Let’s get real for a minute…

So, I wanted to do this in a live video on Facebook, but I didn’t have the time, which only proves to validate what I’m about to confess.

I’m burned out.

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Not on writing, but on life. I work a full time job, going in at 8:00 am and working hard core until 4:00 pm, and some days even later because I hate to leave when I have unfinished tasks sitting on my desk. I get home and I have two lovely dogs to take care of, one of which is a total cuddle bug and wants attention just about 24/7. The other one whines for treats and food, even after I’ve fed her. The house needs a serious deep-clean, and the clutter is starting to creep in over my workspace. I am enrolled part-time in school, taking two online classes currently. Both are science classes and the material is extremely dense with lots of exams and lots of textbook reading. On top of all that, I have a husband who loves to spend time with me and I love to spend time with him, but we often find ourselves on opposite sides of the house in the evenings, engrossed in our own hobbies and tasks that the only time we spend together is during dinner and those few moments before going to bed at night. You’d think that I’d have a lot on my plate already. Add in the fact that I write novels, do my own promoting for said novels, and I’m just starting to get myself involved with going to author events, one might wonder if I even sleep.

Image result for insomniaCan I tell you a secret? I don’t. I don’t sleep. I may lay down at night, but even though I’m exhausted, both mentally and physically, I don’t doze off right away. I think about royalty stats, new ways to get myself noticed in the world of indie authors, about all the things I have to do the following day at work, and rehearsing facts about anatomy so that I won’t bomb the next test.

To put it all into perspective, I’m going to get real and talk about juggling. I can’t juggle, either realistically or metaphorically. When I just had my writing, I felt like I had one ball. It was rubber, blue, pretty, cool to the touch, and it felt good in my hand. I could toss around that ball all day. Then I got married. This new ball was equally pretty and I loved to hold it tightly. I could toss both of these balls in my hands, and even get a little clever and switch hands every now and then, which is my version of juggling.

Image result for juggling college lifeThen you add dogs. This ball is a little slimy (dog slobber), and hairy. It doesn’t feel great, but I could hold it with my husband in one hand while still tossing around my writing ball. The school ball was thrown my out of nowhere and now I’ve really got my hands full. The school ball doesn’t feel good at all, covered in spikes and prickly spines that is uncomfortable to hold. Now, I have to learn to juggle and quick, or it’ll start to really hurt. Work is a hot ball, scorching and unpleasant to hold for longer than a second or two. I hustle, I have to get creative with holding these balls while keeping my cool and taking care of myself.

But something happens. I start to slip. The slobber on the dog ball makes my hands slick. The thorns on the school ball make my skin raw and when I try to touch the work ball, it burns more and more because I have to hold it longer to get a hold on everything else. I drop my husband and he rolls to the wayside. The writing falls flat on the floor and bounces out of reach as I try to make sense of the other burdens in my life.

You want to know something? I can’t do it.

Image result for falling apartIt is physically, mentally, and emotionally impossible for me to juggle everything and succeed at everything all at the same time. This is similar to the video that went viral about a philosophy professor’s lesson about putting a bunch of different sized stuff in an empty jar. Long story short, make sure you put the big things (family, health, passions) in first, then you can add the small stuff (job, car, finances). If you try to put the small things in first, giving them priority, then you won’t have room for the things that matter.

I came to the conclusion some time ago that my life cannot continue this way. I need to pick out what I need to do to maintain my sanity and my family life. That means, we’re going back to the bare minimum. I’m throwing away the one ball I know I can go without. School. My career as an author is growing, I’m learning more about the craft every day, and I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else. When we eventually have kids, I’ll have to quit my job to take care of them and I’ll write on the side. That’s it. I love my current job too much to ever try to go anywhere else, and I already have my career mapped out. It’s been mapped out for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to be an author and that’s the dream I’m chasing. For the first time, I feel like that dream is finally within reach.

With school taken out, I can manage work a little better, and the dogs aren’t as pesky as they seemed before. I can always stop for a moment to pet Sharla or toss Tammi a treat between writing paragraphs, but I can’t do that while I’m studying. If I don’t have exam deadlines, I can make the choice to leave my writing room and watch a movie with my husband, because it’s not as imperative that I study the bones of the human body or how tornados form.

Image result for happy writerAbove all, I’ll have more time to write and therefore, I will be happier. I can go to bed and sleep, knowing that I’m doing what I love instead of what I resent.

