that needs to happen is for the fabulous Kent to get a job so we can apartment hunt. The second adulthood milestone!

Sorry this post is so short, being an adult is tiring!


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Where Have I Been?

So yeah, it’s…been awhile. I really want to apologize for my lack of blogging right after I said I was getting back on the train for real again. I know all of you are sick of excuses but life just sort of…happened…

Basically, I decided that instead of going with my cozy fallback plan of moving back in with my parents and taking a crappy job and writing all the time, I’m shipping out to a new city with Kent because she needed a roommate and really didn’t want to move back in with her parents. Wow, long sentence alert! So I’ve spent the last few weeks job hunting obsessively and trying to figure out where the crap we’re going to be living until we can get said jobs. Needless to say, the last month has been long and stressful and I knew that’s all I would blog about. My heart just wasn’t in it. I was hardcore panicking and for the first time in my life I had zero plans. I didn’t know where I was living, I didn’t know what my job was going to be, I didn’t have any plans farther out than a week. It was absolutely terrifying. I hadn’t been working on Reconstruction or any of my other projects because job hunting is an actual creativity destroyer. Cover letters were invented by Satan, I swear! I’ve done several job interviews but I haven’t gotten any offers yet and I’ve pretty much got the most direct route to Chicago memorized.

Yes, you read right, I’m moving to Chicago.

An absolutely wonderful friend of the family offered to let Kent and I live with him and his wife since they’re empty nesting and have extra rooms until we get jobs and can figure out an apartment situation. So we finally have a place to go that will save us money! Yay! All we’ll have to do is make them food and probably clean, it’ll be great! Of course, I’ll probably still end up with some kind of crappy job at first, but hey, at least I won’t have to worry about not having a roof over my head.

I’m actually really excited about moving there. I’ve got a lot of friends out there and I’ll be in the same vicinity as Sue the T-Rex and the Shedd Aquarium. Chicago has a lot to offer and I’m really eager to try my hand at big city life. However, I’m still ridiculously nervous. I mean, I don’t have a job yet and I’m terrified I won’t get one. But at least I don’t have to worry about housing on top of that.

I’ll miss Iowa City a lot. It’s been my home for the last four years and it’s been good to me. I know where everything is and I’ve got my special places. I’m really going to miss this town. It will always be my town. However, I’m ready to leave it I think. I know it so well and I know there isn’t really anything here for me anymore. As scary as it is, I know that I need to leave. I need a change of pace. I need to learn how to live in a real city. I’ve always been a small town girl (livin’ in a lonely world! Just kidding, couldn’t resist) and I want to try my hand at the big city life. I think I can do it and I think it’ll be fun. Besides, all the good anime and steampunk cons are out here. And concerts! I’ll finally be in a city big enough for real celebrities to acknowledge. Who would’ve thought?

Basically, I’m entering a new stage of my life and the awkward transition period has been really rough. Hopefully, once I’m settled in Chicago I’ll be able to blog more but it’s going to be really touch and go for the next couple weeks. There’s a lot happening right now.

I’m also sad to announce that I’ll be taking a brief, 4 week hiatus from Reconstruction starting this upcoming week. I just have too much to do with the move and job hunting and finding where everything is. I won’t have enough time to edit sufficiently and I’m very nearly caught up with my backlog. I just need some extra time to ensure that my work quality remains up to snuff. So I apologize for the delay, but Team Benjamin will be back soon and be better than ever! Thanks for sticking with me, Voltapunks, you guys are the absolute best!


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Thoughts on being a Graduate

So I’ve been out of school for a couple of weeks now and it’s finally had the chance to sink in. I’ve officially gotten my degree (no diploma yet). I’ve got a Bachelor of the Arts in English and Creative Writing with Honors and a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management. And I’ve got the class ring to top it all off.

