Recap 2018 and Looking to 2019

Goals for 2018 and how I did:

  • Publish 6 or 7 new books (6 of these are written and just need to be published)  Didn’t get this one done. Only published four new books
  • Write 120 short stories and get 90% of them out and in the mail.  Another Failure. Only got about 80 done and not nearly close to 90% of them in the mail (but I can do that this year too, I bet)
  • Write at least 3 novels this year. This one I think I got done. That doesn’t mean I like the books I wrote, but I am pretty sure I got one good novel out of it.
  • Blog regularly at my Bonnie Elizabeth site. Didn’t get this done. Moving really pushed that out of the realm of doing.
  • Blog at least semi-regularly on this site. Well, I got one blog on this site but that’s it! So another fail.
  • Revamp this website. Didn’t even get on the radar
  • Attend a con. Attended a supercon. I really would like to go to a fantasy and SF con, so this is a half success.
  • Work on increasing author visibility and author income via networking, ads, audience building.  I think I did work on this a bit more this year with a big push at the end, so this was my one big success, although I have yet to reap many rewards.
  • Publish one or two collections of short stories. Not even close!

What did I do instead? Well, my husband and I moved and we didn’t like the house, so we looked for a new house which we are having built. That took more time and energy. And I think there was a little bit of burnout after the workshop I took in April. I was working myself very hard and just didn’t feel it after that. We’ll see how I do next year.

And goals:

  • Publish: Publish 3 new novels. I have one nearly ready and one that will probably be done so this is a push. We’ll see.
  • Write: Write at least 20 short stories and four novels
  • Blog: Blog regularly as Bonnie Elizabeth
  • Newsletter: Get ideas for a newsletter by Bonnie Elizabeth and start that regularly
  • Attend a con
  • Send out: I wrote a lot of shorts last year and want to keep writing a number of shorts this year, so I need to start sending those out to markets/an or publish them
  • Publish regularly: this means if I don’t have a book, I publish a novella or a short story at least once a month again.
  • Move: Get moved into the new house!
  • Network: Really get out there and work on networking. Again this isn’t just author networking but reader networking
  • Expand distribution: both by going to Ingram for print and then by adding in other places for purchase via publish drive or another vendor like that


To Accommodate or Not to Accommodate

So I read this article about a woman who wasn’t able to enjoy the Harry Potter ride at Universal due to her size. It was a disappointment to her.

I was surprised to get as much push back on it as I did. I figured, like so many of my posts, this would end up being one of those things that got a few likes or maybe a comment or two and that would be the end of it.

Instead, several people felt the need to point out that it was a safety issue. Except, as Ragen Chastain pointed out, it’s not. Her article is here.  Basically, for those who don’t want to click over to another site, Universal made the choice to re-purpose an older ride rather than build new. The newer restraining systems allow for larger people to utilize the ride.

I also got a lot of whatabout-isms, in that if we accommodate fat people, what about disabled people and so on and so forth. I believe that the more people we can accommodate in these situations, the better. Ideally, we’d be able to serve everyone. That’s not happening right now, but to say we should ignore the concerns of fat people because people with certain disabilities wouldn’t be able to use the ride, makes no sense.

One woman insisted this was a difficult engineering problem that would cost the park far too much.

Let’s be real here folks. The US was able to send a man into orbit without using computers. They used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to work out the mathematics. If we can do, surely we can solve the problem of fat people on an amusement park ride.

People on the thread said it wasn’t about fat shaming. Except this woman felt shaming, so it was about fat shaming wasn’t it? That was *her* experience. We can’t take that away.

Ultimately, the more articles like this, the better. Some will be written more scientifically, citing what could change and why this is a problem and shouldn’t be. Others will be emotional pleas. All of them should generate discussion and raising of awareness, because everyone deserves a chance to participate in the things they love, no matter what their size or physical abilities.

While I found the interaction on this particular post stressful and depressing (I mean, really, there are people who turn their backs on others who would love to be included and just say live with it?), I’m glad I was able to do a little advocating for everyone to find a way to be included. And maybe a few people started thinking about things.

Recap 2017 and Looking to 2018

One thing I wish I had done was keep this blog updated more but I feel like there’s so much blogging to do and not nearly enough time for writing anything that I have to skip something. So here goes, with only one other blog post this year, I have my goals.

How’d I do last year?

