Piracy

piracy

Great news everyone (Five Readers), I am officially famous enough to be pirated! Yes, it’s true. By some mysterious mistake in typing in my own web address I’m an idiot I managed to find a website (Hosted by WordPress no less!) that is offering my book for free for download.

Here’s the link:

 http://taychartmobu2006cookslearuwebc.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/detective-docherty-and-the-demons-tears-sarah-waterraven/

Don’t click it if you don’t want to, below I have provided a wonderful print screen of the page.

I tested the file out and it came back unsafe, so I can’t say for certain whether this is a “legit” piracy (haha…) site or just a way to spread viruses and spyware.  ScamAdvisor.com has more information on Books.clicksomewhere.com  if you are a fellow author facing the same problem.

Here’s a link to send a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice if your content is also being advertised through WordPress for illegal download:

http://automattic.com/dmca-notice/

piracyprintscreenMy thoughts: Wow and Wtf!?! On the one hand: look at those ratings! I have an 8.7 out of 10 AND I’ve had an insane amount of downloads. On the other hand, it took me two years to write, re-write, edit, and format the manuscript, create the cover art, and finally print the book, not to mention the 4 years of promotion I’ve done since it’s publication, so to see so many downloads and such great ratings from people who aren’t even buying it ($3.99 Canadian) to acknowledge that I brought it into existence is heartbreaking. We (Five Readers) must consider as well that the ratings and downloads could be false advertisement. Although I would like to mention, having worked at a software company (who’s name we cannot speak of) that had a movie downloading sofware that was questionably legal, I know that “customers” used the rating system and voting system regularly.

What is even more upsetting is that I have a grand total of 5 ratings and 4 reviews on Amazon.com, 2 on Barnes and Noble, and a whopping zero reviews on Indigo.ca, and let us not forget the meager 9 ratings and 4 reviews on GoodReads… According to those websites my novel is hardly seeing any action at all. There are so many things I want to know, like: Is this real? Are these ratings from actual human beings and where are they? How can I connect to these readers? I don’t want to yell at them or slap them on the wrist, I want to know what they think about my book and I hope they want to read the second.

While the piracy has been oddly encouraging and discouraging, what has been great is the support I am receiving from readers that have quickly become friends. Thanks to Craft Kitten and Chaos Adventurer we are taking further action to get my book off the Books.clicksomewhere website. Their help and support through this has given me a lot of hope for Dective Docherty, Ares, and Alexandria. Because of people like them, I am encouraged everyday to keep this story going.

Thank you again to Craft Kitten and Chaos Adventurer, and a big thank you as well to my family, friends, and readers who have given me the means and hope to keep this dream alive and let it grow. Piracy is going to happen no matter what you do, but it’s the true fans and honest readers that keep me going. Thanks everyone.

Lastly, bad pirate animation because I can and because it makes me lol :

- WaterRaven

On a later note: I would like to add that I do know what it’s like to be in dire straights (Hurricane) and that when it comes between a couple dollars for food or necessities and an eBook, people are going to choose food. I also know how hard it is to live without the things that give you joy, so while I am hurt that some of my readers are illegally downloading my material, a part of me understands. I am hoping that with the publication of my second novel in 2015 that I’ll be able to do more promotional sales to allow readers better access to my books.

Genrecon

genrecon

Ooooo. Aaaahhh.

So! I’m gearing up for this years Genrecon! Unce-unce-unce. Con time bebeh!

What can you expect?

Absolutely nothing. The second book is not done. Just kidding. Seriously though, it’s not done, BUT I will be reading from the second book and revealing the new cover for Detective Docherty and the Vampire’s Mirror (DDVM) at Genrecon in Guelph this October 17-19. I think it’ll be sexeh once I finish it. The new book will be published in January/February of the new year. The two worst retail months EVER, but I am eager to publish it and the new year is the soonest it will be ready.

My hope is that readers with gift cards and new e-readers from the holidays will want to buy it. YEAH! Optimism :D If I don’t hit major sales the first couple of months DDVM is out, I wont be too concerned. The real goal is to have the book ready for Ad-Astra 2015 with the intention of having a table with both books, prints, and possible samples of the audiobook*.

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Get back to work!

It’s been a tough couple of years, but thanks to major support from my boyfriend, friends, and family, I am able to once again publish and promote. I would also like to say a HUGE thank you to Genrecon for not only inviting me back this year, but for promoting me as a guest and author (Check out my page!). While I have dreams of attending commercial run cons such as Fanexpo and Comicon, it’s the fan-run conventions that really help Self-Publishers like myself to network and connect to readers. SF Contario was my first convention and the reason that I have made the connections I have today. I am really looking forward to Genrecon this fall and many more conventions to come!

