Weekly Hustle & Creative Wins: WEEK 4 (1/25/16)

writing updates collage

What I’m writing: Still in the middle of the Iron Maiden. I stepped back from my word count to create a massive scene list for the purposes of restructuring the novel. Should be done and writing again by next Monday!

What I’m editing: Nothing fictional at the moment, BUT you’ll notice that I did a cool little upgrade to the homepage of my author website! And I continue to do small revamps to the website as well, until I can afford the sweet new web template I’ve found.

What I’m reading / watching: Still reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Took a break from the book to watch The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2: Berandal, which were AMAZING. Pretty much the best action thrillers I’ve ever seen! They’re GREAT studies of what I want to do as a filmmaker (in 2017).

What I’m researching / developing: Working pretty consistently on The ASYLUM trilogy development! I really love where the characters, world, and story are going, so I really feel as though I’ll be able to transition smoothly between development and writing on this one. Have also collected some interesting research tidbits on The FORGOTTEN trilogy (for The Transcendent Trilogies Project), but my ideas are still forming on this one.

 

Creative Achievements for Q4 2015 (October 1 – December 31)!

october_november_and_december_flashcardYYYYEEEAAHHHH!!! 2015’s coming to a close BA-BAE!!!!

And to be honest? I’m so super freakin’ proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished. GRANTED, I didn’t finish nearly as many writing projects as I would have liked, but that’s totally okay. I’ve gotten a lot of projects off the ground and laid the foundation for what’s going to be (hopefully / in’challah) the greatest year of all time: 2016.

But first, I need to lay down my creative accomplishments for the last quarter of 2015, and then do a yearly round up as well. I’m going to dispense with the fluff, and get right into it, bullet points and all. So check it out below!


October 2015

1. Finished an AWESOME Horror Hop on my blog AND hosted an online Halloween author event and giveaway

octoberI really DO love blogging. I especially love featuring and connecting with other authors in my genre, especially ones that are fighting the color divide to diversify sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.

We had an amazing month filled with thrills and chills, and I met writers and dove into new works, and it was FANTASTIC!

If you want to see what was happening during October, just check out the blog roll here.

2. Got my first actual game writing credit on the Status Quo project

statusquoYES!!! And it feels SO good. If you recall, from about March until August I was working on the game project “Status Quo: Chronicles of a Universe at War”, and wrote over 20 missions / dialogue scripts for the game, which was WOW, an amazing experience.

Now, I’m SO happy to announce that I finally saw my name in the listing of the actual credits!! WOOT!!

I mean, obviously, I already knew I was credited, but it makes me feel that more accomplished, I suppose, lol! Now, all I need to do is add the credit to IMDB. But yes, MEGA amped!

3. Applied to the Sony Executive program

projectinvolveAaannd, I didn’t get in. Lol! But that’s okay! Just as an FYI, the Sony Exec Program was founded by Project Involve with the aim to give high-level training, education, and opportunities to professionals of color who want to break into Hollywood. Specifically, it’s for those who want to break into being a Hollywood exec.

It’s a wonderful program, and I really believed I was competitive for it, but really, there were hundreds of people contending for just ONE spot, lol. So I didn’t hold out tons of hope, but there is a wonderful silver lining here:

I wrote an awesome statement of intent which I can now use to apply to an MFA program that I’m absolutely NUTS for! I’ll tell you more about it below! But in short, I really believe that everything happens for a reason. I hope that the MFA program in question IS that reason!

4. FOUNDED The Bohemian Badass, subsidiary #2 of Rebel Ragdoll, LLC

Bohemian

This is a huge one. From the beginning, when I FIRST established Rebel Ragdoll in 2011, I knew I wanted it to be an independent, creative “umbrella company” that would comprise 5 subsidiaries, each of which would be dedicated to a specific industry.

The first subsidiary I founded was Rebel Ragdoll Press, LLC, the indie publishing house which aimed to increase the presence of female writers in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, crime / noir(e), action-adventure, and thriller. RRP pretty much came to life in 2013 with the publishing of its (and my) first dual-volumed dystopian sci-fi novel, “Ghosts of Koa”. (With more novels and series to come, I promise!)

But now that I have a production process in place for Rebel Ragdoll Press, it’s time for the second subsidiary to come to life. And that second subsidiary is The Bohemian Badass.

Bohemian Badass School Website ShotTo keep it short and sweet, The Bohemian Badass is an indie creative community aimed at educating, training, and empowering other female creatives to pursue their creative dreams, finish their projects, found creative f’Empires, and become the creative badasses they’re meant to be. In short, we train you in the skills you need to make your art and live off your art!

Because my website is going to be making some major author brand changes– where I’ll be focusing mostly on the books I’m reading, featuring, and writing– I won’t talk too much about The Bohemian Badass here. But we have SUCH amazing things in store for 2016, and if you’re hankering for some FREE, epic, and in-depth creative training, I invite you to click any of the links I’ve set here and join The Bohemian Badass mailing list! 🙂

5. FOUNDED the Transcendent Trilogies Project

Can you say, “LOVE OF MY LIFE”?! Say it. Well, actually, I’LL say it.

The Transcendent Trilogies Project literally IS the love of my life, and I cannot WAIT to get to it in 2016!

And yes, as you can see, I HAVE been a very busy bee, lol!

So what is the Transcendent Trilogies Project? Well, basically, I’ve really REALLY become obsessed with all the bomb ass sci-fi, fantasy, and horror trilogies I’ve been seeing around lately, and I’ve been eating them up like candy.

But then I had to ask myself: “Uh… where are the people of color?”

Which was then followed by: “Where are the LGBT fam?” And then, “Where are the differently-abled fam?” And finally, “YO! WHERE ARE WE IN THESE STORIES, FOR REALZ?!”

Yeah, I was more than perturbed. So instead of bitching about it, I’m going to do something about it. And that something is launching an awesome Patreon project, where I actually write and professionally publish diverse, kick-ass sci-fi, fantasy, and horror trilogies in the YA and NA genres.

patreonproject2

And, once the $6,000/mth milestone of the project is unlocked, all Transcendent Trilogies are gonna be 100% free for everyone! IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

BOOM! Tell me your mind’s blown. If not, there’s more, my friend, because guess what?

YOUR IDEAS WILL MAKE UP THE GRAND MAJORITY OF THE WORK I DO!

YEP! While of course I’ll be writing Trilogies from the concepts in my own noggin’, for the most part, Transcendent Trilogies is a community-based writing project, where I will be taking pitches from YOU that espouse diverse ideas, characters, cultures, genders, sexualities, bodies, and more!

And then I turn those pitches and concepts into a bangin’-ass & diverse trilogy.

I know you’re amped. Because I’M amped. The project is launching in January 2016, so stay tuned, check out my Patreon page, and check out check out the promo video (in progress) below!

6. Celebrated my daughters first birthday and threw a great party for her

firstbirthdaycakeYes, my boo hit the 1-year mark, which is pretty insane. It went SO quickly! I post about that here because making it through a really rough first year really DID feel like one of my (and our) greatest creative achievements!

I’m just so proud of my boo. She is such an inspiration, and is so joyful, cheerful, and has the most infectious laughter EVER. She’s my world and having her in my life only pushes me to do better and to be greater.