University has treated me better than I could’ve ever asked for. It taught me more than I thought I could ever learn and I had the honor of meeting some incredible professors. It’s been a hell of a ride. Of course, most of the the things I learned didn’t come straight from academia (even though I probably shouldn’t tell my professors that). These are the top ten things I learned:

1) Professors love it when you come in for office hours

2) Don’t fear the cold call, sometimes it’ll get you far

3) Professors are people too, and they will treat you like equals if you let them (some of them are also jerks, but we won’t go there)

4) Keep your friends close

5) Leave the country at least once. Lancaster University was probably the best school year I’ve ever had and everyone should take a chance like that

6) Working hard actually does get you things, even if the results aren’t immediate

7) Even the worst classes can teach you something

8) Push yourself. Push yourself harder than you’ve ever pushed before. Want to write a thesis but think it’s impossible? Do it anyway, you can usually accomplish more than you can imagine even if it makes you cry a little (or a lot)

9) Small businesses are the best businesses. Everyone should work for one at least once in their lives

10) Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean you have to know what you’re doing

The big question has become “what now?” because I am definitely living lesson number ten at the moment. However, by some kind of stroke of luck or a miracle, I’ve accepted a job as a freelance social media manager and web designer for a small business owned by one of my mum’s friends. If I get any other clients, I could have a small business on my hands. I might actually be one of the few and proud that uses their degree in their career paths. The sky’s the limit for me right now and I’m really excited. I hope that I get the chance to prove myself as a social media marketer and maybe reach out to some indie publishers. Who knows?

And don’t you worry, Voltapunks, being a freelancer leaves plenty of time to continue Reconstruction. I’ve finally gotten my pretty JP30 banner back and I hope to keep it until my next hiatus (which won’t be until I move depending on where I go). I’ll definitely keep all of you posted on that. Depending on where all this goes, I could move anywhere. I’m a graduate and I’ve got nothing but time and decisions. Expect to hear me bemoaning how many decisions I have to make in this blog. Happy summer!


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On Settling

Now that school’s over a slew of hours that I’d completely forgot I had has opened up. I made myself a tumblr that all of you should follow because it has all kinds of cool steampunk stuff and writerisms on it and occasionally things I make. I’ve also been obsessing over the game Bloodborne because it’s gorgeous and everything in it can and will kill you. It’s also got some of the coolest grimy steampunk-esque tech I’ve ever seen and really want to steal some things from it for Reconstruction. Or, you know, script a Bloodborne movie (which I totally haven’t been thinking about nonstop).

Mainly though, I’ve been resting and trying to find a real job. I’ve been talking to a friend of my mum’s who’s a small business owner about being a freelance social media manager for her. Hopefully I’ll find out what the verdict on that is tomorrow. If that doesn’t work out it’ll be back to the job drawing board and probably several cold calls.

No Rest for the Wicked is…going. I’ve been having some real problems editing a few sections. I just haven’t gotten anything to sound right. That could just be a me problem since none of my beta readers have seen these particular sections yet, but still, I’m nervous about them. They simply don’t feel as strong and they’re really important so they kind of need to sound good. Hopefully I’ll have it all figured soon because I’m getting dangerously close to catching up to my backlog at this rate.

Overall though, summer is nice. The realization that I need to find a real grownup job hasn’t yet hit me, so I’m not panicking yet. It will come eventually…


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School’s Out Forever, or Back on the Blog Wagon

So I’ve been gone for awhile now and I’d like to apologize for that. I haven’t been a very good blogger these last couple of weeks mainly because I was concentrating far too much on being a good student. I ended up editing my thesis far more intensely than I probably needed to and I got pretty burnt out. I barely worked on Reconstruction which is something that I always did to make myself feel better. I had zero brain power for anything aside from watching youtube and working on my thesis.

But that’s all over now, because I turned in my thesis this morning. It is now done and dead and out of my hair. I have to present the data from a small scale marketing campaign for Reconstruction at 8 tonight but after that school’s out forever.

First thing I’m going to do is change all of my social media bios because I’m no longer a student.

It’s so odd to think that this period of my life is over now. I’ve been a student for so long that it’s going to be several weeks before I stop referring to myself as such. But I’m happy to be finished. The only problem is I don’t really have a plan after this point. I’d like to get some sort of job, preferably in marketing, but what I really want to do is write. I’m a writer, that’s what I do. I’ll be spending the time up until my lease runs out job hunting and working at my lovely part time position at the candy store. I will also be continuing work on Reconstruction and outlining the rest of my vampires.