See you at the Con!

~WaterRaven

 

A Cinderella Story

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Camping out with my stuff, waiting for the moving truck once again.

I’d like to preface this with the need to express myself. I wrote this so I could purge myself of the guilt and questioning and come finally to my happy ending. During the months that the following events occurred I questioned myself constantly. Why? Why was this happening again? What was I doing wrong? Why couldn’t I get this right? Again I was in a place that didn’t want me and again I had a job that I hated. Why was I in this loop of failure? I would sit and think of ways that I could make things work with my roommates and even my job. I would go over and over each scenario and try to come up with new ways to keep the peace and make others happy until one day my friend and counsellor said to me, “What about your happiness? Maybe the problem isn’t you.”

It struck a cord. The thought hadn’t occurred to me. I had been bending over backwards to make others happy and the only thing I was accomplishing was making myself miserable.

It’s one thing to help others, to be there for good friends and family, but it’s quite another to be at the end of someone else’s leash. In today’s world I hear a lot of “I” and “Me” and very few “We,” and for years now I’ve been striving to better my relationships with my friends and family. I wasn’t born with a large window, I always had a small one, one that I looked through and saw only what I was doing and what I wanted. I would stare off and into a long tunnel that lead to my dreams. For years now I’ve been broadening it, but this time around I had to learn there is still a place for “I” and “Me.”

sad FaolanSeveral months ago it became abundantly clear that I was once again in life-trouble. I became all too aware that Faolan and I were no longer welcome in the house. The feeling was sadly familiar. I do not know exactly when the scales-tipped out of our favour in my roommate’s mind and heart, but once they did it was obvious. It was and is a shame. My roommate took me in when no one else would and now I would consider myself blessed if I never heard from her again.

I cannot say for certaint what the exact problem was, but I think I can sum up some key issues:

1) We both have very different ideas about the proper care and safety of animal companions

2) We did not agree on what exactly the amount of rent I was paying her each month entitled me to

3) In her mind, she owned the house, which meant I had little say in it despite the fact I paid to live there

4) In my opinion, her priority in life is gain: what she can gain in work or financially from someone else. The night she wrote a letter asking me to move out, she called my mother and sold skincare products to her. Aside from selling products to my mom, she no longer considered me a financial benefit.

At the start of everything I did my best to put aside the fact that I was not permitted to have too much of my stuff out in the house. The first night in the new place, I started unpacking a box of my stuff that I hadn’t seen in a year and she snapped at me saying. “First we unpack my things and then if we have room for yours, we’ll unpack yours.” We never did have room for mine. My desk lived outside my room, as did my couch and TV only because they couldn’t fit in it. The majority of my belongings sat in boxes in the basement. I slowly pulled out my art supplies as I began working on art and writing again, but I believe the slow increase of my stuff may have been part of the problem. Sadly, what belongings I did have out were being ruined by her cats and the dogs she brought in for sitting. In a way, I guess it was a good thing I didn’t have everything out.

While I am happy to help out with chores and upkeep, I was surprised to come home one day and find a cleaning schedule on a calendar with my name on it. Listed on the calender were days that I was expected to clean and what I was cleaning. I will go ahead and admit that I do not like being told what to do. Had she sat down and talked to me about it and worked a schedule out with me, things would have been completely different, but clearly I was now subject to a dictatorship. I broached her on the subject once when we got a third roommate, saying that I thought sweeping three times a week was a bit much– that was not well received.

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My artwork at the time really reflects my struggle. Featured is part of a watercolour scene where a unicorn loses its innocence stabbing a life-sucking vampire, sacrificing a part of itself for the greater good.

I did my best to put these things aside. I did not like them, but I was trying to compromise and in all honesty, I was grateful to her for having taken me in those many months before. I have a sad feeling that part of the reason she was able to control me for so long was because she knew I had nowhere else to go.

The dog sitting is what pushed me over the edge and caused me to speak up, even then, it took me a while. I was caught in this cycle of “she did me a huge favour,” but as my friend said later, “When does it end?”. Originally I was unemployed and at home looking for work full-time, so when she was “dog sitting” that meant I was home with the dogs all day, making sure they ate, had water, and went out while she was at work. I would clean up after their mess and put up with their barking all day and all night. I did not ask her for a penny of the money she was receiving for the dogs I was sitting. When I went to work part-time, I was still home more often than she was and still had to put up with the barking and cleaning up after them. In addition, when she went on trips I watched her dog for free and fed and cleaned up after her cats when she went to her boyfriend’s (they puked and crapped on the floor regularly).