Next semester, I’ll be seriously knocking down on my course load and if something changes in my attitude by spring semester, I might take an extra class that I know will be lighter material. If not, if I’m enjoying my freedom, I’ll drop out altogether. That may not go over well with some people, but I need to put myself and my family first, and not the expectations of others.

If you are in the same situation as me, I encourage you to take a step back and assess your life. Don’t add more things in, thinking collecting more stuff will fulfill you. Don’t buy off your loved ones by sending them apologetic texts or cards saying “sorry I wasn’t there”. Don’t neglect the things that need your attention just because you have this “one thing” you have to do. Look at what is an absolute necessity. Don’t listen to the other voices in your head saying “If you don’t do this, so-and-so is gonna be mad at you”. If their opinion, in the end, doesn’t matter, don’t listen to them. If what they are pushing on you is bad for your health (physically or emotionally), is making you unhappy, or will not be rewarding to YOU in the end, drop it in the trash like a tattered and smelly pair of shoes and walk away. Devote your time to the things and people that you love.

Life is too short to live stressed and unhappy.

If you can’t juggle, don’t try or stuff will get broken.

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The Legend, Available For Preorder

The-Legend-largeSo, while everyone is waiting for the next book in the Loup-Garou Series, I decided to deviate a bit and start on The Legacies, a novella series that follows the character backgrounds through history and events that lead up to the climax of the Loup-Garou series. To kick it off, I decided to focus on an underappreciated character that is introduced in Becoming the Enigma, John Croxen. He later becomes a prominent loup-garou and mentor to thousands of loups-garous across the globe, as other books in The Legacies will explain. But, how did he get started? Not so good. The Legend tells his beginnings and how a Romani (gypsy) woman changes his life forever. This was a little bit of a steamier read than I anticipated, but as I’ve said previously, my characters have a mind of their own sometimes.
The Legend is releasing August 19th and you can preorder it for $0.99!
A possessed man wandering the country with no hope for salvation.
A brazen woman determined to rescue her family.
They’ll come together and help each other in the most unexpected ways.
*England, 1555*
John Croxen, convinced that he is possessed by a demon, takes a risk when he saves the life of a beautiful gypsy woman one night while roaming the forests of England. However, Annalette is not as she appears. She knows that John is not demon possessed, but in fact a loup-garou – a werewolf. Alone and in need of his unique kind of help, Annalette strikes a bargain with John. If he can help rescue her condemned brother from prison, she will tell him everything he needs to know about being a loup-garou. After living in ignorance for over a hundred years, he’s due for a lesson or two.
With the rural population on the lookout for gypsy vagrants to turn over to the authorities for execution, John and Annalette must do something they have never done before. Trust a perfect stranger.
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Beast Within is Live!

So, along with having an amazing weekend in Sarasota, something else epic happened! BEAST WITHIN WENT LIVE! Guys, I’ve been promising this book for over a year now and it finally hit Amazon. I’m beyond thrilled and excited to see how everyone likes it. Here’s what some reviewers are saying already!

AmyTeri

 

So, what are you waiting for! Head on over to Amazon and continue the journey!

12640319_10205890128034762_8301146021615080675_oBeast Within on Amazon

Becoming a loup-garou—a werewolf—is never easy. It’s especially hard if you’re still in high school, the first female to survive the transformation, and the embodiment of an ancient prophecy, expected to bring peace to warring factions. But Katey McCoy, even more stubborn and rebellious than she was as a human, has the comfort and support of her pack. Or so she thought, until she discovers they’ve been keeping secrets from her. At least she still has her mate, Logan Keith on her side. But Logan is fighting demons of his own. If he can’t learn to control the wolf within, how can he ever be a worthy alpha and mate to Katey?
Then the hunters come, assassins determined to exterminate the loup-garou. Her pack insists Katey stay hidden. Safe. But that’s not in her nature. Isn’t this what she was born for? To protect and aid the loups-garous? On the run and in a battle for their lives, Katey’s new world begins to crumble around her. With werewolves, vampires, and human hunters at war, and Logan distracted by his own battles, how can Katey activate her full potential and fulfill her ancient destiny?
Their world—and the lives of those they love—depend on them. If Katey and Logan are to withstand this final onslaught, they must each embrace their true powers and learn to control the beast within. If they can’t, no one may survive.

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Sarasota Author Event!

 

20170715_070307I’m writing to you from sunny Sarasota Florida. My feet are aching, my face feels a little burnt and I smell like the beach, but I wanted to get this all down before I sleep and forget (believe me, it happens).

