Tag Archives: stardust always

I’m a Writer, Not a Trophy Wife

Blog Bucket List

Use McCoy’s catchphrase in a title. 

TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

TISATAAFWPE: There Isn’t Such A Thing As A Free Writing Piece, Either.

As I wrestle the kracken known as the job market, there is one thing that I keep running into as a writer: “job” postings for writers that don’t offer compensation of any kind. Sometimes, it’s phrased in a particularly crafty way: “Exposure-centered compensation” or “Excellent portfolio-building opportunity.”


Ahem. These “jobs” usually involve a writer putting in hours upon hours of work per week only to come up with empty pockets. We have bills to pay, too. “He who controls the Spice…” and all that.

No, not the charity stuff

There’s nothing wrong with doing charity work. I love it. See?

stardust always selfie.jpg

When a writer chooses to write for free for a good cause, it’s like a doctor volunteering at a clinic. It’s an act of donating time instead of money to a cause that the writer cares about. My gripe isn’t with charity work; it’s with everyone thinking that their personal gain is a good cause.

Why is this even a thing?

There’s a perception that artists (including writers) don’t deserve payment. Don’t believe me? Huffington Post asked Wil Wheaton to reprint his blog post, and they said that they couldn’t “afford” to compensate him for his work. If Wil Wheaton, actor, writer, and well-known personality is being snubbed like this by a wildly successful publication, you can imagine how it is for us little guys who are just trying to find a way to pay our bills.

If it’s not possible in this country for people to walk into a hospital and receive life-saving treatments without the hospital knowing for sure that they’re going to get paid for their troubles, why is it possible for people to expect non-essential services like writing for free?

I said it. Writing is non-essential. If I am about to bleed out from a wound sustained in a car accident, a nice academic paper isn’t going to do anything for me. If I’m starving, a sonnet is grand, but where is the food that we need farmers to produce?

I’m not saying that writing isn’t of value. It’s communication. It’s advertising. It’s an expression of self and company identity. It’s a luxury.  Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs  explains that once we’re fed, watered, and not getting eaten by the nearest predator, humans can begin to pursue the fun stuff: love; friendship; a career; inner peace; a Shake Weight; whatever. (The person who created this aesthetically pleasing graphic had not reached the level where one requires a proofreader or the proper spelling of “hierarchy.”)

Photo Cred

If you can afford to need writing, you can afford to pay a writer. It’s an investment, whether the piece of writing is a novel, a radio spot script, a blog post, or something else. When you buy a novel, you get entertainment, personal insight, opened thought, and perhaps a common interest with another person. Your radio spot will get your business noticed. Your blog post will get you more hits.

The adage “You get what you pay for” is everywhere in our society. Why, then, are we expecting to get quality when we offer writers empty promises instead of the pay they deserve?



Blastoff: Stardust, Always is Finally Out!

To borrow a line from Bowie, I’ve been “Freak[ing] out in a moonage daydream, oh yeah.”


As of today, Stardust, Always is available for Kindle, on paperback from Amazon with Prime shipping, and on paperback through CreateSpace. If you missed what all the hubbub is about, check out my previous posts here and here.

All proceeds from each type of sale go to St. Jude, but the dollar amounts will be different depending on which edition and retailer you choose. St. Jude will receive the most money from a CreateSpace purchase, followed by an Amazon purchase and then a Kindle purchase. The Kindle books are only $3.99, though, so they’re a great option for those of us on a budget. Any purchase definitely helps, as does using #StardustAlways on social media and telling your friends.

I hope you’ll consider grabbing a copy of Stardust, Always and checking out my poem, “The Metastatic Squatter,” along with works by other fantastically talented authors.


Three Weeks Later…

I’m sure you’ve been formulating images of what I’ve been doing the past few weeks.


I promise, it isn’t what it looks like; it’s more like this:


How, you ask?

1) Graduation(s)

2) Moving across the state

3) Job-hunting

4) Job interviews

5) Preparing for the release of Stardust, Always

6) Working on a new project

Clearly, I’ve been swamped.


On Saturday, the 14th of May, I graduated summa cum laude with an honors diploma and received a B.A. in English/Creative Writing with a minor in organizational communication. (Diploma to be delivered in roughly 6 weeks, I’m told.)


(That nice-looking man is Dr. Bob Davies, Murray State president and the magical unicorn among university presidents. Seriously, that dude is awesome.)

It was lovely. It was crazy. It was like drowning in a dunk-tank of nostalgia. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I  received some amazing graduation gifts, but that’s a post for another time.

I also went to my pseudo-little-brother’s high school graduation, cried like a baby, and met up with several friends I hadn’t seen in 4 years. We laughed. We cried. We thanked God that we’re adults who have ascended beyond the boundaries, cliques, and stupid rules of our high school years.