Speaking of, I presented my thesis at an honors ceremony this past weekend. I made an amazing poster for it and got my pat on the head from academia. My parents came to town to see it along with Kent’s and we had a lovely dinner. The head of the English Honors department (and my workshop professor) told me that she really loved the vampires and wanted to know as soon as the first book is published. Which it will be. I have several people that I respect very highly expecting this of me, so I have to do it!

Now that university is finished for me, this means I’ll be able to return to my regular blogging schedule and blog about a lot more fun things than just complaining about my thesis and school work. I’ve learned a lot, but I think I need to wait until everything sinks in before I share my thoughts about being a graduate. I’m really happy to be finished though.

Now I’m going to prepare for my presentation and then sleep a lot. Sleepin sounds so good right now.


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Whoops…

So I didn’t blog last week when I said I would and I can’t say I have any excuse other than SCHOOL. After I went and saw that Korean heist movie (which was amazing by the way, if you like heist movies), school just kind of caught up with me. I’d procrastinated terribly on a finance project for one of my business courses and was in quite a rush to finish it. Then I started hammering through my thesis edits and next thing I knew the week was gone and I hadn’t stepped one foot in the blogverse. Whoops.

Anyways to get back on the track, I had a chat with my lovely thesis adviser and my workshop critique partner today. I still have a lot of editing left to do on my narrative. I’m going to have to alter the beginning again but I don’t mind too much. My critique partner gave me a great idea for a new opener that is full of action and blood and a much better set up than I have currently. I do admit, my current beginning was a bit cobbled together and not a terribly effective introduction. However, I still have the essay left to edit, which I’m not looking forward to. At all. My second reader said I needed to do ‘more close reading’ which means I might have to go back and look over all the crappy vampire books that make me sad. I don’t want to reread “House of Night” again. I can’t do it. My eyes!!!!

On a much happier note, I FINALLY saw the movie “Attack the Block” and it was amazing. It has everything I like: bands of misfits, alien invasions, and kids beating aliens up with crowbars and katanas. Anyone who likes those things should watch it. It’s also a well written, well shot, and well directed. The casting blew me away! John Boyega is amazing and I actually got a little excited for the new Star Wars because of him. Also, not gonna lie, he’s my current casting choice for the male main character of my thesis. And he’s cute ^_^ (but that’s just my humble opinion).

My fabulous flatmate and editor just got a job for Diversion Books as a proofreader which is amazing and exciting and I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more 😀 I have yet to find any sort of job. No one has contacted me so I’m assuming all my applications were DOA. I can’t say I’m all that surprised. College kids are a tough hire for a lot of companies. They don’t really like use because we’re inexperienced. But that’s a blog for another time.

Anyways, I have some Reconstruction to edit for Wednesday. You’ll probably get some job angst next week. Cheers!


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On Anniversaries

Today marks the first anniversary of Vampires Versus, this is also the day that my second thesis reader sent me his comments. Strange they lined up this way, huh? This time last year, I had only just started figuring out how my thesis was going to work. I’d cold called my adviser and expected nothing. I thought there was no way that anyone would give a thesis that was one part vampire actioner, one part rant against Twilight a second glance, let alone want to be a part of it. I was worrying about Reconstruction’s reception at jukepop.com, thinking that no one would be interested in a steampunk western with manga influence. I was failing at getting an internship and hunting for a summer job at the same time.

Strange what a year can do.

My thesis is now nearly finished, I have one more round of editing left and my second reader’s comments were extremely encouraging. I won’t bore you with the word-for-word, but he told me that my story was compelling and that my research was solid. Of course, both are in desperate need of edits but TL;DR, my thesis does not suck. It is salvageable and both my adviser and my second reader are looking forward to the full novel that my story is excerpted from. A far cry from last year’s panic about everyone hating it and it not being ‘academic’ enough.