For The Love of Books and Florida Signing Event was my FIRST event as a signing author. Apparently, I was not the only one because plenty of other authors there were signing virgins, but we had a few best sellers as well.

We left the house at about 9am Friday morning and we didn’t pull up to the Ritz Carlton until about 7pm or a little later. Now, Google said it was a 6 hour drive, but there were several wrecks on I-75 that delayed us almost three hours. Insane.  Bonus: I got clever with Amazon Unlimited Music and we got to listen to Nsync, Backstreet Boys, ABBA, 98 Degrees, and Ricky Martin on the way. I had my mom with me as my assistant, which was cool because she got to be there and support me. She’s also a great singing partner to Savage Garden. It was just like the trips we took to Disney when I was a kid (almost the same route too).

20170714_184233Anyway, we went in and set everything up and checked in with the event coordinators. I was like a spoiled toddler and wanted to do almost everything on my own, so my mom did little assisting, but that’s my fault. When I get in the zone and I’m focused, steer clear or you might get your head bit off. Because we got into town late, we didn’t get to hang out at the mixer with the other authors, bloggers, and VIP readers. It looked like everyone was having fun though. We went back to the hotel to recoup from being stuck in the car for ten hours.

We stayed at the Hyatt hotel just down the road from the Ritz and y’all, they had a window seat that is to die for! I would love to come here every weekend to write just so I could sit here and stare at the ocean. The view was amazing as well. I snapped a picture of the sunset from Friday night.

 

The next morning, I got up before the sun and had to wait for it to come up so I could put on my makeup for the day. We got to the Ritz for a quick breakfast and the VIPs started to flood in at 9am.

20170715_084956Y’all, I used to be a salesperson at a furniture store. I switched to an office position for a reason. I’m not great with head-on confrontation and talking face to face with people. My mother, on the other hand, is an extrovert and loves to gab. Today, our roles got switched. I was putting on my game-face and just did it. I talked, I laughed, I screamed across the table because the rest of the room was noisy (that’s a good thing), and I did my author thing.

Now, my banner, as gorgeous as it was, happened to also be taller than everyone else’s. It was like I was trying to overcompensate. I swear I wasn’t! Might invest in a shorter banner to dedicate to a certain series or something. I also got many compliments on the bookrack my husband made me. It breaks down and it’s easy to put together. No one believed me when I said this was my first event because I had tons of stuff and a well prepared setup. It made me feel great that I put on a good show for everyone.

Mom did a great job of assisting and talked to the readers here and there. A few came over because they noticed she was reading one of my books (Silver Screen) and that was a conversation starter. I think we both need to work on giving a quick and dirty description of each book though.

20170714_191833To my shock and amazement, the Loup-Garou series did not sell as well. I think that’s because the event was geared more towards adults and the series is YA. Passions and Silver Screen actually dominated the event, so I’m not complaining. I came well stocked, so no one had to leave my table empty handed.

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Me with Aubrey Parr, author of Love on Ocean Drive. Her table was caddy-corner from mine. So friendly!

I made a ton of connections and referenced my amazing graphics designer a few times too. I met a few authors and bloggers as well. Overall, it was a great event, and Danielle and Red did a fantastic job on making sure everything ran smoothly. Honestly, it was just like an SCA event. There were assistants running around to make sure everyone had everything they needed and as far as I could tell, it was like clockwork. No hiccups or hitches. I’d gladly come to any of their other signing events in the future. I’ll be investing in a wheely cart to carry my stuff on, though. That was the only pain the entire weekend, but that was because I had too much stuff.

After the event, we hung out with the other authors at the after party on the beach. Sweet baby Jesus, it was hot! I took one of my shirts off just to let my upper arms get some sun. Downside to working in an office, you get a little pasty after a few years. With having a pool in my own backyard, you would think I’d lay out more often, but I don’t. I’m inside writing pretty stories.

20170715_185156I will say something that has been on my mind. I envy some of these seasoned authors who have such close friendships with other authors at signings. I’m not the kind to invite myself into a group or go someplace without having a reason or going along with someone I know. It’d difficult for me to form relationships sometimes and there was such a great camaraderie amongst these ladies that I couldn’t help but feel like a black goat among psychedelic sheep. I wished I could have been part of the fun, but my timid personality would have none of it. I’m sure that will change over the years as I go to other events, but it just breaks my heart a little that I don’t have many close author friends in the writing world yet.

