Posts Tagged ‘personal’

On day 5 of my personal challenge to write 100 stories in 100 days, I wrote story number four and it was a winner. I was extremely happy with it and think it has a good chance of getting accepted somewhere.

It is now day 11 and I’ve written a grand total of one story since.

This has been my problem for as long as I can remember. I’ll write something I like and then sit on it. That’s kind of the point of this challenge, to be prolific and not worry (yet) about quality, but every time I start a new one, I worry it won’t be as good and scrap it.

Bad Jaden, write faster.

Day: 11

Stories Finished: 5

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Episode 3: Some Like it Too Hot

There’s a certain type of coffee-drinker us baristas loathe to encounter above all else.

“I want a latte, one-hundred and ninety degrees, please.”

I’m not sure exactly what it is about 190 degrees, but that seems to be the magic number. Sometimes you’ll get someone make a general request, like “it’s for my kid, so like, ninety degrees. Not hot,” or “Can you make that extra hot please?” And if you want your latte cooler for your kid, or so you can drink right away, or you’re just used to the heat and like it extra hot, fine. But if you’re one of those people, or know one of those people, who ask precisely for a one hundred and ninety degree latte, I have a little secret for you.

That coffee you got was probably one seventy.

The little thermometers we have behind the counter only go up that far. There’s actually a little red bar under the number 170. Little red bars usually mean bad things.

One hundred and ninety degrees, for instance, is how hot McDonald’s coffees used to be. And they got sued because when people spilled those coffees it was hot enough to cause third-degree burns.

And if you’re asking for a latte or anything involving steamed milk, well, to quote a friend of mine, “milk explodes at two hundred degrees.”

Adventures of a Part-Time Barista

Posted: September 16, 2016 by Jaden C. Kilmer in Uncategorized
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Episode 2: Fancy Cheese

There’s an assortment of snacks available in the cafe. Nothing too fancy or intensive to make. There’s sweets like cookies and brownies, snacks like mixed nuts and bananas, and if you’re up for a meal there’s stuffed pretzels, personal pizzas, and sandwiches. The pretzels are pretty popular- they’re all stuffed. One has spinach and feta, one mozzarella, and one asiago.

A woman and her young (four or five year old) son comes up to the snack bar the other day, the son whiny and wanting something “cheesy” to eat. She asks me if I prefer the asiago or the pizza pretzel.

“Asiago,” I say. “Though the spinach and feta is the best of the three.”

“I don’t trust fancy cheeses,” she says.

what.

There’s too much wrong with that sentence for my mortal brain to comprehend.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go eat a block of roquefort.

Adventures of a Part-Time Barista

Posted: September 12, 2016 by Jaden C. Kilmer in Adventures of a Part Time Barista
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Y’know, out of all the content we do here at LAS, actual blogging is probably the least plentiful. Well no more, because it’s past time I started talking about what I do when I’m not writing or reading.

Episode 1: Not A Genuine Starbucks

Technically speaking, I work for Barnes and Noble, in one of the in-store cafes. But if you come in to the cafe thinking it to be a Starbucks, I wouldn’t blame you. There’s a big glowing Starbucks sign outside the store, the Siren much more prominent than the words “We proudly serve” above it. And “We proudly serve Starbucks” is hardly the same as saying “Not a genuine Starbucks.”

So if you order your Pumpkin Spice Latte and pull out your Starbucks card to pay for it, I’ll have to give you the rundown: “Oh, actually we’re a Barnes and Noble Cafe, we only serve Starbucks products but we aren’t on their pay system so we can only accept Barnes and Noble cards, not Starbucks ones.”

After all, even bigger than the Starbucks Siren is the BARNES AND NOBLE BOOKSELLERS one at the top of the building.

A little confusing, a little irritating surely. There is a sign saying “we don’t accept Starbucks cards” but it’s hardly bigger than a notecard and only propped at the register at the front of the line. But, basically whenever someone tries to use their Starbucks card, and I do the rundown, they say “okay, sure” and use a credit card or cash.

Except for one.

Here’s the rough conversation I had with one of the worst customers ever, only about a week or two in on the job:

Me: “Oh, sorry, we don’t actually accept Starbucks cards, we’re-”

Customer: “Every other Starbucks takes these.”

Me: “Well we’re actually a Barnes and Noble Cafe, so we take Barnes and Noble cards but not Starbucks ones.”

Customer: (after a pause) “Every other Starbucks takes these.”

Me: “Well you’re in a Barnes and Noble, not a Starbucks.”

Customer: (another pause) “EVERY other Starbucks takes these.”

At this point the girl who was training me came over and tried to give her the rundown as well, explaining if she was searching for a genuine Starbucks there’s one across the street. Apparently carrying no form of currency beyond Starbucks gift cards, the woman huffed and stormed off.

The whole time she had this scowl, as if I’d personally offended her by telling her our machines won’t be able to read her cards. As if her skinny vanilla latte was the elixir of life and I’d just denied her immortality. It made my greenshirt self very nervous and a little bit at a loss for what to do. The woman just emanated anger.

And then the next customer walked up, smiled, and sarcastically asked if there was any chance we took Starbucks cards. And I laughed, and suddenly everything was fine.


Also posted on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/livingauthorssociety/

What’s this? A post that’s actually bloggy? Never!

Well, sorta.