  • Attend Superstars. This is a different workshop with different names in Colorado. I am signed up and plane ticket is purchased so I just need to go. ATTENDED AND SIGNED UP FOR 2018!
  • Write at least one short story a month and publish at least one short story a month on the months I do not publish a book or novella  I PUBLISHED SOMETHING EACH MONTH BUT IN THE LATTER PART OF THE YEAR, DUE TO A CHALLENGE, I MISSED DOING TWO SHORT STORIES, ALTHOUGH I WROTE MORE THAN 12 SHORT STORIES THIS YEAR
  • Publish three longer works of fiction or non-fiction (books or novellas) DONE-ONE WHISPER NOVEL AND TWO TEENAGE FAIRY GODMOTHER BOOKS
  • Find a social arena in town ONCE AGAIN THIS WAS A PLACE I FELL DOWN AT DOING
  • Get my freebie set up and build my mailing list to increase profitability BUILT MAILING LIST TO ABOUT 1200 PEOPLE. WORKING WITH BOOK FUNNEL NOW
  • Attend at least one writing convention, either GenCon, DragonCon, and/or BoucherCon. NOPE AGAIN, MISSED OUT ON THIS
  • Take a writing classes online (from Dean or somewhere else). DONE–TOOK TWO OF THE PROFICIENCY CLASSES WITH DEAN AND KRIS
  • Blog regularly on Bonnie Elizabeth’s site. Twice a month minimum but stretch is weekly. SO FAR IT’S BEEN WEEKLY! 
  • Stretch goals: 
    • Do a collection of my works
    • Get three full novels out  DONE
    • Set up a Bundle of my own on Bundle Rabbit (SETTING ONE UP, NOT PUBLISHED UNTIL JANUARY)

Overall, I’d say I did fairly well on the goals. Not perfect, but there always needs to be a stretch right?

For 2018 my goals are:

  • Publish 6 or 7 new books (6 of these are written and just need to be published)
  • Write 120 short stories and get 90% of them out and in the mail.
  • Write at least 3 novels this year
  • Blog regularly at my Bonnie Elizabeth site
  • Blog at least semi-regularly on this site
  • Revamp this website
  • Attend a con
  • Work on increasing author visibility and author income via networking, ads, audience building.
  • Publish one or two collections of short stories.

A Little Bit of Acupuncture History

A couple of months ago, on Facebook, I found an article about the history of acupuncture in the United States written and shared to a professional group by Tenisha Dandridge, LAc.

Yes, I learned this history going to acupuncture school. What I didn’t learn? I didn’t learn that the Panthers were there for the specific reason to block the methadone trucks so that acupuncture could be used instead. That’s important. It’s important because it suddenly becomes a story of how important Black people are to the history of this medicine in the United States. As acupuncturists, we need to remember that.

It’s important to share because too often, we only hear about how white people worked hard. In this case, it was the Black community that did the work and they should be recognized for it. Their work has changed the options for many people who are not getting help with traditional western medicine (I used the word “traditional” deliberately).

Go read the article. Read about how acupuncture got started in the United States. Read about the first people using the medicine.

If you’re wondering why this took me so long to write, let’s just say I was really really mad about not knowing that one small detail about the Panthers. It took me this long to not spend acres of blog space ranking on that fact.


Recap 2016 and Looking ahead to 2017

I didn’t do quite as well with my goals for 2016. Some of it was health issues, getting really sick after traveling but to be honest I wasn’t quite as focused.  So how did I do?

  • Attend Anthology Workshop in Lincoln City. Wouldn’t miss this for anything. DONE! And once again it was great. I sold 3 stories.
  • Write two short stories a month and get at least one of them ready to send out. A stretch goal: write one a mystery and one fantasy and get both out to publishers Basic done, not stretch. I did get at least one short story finished and I believe I got at least one polished to go out to editors. 
  • Publish 3 books (two fiction and one either fiction or non-fiction) I got one fiction and one non-fiction. This was a huge fall down because of illness, both mine and later my editors. I should get the third done into January.
  • Self-publish at least 6 of my short stories. A stretch is to publish a collection as well. I self-published  6 short stories. I did not get a collection but I haven’t got a collection of stories that fit together. On the bonus side, I did get to utilize Bundle Rabbit so did get some invites to those as well.
  • Find a social arena in town. Didn’t quite get to this.
  • Take a class that is not from Dean and Kris Went to the Writer’s Police Academy

Once again I fell down on the social goals. I did get most goals done but not the stretch goals. It’s too bad. I would have liked to have gotten at least one stretch goal this year.