All in all, it was a great event and I look forward to my next. It won’t be nearly as big as this was, but it’ll be fun nonetheless. Today was also the release day for Beast Within, which made the event all the more special. This was my most successful release to date and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Tomorrow, I drop mom off at the airport and I’m sneaking over to Tampa to go to the Florida Holocaust Museum. I haven’t been there since I was in middle school and I’ve been aching to go back. Since I’m on this side of the state, I need to take advantage of it.

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New Events Added to Schedule!

I love it when there are author events in my area! I don’t have to travel far and I get to meet some local authors and readers too! If you’re in the Northwest Florida area, you should totally check out these events that I’ll be attending in 2017! I’ll have a selection of books for purchase and some neat swag to giveaway!

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August 19th
Café Bienville, Niceville FL
Stop by and meet me at this quaint hangout joint! I’ll be signing books between 10am and 2pm. Also, check out their amazing food! You won’t regret it!

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September 9th
Book Obsessed Babes
Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort and Spa, Destin FL
Come take a dip in the Gulf and then hang out with me at this amazing event! It’s sure to be fun with an outstanding lineup of authors from all genres!


September 30th
Robert Sikes Library, Crestview FL
This library actually has some of my books! Come see me from 10am to 3pm.
(It’s still tentative if I’ll be able to make this one, but I’m going to do my best to be there!)

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Beast Within Pre-Order Live!

It’s finally happening! I’ve been wanting to release this book for a while and it’s been nearly a year in the making, but it’s finally coming to Amazon and Kindle Unlimited! Super excited! If you’re a fan of The Enigma and Becoming the Enigma, you’ve got to continue in this epic series with Beast Within! (I drool over this cover, by the way) It’s going to go LIVE on July 15th! Preorder now so it will be sent directly to your ereader!

Beast Within on Amazon!

12640319_10205890128034762_8301146021615080675_oBecoming a loup-garou—a werewolf—is never easy. It’s especially hard if you’re still in high school, the first female to survive the transformation, and the embodiment of an ancient prophecy, expected to bring peace to warring factions. But Katey McCoy, even more stubborn and rebellious than she was as a human, has the comfort and support of her pack. Or so she thought, until she discovers they’ve been keeping secrets from her. At least she still has her mate, Logan Keith on her side. But Logan is fighting demons of his own. If he can’t learn to control the wolf within, how can he ever be a worthy alpha and mate to Katey?
Then the hunters come, assassins determined to exterminate the loup-garou. Her pack insists Katey stay hidden. Safe. But that’s not in her nature. Isn’t this what she was born for? To protect and aid the loups-garous? On the run and in a battle for their lives, Katey’s new world begins to crumble around her. With werewolves, vampires, and human hunters at war, and Logan distracted by his own battles, how can Katey activate her full potential and fulfill her ancient destiny?
Their world—and the lives of those they love—depend on them. If Katey and Logan are to withstand this final onslaught, they must each embrace their true powers and learn to control the beast within. If they can’t, no one may survive.

Check out these amazing teasers!

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Sneak Peek into my latest WIP

So, I just finished up a part of a project. There’s still a long road ahead of me, but I feel like I’m actually getting somewhere now.
Just to recap, The Enigma is available on Amazon, and so is the second book in the series, Becoming the Enigma. The third book, Beast Within, will be up for preorder soon and I’ll post the preorder link as soon as I’ve got it.
But, for those who are getting into the series, you’ll be excited to hear that I’ve got something else in the works. If you’ve been reading my Loup-Garou series, you’ve been introduced to a bunch of awesome characters. Darren, Dustin, Ben, Logan, Forrest, Erik, Gregory, Michael, John, and many more to come that will make their debut in Beast Within. I’ve dropped MANY hints about their histories, like how some of the guys were on the Titanic and Logan’s rough dealings in Chicago during prohibition. Well, I won’t leave my readers hanging because I love y’all and want to immerse you in this universe I’ve created.
That’s why I’ve come up with a 17 (maybe 18) part novella series to explain EVERYONE’S backstories in greater detail. I’ll be working on these and releasing them starting in August. The original plan was to release a new one every month or so, but that may not happen so I won’t promise it. But I am working on them and they will continually roll out as I release the fourth book in the Loup-Garou series in January of 2018. Yes, I will be busy for a LONG time.
So, without further delay, let me give you a small taste of what you can expect from the first book of this novella series, The Legend.


The forest north of Wye was anything but quiet that night. He hadn’t known a moment of pure silence since his childhood years. From where he squatted under a sheltering oak, he could hear them all carry on around him as if nothing were wrong, as if an abomination like him never existed in their world.

