Two Moon Rebellion Update

Two Moon

I am running right on the schedule that I set for myself for editing Two Moon Rebellion in order to publish it by the end of June. Unfortunately, that does not mean that I am going to publish it this year. I have decided that I need to hire an editor.

I feel like the editing process is going well and I have definitely improved my book. I just think that I am too close to the story to do it justice. Having another set of eyes will be able to spot things that are in my blind spot. Also, hiring an editor will allow me to rely on the experience of a professional.

I am disappointed that I will not be publishing in June, but I feel that it is more important to make sure that the book is the best that it can be. I will still finish the three rounds of editing that I have already started. I want the editor to get my best work and make it better.

So instead of publishing at the end of June, I will start the search for an editor. That search may lead me to publish somewhere other than CreateSpace if it makes financial sense. That means that I will have to start some {gasp} query letters.

Wherever this journey takes me, I will bring you along. Be on the lookout for some excerpts in the coming months.

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NaNo Artwork: Characters

Now that my first draft is simmering, I have some time to blog about some of the artwork for Two Moon Rebellion. I have already shown you the second draft of the cover art. Now, I am going to show you some of the characters. I used a fantastic website called HeroMachine. It allows you to create characters with just a point and click.

I have created several uniforms for the Defense Regiment, and I have used colors to differentiate the ranks. Here is a picture of a Captain in the various uniforms:

Regiment Captain

And here is a picture of the dress uniform of each of the ranks:

Regiment Dress

This is what a Keeper Sergeant looks like in each of the Keepers uniforms:

Keepers

Here is the dress uniform of each of the ranks in the Keepers:

Keepers-Dress-Uniform

And finally, here is my main character, Sparks, in his civilian clothes:

Sparks Body

I highly recommend HeroMachine for any novelist who wants to see what their characters look like on the screen. It is easy to use, and you can save and download the images.

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Disability Insurance

Last time I went over the importance of an emergency fund. This was to cover between 3 and 6 months of expenses. This time, I am going to go over disability insurance. This insurance covers you in case you become disabled by either accident or illness. There are 2 types of disability insurance, long term and short term. Both of them pay a percentage of your income for a period of time.

Short term disability insurance, as the name implies, covers you for a short period of time. It will usually kick in 2 weeks after you are unable to work and lasts between 3 and 6 months. This type of insurance will make it possible to survive the first few months of a terrible illness or injury. Of course, if you have a fully funded emergency fund, it would not make sense to pay the premiums. Your emergency fund can pay the bills for 3 to 6 months.

Long term disability insurance picks up where short term disability insurance leaves off. It usually kicks in 90-180 days after your last day of work. There are several plans available that will cover you for 2 to 10 years, and some that will cover you until the age of 65. I highly recommend getting coverage until 65 if you can afford it.

One note about long term disability insurance: if you have a 90 day waiting period, then on day 91 they will start counting the first month that they will pay for. That means that there is another 30 days before you actually get a check. This can mean that you have a 30 day period without coverage.

If you remember, I went over my situation and how our emergency fund helped. We had 2 months saved up and our first long term disability check arrived after 4 months. We had a gap of 2 months where we had to rely on our friends and family. If I had it to do over, I would have had short term disability insurance until we had a 6 month emergency fund saved up.

Disability insurance will provide an income should you become disabled by illness or injury. If you have a fully funded emergency fund that can cover the waiting period for long term disability insurance, you can skip the short term. Otherwise, having both would be ideal.

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The Importance of an Emergency Fund

Today, I am going to talk about something that everybody should have, especially freelancers. It can help when something happens to your income. It can help when a large expense comes your way. It can provide security. It is an emergency fund. The emergency fund is 3-6 months of expenses that is put in an easy to get to savings account. It is used when something unexpected happens.

Freelancers tend to have a feast or famine routine where income can vary wildly. It is smart to put away money during feast times to help with famine periods. This would not be considered an emergency fund, because we know that famine periods exist and we will go through them. This money would be for a planned event.

Now, if something happens where the feast times dry up, that would be a time for the emergency fund. This could be caused by an illness, a big client that suddenly decided to do something different, or some external event caused business to dry up. This was not planned for and would make it impossible to pay your bills.

Another reason for an emergency fund is for unforeseen expenses. Unexpected expenses can include being sued by a client, a major home repair, a major car repair, or a medical expense. There are many expenses that could come up that would make it difficult or impossible to pay your monthly bills.