Goals for 2017

  • Attend Superstars. This is a different workshop with different names in Colorado. I am signed up and plane ticket is purchased so I just need to go.
  • Write at least one short story a month and publish at least one short story a month on the months I do not publish a book or novella
  • Publish three longer works of fiction or non-fiction (books or novellas)
  • Find a social arena in town
  • Get my freebie set up and build my mailing list to increase profitability
  • Attend at least one writing convention, either GenCon, DragonCon, and/or BoucherCon.
  • Take a writing classes online (from Dean or somewhere else).
  • Blog regularly on Bonnie Elizabeth’s site. Twice a month minimum but stretch is weekly.
  • Stretch goals: 
    • Do a collection of my works
    • Get three full novels out
    • Set up a Bundle of my own on Bundle Rabbit

So I have a few more goals this year than last year but some of these are smaller and easier to handle.  I’d go back to the Coast for Dean and Kris workshops but Superstars and then writing conventions will eat into that money so it’s not on the list. Back in 2018.

The focus this year with everything on my goals is increasing visibility and profitability on my works already out there. That means I will again be less focused on novel publishing, which is why I’m allowing myself to consider the publication of shorter works rather than just novels. Plus one of the things next in the pipeline is a shorter work and I’m not sure I have a novel that will be ready to be finished by year end, so we’ll see!


The Magic Cure

I’ve read a few articles about the push back against the “magic cure.” You know, the magical one thing you have to do to keep from ever getting sick and, so this implication goes, dying. Eat paleo or vegan or vegetarian or whatever. Put an ice cube on GV 14 (which gets a big old WTF from me and most other acupuncturists). Take tumeric. Drink 7 smoothies an hour after waking up.

I made the last one up. How many got it? How many thought it was real?

Let’s talk about this. I was reading the Cult of Perfect Motherhood, the blog of a woman who is battling metastatic breast cancer. She has people telling her to do these things all the time. And there is the implication, you aren’t getting better because you didn’t do this one thing, whatever that one thing is.

Here’s the truth. No one knows her body better than her. Her doctor comes closest, having medical knowledge and well as a thorough medical knowledge of her body. Yes, he has biases because he went to school. It’s possible he did a lot of study to challenge those biases and may have found reasons to either dismiss the conflicting evidence or decided to incorporate it into his practice. Or maybe not. The thing is, how many of those people rushing up to her on the internet telling her what she needs to do to heal have any real medical knowledge at all?

Here’s the thing. Tumeric, for instance, is a minor herb in the pharmacopia I learned about in acupuncture school. It has certain energetic properties that mean that for some people it might be protective against cancer. There are many people, however, for whom it won’t be protective. And once you have cancer, particularly metastatic cancer, it’s efficacy is lowered. It’s not likely that the only reason someone got cancer was due to a deficiency of tumeric.

We do not live in a vacuum where we can magically keep all illness and death at bay. Illness happens. It happens to vegetarians, alternative care providers, paleo afficianados, and to fitness enthusiasts. It happens to fat people and to skinny people, tall people and short people. It happens to people who live on smoothies and those who live on bone broth. It happens to people who eschew anything but locally grown organic foods. It happens to people who live on fast food.

Health is a balance. I get sick and then I get well is the optimum balance. My immune system fights something off. But sometimes things overwhelm our immune system and we need to go with what works. What works for my body might not work for yours. There are any number of tiny factors that make a decision on what steps to take when fighting for one’s life that the idea that just doing one miracle thing is ridiculous. Someone fighting a life threatening illness has to make a dozen decisions that they may feel ill equipped to handle. But they have to balance out many medical options, traditional and alternative, against their own values, hopes and dreams for quality and quantity of life. There are risks in any decision. The question becomes, which decision can I live with most easily if it’s the wrong decision and I don’t make it?

We hate looking at death and illness. There’s judgment in many of those posts.  It makes those people who are sick, “other”. But illness and death could come to any of us. Fukishima carried radiation across the world, hitting the west coast hard. No one living there escaped that completely. No matter how they ate. They had to breathe and the poison was in the air. We do live in a polluted world. Here’s the good news. Our bodies are adaptable. If we trust them, maybe we’ll be fine. Maybe we won’t, but our knowledge and understanding is far less adaptable than our bodies because our bodies are working even before we can see and measure the problem. They’re amazing that way.

Adapting won’t be surviving for everyone. Success doesn’t always mean life at any cost. That’s a hard one, isn’t it? It’s our fear that we won’t survive that keeps us reading and sharing the stories about the miracle cure, whatever it is.

