Tag Archives: college student

New Book Release – Sharing Stories on Our Autism Journey


June is a great month. It official marks summer break from school, as well as the first day of Summer. It is also my birth month, which is why I decided to publish The Road I’ve Traveled on my birthday.

The Road I’ve Traveled is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Its official release date will be on the 19th of June.

I absolutely love the cover. The anchor represents my time in the Navy. The color blue represents my love of the ocean, as well as autism awareness.

The Road Ive Traveled

The Road I’ve Traveled is a compilation of poems and short stories Jennifer wrote during moments of her life where she felt the need to get it all out. She writes about being in the Navy during the tragedies of 9/11, having to deploy to New York where she and her shipmates stayed in New York’s harbor for three weeks, guarding the coastline in hopes of preventing any further attacks.

She writes about loss, love, heartbreak, family. You can see the fondness she had for her grandfather as she includes a heartfelt eulogy she had written moments after his passing.

She also writes about being a single mom, as well as a mom to a child who is on the autism spectrum. The journey they have endured together has been bumpy, but they continue to plow through life, learning about autism and sensory processing disorder as they go.

You can find all of my books, recently published and upcoming, under my name and my pen name, posted on my website: www.twistedcrowpress.com/books
Or, you can find them on Amazon:
For all books published under my name, Jennifer N. Adams on Amazon, click here.
For all books published under my pen name, J. Raven Wilde on Amazon, click here.
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Don’t Fear Failure, Fear Not Taking the Chance


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After having a bad experience with my publishing company, I decided to take a step back.

I published my first book back in 2013 with a small publishing company. At the time, I was still working on writing my novel and was looking forward to having it published as well. The issues I had with said publishing company began to pile up that I was afraid of publishing another book.

I pushed my book aside and used that energy to focus on my studies; at the time, I was halfway through college.

One day, while watching Youtube, I came across a video – I know, sounds cliche – of someone who decided to take the indie author route.

I was afraid to self-publish. I didn’t know where to start if I decided to take the indie route. Not to mention the many questions I had. I couldn’t possibly make money as an indie author, could I? Where would I even publish my book? Would anyone even read my work? How would they read my work?

In 2015, I finished, or so I thought it was finished, my novel. I began sending query letters out to agents only to receive rejection after rejection. I literally stopped counting after twelve. ‘Market is too saturated with this genre’, ‘this isn’t the right fit for me’, ‘too many books out there with werewolves’. I pushed my novel aside and forgot about it.

Some time had passed before my grandmother asked me what happened to my novel. She encouraged me to keep trying. So, I pulled it up onto my computer, read through it before deciding to change it up.

This was going to take some time.

I spent whatever time I had in between classes going back through my book and cutting, adding, and editing. It was now 2016. It had taken me a few months before I was finished working on my novel – by this time, I had dubbed it ‘the-never-ending-novel’. I ended up adding over 22,000 (almost 23,000) words before sending it off to my editor.

While my editor looked it over, I thought I would research what it meant to be an indie author. I listened to success stories, I listened to authors explain why they switched from traditionally published to indie, I even watched videos on how to and where to self-publish.

No matter how many videos I watched, I had that nagging feeling that this was not going to work. Then another voice chimed in asking me, “Why not just try it?”

I pulled up a collection of short stories that I had been working on and decided to polish one of them up. Of the plethora of videos that I had watched, a few of them suggested that as an indie author you have the opportunity to publish short stories and earn a meager income from them.

I also learned that you should not just stick to writing novels. Publish everything: short stories, novellas, novels. The more work you have out there, the more you will become noticed.

It was late 2016, when I handed my short story over to another editor (I now have two editors). A month later, she hands it back with the requested revisions. It didn’t take me long to go through my last edits. Thanks to another video, I was able to teach myself how to format it to publish as an ebook.

I was now entering my last two semesters of college. I also learned that my grandmother had stage IV pancreatic carcinoma.

I held onto my short story for a few more months with the uncertainty of publishing it.

Finally, in July 2017, I got the courage to upload my short story into Amazon. I stared at the publishing button not wanting to click it. My heart raced and my stomach churned with nervousness.

Why couldn’t I just click that button?

Because once I did, it would be up for the world to see.

But, why would that be so bad, isn’t that what you wanted all along, to publish more books?

Yes.

I clicked published. I don’t know why, but I screwed my eyes shut. I guess I was expecting my laptop to explode? After a few seconds, I stared at the screen. A box had appeared, telling me that it would take 12-72 hours before it would be live.