Quite a few novel series and books I’d like to write down the line are definitely inspired by her and WILL be FOR her. I can’t wait to read them to her. So thanks, boo! Mommy loves you always!


November 2015

1. MORE business building for The Bohemian Badass!

The Bohemian Badass has definitely got me twisted up in the chase at the moment, boos, and I’m loving it. I really enjoy being able to split the creative novelist from the creative entrepreneur and being able to nurture both.

But then, I also get to have each one’s experiences inform the choices of the other!

Yes, sounds so very “Me, Myself, and Irene”, but it’s amazing, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for both of my brands as of 2016. In any case, this is what I got done for The Bohemian Badass this month:

  • put together The Bohemian Badass website, including our online community & social network “The Co-Creators’ Commune”
  • set up The Bohemian Badass School for Creatives
  • finished setting up some skeleton courses and course outlines for The Bohemian Badass School for Creatives
  • started preparing content upgrades, blog posts, and mini courses
  • got animated intros and music done for the Bohemian Badass courses / videos
  • created a draft of most of my webinar / course launch ecosystem (sales page, thank you pages, opt in lists, follow up emails)
  • tested out webinar technology (Google Hangouts on Air and screen sharing)

Check out the video intro for Bohemian Badass below!

There are more videos to share, but you’ll have to check out one of our FREE courses on novel writing, screenwriting, filmmaking, producing, etc in order to see them!

Courses such as…

BohemianBadasssamplecourses

So don’t forget to check us out, and sign up to The Bohemian Badass mailing list for updates and tons of free stuff!

2. Got the Rebel Ragdoll Press logo overhauled.

REBEL_RAGDOLL logoAnd I LOVE it!

Rebel Ragdoll LLC as a company is in evolution mode, and as it evolves, so does it subsidiaries. As I enter 2016 ready to focus solely on my novel writing and on The Bohemian Badass, I thought it appropriate to get a logo done specifically for the publishing press part of the business. Let me know how you like it! 😉

3. Hosted a great giveaway via LeadPages and Facebook ads and grew my email list…

But not by very much, unfortunately!! I hosted a Hot Trilogies Giveaway, where one lucky winner would win 12 ebook trilogies. I thought such an awesome giveaway would get tons TrilogyGiveawayCollageCROPPEDof entrants for sure, but I was so wrong. I wasn’t sure if it was the giveaway itself, or the format of the prizes (ebooks vs print books), or if my Facebook ad targeting just wasn’t on point.

Either way, I would do it again, but just reconsider my strategy and put a little more thought into it.

LEADPAGES on the other hand? It’s ROCKING MY WORLD as a business owner, and though it can get a little pricey, it’s totally worth the money. Because I’m converting my blog into a primarily author-branded blog as of 2016, I won’t be talking much about LeadPages here, but you can definitely follow my LeadPages journey and get tips on it at The Bohemian Badass.

4. Created 4 new series concepts for the project slate!

connectivityideaNo matter how much or how little writing I get done, I will always continue to brainstorm, create, and develop new novel series, films and teleplays, stage plays, and video game series. I’m determined to have a development slate that will sustain my creative career for DECADES.

So can’t stop, won’t stop!!

The one I’m super excited about is a diverse, Tomb Raider-like action-adventure series. Can’t wait to get to it, but I’m going to finish my other projects first. Lol. Can’t get too distracted. 😉

5. Giveaways, giveaways, giveaways!

giftsTis the season, especially for indie authors like myself with plenty to give away!

For the holiday season, I launched three Amazon giveaways and submitted my novel for the Open Books Xmas giveaway. These helped get more readers exposed to my work, and as my backlist grows, I expect to continue with more freebies!

6. Spent some great time with my family and visited sunny Los Angeles

caliYup. Gotta get that personal update in! We went to visit my daughter’s father in Cali, and the WEATHER, omg! Was LOVING IT!

Nothing like a 70 degree day to throw off the feelings of the season, but I was not complaining. The visit was short, and before long, we were back in NY for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Still, the boo REALLY loved seeing her Papa!


December 2015

1. Continued working on The Bohemian Badass

Blog Post TemplateNot much more to say here, except that I continued to build, hone, and strengthen my brand! I migrated 70+ my writing-related posts from Colby’s Cove over to The Bohemian Badass, where they will be rehauled, beefed up, and re-posted as they are relevant.

I also created a kick-ass content queue, which is basically an exhaustive (and growing) list of:

  • posts I want to write,
  • courses I want to create and launch,
  • ebooks I want to publish,
  • bootcamps I want to host,
  • podcasts I want to produce,
  • summits I want to spearhead,
  • communities I want to establish and grow,
  • and more!

As you can see above, I’ve also developed some AMAZING blog and social media graphics for The Bohemian Badass. I mean, HOTT. Like “you’ll-be-able-to-spot-my-brand-from-miles-away” hott. And I did it myself, which makes me even MORE proud, because authors good designers do not always make, lol!

So yes, still super amped for how my author brand and The Bohemian Badass brand will be working together to create badassery… the likes of which you’ve never seen!

2. Finished first half of my application for the MFA program in Generative Dramaturgy at the University of Arizona

universityofarizonaYes, yes, YAASSS!!!

This is the mystery program I hinted at in my October update. I’m SO in love with the vision, foundation, and aim of this program, and I’m bringing ALL my A-game to the application process. It’d be my dream, and completely life-changing, to gain entry and be able to continue making art like a badass.

Especially because the school and the faculty are nothing short of incredible. So wish me luck!

3. Submitted Ghosts of Koa to the Book Pipeline Contest

BookPipelineWithFoxI couldn’t resist this one. This doesn’t need much explanation, but for those of you who aren’t particularly familiar with The Book Pipeline contest, basically, they vet your book for the potentiality of it becoming a film! Top industry players, agencies, and production houses such as Benderspink, Lakeshore Entertainment, Energy Entertainment, Darko Entertainment, and Paradigm are all on the judging panel of this contest.

ghosts of koa bundleSO EXCITING!

I love this. Because I genuinely believed that “Ghosts of Koa” is as cinematic a novel as they come, so I definitely had to give the contest a shot. While I believe my work is competitive, I won’t necessarily hold my breath. The end result is not the point. The exposure, feedback, and stepping into the realm of professional writing, though, IS.

The feedback is what I’m looking forward to! We’ll see what the judges have to say; I’m super excited to receive any helpful tips they may have so that I can make my work even better!

4. Became a total webinar and info-product / infopreneur junkie

I’ve completed SO MANY masterclasses, email courses, free online courses, starter courses, trainings, and have burned through infoproduct after infoproduct. And it is GLORIOUS. And all in the name of ninja-training myself to be the best creative I can be!

I can’t stress how important this ninja-training is to my personal and professional foundation. The trainings I’ve been in on byRegina.com in particular have been SO life changing.

byregina.cominfopreneurworkshop

a screenshot of one of the most life-changing workshops I’ve ever taken. Click on it to sign up!

Taking courses and investing in oneself as an author, business owner, brand owner, and creative entrepreneur is SO important if you want to achieve success and make a living from your art.

