Over the last month so many huge things have happened, so I feel like it's only necessary to tell you here in the monthly round-up section of the email.
What I am most proud about is the fact that I finally finished my hellish master's semester of 9 credits (3 classes). For those of you who don't know, I'm currently getting a virtual master's in Digital Strategy, and this semester has been a rough one because I've been taking a full-time schedule, along with working full time, constantly going to the gym, and writing and revising my series. But, I finished, and now I have a little break until the middle of May!
Next, I took a few big steps in my author career this month as well. I attended a Writer's Workshop in Shanghai and even gave a presentation on dialogue, and how we can improve it in our writing. It is there that I met a woman who introduced me to an AMAZING graphic designer who I've hired on now to rework all of my covers and make the covers for my series. I did a blog article about how I've elevated my career in recent months on my website. If you have time, check it out. You can find the exact blog post here: 5 Necessities to Elevate Your Career.
Finally, I am proud to announce that just this past weekend I finished the revisions on Book 4 of my series and I have sent it off to beta-readers. My hope is to release it by the end of 2021, and to have Book 3 in the series be released by August or September sometime. No longer will I be going George R.R. Martin on you folks and taking YEARS to publish a novel. I'm in it to win it, from here on out!
The biggest news of the month, though, isn't all of the aforementioned accomplishments, it's the fact that my sister turns another year older on April 29th. To celebrate this, along with everything else I've done this month, I am discounting the new-and improved Trials of the Core on Amazon the whole week, from 2.99 to .99 cents from April 26th-30th. Check out the change below and tell me that new cover isn't sexy.
I published this book in 2013 when I was 23 and I had NO IDEA what made up a successful book.
I am now conscious of what makes a great cover. I am conscious of series branding, and I am ready to take my author business seriously.
Again, if you want to understand at a deeper level why I made the changes I made, be sure to check out my blog post here.
Next, make sure you grab your sexy new copy of the Trials of the Core for only .99 cents on Amazon.
April Spotlight: Jing-Mei
The Trials we Face
The first time I experienced depression was when I was twelve years old. It wasn’t my own. It was my father’s depression.
In our city, he was a math teacher at the best high school. One of the brightest math teachers in the city. However, due to politics and bureaucracy, this high school was sold to a businesswoman, and my father didn’t retain his job. Instead, he got transferred to an ordinary school.
I remember that sunny day when he came back; I was doing homework in our living room. He told me about this transference, tried to act happy in front of me, but I could tell from his expression that he was sad. My father always wanted to win. There was always a competitive nature about him. Until that day.
A few months after he lost his job, he started having difficulty falling asleep. Other issues came along, and my mother was by his side. She is a nurse, and I suppose it was her duty to care for him and that is what she did. No complaints. No doubt. No hesitations. That was the first time I’ve looked up to my mother (Until this moment, she never really expressed her love for me, and we weren’t very close.) During this transition period for my father, she made us feel very secure.
I’ve never told anyone that my father’s depression still influences me today. My grandfather’s younger brother had mental diseases. He was on medication for decades until he passed away. I’m aware that I probably have the same genes. It’s possible that I get depressed like that. I’ve never seen anyone in such deep pain as my father when he was depressed. His heart was dying inside. No one could really help him. He wanted to cry, but he could not. People always talk about sunshine, candy, flowers and the joy of life, but few are willing to face the truth, that there’s a dark and empty side to being alive. Life is great, but life is also a black void.
As I look back, I’ve seen that I’ve had many trials in my life. Some I passed. Some I failed. There surely are a lot more awaiting me. Among them, the biggest challenge was when I just graduated and started working as a teacher. I didn’t know how to do my job. I had no friends. I lived in a loft by myself. That was back in 2013 and 2014. I didn’t know where my life was going. Every night before sleep I told myself it was better to not care about anything and stay calm rather than to break down by stress and failures of day-to-day classroom experiences. I would tell myself, “As long as I’m not depressed, someday I’ll come up with a way to solve my problems. Or, someday God will show me a way.”
As far as I know, children in China are told to chase after money, fame or power and make their ancestors or their parents proud at a very young age. For me, because of my experience, the biggest trial in life is not to reach other people’s expectations of me, but to deal with failures and pessimistic thoughts in the right way. Pride is a dangerous thing. It makes me want to win, but also makes me vulnerable when I fail. Years later, when I gained more experience in teaching, I realize it’s not abilities that make us strong because abilities can be built up. Experience can be accumulated. It’s belief, courage, and love that help us get through most difficult times. Failures and mistakes are the same thing—great experiences we can learn from, wonderful lessons that cultivate us into better people than we already are. That is what I want to people to take away. In most difficult times, one should always keep in mind that the world is light and dark. It’s our choice of the things that matter in between.
A quote that goes nicely with this thought is the timeless question from Romeo and Juliet: To Be Or Not to Be? Our identity is who we are, and we can choose to be a victim or we can choose to be a survivor. I choose to be the latter.
Book of the Month
Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
I chose this book this month because it relates to not only what I've experienced recently this past quarter but also to the featured story in The Trials we Face.
That is the idea of mindset, and how a shift in mindset can change everything. Just like Jing-Mei changed her mindset to focus on the positive instead of the negative, "to be" and "not to be", I found this book very fitting for me as well. While I may have published my first book in 2013, I never truly adopted the author mindset until the last twelve months. For me, it was more of a hobby, and now it is a hobby that I want to make my professional career. For anyone struggling with Mindset, I recommend this book because it definitely helps you Turn Pro. I also recommend another fantastic book by him that lights a fire up under your ass called The War of Art.
There are so many questions on my mind this month, so if you have the time please reply.
(1) What do you think of the new cover?
(2) When is a time you have adopted a mindset shift?
(3) What did you think of Jing-Mei's story?
If you have a story of adversity that you would like to share, please reach out to me by replying to this email. Any kind of adversity, big or small, is okay. I will send you a document where you can submit your story so that you, too, can be an inspiration to others.
Until next month everyone, I hope you as well, continue to be what you want to be. Mindset is huge. Be who you're meant to be, and accomplish what you are meant to accomplish.