Finally, an emergency fund can provide security. If you have 6 months of expenses saved up, it is easier to quit your job to pursue freelancing on a full time basis. It would be an easier decision to change the direction of your business or let go of a big client that is causing too many headaches. It provides the freedom to make the decision without having to worry about how you are paying for your everyday expenses.

Now, what exactly is an emergency fund? It is 3-6 months of expenses. Expenses would be bare-bones monthly expenses to keep you and your family afloat if something major happened. Be sure to include food, housing (rent or mortgage), vehicle costs, utilities, phone, internet, and anything else that you need to live and work. You may need to cut back on eating out or other entertainment options while you are living on your emergency fund, but it is only until you get back to work.

Once you use some of the emergency fund and are working again, you need to fill it back up. If you are not using it, it needs to either be full or in the process of being filled. You should not use the the emergency fund for anything other than an emergency (no, a late night pizza is not an emergency).

I will give you a real world example. I was working a full time job and starting as a freelance graphic designer about a year ago. Over the course of four days, my eyes closed and I was not able to open them. I had some vacation time saved up, but not that much. We spread that out so that it paid for the health insurance, so in essence, I had zero income. We were in the process of building our emergency fund and we had 2 months saved up. I also had long-term insurance, but the first check from that did not arrive for 4 months.

We had a lot of help from family and friends to cover that gap, but it would have been a lot less stressful if we had the money saved up. With me being the only wage earner in our family, it was devastating when I lost my income. We are just now building the emergency fund back up.

I am glad that we had what we did, and we are always going to have a fully funded emergency fund from now on. I highly recommend it to anybody, but especially freelancers.

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Site Relocation

Welcome to my new site! Now that I’m here, I will be making some changes to the format. I am going to set it up to look more like a web site instead of just a blog site. The home page will be a static page, and there will be a portfolio page, a contact page, and a blog page.

I am still going to blog about my journey through different freelance projects. Because of my health issues over the last year, I am focusing more on writing than web development or graphic design, and this site is going to reflect that. There will be updates on my NaNo novel as well as details about other projects that I’m working on.

I will also be touching on other topics of interest to freelancers, such as financial planning, insurance needs, and any other bits and pieces that freelancers have to deal with. I have been extremely fortunate that I had certain things set up and I will pass on this valuable information in the very near future.

So come on in, take a look around, and let me know what you think.

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NaNo Update

Winner-2014-Facebook-Profile

I did it! Sort of. Technically. What I did was write 50,252 words in November and won NaNoWriMo. Yay! What I did not do was finish my first draft. I am about 40% through my outline at this point. I will continue writing for the rest of January and put it away for at least a couple of weeks in February. That will give me four months to polish it and get it ready to publish.

I actually went over 50k on November 26, which helped me out tremendously. My family and I moved twice between then and Christmas, first to one side of a duplex, then to the other side. Then we had a busy Christmas season schedule that included the entire family singing in two different events.

Things are finally starting to settle down. There are still boxes that need to be gone through, but I am able to carve out time to write again. I am going to read the last chapter that I wrote in my NaNo book and start writing in it again tonight. I am also going to get back on my weekly blogging schedule. My plan is to write about 2,000 words per day, five or six times a week.

One of the perks of winning NaNo is that CreateSpace winners recieve two free copies of their novel. That offer expires on June 30, 2015, so the novel needs to be polished before then. The goal for the end of January is to have another 30,000 words to finish off the first draft of Two Moon Rebellion. That will give me from March through June to edit, edit, and edit some more.

At the same time, I have my NaNo novel from last year to finish. I will probably dust that one off in February. That one also needs about 30,000 words to finish before it is ready for editing. My first priority is Two Moon Rebellion, but this one may be ready in 2015 as well.

Enough talking about what needs to be done. It is time for me to get it done.

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Nanowrimo Spotlight: DJ Weller

The Kelworth Files

Greetings, friends and followers. How’s your word count looking today? I had a 5k weekend, not bad at all. Let’s take a look at DJ in Florida, who has a triple threat of blogs to share with you: freelance, baseball, and diabetes.
Have you done Nanowrimo before, DJ?

This is my second NaNo. I completed my first one last year and I have a 50,116 word mess to show for it. I was planning on revising it and editing it by now, but I have had some health issues that prevented that. Then I was going to do the revisions during NaNo this year until the idea for my next book popped into my head. My favorite memory from last year’s NaNo is when my characters decided to add a plot twist. That twist is going to involve changing some of the earlier chapters, but it will…

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