Having mentors, reading books, and learning new skills through online classes keeps you in the know, keeps your skills sharp, and also helps you to build your networks. Writing and creating can often be a very lonely endeavor (unless you develop games or films), and it’s important to find that network of people who “get” you, understand your struggles, and with whom you can solve common points of pain.

So I highly recommend that you get involved with some trainings yourself and see how it transforms your world!!

5. FINISHED 50% of draft 1 of The Iron Maiden!

The Iron Maiden 3D PaperbackSo before you shoot me, let me just say that this is the SECOND draft of the novel, revamped from the vomit draft (draft 0), that I’d had before. So while the Iron Maiden is still very much on its merry way, I have been working on it!

This coming year, though, with all the changes coming to both Colby’ Cove (parsing down and divvying up) and to my own personal life (namely, putting the baby in daycare), I’ll have WAY more time to focus on my novels. Year 2016 is the YEAR OF THE NOVEL.

It’s about time to finish Ezekiel’s “season 2” arc. Let’s do it!

6. Had a great blogging month during December, and even posted a few reviews!

decemberCheck out the sexy, heady books I featured on my blog throughout this month! Way to heat up a chilly December, unh? 😉 Houston Havens’ Psychic Menage series had me twisted (in a good way)!!

On a separate but related note, by SOME miracle of the gods, I was even able to get some reviews posted! Check out the December blog roll for the features and reviews!

7. Had a (mostly) relaxing vacay in Florida and a great Christmas for the baby boo!

giftbagsOf course, where there’s family and holidays concerned, there’s always a bit of drama involved. But in all, our Florida Christmas vacay was pretty relaxing. I’m so grateful for my family, both intermediate and extended.

PLUS, #Floridaweather, obvs! But it was nice for my boo and her dad to get together and spend oodles of time together.

And of course, it was great for ME. I got to relax more, sleep more, cook more, DO MY HAIR, write a lot, build my businesses, reorganize my life, and actually shower on occasion, lol! Not to mention “eating uninterrupted” for a change.

So yeah. No complaints here! 😉

8. Homed in on my goals for 2016

2016Creative, business, marketing, social media planning, EVERYTHING got the audit this month.  It was really time to figure out which goals and endeavors were important to me as an author and as a creative entrepreneur. I want to go into 2016 with LASER focus. SO, I spent a lot of my time parsing, cutting, adding, editing, and revamping my life with regard to my desired goals.

Happily, I was finally able to home in on a creative business plan and a creative action plan that will fulfill and delight me in 2016. I can’t wait to get started!

So what about you?! How did your 2015 turn out, and what do you plan to do differently this year? Leave your comments and thoughts below, HAPPY NEW YEAR, and as always…

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

The Third & FINAL Chapter in This Dizzying Historical Vampire Romance Trilogy is Finally HERE!

A.D. Koboah wowed you with her first two novels “Dark Genesis” and “Rising Dark”. Now let her blow you away with the final installment: Dark Requiem!

Dark Requiem (The Darkling Trilogy, Book 3)

darkrequiemDid she go too far?

Dallas Marshall is beautiful, rich and…relentless. Once she decides she wants to be with Avery nothing will stand in her way. But becoming a powerful vampire who cannot control her hunger threatens to push Avery further out of her reach. And that is not all. Dallas now finds herself up against an ancient evil that seeks to be reborn through her.

Can he let go of his lost beloved?

Avery’s heart has grieved for Luna, his lost love, for decades. When Dallas forces her way into his life, he cannot deny the eerie similarities between the two unimaginably powerful and dangerous women. There are times when a quick smile, a turn of the head, makes him wonder: is Dallas merely a descendant of his beloved Luna…or is something far more insidious at work? It takes everything Avery has to control Dallas. Can he save her from the evil that has lived in darkness for centuries waiting for its chance to devour?

Its time has almost come.

Together or apart, Dallas and Avery will come face-to-face with old enemies and strange allies as they run headlong to the brink of death and beyond to battle the darkness which has slaughtered Luna’s descendants for generations. And even then, the victory they have fought for may be forever denied to them. For nothing is as it seems.

Grab “Dark Requiem” TODAY at the retailers below!

AMAZON
SMASHWORDS
KOBO
ITUNES
BARNES AND NOBLE

Praise for “Dark Requiem”

4.0 out of 5 stars

I love this series. I was lucky enough to get this book early and I think it is just as good as the rest of them. Finally we find out who the chapel entity is, and the story behind it. I will not spoil this for any other reader, but I will say you will not be disappointed and that A.D. Koboah did the thing again.

I highly recommend it, and I look forward to a possible future novel. Enjoy! I sure did.

4.0 out of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of Dark Requiem from Ms. Koboah (screaming in the inside with so much joy) and I purposely took my precious time inhaling each page since it is the conclusion of the series (crying on the outside from the finality of it).

Ultimately, Dallas is proven useful and is a pivotal part to the storyline.
She becomes tolerable further in the plot which I find to be fine news and that is all I will mention of any roles in the book. 😉

It was overwhelming at times reading from the different point of views with the new characters and trying to figure out how they fit into the overall plot.

When the connection between to the main & new characters are revealed…MIND BLOWN!!

As an avid reader, I give props to writers/authors on the ability to take different threads (back stories/facts/issues etc) and weave it all together for a really good story which is what A.D did well in this final book.

Check out this Awesome Excerpt from “Dark Requiem”!

New York 1996

The being I had been waiting for first entered my world when I was five. It was on one of those hot summer afternoons in New York when the heat hung in the air like thick invisible clouds. Still the streets bustled with people, cars purring like large cats as they rolled by.

The sunlight that washed the lively city streets in gold did not reach the heavy gloom that hung within the walls of my home. Relatives came and went. Their faces were always tense, fear lurking in the shadows behind their eyes. Whilst the sound of weeping reached me from my mother’s room along with snippets of whispered conversations.

One of my family members had gone missing and everyone feared the worst. And in the gloom that had descended I was, as always, forgotten and simply left to the nanny.

The nanny, Alessandra, was a short, slim girl in her early twenties who had only been working for my parents a week. She dragged me out into the wilting heat that afternoon and when we came to the entrance of a bank, I came to a stop, forcing her to face me. I pulled my hand out of hers.

I want ice cream. You said you were taking me to the park for ice cream.”

The tension that reigned at home had stretched my nerves to a brittle thread, making me act up a little bit more than usual. And perhaps even then I was already aware of the Other; could already hear its sepulchral footsteps drawing ever closer.

Quiet!” Alessandra snapped in her heavy Italian accent. She wore thick black eye make-up and bright red lipstick. Her eyes were like black stones. “I did not tell you I was taking you to the park. I said I would think about it.”

She took hold of my arm once more in a painful grip and dragged me with her into the cool bank.

Aw, that hurts. I want ice cream.” A few people were already starting to stare at us.

If you behave yourself, then I will take you. If you do not behave, you get no ice cream. It is hard to believe everyone at that house—from your mother to the servants—are scared of you. You are just a child and it is time everyone began treating you like one!”

We were now by a row of seats opposite the tellers. She picked me up and sat me down.

Wait here!”