Originally I bit my tongue, but when the dogs she was bringing home posed a threat to my dog, I had to put my foot down. Faolan is my life and my reason for getting up every morning. I was not going to stand by while she put his life in danger. Considering my roommate was incapable of keeping her own dog in the yard (I cannot count the # of times I had to go out and find that dog, upset and terrified she had been hit by a car) and knowing how careless my roommate was with the dogs she was sitting (she took a freshly spayed female Rottweiler two hours away. It got out of her mother’s backyard while she went off with her friends, causing the poor dog’s stitched belly to swell and possibly scar), there was absolutely no way I was going to trust her with Faolan.

If the owners only knew the danger she had put their dogs in. There are times that I wish I had documented everything and presented it to the vet clinic where she worked because she was not only risking the dogs, but jeopardizing herself and the clinic she worked for. I would NEVER take a dog that I was sitting away from the home it was expected to be in. I would also never bring a dog home into a stressful environment where it might be attacked or would get into a fight with another dog.

Faolan is a wonderful dog, but he does not always get along with others. Because of this I take precautions when taking him anywhere. I do not take him to off-leash parks or heavily populated areas. I do my best to be a responsible dog owner. We live in a world where a pregnant female dog, tied up in her own backyard, can be called aggressive and put down because the neighbours let their kid wander into her backyard unattended and was bitten.

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Faolan used to love the daycare, but sometimes 20+ dogs was too much.

All these things considered, I asked my roommate to produce a waiver for each dog owner to sign before she brought them into the house. She was none-too-pleased. I never saw this waiver and the first dog she had in the house after our discussion was an intact, male, bulldog-mix. I asked if they signed a waiver and she said no because it’s her friend’s dog. Two intact male dogs under one roof is stupid. I don’t think you have to be a vet tech, trainer, or even an enthusiast to know that. I did my best to keep the dogs separated, but even with both my roommate, myself, and her boyfriend at the house, the dog she was sitting got out and went after Faolan. Luckily, Faolan listened to me while I pulled the smaller dog off of him. If Faolan had responded that little guy didn’t have a chance. I was bitten by the dog multiple times. Do you think my roommate gave a shit? No. Not at all. She and her boyfriend were drunk or high or both. She never told the owner.

When my roommate told me she was bringing a 100lb labour-doodle into the house, I had to act. I sat down with her and politely asked her not to. I explained how this particular dog had attacked Faolan previously and though nothing serious had happened before, it was too much of a risk.   She.   was.   pissed.   She told me it was “all about me” and said it was manageable and I was overreacting, but she had demonstrated time and again that I could not trust her.

Yellow Dog Program

Having an insecure dog, I am a huge supporter of this initiative

I then suggested she take the dog to her boyfriend’s house for a week, that way she could get the money for sitting and I could go to work without worrying about Faolan. Unfortunately she felt I was telling her to leave her own home, which only made her angrier. She was not hearing me out at all. What mattered was the money and her not having to leave the couch. It’s interesting to note how she didn’t want to inconvenience her boyfriend with the dog at his house all week, but had never given a thought to how it would effect me. Surprisingly she agreed to keep the dog at her boyfriend’s– though she changed her mind at the end of the week. I had no choice but to get Faolan out of the house for a couple of days.

Everything plummeted off a cliff-side after that.

I knew our friendship was over when I messaged her telling her I almost went to the ER. She never messaged back to see what happened or ask how I was. She barely spoke to me after our talk. I remember looking at the kitchen counter every morning, expecting an eviction notice. Eventually she would hand me one herself right beside it.

At this time a third roommate had moved in. My roommate had approached me a couple months earlier asking me if I knew anyone who would be interested in moving in with us. She wanted more help with the mortgage. I tried to get a friend to move in, but I think he was too smart for it. Undeterred, my roommate got on facebook and asked another friend of mine instead. He was a friend from high school and had sadly been picked on most of his life. I was one of the few people who had been nice to him. Later he was diagnosed with various behavioural/mental disorders which helped explain some of his odd behaviour, but that never mattered to me. I always accepted him for who he was. I use to drive him to the store and to the Dr’s to help him out. There was a time when he called me his best friend.