The laughter of the townspeople in Wye was like a haunting reminder of everything he could never have. It was the first day of August, marking the first day of the harvest. He could imagine them all feasting on the fruit of their labors and celebrating in the Gule of August. If he breathed in deep enough, he could smell the freshly baked loaves of bread from the dinner tables of the families in Wye and in the surrounding farmlands. There was a time when he would have partaken in such festivities, but that time had long past and now his tongue may never know the rich enjoyment that a slice of bread and butter could bring to a tired and miserable creature.

Some distance away, separate from the celebration, he could hear a lone traveler snoring in his bed sack. He could hear the soft popping of the embers from a dying campfire and the savory smells of a beefy stew. His stomach rumbled, reminding him that he still had not eaten that evening. And as wonderful as the traveler’s stew smelled, it was what he needed.

An owl called into the darkness, as if asking the unanswered question of his life. Who… Who… Who are you?

Continue reading

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What’s in the works?

So, life is getting busy in the Bitikofer household. Got books popping out the woodworks and juggling college homework at the moment. Anatomy and Earth Science is fascinating, let me just say that much.
But you might be wondering what’s all going on in my book world at the moment.
The Enigma was rereleased on May 13th! If you don’t have your copy, you’re gonna want to that get because Becoming the Enigma rerelease is coming June 10th! And guess what’s coming after that? You guessed it! Book three in the Loup-Garou Series, Beast Within, is going through its final edits and will be ready to launch in early July! As soon as I have the edits back, I’ll be posting the pre-order links. If you’re curious about the series, navigate to their pages up in the menu bar. You’ll find sneak peeks, teasers, a book trailer, and character pictures!
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Also, in about a month and a half, I’ll be making my first author signing event with For The Love of Books and Alcohol group in Sarasota Florida! Check out my Events page for more details how you can come meet me and get some cool goodies. I’ve got freebies for those who purchase books, a raffle giveaway in the works, and I’ll be showcasing the first three books of the Loup-Garou series all together for the first time. It’s gonna be epic!
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To stay up to date on all my news and the fun stuff that you can expect at the signing event, be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Moonstruck Writing Fan Group

The Enigma: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0722MYMXH
Becoming the Enigma (Pre-Order): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072FD2F47

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Want the latest sneak peeks?

Want the latest sneak peeks into upcoming novels (and maybe a novella series *cough cough*) Follow me on Facebook and join my Facebook fan group! I post teasers and sneak peeks all the time! My blog is great, but I’m ALWAYS on Facebook so you have a better chance of hearing the latest news there! I also will be doing giveaways on Facebook takeovers pretty often and you’ll hear about those announcements on these pages. Y’all, I love giving away free stuff, so why wouldn’t you want to join?

Facebook Author Page

Moonstruck Writing Fan Group on Facebook

Stalk Me

 

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The Enigma (Second Edition) is up for preorder!

In preparation for the release of the third book in my Loup-Garou series, coming this July, I decided to go back and revise The Enigma and Becoming the Enigma. Edits are still going through for the second book, but the second edition of The Enigma is up for preorder! Yay! If you read the first edition and you’re excited for the third book’s release, I would strongly recommend going back to read the second edition again. It’ll be available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited, releasing 5-13! That’s this Saturday! Woo hoo!

12487114_10205749512679466_6466695106591509491_o  A graveyard late at night wouldn’t seem like the ideal place to meet someone. But for teenager Katey McCoy, that encounter with the handsome stranger with the striking blue eyes would alter her life in ways she’d never imagined.

Orphaned as an infant, bounced around foster homes, labeled as a discipline problem, and now under the thumb of an abusive foster mother, Katey’s been slipping deeper into depression. Who would want a girl with such an ugly face, an imperfect body, or wild hair? But Logan Keith knows the truth about Katey: she’s beautiful. Her flaws are in her head. Besides, he has issues, too. And a secret that could tear apart their growing relationship.

Logan is a werewolf—a loup-garou—with his own troubled past and a flaw that’s considered a handicap in his world. A secret, supernatural world he soon introduces Katey to. Although Logan longs to make Katey part of his pack, it may be impossible for them to be together. In his pack’s history, there’s never been a female werewolf. No woman has been able to survive the transformation. Will Logan’s desire give Katey the escape to a better life and the love she’s always dreamed of, or will he be signing her death warrant?

Preorder Here!

Free Chapter Sample Here!

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