I’m not waiting.” I scrambled off the chair and stamped my foot. “I want ice cream and I want it now!”

She leaned over me, her mouth pinched, her eyes narrowed to black slits.

You will sit here until I have finished my business, do you understand?”

I felt hot, petulant anger rise and spill over in a childish flow of malice. “You’re stupid!” I said.

What did you just say to me?”

You’re stupid!” I repeated, letting a spark of something I did not understand let alone know how to control spill from my lips. “He’s married. He takes the money you send him and laughs because you’re stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid!”

The colour completely drained from her face until it appeared to be a white mask with slashes of heavy black eyeliner and vermillion lipstick. Her mouth twisted in anguish and her voice was little more than a ragged whisper when she spoke.

He’s married? What do you mean? Why did you say that?”

I just looked up at her, having no idea where those words, the knowledge that had affected her so, came from. She grabbed me by the arm and dragged me back to the chair. She leaned over me. Anger, and perhaps even a little fear, passed behind her eyes like shadows beneath murky water.

You little brat.” Everyone in the bank was staring at us now. “You sit down and if you move from that chair, you will not have any ice cream ever again. Now sit!”

She straightened, took a shaky breath, and moved to join the queue. She reached into her bag, her gaze completely absorbed with its contents, her face deathly white, her hands trembling.

It was all the time I needed. I slipped off the chair and darted out of the bank doors as a young woman was entering, stepping into the warm arms of the sunlit afternoon.

She wasn’t going to stop me getting my ice cream. Central Park was a short walk away. I moved down the street in the direction of the park.

When I got there, the park—an ocean of green amidst the noisy concrete world—which had always seemed as familiar and as welcoming as my very own back yard, seemed vast and foreign. The throngs of people, distant giants to someone my size, moved to and fro in the bright sunshine. A band was playing somewhere in the distance, the jangly sounds adding to the disorientation I felt. When I entered the park I walked in the direction I believed my favourite ice cream stand to be. It was a while before I realised I did not know how to find it.

I came to a stop then, the heat making me feel lightheaded, little streams of sweat running down my back. I turned around to try and make my way out of the park only to realise I recognised nothing which would point the way to the exit. The air around me suddenly seemed too thick and humid and my breath hitched in my throat as I struggled to draw it in. I realised that for the first time in my short life I was completely and utterly alone. Suddenly the mean nanny, who had gripped my arm so spitefully, was a sight I would have given all my dolls to see. But she was not to be found amongst the throngs of adults I could see moving through the park.

Hey, are you okay?”

I whirled around to see a young coffee-coloured teenager in green shorts and a white T-shirt. She was focused completely on me, but her eyes were blank, as if the light behind them had been dimmed.

No, you’re lost. Don’t be scared, baby. You can sit with us.” She paused, then spoke as if she were reading words from a page. “Alessandra will be here in a little while.”

Relief washed over me like a cool breeze and I nodded, reaching for the hand she held out to me.

Then, almost like a burst of radiance lighting up an obscure, stormy sky, I felt an intense flush of emotion thrill through me. I spun around, my sixth sense tingling with an intensity that made my hands tremble.

What’s wrong, honey?”

The words of the teenager faded away as I searched the park, not even sure of what it was I was looking for.

And then I saw him.

He stood with his back to me some distance away, a tall, white male dressed in jeans and a blue jacket despite the heat.

The moment my gaze fell on him he began to move away, walking at a slow, leisurely pace. My entire world seemed to narrow to just this moment—the stranger moving steadily away from me.

I couldn’t speak. The two girls behind me, and the noise and chaos of the park, disappeared.

I snapped myself out of my fugue and looked around the park, frantic as the stranger moved farther away. Then I walked away from the two girls who now had identical frowns upon their brows, the dimness behind their eyes beginning to lighten like dawn breaking across a night sky. I kept my gaze on the white male as I ran in the other direction from the one he was headed in. I knew now I wasn’t that far from one of the entrances because I could hear cars roaring past. If I ran toward the road he would have to…

He came to an abrupt stop.

For a few moments I just stood there staring at his back, my stomach tied in knots. Knowing this would be my only chance, I ran toward him.

I reached him and moved to stand by his side, peering up into his face.

I had known before I saw him that he would be beautiful, but beautiful didn’t seem adequate to describe a face that was perhaps only seen in dreams or bestowed upon angels. He had a noble profile, aquiline nose and full lips. His hair was dark brown and curled just at the nape of his neck.

I knew instantly he was not quite like the rest of us but seemed to live behind a veil in this world, not fully a part of it. And my young mind could only conceive he was an angel come to brighten my very existence with his presence. The tension, along with the pangs of dread that had followed me that day, lifted.

I tentatively reached out and grasped his hand.

He stared ahead for a few moments, his demeanour aloof as if he didn’t even know I was there. Then he looked down at me.

I stared up into haunting, vivid blue eyes framed by thick dark lashes. Everything seemed to disappear, the people milling all around us as well as the wilting heat of the afternoon sunshine. The sounds of laughter drifted away along with that of the grinding traffic churning in the distance.

All that remained was him.

A melancholy smile touched his lips.

I should have known I wouldn’t be able to hide from you, Dallas.” He paused and I was breathless. Everything hung on his next words. “Come on, let’s get you that ice cream.”

I smiled for the first time that morning and let him lead me away to the ice cream stand.

We sat by the side of a fountain whilst I ate my cup of ice cream. My legs dangled over the side of the fountain, my expensive, shiny blue shoes gleamed in the afternoon sun. I wore jeans and a blue T-shirt and my hair was in four bunches tied at the end with blue baubles. Although it was blisteringly hot, he wore his jacket zipped up and appeared unaffected by the heat. He was also very still, watching me with sad, deep eyes whilst I talked about everything that mattered in the world of a five year old. The only time he moved was when he brought a hand up to lazily push a stray lock of hair that kept falling into his eyes, away from his face.

When he peered into the distance and once more brought his hand up to push his hair out of his eyes, I put my ice cream down on the side of the fountain and pulled one of the bright blue baubles out of my hair. Eager to please, I stood so I could reach his hair and gather the unruly lock of hair into the bauble. I secured it and then sat back down. His eyebrows came together and he stared upward as if to peer at the bauble in his hair, his expression one of almost comic perplexity. I grinned when he gazed at me, proud of my handiwork. He gave me one of his sad smiles and handed the ice cream to me.

Thank you, Dallas.”

You’re welcome, Avery.”

His smile widened, although it did not reach the desolation in his eyes, desolation as enduring and fluid as the water gushing from the fountain behind us.

I don’t recall telling you my name, Dallas.”

You’re Avery. We all know that. And,” I added, trying to mimic his accent and deep voice. “I don’t recall telling you my name.”

He chuckled softly. “No, I don’t suppose you did.”

It was a few moments before he spoke again, his voice gentle but hesitant.

Do you want to talk about what happened with your nanny at the bank?”

I froze with a spoonful of ice cream halfway toward my open mouth, my eyes locked on him.

His gaze was gentle as he peered down at me. “It is all right, Dallas.”

I was able to breathe again and let the spoonful of ice cream continue to my open mouth. His expression grew serious, his gaze earnest as he spoke.

Do you understand what happened and why what you said upset Alessandra?”