He was living in an apartment complex that catered to his needs and my roommate was asking him to leave that comfort zone. I told them both that I thought it was a bad idea. Considering how things were going with my roommate and I, I did not feel she would be understanding of his disabilities. He moved in anyway and despite the fact that I had been his friend, assisted him when I could, and even helped him move in, I lost his friendship as well.

Sadly, due to jealousy over my new relationship he sided with my original roommate and went out of his way to hurt myself and my boyfriend. He wore headphones whenever my boyfriend was in the house and went as far as sleeping in the backyard when he was over. When no one else was around he took to yelling at me.

As if all this were not enough, throughout these months I had been in and out of Dr’s offices and ERs. I had several chest infections and asthma attacks. While my roommate thought it necessary to sweep three times a week, she did not seem to think that she needed more than one litter box for three cats and only changed it ONCE every SEVEN days.  On top of that we lived in a red-zone for air quality. We were literally next to the parking lot of a factory. We shared a fence with it.

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Most days I couldn’t get out of bed

I had asked to have the vents and ducts checked or cleaned, but that was a no-go, she didn’t want to spend the money. In addition, she didn’t like paying for the air conditioning. Despite my fixed rate of $500 a month, she would cut corners to save. Keep in mind I didn’t do laundry at the house because the machine would tear my clothes and I didn’t use the cable or PVR or whatever it was. I wasn’t using a lot of what I was paying for and I had offered to help pay to have the air ducts cleaned.

I couldn’t win either way. Air conditioning or no, I was either over-heated, sweating and struggling to breath in my bed at night or having bronchial spasms from whatever crap was circulating in the house on the rare occasion we did turn the AC on.

I remember crying in the dark, wondering if I was going to make it to morning, wondering– of all the stupid things–if I was going to make it to work because I had to feed Faolan… and then one day, a hand reached out for me in the dark. It caressed my cheek and soothed me and told me I wasn’t alone.

I look back now and marvel at how through all of it I found love. Though really, Joshua found me. We met over coffee. He was running late, so I waited at a table for him. Joshua turned the corner and I’ll remember the smile on his face for the rest of my life. As it spread across his lips, it spread across my heart. I had never seen a smile more genuine or beautiful.

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Only now I look at this picture and see the storm behind us and the light ahead, lighting up our faces as we took this photo.

I knew that moment was different and significant. I held on to it for as long as I could. From that point on we were inseparable. In all of that misery, fear, and worry, we had stolen moments. Moments where we’d lay in bed and giggle or we’d take off to the beach or forest, stealing ourselves away from the city and taking Faolan with us. Even though I had asthma attacks and even though most of the time I struggled to hike or swim, we did it anyway.

I knew I loved him on our second date. He took me to the drive-in in his truck. He blew up an air mattress, I brought blankets and pillows and we snuggled up to Faolan and watched the big screen under the stars. I fell asleep hugging his chest. When I woke, I knew I would love him forever.

In the following months he would run for my inhaler when I couldn’t get it and take care of Faolan while I was at work. Josh took me to dinner and walked barefoot on the beach with me. He reminded me of how precious and beautiful life is. The day my roommate handed me a letter asking me to leave, he told me I would be all right because I was going to live with him. He told me we were going to have a beautiful life together, full of love and laugher. I cried. I cried because I had never had anyone love or take care of me the way he did and because I couldn’t believe I didn’t have to be afraid any more. I sat quietly in my room a long time afterwards, hugging the pillow where he had slept previously and thanking the Goddess for this incredible person. I thought to myself: Dear great mother, if I get only one thing in life, please let it be him.

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The mists in the sunrise this morning

So, here I am. Living in country. I wake up to beautiful sunrises over trees and farm fields instead of rooftops and smoke-stacks. Before we turn in each night, we watch the sunset or the moonrise and no one else is watching us.The only sounds are birds and crickets or maybe the crow of a rooster or the rumble of a tractor engine, but I welcome those sounds over car horns and trains any day.

I had stopped dreaming a long time ago. I shut out visions of farm land, chicken coops, and gardens, I even started to let my thoughts of a second book slip away while I struggled to put food on the table and keep a roof over Faolan and I’s heads. For a long time I was short sighted, only thinking of the day ahead. How? How do I do it? And then Joshua came and he told me to dream again and for the first time in a long time, I did.  Thank you, Joshua. I love you. I would do it all over again if it meant I could be with you.