The first chapter of second book in the Reconstruction trilogy went live two weeks ago, almost exactly a year since the very first chapter was approved for release. It’s almost surreal that Reconstruction has been out for that long. I feel like just yesterday I was fretting about whether or not releasing it would be a good idea. I have never regretted that decision. I’ve connected with so many great writers and learned so much from all of them. So many people have grown to consider Team Benjamin as a group of friends they can come back to and that thought brings tears to my eyes. Honestly. My father once asked me what my mission as a writer was and I told him that I wanted to write the story that would become someone’s old friend. Releasing Reconstruction has proven to me that I can do that. I’m so grateful for everything that this opportunity has brought me and I’m so excited that the journey is far from over. On top of that, I’ve met a few characters that have since become new friends for me (and for my characters, #CrossoverBrofist XD).

Of course, now I’m looking for a grownup job instead of a summer job, which is so much scarier. But, my summer job ended up being the best job I’ve ever had and has given me a lot of new skills to bring to my real job (whatever it may be, whenever I get one). There will probably be a lot of panicking in the future about that, but right now, I’m tentatively optimistic. A lot of good things have happened this year and I expect there to be more. I just want to thank all of you that have been with me this far. You guys are the best!

Also, I passed the one year marker without dropping this blog so that means it’s here to stay! Yay!


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I’m sorry I disappeared again…

So the thesis is gone for now. I threw it into the void for my second reader to deal with. All I can say is good luck to him and I really hope he doesn’t plaster it with a bunch of academic WTFs.

Also Reconstruction: No Rest for the Wicked has officially premiered and gained a healthy interest (and some shiny reviews) which is more than I was expecting for the sequel. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can read both books here. I’m very excited to be posting again, I really missed working with Team Benjamin. My readers were also happy to see their return.

I’ve also begun job hunting in earnest and my lack of internships is making me increasingly nervous. I tried unsuccessfully last summer to get one. After ten applications I started thinking that maybe it was completely impossible. However, according to one of my flatmate’s contacts it’s virtually impossible to get noticed by any sort of publishing industry without one. And I’m terrified that’s the case. I would like to have a real job. As fun as writing full time is, I actually want to try my hand at the workforce. I enjoy work, I also enjoy getting paid. On top of that, I’ve got a nice business wardrobe now and I’d hate to see it go to waste because no one wants to hire me. I’ve sent out a few applications, so we’ll see how this goes.

Anyways, that was kind of a boring recap but I think I’m still recovering from my thesis and the job hunting stress. Hopefully I’ll have better stories next week.


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It’s Finally here…

As a special treat since I neglected to blog yesterday due to my busy thesis and vlog packed schedule I give you….

THE COVER FOR NO REST FOR THE WICKED!

nrftwcover

Bask in it’s beauty and plot hints! It was made (as usual) by the fabulous Kent and it will be gracing jukepop.com as the new cover for my entire Reconstruction thread in a week and one day!

I hope all you Voltapunks are as excited as I am!


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Two Weeks ‘Til the Turn In

Short post this week!

I’ve worked on my thesis just about all day. It’s not like that’s a bad thing, it’s just time consuming. Also I’m at the essay portion of the work and, essays, ew. I’ve been going back through my notes and scholarly books to try to figure out how to get a bunch of stuffed shirts to care about my awkward, snarly vampires. I think I may have gotten it, but I won’t know for absolute certain until after I meet with my professor on Wednesday. Right now, I’m trying to write about where vampires like those of Twilight fit on my gradient scale of vampire monstrosity. It’s very boring. These vampires are boring. They don’t kill anything or do anything interesting. Out of the many vampires in this category, only two of them interest me. One of them does not kill humans because her breed of vampire views it as waste, which is something I understand. Why kill something that could actually feed you for years? The other is so terrified of humans he doesn’t even want to try killing one. The others just bore me. They are all just Byronic and whiny and bleh.

I also have two projects due this week. One is a presentation I’m giving tomorrow about e-publishing and why it’s both good and bad for young writers. The other is a 60 second business pitch for a digital publishing house. Lots and lots of things to do!

Spring Break is also next week and I’m very excited for some uninterrupted time to finish my thesis and get some real work done on No Rest for the Wicked. And maybe actually have fun? We’ll have to wait and see about that one.