I brought the ice cream down to my lap and lowered my gaze. Tears pricked my eyes. I so desperately needed him to like me.

What you can do, it is a gift, one that must not be misused. It is a very big gift for a child to have, a burden in some ways. Your grandmother tried to take that burden away from you for a while, but she was not able to take all of it away. What I am trying to tell you is that you must not use it to hurt people like Alessandra, okay?”

I nodded. He smiled at me and the moment of misery was swept away.

He reached a hand absentmindedly toward his hair, but stopped when he remembered the hairband holding the unruly lock of hair in place. He glanced at me and a small smile touched his lips before he looked off into the distance. The smile melted away and his expression soon resembled that of someone weeping silently, completely unaware of the tears cutting a glistening trail down their cheeks. Misery welled up within at the sight of his sorrow and I spoke without knowing what it was I meant to say.

Luna? What’s Luna?”

He looked at me, his eyebrows raised in surprise. “You can read my mind, Dallas?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. It just came into my head.”

I think you can.”

There was another of those long, thoughtful pauses. His voice was heavy when he spoke.

Luna was one of your ancestors. I was thinking that she would have adored you.”

He looked away again and suddenly appeared smaller, as if he were shrinking inside his clothes. His misery and yearning, along with pain so raw and intense, smothered me. Desperate to say something to make him feel better, I said the first thing that came to my mind.

She’s not dead.”

He looked up, his attention focused entirely on me for the first time that afternoon.

What…what did you say?”

His voice was low, his expression blank. I wouldn’t have known how affected he was by my words if it wasn’t for the powerful emotion I could feel rolling off him and the intensity in his haunting blue eyes. I faltered for a second or two, the ice cream forgotten.

For the first time in my life, I was frightened of this power, this knowledge that always came unbidden, terrified I was about to say something that would wound him as much as it had wounded Alessandra.

Um…she’s not dead. She changed,” was all I said in the end.

He studied me in silence for a few moments, and it felt as if someone was brushing feathers along the insides of my skull.

Stop that,” I said, giggling and bringing my hands up to my forehead. “It tickles.”

He reached for my ice cream and extracted the cherry at the bottom I had been trying to reach. It seemed he had completely forgotten what I had said, so I continued to tell him about my world, my dolls, and even the mean nanny.

When the ice cream was finished, I scrambled off the side of the fountain. He took the empty cup from me and tossed it in a trash can.

Thank you for buying me ice cream, Mr Avery.”

It was a pleasure, Dallas.”

I just need you to take me home so I can get my teddy, and then I can come and live with you.”

He appeared completely speechless, and for the second time that afternoon, pulled himself away from his thoughts and focused on me completely. I thought I saw blind panic in his eyes.

Dallas, I…you…. I’m afraid that’s not possible.”

I felt my chest clench with anxiety for the second time that afternoon. I stared up at him in bewilderment, wrenching anguish at his words, making it difficult to breathe.

But…but…I promise I’ll be good.”

It’s not because of that, Dallas. I would if I could, but you belong at home with your parents.”

Tears rolled down my cheeks. “But I don’t want to be with them. I want to be with you. I’ve been w—”

Hush, Dallas.” He knelt and pulled out a white handkerchief. He gently wiped away my tears. “You belong at home with your mother and nanny. She’ll be here any minute now to take you home.”

Panic fluttered in my chest. He was right. I could already sense her getting closer. I grabbed his arm, the waves of anguish cresting.

Please. I’ll be sad if you don’t take me with you.”

He smiled a weary smile that told of unrelenting sorrow. “You won’t remember me, Dallas.”

He bent and kissed me on the forehead.

I was alone.

I looked around me for the teenager in the green shorts who had been standing behind me only moments ago. Not only was she gone, I was now by the fountain. I looked about me, that anxiety about to overwhelm me again when I heard someone scream out my name.

I turned to the sound of the voice and saw Alessandra running through the throngs of people toward me. Her perfect black eyeliner now ran in jagged tracks down blotchy, red cheeks, the black and red making her face look even paler by comparison. Her hair stuck out at crazy angles as if she had grabbed fistfuls of it while in a frenzy. She reached me and pulled me to her. She held me tight for what seemed to be the longest time before she pulled away to peer at me. Her eyes flashed with anger even as they filled with tears.

You are a naughty, naughty girl. Do you know that? Mama mia! Why did I ever agree to be your nanny?”

She pulled me into a tight hug once more.

Filled with a sadness that seemed as deep as the widest chasm, one I could not even understand or explain, I could only cry silently into her shoulder.

After a few moments she was able to let me go. She smiled through her tears and pulled out a grubby tissue.

You silly girl. Look at you.” She wiped at my face. “Next time, you listen to me, okay? Now let me buy you this ice cream and we can go home.”

At the mention of ice cream, the sadness rose to an agonising peak and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of debilitating loss, but I did not know why. At the fresh onslaught of tears, Alessandra picked me up, stroking my hair.

Okay, I’ll take you straight home,” she said.

She carried me home, holding onto me tightly the entire way.

Check out the First Two Books in the Series,
“Dark Genesis” and “Rising Dark”!

Dark Genesis (The Darkling Trilogy, Book 1)

darkgenesisLife for a female slave is one of hardship and unspeakable sorrow, something Luna knows only too well. But not even she could have foreseen the terror that would befall her one sultry Mississippi evening in the summer of 1807.

On her way back from a visit to see the African woman, a witch who has the herbs Luna needs to rid her of her abusive master’s child, she attracts the attention of a deadly being that lusts for blood. Forcibly removed from everything she knows by this tormented otherworldly creature, she is sure she will be dead by sunrise.

Dark Genesis is a love story set against the savage world of slavery in which a young woman who has been dehumanised by its horrors finds the courage to love, and in doing so, reclaims her humanity.

BUY IT TODAY AT THE FOLLOWING RETAILERS!

AMAZON
BARNES AND NOBLE
KOBO
ITUNES
SMASHWORDS

Rising Dark (The Darkling Trilogy, Book 2)

darkrisingWhen the newly married Reverend Avery Wentworth embarks on a journey to the Americas to begin a new life, he foresees only joy ahead of him. But along with the shocking evils prevalent in a world of slavery, he comes against a much older, darker evil that steals his soul and turns him into a creature of the night. Cut off from humanity, he wanders through a wilderness of despair. A nameless, faceless creature forced to exist in the shadows, his only hope for salvation is the vision of a beautiful Negro and three words: “Wait for me.”

Rising Dark is the long awaited sequel to Dark Genesis and takes us from London 1757 to present day America in a love story that defies, time, death and the all-too-human flaws inherent in mortals and immortals alike.

BUY IT TODAY AT THE FOLLOWING RETAILERS!

AMAZON
BARNES AND NOBLE
KOBO
ITUNES
SMASHWORDS

About the Author: A.D. Koboah

A.D. Koboah author picI am A.D. Koboah, the author of The Darkling Trilogy, an unconventional and epic love story between a vampire and a slave girl. The trilogy was inspired by my thoughts on dehumanisation.