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Mermaid Thoughts

 Like I needed anything else to do, but like any author or artist, the creative ball never stops rolling. No matter what project I am working on, I am inspired to do three more right behind it or on the side. I have for some time been playing with the idea of a simple-form comic that I can hand draw, fix up in Photoshop, and sell as a printed copy alongside my book at conventions and possibly online.

Meet Nighmin. A siren I originally created online as an RP character (Shut up, everyone has hobbies). She’s tough and she’s selfish, but that does not mean she’s incapable of love.

In the world I have created for her, she lives off the coast of a large island with her shoal of merrow. They all have their own groups within the shoal, but they are overseen by a Mer-Queen and all must obey her– or so she thinks.

Mermaids are beautiful and the most human-looking of the bunch, Mersharks are fierce and calculative, and sirens like Nighmin are blood thirsty and feral. Sirens, unlike mermaids, will attack and eat humans. Sexy, right? Kind of a water-based Dracula scenerio I’ve created here.

I have had several incarnation of Nighmin through the years, but will have to nail down a single look for her while drawing this comic. I’ve pretty much got her tail fins down, it’s just her face and hair that keep changing.

My Mer-Queen’s tail and look I couldn’t be more happy with, though I may fiddle with her hair some more. Her face is covered with an expressionless mask. What do you think? Look out bishes? I think my Queen of Tides could give that sea-witch, Ursula, a run for her money. Dragon-tail eats fat-octopus any day.

As mentioned in previous entries, I’m shite at digital art, but I think a combination of this simple-form line art and Photoshop clean-up will see it through to quality.

The cover art will be the most challenging as will landscapes or detailed scenery, but I’m confident I can manage it. The story will be a single comic, but perhaps part of a series within a single world. I am still very much in the planning stages, though I know what awaits my poor Nighmin in her story yet-to-be.

Watercolour and Pen

This is Nighmin and a demon-lover in one of her earlier stages. When I originally started role-playing her she ended up finding an underground channel to a shadow-market where she fell in love with a demon named Daun. While it was fun to RP, I felt I could develop Nighmin further. Demons will be mentioned in the comic, but I will most likely not feature them.

Much later I developed a more solid look for her. Minus the late 80’s-early 90’s rock-hair I accidentally gave her in this drawing, this is Nighmin. Gills along her sides, green-otherworldy skin, and a large, dangerous tail with spines and venomous barbed-tips. She is beautiful and alien and she is a survivor.

Swamped with life-issues, the second book and audiobook, for now she’ll have to remain an artistic expression until I can bring her story to life through word and image.

I hope you enjoyed her.

-WaterRaven-

 

Sides Notes

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As is common place with any writer, artist and/or musician, in addition to working a minimum wage job, I take on various side jobs in the pursuit of my obsession with becoming a full time author. When I am not working as a gas station attendant and questioning my life decisions and morals, I do some illustration and graphic design. Sounds great, minus the part where I don’t even make minimum wage, but hey, money is money, and I’m helping out local businesses and indie-authors. Gotta share the love– I think. God I’m poor.

As a homeless man by the name of Old School-Mo-Thug once told me, “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.” See what he did there? Sense could be interchangeable with cents? Get it, get it? Wise beyond his financial limitations. And while I do not think money should be the focus of anyone’s life, I have come to understand its importance and the true meaning of the word obligation.

During my stint of unemployment I needed money badly so I started to offer my services up as an artist. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I started to get paid for it. It felt good to be paid to do something I love, but sadly as circumstances changed the commission work just wasn’t enough. I had to get a day job. Ultimately I’d like to continue to do commission work as it keeps things fun and interesting for me ( I find commissions challenge an artist to go beyond their go-to mediums, their usual genre, and subjects etc), but lately I’ve been too book-obsessed. As in: I need to friggin’ finish my second book. It’s been eating away at me like a school of piranha.

Here’s a look at some of my commission work:

Pet Portraits:

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Bernese Mountain Dog. Acrylic on canvas.

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Carole and Simon. Charcoal on paper. One of my oldest.

"I'll Be Here Waiting" Horse portrait. Pencil crayon and pen.

“I’ll Be Here Waiting” Horse portrait. Pencil crayon and pen. A favourite.

zeddie_and_tia_by_sarahwaterraven-d6e2gsr

African Grey Parrot and Savannah Cat. Acrylic on Canvas.

 

Character, fantasy, and random art commissions:

 

Dark Pheonix Rising Tat

Tribal pheonix tattoo. Gel Pen.