The Politics of Facebook Friendships

So this is a post I’ve been thinking about for sometime and I’ve re-written it a dozen or more times because it sort of comes out as a smug “rules for friends” on Facebook and that’s not what I want to write. It’s my way of thinking about friends on Facebook and it doesn’t have to be anyone else’s. The great thing about Facebook is that you get to make it what you want in terms of socializing or promoting or a business or being accessible. In that sense everyone should have a plan that works for them.

Over the years, I’ve realized that there are certain things I don’t want to see on my timeline. The recent comments that many people were making about asking those who supported Donald Trump to unfriend them troubled me. First, there was the question of whether I only wanted to be friends with people who thought like me. And honestly, no. Because some of the best friends I have are really different from me. Diversity is a great thing.

On the other hand, Trump’s comments are really, really hateful and scary. In fact, sadly, the only thing Dick Cheney and I agree on is that Trump would make a horrible president. Do I want to be friends with people who would support someone who wants to take the United States down the same road as Germany went down in World War II? Or even that the US went down in WWII by imprisoning American citizens in internment camps because they happened to look like the people who attacked us? When does unfriending someone limit my exposure to other ideas and when is it taking a moral stand?

I don’t know what’s going on in anyone’s head. I can read what they post on Facebook. And I realized that this is less about controlling them but controlling what I am connected to and exposed to.

I don’t want to see pictures of animal abuse. However, I understand why some people share those things. I understand they are able to wade into a really horrible situation and try and make sense of it in a way I cannot any longer. I don’t want to see that. Unfortunately I do know it happens and I respect and applaud the people willing to help. I’ll stay friends with them but I’ll unfollow the pages that they share that show pictures like that. If I have to, I’ll unfollow them but remain connected to them in the background because their heart is in the right place.

I don’t want to see images and status updates that denigrate, dehumanize, or demonize a person or groups of people. I realize that sharing many articles, some of which are great articles if you can get beyond the headline, means that sometimes we share hate. If the intention of the sharer is about raising awareness of a horrible issue, that’s something I’m okay with in my feed. Issues come up. I believe in personal growth and I’m willing to be challenged on some ways of thinking.

If the article is just tearing down a person or group of people, I’m not interested. In fact, if someone that I’m friends with posts articles that mostly do this, they will probably be unfriended. I might just hide them from my timeline, but if I go back and everything continues to remain negative and hate-filled, I’ll unfriend.

Here’s the thing. I don’t want to participate in denigrating or dehumanizing anyone. I’m not perfect. I’ll probably fail in that as a one hundred percent rule, but I want to minimize that. I want to limit my exposure to people spreading hatred and I think it’s a far better use of the space I have for hatred to learn about ways of stopping it.

As for friends in the background, there’s a point at which I don’t even want any ties and connections to that sort of hatred even if it doesn’t show up in my newsfeed. It’s like having friends that gossip behind your back. I don’t want that.

So, do I stay friends with people who support Donald Trump? What if they rarely post anything political?

As I said, my standards on Facebook are about diversity, humanity and being challenged. If they aren’t posting things that are hateful and as one supporter told me, “I don’t agree with everything he says,” when challenged about his stance on Muslims, I’m currently not unfriending them.

It wouldn’t change their political stance. I mean, when was the last time someone rethought their political stance because a near stranger unfriended them on Facebook? If anything, it would consolidate their position of “rightness” and my position of “wrongness” because I just wasn’t willing to hear the truth.

Worse, it would make me exactly like Donald Trump and in that I would be a hypocrite. I wouldn’t be making Muslims and Hispanics “Other”.  Instead I would be demonizing and making his supporters “Other.” I would be dividing the world every bit as much as Mr. Trump does.

I don’t want to be a divider. We have enough dividers in our world today.

I want to do something different. I want to unite people. I want to understand people. I want a world where there is so much love there’s no room for people to think like Mr. Trump. My stance won’t create that world, but maybe, just maybe I can offer enough love and peace in my little corner of it that we’ll be a tiny bit closer. At the very least, maybe there’ll be less divisiveness in my own spirit which creates a more peaceful world for me and those closest to me.

It doesn’t mean I accept Trump. As I said, if you fill my world with hate, I’ll unfriend you, and if you’re a politician I’ll work very hard to make sure you don’t have the power to spread that hatred. I’ll do that by voting, by marching, by writing letters to other powerful people, by sharing messages about how we are better people than he believes, how humanity is better than he believes.