My anxiety had started to calm down a bit.

That wasn’t too bad now, was it?

No, it was pretty easy, actually.

A few days had passed before I checked on my newly published book. It actually made a few sales. Not bad. Maybe I should try publishing another one.

And thus it began…

One self-published book turned into six more, including the novel that I had once queried agent after agent on. It has been doing fairly well in sales. Though, after learning that people do judge a book by its cover, I am working on having another cover made for it.

I have since learned how to perfect my craft; my writing has improved, I’m learning new marketing skills each day. Most importantly, I have never given up on my writing. In fact, I continue to come up with ideas for new stories quite frequently that I know I will never run out of things to write about. I’ve built a brand for myself, creating a small publishing company, an LLC.

And who cares about what those agents thought. My novel is making money so, there obviously is still a market for said genre. I have since learned that you should write about what you want to write about. It’s true that there are popular niches out there. You just have to find the right one. Don’t be afraid to publish in a popular niche, as well as publish in others.

The more you have published, the more your work becomes noticed. I said that already. Maybe because it’s true, especially if you leave a link to your other works in the back and front of each book. If readers loved one book, they may check out another and another…

I no longer fear to self-publish my work. I’m earning an income doing what I love. I’m actually earning more now than what I was at that one publishing company. Though it’s a slow process for me, my list of published works is growing. I’m hoping that one day I can do this full-time. That’s a goal I look toward to achieving.

For a list of my published works, under my name and under my pen name, check out my website: www.twistedcrowpress.com

 

OWPC: Sun


This week’s ‘One Word Photo Challenge‘ is, Sun.

Yesterday, I attended an Archaeology lecture in Little Rock, held at the Whit Stephens Conservation building by the River Market. A large group of us, mainly college students and professors, meet up before the lecture at one of the restaurants located around the River Market, then walk over to where the lecture is being held. As usual, I arrived earlier than everyone else (an hour early) so, I decided to venture out towards the river. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was actually warm, considering the last few days we’ve had were rainy and cold.

The city had fixed up a couple of the train bridges, making them usable again, but for pedestrians; one of the train bridges was built in 1884, the other one was a few years later. There’s a jogging trail situated along the river, as well as a playground, splash pad, and pavilions. There’s also an amphitheater, which is used for outdoor concerts; I once attended a John Fogerty concert there.

Along the jogging trail you will notice many sculptures here and there. Most of them are donated pieces, but a couple of them are a representation of Arkansas’ history. One pavilion included Arkansas’ entire history, including the early settlers and those who came through Arkansas, such as De Soto and other notable Spaniards, as well as notable Frenchmen.

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DP: Menagerie


Today’s Daily Prompt, Menagerie, is all about pets. Do you have them and if not, why?

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I’m about 4 years old in this picture, holding our dog named Buffy.

I remember having pets growing up, mostly dogs. It was just a part of life to have one, if not two dogs or cats in the household.

When I got out of the Navy, I decided civilian life was dull, that it was missing something. I went to the local animal shelter, asked to see the ones they were about to put down, and adopted myself a cat. Actually, she adopted me.

I must have held fifteen of them, all adults, both male and female. All of them were cute and cuddly, making my choice to pick just one very hard. Then I held an adult female Maine Coon. She didn’t mew or purr, even after I talked calmly to her for a few minutes. I scratched her head for a few seconds longer and she leaned up and licked me twice on my chin. It was in that moment I decided she was coming home with me.

She was in such a sad state that I had no choice but to have her shaved. Her coat was just mangled in knots that I was afraid brushing her would be painful, not for me, but for her. When I brought her home, she hid under the bed or on top of the fridge. I sat out cans of tuna, which won her trust. She lived almost six years after I adopted her before she passed away from old age. She became my lap cat, purring endlessly and always gave me kitty kisses on my hand or arm, whichever was closest to her. Such an amazing, lovable furbaby.

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Miss Kitty (on the left) and Lucky Boy (on the right).

I did adopt one more cat a year after I got her. He was a stray kitten, running around the streets, barely a few months old. Sadly, one day, after he was over a year old, he got out of the house when I wasn’t home and I was never able to find him after that.

I miss both of my cats and having owned pets of my own, can attest on how they become your children. You tend to them; feed them, groom them, bath them, give them attention, love them. Animals are a part of your family. Mine had their own Christmas stockings and their own wrapped presents. They were my babies and when they were gone, I mourned them.