Pegasus and unicorns watermark

Pegasus and Unicorns. Pencil crayon and pen. Another fave.

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A family portrait of deer. Acrylic on canvas.

 

Book Covers:

 

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Cover Fix

A the moment, between working, recording the audiobook, and trying to get the second book done, I originally felt it was in my best interest to let the commission work go for a while. What I want more than anything right now is to get this second book hammered out and into the world, but financial need has taken precedence again and I’ve decided my book will have to fall back on the priority list. Ultimately I think I may need to go back to full-time work, but I have been hesitant in my pursuit of renewing my full-time environmental career as my life’s dream is to be a well known author. I am aware that the reality of the written life often involves a full time or at least part time job, but I hardly need to mention names like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, or even Stephanie Meyer, to show that it is possible to be a successful author.

It’s clear that I have a lot to think about. The last thing I want is to lose myself in a full time job and lose sight of my dreams, dwindling down to a soul unrecognisable that doesn’t even know its own name. That is how my depression began almost three years ago.  Every decision I make here on out is weighed down heavily by that memory and I hope I make the right choices.

crow brewery label rough

In the meantime, I re-opened commissions. Last week I was commissioned to do a beer label for a local brewery. I have done work with this brewery before and rather enjoy it. A friend of mine, Chris, works at the brewery and has been brewing various batches in the hopes that his new Belgian beers will be accepted by the LCBO. It’s an entire submission process up here (Good Ol’ Canada) where you have to present your beer with a description, ingredient list, label, and samples. The product has to stick out in presentation as well as taste. It’s pretty competitive.

The label making process is also pretty in depth. It works like this: Chris texts me in a panic that he needs drawings in about three days. He comes over, reads the description of the beer to me, shows me labels of similar beers, and then leaves me wondering how the fuck I’m going to do this  gives me artistic freedom.

In this case, I started out with drawings of fields and cows and came up with this. I have no idea how that happened. While my talents as an artist are very useful for hand-drawn/painted hard copies, where I really lack experience and knowledge is the digital world. I navigate Photoshop like a 90 year old navigates the highway. Luckily Chris’ brother is a graphic design artist and can whip up something like this.

crow beer label full

 

With our powers combined. We come up with something classy. This is just the mock up for the early stages of the submission process, but it gives you the idea.

My next project is a book cover for the author, Timothy Carter. The new book is called Apoca-Lynn. I read the manuscript and like all of his other books, it was hilarious. Tim and I met at SF Contario my first year as a published author. We’ve been dominating conventions together ever since ;) The premise of the book is about a teenage boy who falls in love for the first time with a girl who has telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Needless to say an absolute nightmare to break up with. I look forward to doing the cover, though it will be quite a challenge with my lack of photo-skills. We’ll see what I can come up with.

Well, time to get this commission ball rolling.

-WaterRaven-

 

 

 

 

Audioslave

10487329_10102019122229870_532870353096957521_nOk, so I’m not really an audioslave, but damn do I like the sound of it. Thanks to the generosity of my friend, Brent Ross, I am turning the pages of Detective Docherty and the Demon’s Tears into an audiobook (which spellcheck refuses to believe is a real thing). So far chapter one and the prologue are down. BOOM. Done. Actually there’s some editing to be done, but whatever.

I had toyed with the idea of an audiobook for some time, but never had the means to. I thought a lot about how difficult it is to break into the publishing world as a self-published author and often wondered if an audiobook would help give me that competitive edge. Not being able to afford it and really knowing nothing about it, I decided to come back to it later. One day Brent Ross approached me and asked if we could make Detective Docherty and the Demon’s Tears into an audiobook. I maintain that it’s because he’s too lazy to read it, lol, but man was I happy he asked! It’s slow going, as it’s a learning process for both of us, but we are having so much fun with it.

Brent works for a late night local TV host, JR Diggs. Who, oddly enough, has multiple skits involving an old neighbor of mine, Hurricane Andy. Brent also does photography and is now hoping to get involved in the audiobook world for up and coming authors– which makes me his first guinea pig :D

The hardest part is the amount of time. While I’d love to just hammer out chapter after chapter and then spread my audiobook online like butter over toast, we unfortunately have to be tedious and take our time. What we’ve found is my voice gets tired and I lose punctuation. Thanks to years of public speaking for conservation areas and non-profit organizations, I know when what I’m saying is starting to sound like shit become a massive run-on sentence.