Hey guys, so I was lucky enough to land a job- Barista at a Barnes and Noble in the same complex as my local theatre. A long overdue level in adulting for me, this will be my first real job and I’m excited/terrified. Regimentation is something pretty foreign to me. I much prefer to take life as it comes than adhere to a schedule. Schedules are the devil. BUT with regimentation (and, more importantly, money) comes some cool possibilities.

I’ve decided to try something new, and that is going to my theatre once a week, instead of whenever-I-feel-like-it, watching a new release, and doing a review. I already have done a few movie reviews on this blog (most recently 10 Cloverfield Lane) but if this idea takes off and I start seeing new releases weekly, I don’t want to overload LAS with movie write-ups. This is primarily a writing and novel blog, after all.

So, movie reviews will be moving to a new sister blog: cookiesandopinions.

Why cookies and opinions? Because I’m using a cookie-based rating scale, of course! For more information on the pastry scale of awesome and a placeholder post, click here!

The first real review will probably be Marvel’s Civil War, coming Saturday. In the meantime, please continue to enjoy our mix of media, entertainment, pop culture, and of course writing advice here at Living Authors Society.

It’s been about three months since the self-published release of my YA novella, Revenant. (shameless link here!) It’s been an interesting experiment, but one I’d overall call a success. Below are some scattered thoughts about the whole process.

It’s easier and harder than you may think.

To self publish a book on amazon, all you gotta do is upload a word doc, fill out some information on yourself and the story, and provide your bank info so amazon can send you your royalties. Seems like an easy money making idea, right?

Well, putting a book up is the easy part.

revenant final

I was fortunate enough to have Revenant stay in the top 30 for teen novellas for about two months. How much of that is due to confusion with the movie called THE Revenant I don’t know. (more on that later) But getting the word out is harder than making a facebook post, a tweet, and then a promotional week on a blog. I found the most effective way to get people to check it out was face-to-face conversations. Asking your facebook friends to check out your new book can get a lot of likes and comments, but a lot of the support is superficial. ie, you get a “wow! Congrats!” but no purchase. Talking to people face-to-face might seem pushy, but it’s the most convincing way to pitch something yourself. There are other options, like hiring marketer but a lot of those cost money. If you believe in the “gotta spend money to make money” mantra then maybe that’s the way to go for you.

People are mean and/or stupid. 

The name similarity between my book and the movie is unintentional, though one shouldn’t be faulted for being confused. (FWIW, Revenant was the title from the story’s inception two or three years ago.) But when the book’s about section calls it a YA vampire novella, you’d think people would understand it’s not the survival/revenge story the movie promises.

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TFW a 1 star review

But that’s not the case. I had multiple people tell me I’d ripped off the movie. One person didn’t even read the book (you can see who bought it with your amazon account) and tried to give it a negative review. Now I’m not saying people should be bowing down and giving 4 and 5 star reviews, but I am saying the fairly common sense idea of reading something before critiquing it is something people apparently don’t always follow. So if you’re putting yourself out there self-publishing, and you get some stupid person trying to shit on your story for the wrong reasons, do your best to ignore the idiots. Don’t take negative reviews personally, especially if the reviewer didn’t bother to read your info page. That said…

People are helpful.

Let’s face it, positive reviews are good for our self-esteem but bad for our learning process. A critical review that offers good insight to what you should do differently for future stories is invaluable. And the only way to really know how a larger audience will see your work is to put it out there. For that alone, it’s worth the venture.

Some extra money is nice, but don’t quit your day job.

For some context, my novella was consistently in the top 30 for its genre and top 25,000 (out of the millions of books available on amazon) for a couple months. Not great, but certainly not bad either for a first crack at it, and it netted, well, not much. For self-publishing, success stories are the exception, not the norm. And when the biggest success story in self-publishing history is Fifty Shades of Grey, sometimes all the skill in the world doesn’t even matter. So don’t go into it with dreams of waking up a household name.

It’s a great feeling

In the early days of putting a book up anywhere, compulsively checking sales (something I’ve heard referred to as Score Whoring) is really fun. Anxiously watching that line move up, then crash down, then rebound like a stock market chart, it’s honestly pretty fun just to watch the stats. And to know that your work is being read by people other than your immediate family and friends? It’s one of the best feelings a writer can have. Sure, maybe that number will only end up being 200 non-family/friends that read it, but that’s 200 more than before.

So, if you’re on the fence about trying out self-publishing, go for it! It’s easy, potentially rewarding, and (hopefully) a great way to gauge your ability in the eyes of a general audience!

 

 

This post is a part of Vampire Week, in celebration of my YA vampire novella, REVENANT, releasing on amazon and kindle!

US store link


We interrupt your scheduled programming to bring you a longer than normal, and quite personal, post.

Vampire Week trudges on! I was going to use today to talk about the two best episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” but I decided to kill two birds with one stone, making a post related to my novella as well as knock out an assignment for class.

I have a writerly obsession- adolescence. Specifically, the end of it. That weird middle ground between being a child and being an adult, the exact timing of it something no one really can agree on. It’s why I still love Young Adult novels, even as I push into my twenties. There’s a running theme in YA of the end of adolescence, sometimes the theme is presented in such a literal, heavyhanded way it just seems pandering (looking at you, Divergent.) But sometimes its subtext, adding a relatability and connection that many adult novels don’t have. Here are a couple of things I’ve written that deal with my obsession with adolescence- an autobiographical short story and then a collection of poems.

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