I currently don’t own any pets due to my living situation, but in the next few years, I’m hoping to change that.

WPC: Motion


This week’s photo challenge is, Motion.

My grams, ironing quilt blocks, to which the image came out looking really neat.

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Chop Chop


kindle

A few years ago I bought myself a Kindle HD Fire, hoping that it will help me with my studies. I was thinking of ways to save myself money by downloading my college books or other reading materials for my classes, though ebooks for college courses are not as cheap as I had imagined.

I also purchased the kindle during the time my daughter began her therapy sessions. My intentions were for me to use the kindle for school, but I didn’t have luck in way of obtaining WiFi coverage at the college I was going to, unless I could find one of the very, very few hotspots where I could use my kindle; so it was generally used at home.

During the summer months, I kept my daughter home, rather than put her in daycare. It saved me money, plus, I was home majority of the time and would rather spend that time I had with her. Since she wasn’t going to daycare now, her therapists began visiting her at home. Upon their many trips to my house, I noticed that they were using an iPad as a tool for part of her therapy. They showed me a few apps I could download for her that would be beneficial for her in OT.

Since I had a tablet, of the sort, I began downloading all kinds of free apps for her, to help teach her the ABC’s, counting, colors, shapes, all kinds of helpful learning apps for children her age. At that moment, my kindle became her kindle and has been ever since. It’s encased in a pink hard leather case, decorated with many stickers from our trips to the ER or doctor visits, though some of those stickers have since been ripped off. The kindle has been a treasured item for my daughter, who is easily bored when there isn’t any form of entertainment for her.

Flash forward a few years and to the present…it’s endured water, juice, and milk submerges; many drops to the floor (carpet and concrete covered); a near attempted meeting with the toilet; an almost attempted dunk into the Arkansas River, landing in the muddy river banks; a trip to Disney World, followed by a trip to the beach; a couple of family reunions during the hot summer days; and many roads trips thereafter and is still working. Only once had I taken it back to Best Buy, where I had purchased it, for a reboot, but it has been one tough piece of wonderful electronic device I had ever purchased and to have survived my five year old for the past three years plus.

Though, yesterday, the wonderful case which holds the kindle from meeting its dreadful doom, finally met its match…a pair of scissors. Those scissors are usually kept up high, so that tiny little hands can’t reach them. Those scissors have chopped bangs a tad bit too short, chopped up a tail of a stuffed dinosaur, chopped hair off a stuffed Pegasus to mimic a horrible mullet. Yes, those scissors have many reasons to be kept put away…in a safe place…until yesterday, when someone left them lying on the kitchen table, where they were being used to cut quilting fabric.

Mini me came running into the office, holding her kindle, still encased, though now in two pieces. My first reaction ‘Man, it finally ripped right in two’. Then, the careful learned forensic archaeologist that I am studying to be, looked carefully at the hard leather case and saw cut marks…this pattern looks strangely familiar. I didn’t get mad. The sad eyes I was given, followed by, “I’m sorry, Mommy” would only soften anything I would think to say, other than, ‘Where are the scissors?’

I followed her into the kitchen, took the scissors left lying on the kitchen table and put them back in a safe place. Then went to find my roll of duct tape, which coincidentally is the same color as my daughter’s kindle case. Duct tape, pink or any other color, can fix anything, including her kindle case. She just happened to have cut the case along the fold, allowing me the chance to save it, whereas, the many other things that she’s broken had not been savable.  But on this occasion, it was. And once again, I’m the Superhero Mom, whose daughter is now toting a kindle, whose case is held together by pink duct tape.

Life Choices


Hello, Friday, I’ve missed you!

Oddly, I thought it was May 17th, instead of April 17th. I must be mentally wishing this semester to be over with already and so I can start enjoying this gorgeous weather and outdoor activities with mini me. She’s only a child once and I’m missing out on taking her to the park in the afternoon, or playing with sidewalk chalk and bubbles, all because I’m constantly stuck indoors, on the computer, working on homework every day.

There’s been a couple of times where I’ve skipped doing homework, just so I can play with my daughter; though I got a little behind, I feel it was worth putting it off. I don’t want my daughter growing up feeling that I never spent time with her and constantly pushed her aside in order to keep my nose stuck in the books or to constantly cit in front of the computer, typing up essay after essay.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy going to class, I just wish to be done with it already and be out there doing what I’ve been going to school for. Three more semesters to go… Graduation date, Dec 2016!