I was fascinated by the ways in which people are able to dehumanise others, the impact it has on the psyche and whether it is possible for people to find their way back from being dehumanised. This led me to a slave called Luna and the ruins of a haunted chapel deep in the heart of Mississippi.

Colby’s Creative Achievements for 2014!

Welcome to Colby’s “Year in Review”! I do an assessment of my creative achievements and growth every year so that I can stay on track and see how close I’ve come to my ultimate goals.

This year was an interesting one, specifically because my life turned down a road I hadn’t expected at ALL. I became a mom! And this obviously presented its own challenges in addition to changing my life forever. Still, my plans to become a prolific novelist, screenwriter, and TV producer are still on and poppin’, so it’s time to look at what I actually got done this year so that I can enter 2015 with a BANG!

Here goes!

cali1. Moved to California! It was a really exciting, treacherous, challenging, and exhilarating two weeks, but my boyfriend and I finally made it. Originally, we planned to move to Los Angeles, but we adored Long Beach and decided on that instead! No worries, though, it’s still only 30 minutes from L.A., there’s a train that goes from Long Beach right INTO L.A., and we’re still living in L.A. County. Plus, we’re three blocks from the beach and oceanfront, so no complaints from me!

Ghosts of Koa Cover PRINT2. Released the PRINT version of Ghosts of Koa! Which was a huge challenge due to spotty internet access, being on a super tight budget, and being technically homeless for two weeks (was totally living at a campsite ::CRICKET::). Feel free to pick up your copy today though at Amazon! Also, it’s “matched” with the Kindle version, and you’ll get the Kindle version for FREE if you pick up the paperback!

GhostsofKoaAUDIOCOVERFINAL3. Produced and RELEASED the Ghosts of Koa AUDIOBOOK! With the amazing talents of Michael T Bradley on my side, Ghosts of Koa has now come to aural life! Check it out at AMAZON, ITUNES, or AUDIBLE!

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4. Produced and RELEASED The Fantasy Portal Book Bundle! With the combined powers and prowess of Rasheedah Prioleau, DaVaun Sanders, Brandon Hill, and myself, we produced a four-novel fantasy bundle powerhouse at only 99c. The bundle gives you a taste of four different fantasy genres: paranormal romance, epic fantasy, paranormal mystery, and urban fantasy, for one ridiculously low price. In fact, don’t forget to get your copy NOW before we retire the box set on January 1!

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KX Cotch, resident sociopath and assassin for the Alchemic Order… and he’s getting his own novel series!

5. Began working on the novel spin-off series to The Books of Ezekiel saga! So clearly, while there are many main characters in The Books of Ezekiel saga, Ezekiel is the star (hence the title). I wanted readers to spend more time with the other main characters, time that was unrelated to Zeika and her journey. And so, here it is! All of the main characters that I LOVE– Caleb, Cotch, Manja, and many others– will have their own novel series that chronicle their paths through the world of alchemy. Caleb’s full season will be released in 2015. Stay tuned for the others, which will be released as the main Books of Ezekiel saga progresses!

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Rebel Ragdoll’s growing one step at a time!

6. Solidified my creative project development slate and created a solid production schedule. Super excited about this one! Despite the fact that I was going through a transition this year, that didn’t stop the old noggin’ from bubbling over with ideas! So I did some work on honing my creative concepts, and there are officially over 40 different projects on my slate in three media: prose / novels / novellas, scripts (TV & feature), and video games. I’ve been following the production schedule as of December, and things are actually going pretty well thus far. Starting projects isn’t enough though! Writers must also finish projects too! So I’m going to keep the fire lit for 2015 and push, push, push on! Wish me luck. 🙂

7. Stepped more firmly into my career as an independent creative entrepreneur! In addition to starting a ton of projects, I kept up with my blogging (as promised, for the most part, lol), and I actually started a monthly newsletter. I’m still trying to get a solid hold of my freelancing hustle (as a writer and teacher), but we’ll see how 2015 turns out on this front.

scriptwritersnetwork8. Started volunteering for the Scriptwriter’s Network and the Writer’s Guild Foundation, AND I even made the board of the Scriptwriter’s Network!! You gotta start somewhere, right? And the best way to start is by giving back. I was thrilled to become a part of SWN as the Membership Coordinator, and I hope to work at my maximum capacity for 2015.

9. Made some AWESOME changes to my website, including adding info pages for my books and upcoming projects, opening my own online bookstore, rebooting my Rebel Ragdoll Podcast, opening up my website to author features and blog themes, kicking off a bunch of awesome giveaways and a free stuff page, starting a newsletter, starting the reboot of my About Me section, and much more! Colby’s Cove will continue to evolve as I evolve, and I hope you guys will continue to be here for the ride!

it's a girl10. And last, but certainly not least… raising and hanging out with my baby boo! In the past three months that she’s been here, my sweet daughter has taught me so much about balance, acceptance, hustling, success / progress, and living in the present. I’ve loved her since the day she was born, but even so, I struggled with my own changing identity and with my old ideas of success and progress. Today, I can safely say that mommy-Colby and career-Colby are about 85% synchronized– FINALLY, lol. I wrote a separate post about the intense challenges of meeting motherhood head on as a “selfish” career-oriented chick (and no, I do NOT mean selfish in a bad way) HERE.

That post is for you ladies, mommies, and mommies-to-be, out here who are finding motherhood difficult and are looking for a sympathetic ear and shoulder. Being a mom isn’t easy, but being a mom with unshakeable dreams that exist “outside” of house, home, and family is a special challenge. So I encourage you to check out the post and see how you like it!

And for those of you who are wondering, YES, you CAN have a career as a creative in addition to being a mother, and I mean to show you how. Men do it all the time, so why can’t we? 😉

SO there it is, folks, my 2014 Creative Achievement wrap up . I would have loved to knock way more balls out of the park like I did in 2013, but after some soul-searching, I feel really good about my emotional growth and my career moves. This transition year has set the stage for both the momentum I hope to gain and the inertia I want to sustain regarding my career, family, and future in 2015.

So how about you? What does your 2014 wrap up look like? Did you achieve everything you wanted, or are there some deficits you plan to rectify in 2015? 😉 Leave your thoughts below! 

Thanks for hanging with me for so long, and if you’re new to my blog, then welcome! We’re looking forward to an awesome, productive, and fruitful 2015, and we’ll be counting down to it tonight! But of course, in the meantime…

Keep it indie, and Happy New Year!
<3 Colby

The “Stealing” of Ideas, and How “The Hunger Games” Was the Best “Worst” Thing for My Creativity! Part I of II

HUNGER-GAMESNope, this isn’t a post bashing The Hunger Games. Calm down, lol. But it is a very real look at a scenario that many of us as writers  (and creatives) go through. A nightmarish scenario, that can be soul-crushing and inspiration-sucking… but only if you allow it to be. Let’s talk, family.

Have you ever had a book idea that was SO hot, SO sexy, SO original (LOL, by the way) that you just *knew* that the moment you wrote it down, it was going to become a worldwide success and earn you a gajillion dollars? That people would hang your name in the stars as the most brilliant writer ever? That millions of aspiring authors worldwide would try to emulate your success?

Did you have this idea… only for someone to “steal” it (LMAO, by the way) and thus take your success?!