I don’t understand how people that I’ve seen care for the sick, speak up for the voiceless, and offer support and generosity to people they’ve never met in person can support a man who spews so much hatred. I’ll never understand it and I hope it ends. But maybe, I can be that voice of their “Other” and let them see that the “Other” is not so scary that it has to be dehumanized to face. Or not. But at least I’ll be able to face my “Other” and do that. And at the end of the day, the only thing we can do is face what we can face.

I said it above. I’m “currently” not unfriending them. If this exercise becomes overwhelming or too harsh, I’m offering myself a way out. But for now, I’m not participating in the great divide.

Recap 2015 and Looking Ahead to 2016

So I was pleasantly surprised to see how well I did for my 2015 year long goals:

  • Attend Anthology Workshop in Lincoln City. This is mostly planned so I should be able to. The move will challenge me though. DONE and it was great! So great I also went to the Mystery Workshop there taught by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
  • Send out more short stories. I want to get at least another five out and in circulation. I got out many more than five short stories and got some rejections. I’d like to do more next year.
  • Publish 4 books. I may not make this one, but I have two acupuncture books to get out there and I don’t want to fall behind on the Whisper series either, so two more of those. Two Whisper novels and two acupuncture books so done!
  • Find a social arena in my new town. This is often tough for me. I’m keeping it general, whether it’s joining the Unitarian Church or a volunteer group or finding a local book club. We’ll see. I did join the local author’s association. I have not, however, gotten out and joined anything where I’m social.
  • Trademark my publishing business (this in addition to changing over business licenses and such when I get to the new living area). Not even close.
  • Publish either an anthology of shorts or an omnibus edition of Whisper (or both). Got the omnibus edition of Whisper out but not short story collection.

So basically, I got the big ones done and the personal and publishing professional ones did not go as well.

Goals for 2016

  • Attend Anthology Workshop in Lincoln City. Wouldn’t miss this for anything.
  • Write two short stories a month and get at least one of them ready to send out. A stretch goal: write one a mystery and one fantasy and get both out to publishers
  • Publish 3 books (two fiction and one either fiction or non-fiction)
  • Self-publish at least 6 of my short stories. A stretch is to publish a collection as well.
  • Find a social arena in town.
  • Take a class that is not from Dean and Kris

I’m laughing at myself a little for the last one. I have a couple of ideas for classes that aren’t Dean and Kris classes so this might push me to do them.

I really want to get my name out there and I think having short stories published in other venues will help a lot. Even if I don’t get anything but rejections, I’ll have a better chance of being noticed with more items to my name. I’m focusing on fiction.

And like last year, I want to focus on other books besides Whisper. I’m still not happy with any non-Whisper books but who knows? Maybe I’ll write something brilliant that I want to get out there!


Untold Stories

frontuseUntold: 12 Stories of Successful American Acupuncturists in the New Millennium which I put together with Jason Stein, LAc is now available on Amazon and other major retailers. It has it’s own website, Untold, which includes the raw video interviews that the acupuncturists gave to Jason.

The goal of the book was to bring hope to acupuncturists. Many people chose the field of acupuncture because they want to help people. They’re looking for ways to do this that get to the root of the health problems people have or they’re looking for a holistic medicine that sees mind and body as one. Upon graduation they have huge student loan debt and making a business successful feels overwhelming.

Starting a business is hard. It’s hard to keep going and it’s even harder when you are struggling to feed yourself and feel like no one is listening to you when you search out patients. Stories come up of how many acupuncturists don’t make it. The numbers are probably not so different from those in any small business but acupuncturists are healers, not business people, so as a profession we don’t have those numbers. Further, the debt taken on adds a further burden. The business of wanting to be a healer feels hopeless.

I wanted to remind people that there were practitioners who had made. There were people who were acupuncturists doing what they loved with acupuncture and making a living. The book branched out and talked to people who had moved on from the profession, from a place of success and not one of failure, to give practitioners ideas about retirement and ending their practice. Jason and I also found people who were inventing their own products and creating new paths.

Over all, I have hope that this book can reignite hope to those working so hard to further the profession.

New Book: Points to Ponder

kindlefrontFinally got my newest book Points to Ponder for the Acupuncturist in Business finished. It wasn’t that it was a long time to write. It’s been done for some time. But getting it edited and then formatted and published while moving took longer than I expected. But it’s finally here. It’s in ebook and print and available at your favorite retailers. Check it out.