Today’s Daily Prompt asked,

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five, or ten…) ago?

I wish that someone had pointed out to me, that going to college for Aviation maintenance was a bad choice. I had problems while I was in school just from being a female. The constant sexual harassment I had to deal with from the male student population and also from a couple of instructors. I tried to turn them in, but the dean didn’t wish to hear it; I was a minority, there were five females in the entire school, versus a 98% male student population. Plus, there weren’t any female teachers. The owner of the college began firing most of his female office staff. His goal, to make the college an ‘all male’ school. That just made it more uncomfortable being there. Alas, I cut my education short and graduated early, though I did manage to get my Associates Degree in Aviation Airframe.

Then, the recession hit and not only did I have trouble finding a job because I lacked experience, but I couldn’t find a job because the aviation business declined immensely and no one was hiring. I had to work for free to get my experience and didn’t enjoy it. The guy I worked for complained majority of the time about having to work and fussed at me constantly about the need for perfection. I finally quit working for him and started working somewhere that paid; I had a student loan to pay off and was falling into debt.

I fell out of love with aviation, it was more of a childhood dream and all those around me crushed that dream. I didn’t want to be around airplanes anymore.

Six years later, I decided to go back to school, but for something else, something that I will have no problems finding a job doing. There’s a huge market for anthropology, as there are many fields and sub-fields.

I continue to volunteer my time doing many different things as an anthropologist. I don’t even have my degree…yet and I’m enjoying myself. My current favorite, volunteering at the zoo with the large primates.

There will always be a list of shoulda, coulda, wouldas, so change that by finding something you enjoy doing. Live out your dreams. Follow through with your goals. Be happy with your choices.

Happy Friday, everyone!

OWPC: Shamrock


This week’s, One Word Photo Challenge is Shamrock.

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PC: Ephemeral


This week’s photo challenge is ephemeral. Ephemeral means, to last for a short period of time.

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Alligators in Arkansas?


Spring break usually means vacation time for some, but to me, it’s time for catching up on college homework, as it does tend to pile up for us non-traditional students. It also means finishing tasks around the house that also needs my attention, such as taking my car into the shop to fix a burned out fuse, as well as having them take care of a recall. Then there’s the usual, dentist and doctor appointments that I can finally make since I have some time off. Or the opportunity to go into work early. All and all, for me, spring break just means staying busy, instead of relaxing on a tropical beach somewhere, listening to the waves crash onto shore, while I work on my tan.

But, it isn’t all work and no play, I do find some time for fun.

Yesterday, I took my daughter to the Alligator Farm in Hot Springs. She’s been begging me to take her to the zoo, yet most of the things she enjoys is out of order and under construction at our local zoo in Little Rock; the train, petting zoo, etc. Plus, they no longer have giraffes, which is my daughter’s favorite.

I had thought about taking her to Turpentine Creek, which is a wildcat sanctuary in Eureka Springs, but that’s a four hour drive (back roads and road construction) and it was supposed to rain yesterday. It was also slightly chilly, so taking her into the Ozark Mountains to walk around looking at wildcats wasn’t something she would enjoy.

The alligator farm was a relatively short visit. There wasn’t much going on, but on the positive side, it wasn’t crowded. Since alligators are cold blooded reptiles, they were being kept indoors where it’s much warmer. They have spacious yards outside, yet it is still too cold for them to be moved outdoors.

Along with the numerous amount of alligators, they also had a pair of Arctic Wolves, a mountain lion, turkeys, mallards and wood ducks, peacocks, a macaque, three lemurs, an emu, a couple of donkeys, and a handful of fallow deer, goats, and sheep.

Mini me was infatuated with the alligators, yet knew not to poke her fingers through the fence to try to pet one. Although, there was a guy holding a young alligator for visitors to pet (it had a rubber band around it’s snout so it wouldn’t snap anyone’s fingers off). Of course after I touched it’s belly, she saw that it was okay and touched it twice, which was long enough for me to snap a quick picture.

It was a fairly inexpensive trip, yet we always enjoy getting out of the house, no matter the price. I think that any young child or adult would enjoy taking a few minutes out of their weekend to visit the Alligator Farm. It’s easy to get to, plus it’s located five blocks away from downtown Hot Springs, where there is plenty of other things to see and do for couples and for families.

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