AARGH!! How DARE they?! How could they reach into your mind and steal your amazing, kick-ass idea? It’s YOUR idea!

Yah. I went through this foolish episode too. And I hope that like me, you sat up in your chair one day, blinked, and said: “Holy cow. I’m an idiot.”

I’m going to tell you a story, but before I do that…

Let me share with you some very simple and yet sometimes hard-to-ad_agency_dont_steal_ideasbelieve truths about being a creative in ANY field:

  • Ideas are not original. Never. Ever. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s the truth. It’s why I inserted a phat LOL behind my comment above. No idea has never been dreamed or thought before you dreamt or thought it.
  • Ideas are a dime-a-dozen. I could sit here (and so could you) and come up with a hundred different novel and story ideas. We have so much to pick from around us, from the most trivial ideas to the most profound. The most ridiculous to the most sober. Furthermore, I GUARANTEE you someone (or hundreds of someones) has already come up with that same exact idea, and on that note…
  • IDEAS CANNOT BE “STOLEN”! If you read the first two bullet points, you’ll also agree with me that the very concept of “stealing ideas” is preposterous in itself. You cannot “steal” something that is already in the ether
  • everything is a remixThe whole finished product will always trump the individual contribution of separate elements. I’ll go into more detail about this in a minute.
  • And, get ready for it, EVERY CREATIVE, no matter what field he’s in, draws some sort of influence from another creative or another creative work, whether he knows it or not.
  • And MOST IMPORTANTLY, your brilliance as a creative shines through in your execution of your idea. Again, I’ll go into this, but first, I’m going to tell you a story of something that happened that drove home all of these points for me as a creative writer. That story is about…

The SMASH hit “The Hunger Games”… and How it Was the BEST “Worst” Event of My Life as a Creative Writer

I gotta head out to work, but stay tuned for this story in part 2 of this post!

But in the meantime, what do you think? 🙂 Can ideas be stolen, creativity sucked away from an original source? Or do we all get our inspiration from a shared creative ether? Post your thoughts, below and stay tuned for the second part of the post: the story of how The Hunger Games changed my creative perspective as a writer and entrepreneur!

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Rebel Ragdoll Review: The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 2: Infection

walkingdeadseason4So we had 30 Days without an Accident, but of course, craziness popped off and people died in the pilot. At the end of the last episode, Patrick dropped dead of a strong virus infection (the origins of which are mysterious). He turned into a zombie, and so nows there’s a wolf in the hen house… So what’s in store for Episode 2, Infection? Stay tuned to get my thoughts on it! 🙂

Season 4, Episode 2: Infection Review! (SPOILERS!!)

So, what did you think of this episode? What do you think is going on with the virus? Put your thoughts below! 😉

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Being an Aspiring Writer-Producer, Part I of II: The Writer

So, as you all might have noticed, I’ve made a bunch of little changes to the blog! For one, since I’m expanding my the producersown goals as a writer, I also have decided to expand the scope of this site so that I can share my failures, successes, and lessons with you!

One of the major questions people are asking me nowadays is: why be a writer-producer? 😉 More pressing, what IS a writer-producer? Well, I’ll tackle that one folks, but since both are huge questions, I’m going to take one side of the hyphen at a time!

So let’s start with the Writer. I think we all know what a writer is, so I won’t go into that. But a writer is only the sum of his works (because hey, writers write… right?). So I’d say that the measure of a writer lies in…

The Big Bad Ass Writing Portfolio

So let’s talk about it. You need to have some sort of creative plan for your writing career, i.e. how many works will you write and finish? What kinds of works? In what genres and in what voice? Are you going to be *just* a novelist? Or will you write across different media such as comics, screenplays, graphic novels, or television? These are all important questions to ask yourself as you build up your career. For me, choosing which media I want to write in came down to two things:

WHAT I LOVE TO WRITE and MARKETING

writing hubWhat I love to write: For me personally, prose and novels are my first love. Then, about a year ago, scriptwriting (and blogging, too!) nestled up next to my heart and made itself at home. Permanently. I tried playwriting and comic writing, and it was interesting, but it didn’t capture my heart as much as the other three. So I decided to focus on what I love and hone my craft in those areas. For you, your tastes may be different! A colleague of mine will dabble in different media, but she primarily loves to write comics. Yet another colleague of mine feels drawn to short story format. So you need to do some digging to find what it is you want in your writing portfolio.

Marketing: “Marketing?!” You say. “What in blazes does this have to do with anything?!” Well, writing can be consumed in many ways. People can read it, listen to it, absorb it in a tactile fashion, “play it” (via video games and RPGs) and of course, people can also watch your writing through theatre, feature films, and television. But I want my writing to be consumed primarily through prose, tv, or feature film (web series count too!), so my writing portfolio is going to reflect primarily those media. You may want to write on NCIS, but if you only have short stories to show a tv / film lit agent, you’re going to be ass out. “Bring me a screenplay,” he’ll tell you. “And don’t come back unless it’s good!” And SLAM! goes the door in your face. So you need to diversify your writing portfolio in a way that best markets yourself as a writer of different, er, markets.

Cranking out that Big Bad Portfolio: My advice? Treat your writing portfolio like a stock portfolio! It’s good to have different kinds of “options” or “properties” (intellectual properties, that is) available for readers and agents, depending on what your goals are. If you want a book agent, dust off those manuscripts! You want a feature film and tv literary agent? Get those screenplays off the press. It’s all up to you. Just make sure you write your butt off, writingFINISH your work, have A LOT of material to show, and edit edit edit until your work GLOWS.

From personal experience, it’s really heartbreaking to talk to someone about my work, and then have them ask, “Can I see a sample?”, only for my response to be “Uhhhh….”. Either I haven’t finished it, or I think it’s not ready to be shown! LOL. Even worse is to have a kick ass script or book, have an agent like it, and then when they ask to see more, you say “Huh? But I don’t have more!” D’oh!! You don’t want that to happen! So sit on down, get out your pen, and do four things:

1. Plan your writing career and what media you want to focus on

2. Decide what pieces you want in your big bad ass writing portfolio

3. Sit your butt in a chair and WRITE until you finish each piece (a writing schedule helps with this too!)

4. EDIT EDIT EDIT your work! Send it to other readers, have them tear it apart, and then EDIT EDIT EDIT again until your work shines.

That’s all there is to it, folks. Writers write. Point blank period. But if you’re looking to be a writer-something else, stay tuned! Writing is not the only way to participate in the entertainment industry. There are so many other roles to take on, learn about, and master. For me, it’s being a Producer, but we’ll talk about that next time in Part II of “Being an Aspiring Writer-Producer”!

Until then, keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Into the Beyond: Life of a Fashionable Writer-Backpacker, Week 13, Pinching Pennies for Travel, II of II

travelIn part one of my Pinching Pennies post, I talked about different ways you could save money before, during, and after traveling abroad. From student-teacher discounts to strategizing on ticket buying sites to couchsurfing, you can get anywhere in the world relatively cheap. But because I love to hustle a good deal and save as much cash as possible (times are hard), here is another slew of ways that you can save money for / while traveling!