I won’t bore you with the details, but I will leave you with three tips.

  1. Pack the Band-Aids last.
  2. Screwdrivers should never be used as pry bars.
  3. Also pack the toilet paper last.



Shhhh… We’re only looking for the ones with nice benefits.

Job Interviews

I must be doing something right, because I have had a few interviews over the past couple of weeks. I might be weird, but… they’re fun! I love the opportunity to learn more about businesses and to get to talk to people.

Preparing for the release of Stardust, Always


Remember when I told you about the anthology I’m doing? Well, it’s been moving along! The last few weeks have been a sea of proofs (for both the ebook and the print book), final edits, and a marketing push. We’ve been contacting news outlets and have a successful Thunderclap campaign in the works, so that’s exciting.

Another exciting thing: our link for pre-ordering the ebook is up! That’s right. For $3.99, you can have your very own virtual copy of Stardust, Always, which will be auto-delivered to your device on June 5th.

And another thing that is very exciting to me personally is this: I am, according to Amazon, an author. That’s right. “The Metastatic Squatter,” my contribution to the anthology, has officially put me on the map. It’s a small thing, but I am thrilled!

New project

I don’t want to say much yet, but I did have one of those lightning-bolt, mind-exploding ideas the other night. I actually can’t say much, because I don’t know much. I’m still in the scribbling phases at the moment, but I’m excited and am considering using it for my Camp NaNo project this year. I can say that there are cathedrals and harpies involved, so that’s fun.

In summary: not that lazy.

If you’re really that concerned, bring out your pitchforks and torches in the comments. I’ll do my best to dodge the rotten vegetation from the stocks. c742d-stocks1


Stardust, Always: Coming June 5th

This, friends, is the story of how a poem I wrote, my bio, and a tiny picture of my face ended up in a book.


(Cover designed by the talented James Baldwin)

The Backstory

This, like every good story, begins with elephants, otters, and a great deal of hugging. (You think I’m joking, but the #hugsquad is not a laughing matter.) Let me explain. I’m in a writing group on Facebook, and while there are 23,000+ members, we’re remarkably close-knit. We have a lot of shared interests, from the obvious (books and writing) to the adorable (fuzzy animals) to the macabre (this is the only place I can go to ask all of my gross murder mystery questions without being judged). Many of us also share a love for the notable work of David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

2016 barged into our lives swinging a death-club. When cancer took Rickman and Bowie from us, we writers decided to fight back. With our lovely captains (thanks, Laura & Andrew!) leading the charge, we marched. We decided to create the anthology to benefit cancer research, and now we’re less than a month away from the release date! Scores of brilliant writers, beta readers, editors and other wonderful people came together, and the result is going to be beautiful.

Personal Impetus

Cancer runs rampant in my family. When I was asked why I got involved with the anthology, this was my response:

Stardust Always quote by me

(No, I don’t quote myself with tasteful graphics. Credit goes to Naomi D. Nakashima.)

My main inspiration for writing my poem, “The Metastatic Squatter,” is the lovely lady putting me in a headlock in this photo.


This is my sister, the woman in whose dainty footsteps I try –and fail–to walk (my feet are too big and she always notices me following her). She’s sweet, generous, a fantastic mother to my nieces, and makes a mean Thanksgiving turkey. She’s also currently fighting cancer.

People deal with the stress and hardship and fear of losing someone they love in different ways. I definitely haven’t been perfect at handling this, but one of my best coping mechanisms is writing. I wrote “The Metastatic Squatter” at 3 a.m. one morning. I couldn’t sleep because I was furious–furious–that something so evil would dare to mess with someone so good. All of that anger, frustration, and helplessness burned its way from my brain to my fingertips, and by 5 a.m., I had the beginnings of a poem. Cancer is a jerk, guys. A real jerk.

How You Can Help

I hope that my poem and the rest of the poems and stories in this anthology touch people’s lives. I pray that they will bring hope and healing to many, and it’s my wish that you’ll order a copy on June 5th. I’ll definitely post the link as soon as it goes live! Until then, you can assist by promoting the anthology. Help us make these Photoshopped pictures by the talented Andrew Barber a reality. Get the word out.

Share this post! Like us on Facebook, attend the virtual release party, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and use #StardustAlways to stir up a fuss. You can also check out my sister’s GoFundMe Page if you’re interested in helping someone RIGHT NOW. Doing any or all of things things is a great way to join the fight against one of humanity’s most formidable enemies.

UPDATE: Stardust, Always is now officially available for pre-order as an ebook. You can find it here or through my Amazon author page.