“Congratulations! You have gremlins, part of the hob branch of fairies, consisting of brownies, gnomes, dwarves, and other small human-like fairy. Gremlins are typically smaller and often out of sight, but chances are you know they are around because your appliances and mechanical belongings are falling apart. Stay clear of electrical outlets until you have established a better relationship.”

Becomes:

“CongratulationsYouhavegremlinspartofthehobbranchoffairiesconsistingofbrowniesgnomes…”

IMG_3854[1]I begin to breath heavily into the mic, swear at some point and then Brent’s stuck staring at the screen like this.

We’ve had the most success with me reviewing the chapters at home and practising before-hand. That being said… I’m running over to his place later today to record completely unprepared, but I’ve also been busy with work, drawing another label for the brewery, and working on Detective Docherty and the Vampire’s Mirror, so don’t give me that look.

Apart from the recording I have a lot of research to do on what websites I’ll be able to sell the audbiobook on and whether or not it’s worth putting the book onto CD. Might be worth having one or two audiobooks for sale at a convention sometime. Who knows.

In the meantime, here’s the uncut audio of the prologue and chapter one of Detective Docherty and the Demon’s Tears read by Sarah WaterRaven and produced by Brent Ross. As it is uncut, places where I have lost punctuation or messed up will seem to start over again as I have paused and then re-read any areas I thought we should re-do. The final cut will exclude these errors, though we keep toying with the idea of a “bloopers” section. I apologize ahead of time for any swearing.

I burst into the title and production information too fast because I am a little too excited, so I think we’ll most likely go over that once more, but I’m honestly a hard person to calm down ;)

 

-WaterRaven-

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane

 

 

Sometime ago I was sitting in my car and heard the above song over the radio. It’s played frequently here in Southern Ontario on 102.1 the Edge, so I had some time to become familiar with it. After becoming a fan, I decided to look up the lyrics online.  I’m fairly eclectic in my music taste, but what I desire most is a good sound accompanied by thoughtful and compelling lyrics. The lyrics of this song hit me pretty hard.

Even when I was younger I was no stranger to sad thoughts

As most of you know, I have been on a journey. I’ve come a long way from depression, losing my job and home, boyfriend, and at one point, even my family. I divulge this personal information next in the hopes that sharing it may help others someday: I was a cutter, struggling with a sense of control, and the desire for the courage to make a cut that would end what I considered to be a miserable life. I cut my arm and even burned myself on the stove once to try and stop the feelings choking me from the inside. There are times I am ashamed of this behaviour and other times I am just so proud of myself for overcoming it. I recall the darkest days of my life with this dream-like state that feels out of place and out of time, and yet I know it was real. Days would go by without sleeping and like those days, I was drawn out. There was a terrible burn in my eyes from the endless number of tears and this painful longing in my chest that I could neither identify nor smother.

The day we lost our home.

I had half a book written, sitting and unfinished like my dreams, and lost my passion for life. Writing a book, environmental education, money, whatever, none of it mattered. I was unloved and I did not love– save for my brother and my dogs. When one of my dogs, Raven, passed away, I lost one of my anchors to reality and diminished further. Lucky I still had Faolan and my brother, Lance. Lance drove all the way from Toronto one night, stayed up with me and left in the morning to work a full day when my ex boyfriend decided to move out in the midst of my depression. Unable to cope with myself and what had happened, I had called my brother to say goodbye– and he just would not let that happen. His kindness resonated. It took time, but eventually it took root and started to grow within me.

I will love you forever.

 

Looking at my dog, Faolan, one day I decided I wanted to live. I thought about what would happen to him if I died and I couldn’t stand the thought of it. Weird, I know, choosing to live for a dog, but then I don’t expect anyone to understand it. It was not just him of course. I thought of some of the people I’d leave behind, though I honestly figured they’d eventually get over it and be fine without me. That’s what happens when you don’t value yourself, but a dog’s love is timeless and I knew I would be taking two lives, not just one.

 

 

When I decided to live, I realized I made the harder of the two choices. I needed to get up off the couch, get a job, and take care of myself and my dog. First thing was first, I had to get off the medication I had been put on by my family physician. Apart from tranquillizers and sleeping meds, I was put on antidepressant medication. I am not sure if any of my readers can relate to this, but I was prescribed a medication called Efexxor. While it may have kept me from killing myself and put a stopper in some of my anxiety attacks, it also dulled me. I wasn’t super depressed, but I wasn’t happy either. There are entire websites, forums, and even youtube videos on how terrible that medication is, so I don’t need to go into too much detail, but I knew I needed to get off of it.