1. Timing, timing, timing!

Pay attention to what many tourist spots call “high season”, “shoulder (middle) season”, and “low season”. For example, between late June and late August in Europe, the tourist season heats up, becausecrowds this is when everyone is going on vacation. Hotel, hostel, and train space tends to be hard to find, and prices for everything sky-rockets! So if you can, try to travel during the spring and the fall (for Europe), when the prices are super low, the sites aren’t packed with bodies, and things are generally calmer and more normal. This can save you hundreds of dollars and hours worth of headache. High, low, and shoulder season are very country specific, however, so research the particular country you want to go to and try to travel during their tourist low and shoulder season.

2. Get all inclusive packages at your hotel or hostel.

So I’ll definitely talk about the hottest hostels in much more depth in a future Fashionable Writer-Backpacker post, but because this tip will save you TONS of money, I’ll kick-start the hostel talk here! This summer, I’ve decided to stop in Seville, Spain to take in the gorgeous city, people, and the totally delish grub. But since I wanted to do this on the cheap, I got picky with my hostels. You can too.

hostelpackageI decided to stay at Sevilla Inn Backpackers, where for 17 euros a night, they offered free wifi, free breakfast, free BBQs, free walking tours twice a day, AND they also have “Spanish Experience Night” on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The Spanish Experience Night includes a tour of the flamenco museum, an actual flamenco show, a paella cooking lesson, and free sangria drinks. All this. For 17 euros a night.

Need I say more?

Actually, I WILL say more. The hostel also provides FREE LOCKERS to hold your backpack while you explore the city. So in short, get all the bang you can for your buck and it’ll save you money in the long run. There are literally thousands of hostels across the world and they’re all competing for YOUR traveler’s dollar! Just like Sevilla Inn Backpackers, most hostels are pulling out all the stops to get you to stay with them. It’s a buyer’s market, ladies and gents. So buy!

3. Cheap Eats & Street Eats

streetvendorsIf you can, try to avoid sit down restaurants as much as possible UNLESS someone’s treating you, you can flirt your way to a free meal, or you can successfully eat a meal’s worth of free samples without looking like you’re trying to get a free meal. If you don’t have any of the above three superpowers, however, stick with eating cheaply.

You can do this by taking an hour or so to grocery shop and cook every night, or by finding a bonafide street vendor. BE CAREFUL with street vendors in certain places! And don’t think that just because you’re in France or Brussels that every street vendor is going to be on the level… make sure that the food you’re getting is clean, fresh, and not going to make a reappearance on your hostel floor an hour later. Get a good recommendation of a cheap food place from your hostel front desk.

4. Save crazy money on plane tickets by buying strategically!

Easily one of the most expensive parts of your trip, if you find a way to save on plane tickets, you save yourself between $1,000 – $1,500. BUT since my next post is about this, I’m not going to spoil the fun here! Stay tuned to the next Fashionable Writer-Backpacker post: Week 12, Plane Tickets!

In the meantime, what are some penny-pinching techniques YOU use when you’re traveling abroad? Share below! 🙂

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Goodnight Doll, A Good Long Kiss: My First Student Film!

A cage fighter in debt with the mob finds his life more complicated as his boss puts pressure on him.

This is my very first student film ever, a test run for the web series that I’m developing called “Goodnight, Doll”, a crime / noir series set in the late 50s. WRITTEN, DIRECTED, and SHOT by me, Colby! Yes, some things need to be smoothed out, but give me a break, it’s my first film!

Cast and Crew:
Gianni Fratto – Sam Christian
Liam O’Connell – Micah Kearns
Thug (Left) – Daniel Lipshutz
Thug (Right) – Will the Brocach Bartender
Script Supervisor – Isabel Cuddihy
Wardrobe Designer – Isabel Cuddihy
Make Up Artist – Isabel Cuddihy
Wardrobe Assistant – Amy Gruntner
Production Assistant – Amy Gruntner
Writer, Director, Camera Dame – Colby R Rice

DETOUR: Colby’s Career Change into Full-time Writer!! BIG CHANGES AHEAD!

Hi all!

I have made quite a few changes in both my career and in my orientation to the business of fiction, and thus, this website has just gotten a serious re-boot! The structure will be the same, but my focus will be a bit more widespread.

Until about a month ago, my blog focused on adventures in indie publishing. Now, however, I will be focusing not only on that, but also on my forays into screenwriting, television writing, and novel writing. There will also be a little bit of film making here and there too!

What, you may ask, caused this sudden change in direction?

WELL! I decided to finally throw myself head first into my dream of being a fiction writer. The first step here is to leave my PhD program with my Masters. YES, I said it. I need to be 100% focused on my career in fiction writing in order to make it work. There are no backup plans here. Just do or die. I think it’s about time I (and many other people) bite the bullet and stop trying to be anything else but what we are inside: WRITERS AND CREATORS. I will post later on transitioning out of a “stable” career into a relatively unstable one, but that is for a later date! 🙂 You guys will get to enjoy the journey with me, if you so choose!

Getting back to the point, novels aren’t the only medium through which you can express your creativity! I realized that at core, I am a writer and creator, and for me this means that I can create worlds, characters, drama through any medium I want, whether it’s on the silver screen, in the pages of a novel, or on television. Therefore, I’ve decided to begin walking the road towards a career in writing for television. I am super excited, and I am also super scared! But it will definitely be a challenge I am looking forward to for sure!

The best part about this is that my television career (YES, I am already affirming that this will happen for me) does not have to impact my other writing endeavors. I have already hired an editor for my debut novel “Ghosts of Koa”, and the entire series will STILL be written and published under my indie publishing house, Rebel Ragdoll Press. My new directions have not impacted my novel writing or other creative ambitions in the least. In fact, they’ve made them better and stronger. While I still haven’t budged on selling my novel to a larger press, I have decided to go “mainstream” with my other creative ideas, mainly for television and screenwriting. And my world perspective has shifted dramatically!

I found that opening up my media options has actually helped me to generate MANY other fiction ideas for feature films, for television, AND for my own mini web series, which I am developing even now! I feel like I’ve finally hit a bottomless well of ideas and creativity, and embracing these new media and this new direction has already (and will continue to) open a bunch of new doors to me! And the greatest thing about television writing is that, much like indie publishing, YOU as the writer have the power! (More on this in future posts). Can’t think of anything better. 🙂

Having said that, these are the changes that you can expect on the blog:

  • I will be posting all sorts of news, updates, journal entries, insider’s tips and info, and radio casting that include novel writing but also include these other creative areas;
  • The Rebel Ragdoll Review will obviously be expanding into television series in addition to my current foci,
  • This will become a blog for creative indies from all different kinds of media AND for those who will need to navigate the murky waters of working for someone else (as television and film writers must often do). In sort, I will shift my focus from just entrepreneurship to both entre– AND intrapreneurship!
  • This blog will discuss sci-fi and fantasy, but I will also be talking about horror, drama, and crime, which are areas that I want to specialize in as a television writer
  • The radio podcast will be getting a new intro soon, and will also cover a whole bunch of topics within and without novel writing, publishing, and marketing!

I hope that you will enjoy this journey as much as I will, and that anything I post on this blog reboot will help you on your own creative path! 🙂

Keep it indie (or both),
<3 Colby