Efexxor comes with a host of side effects and withdrawal symptoms. If I was off by an hour I would start to get a headache, then a series of neurological zaps would start, until my entire body ached and my vision began to blur. I was more bed ridden on that medication than I ever was during my depression. It destroyed my libido– I couldn’t stand to be touched, and it made me sweat like a rice-worker working the dry season.

 

 Image source: http://wendy-nielsen.com/tag/effexor-xr/

 

When some time had passed after the break-up, I attempted to socialize and date, but I honestly felt so isolated from human beings and their generally accepted reality, that I pulled away until I weaned myself off the meds. It took me a year. From the forums I read, many people have tried to come off the medication and failed, afraid they’d be stuck with it for life  (I know I was), but I want those people to know it’s possible to be free of it. It’s sucks and it’s painful, but it is worth it. I spoke with my Dr. at first and she agreed to bring me down, but she would not take me off completely, so I worked with what I had and did it anyway. We dropped every three months, then a month, until I finally started to open the capsules and empty out the beads.  When the last capsule ran out, I never went back to fill the prescription. I wont lie, there was a month where I was literally a vegetable. I couldn’t feed myself, sleep or stay awake, but slowly it got better. One day I woke up and I knew I was free.

When I had originally expressed to my physician that I would like to come off the medication, she was against it. It was based on her experience and coming from a place of concern, not some evil conspiracy. She told me I had a 50% chance of a relapse and yeah, that terrified me, but there was no way I wasn’t going to try. I refused to believe that in order to live I had to be half of myself. Sure, nothing upset me anymore. I didn’t get hurt when someone yelled at me nor did I care if I was being taken advantage of, because everything just rolled right off my chest, but I didn’t get excited and I never laughed. My mind was vacant of happiness, vacant of the pure joy only a med-free human being that fully accepts themselves can feel. I was literally Christian Bale in the movie Equilibrium, minus being female and not trying to survive in a post-WWIII society.

The first time I smiled, truly smiled, in a year, I was watching Faolan with his head out the window. Tongue flapping and his big coyote grin… His pleasure in that simplest of moments gave me the greatest joy.

 

I tried to capture that moment, but he turned to look at me

 

I was off the medication and living with a girl who’d taken me in after I was turned away by my ex-boyfriend and family. Her kindness sustained me through those months. I am very lucky to have her as a friend. After a few months of rest (thanks to her charity) it was time to get up and get a job to help support myself, my dog, and my writing. It was good to care about things again.

I looked for work and couldn’t find anything in my field. I toyed with idea of going back to school, but the idea of another year without writing was too painful to think of. In time, I found a job at a gas station. An author and environmentalist working at a gas station, I highly doubt I need to elaborate on the irony of the situation. Despite that though, I am taking care of Faolan and I am writing again. The rough draft of my second book is almost finished and I have an audiobook on the way.

So, here I am, off my medication, no relapse, and the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m poor and I’m not some big-shot, best selling author, but I’m writing and I’m trying. I have a place to live, food to eat, and I have friends and I am very, very lucky to have found love again and be loved in return. Like Moulin Rouge, “The greatest thing is to love and be loved in return.” There was a period there where I figured this was it, I was on my own and I was going to have to learn to accept that, so I made do and attempted to be happy anyway. Luckily my temporary lapse into romantic pessimism was wrong and someone beyond even my imagining came along. He expands my heart in a way I never thought possible. He fills in the pieces I didn’t know were missing. I can honestly say that I would do it all over again just to be with him. I could very well write an entire series of posts about him, so I shall stop here, but Goddess am I lucky.

This, all of this, comes to me in the four minutes of that song, because everyday I look to find the beauty, laughter, and joy in the small things in everyday life. I do it to stop my mind from slipping back into the rabbit hole leading to the dark wonderland of my mind and it is a dark place. It’s full of fear, sadness, and anger, and an empty endlessness without equivalent or measure. I was trapped in it for almost two years and I never want to be there again. So when she says, “Nights like this, I become afraid of the darkness of my heart, hurricane.” I think I know exactly what she means. Though for me, while my mind would see the worst, my heart never stopped hoping for the best, and I am very thankful for that.

I must have listened to that song several times a day for a week to come to this conclusion. That’s why I think we need artists, musicians, and writers, because they help us reach a level of ourselves we may not have realized was there. Whoever wrote that seemed to have gone through a similar experience. I had to process it for two years and then I heard her song and was inspired to write about it.

 

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~WaterRaven~