Release the Novella!

The time has come upon us.  Brace yourself for a (hopefully) short blog post full of shameless self-promotion and a stupendous amount of links as I explain the release of my very own self-published novella called The New Colony.

What is a novella, you may ask?  Well, basically it is a shortened novel.  In the case of The New Colony, it is only around 10,00 words long; more like a short story than a novel, but technically too long to fit into most short story categories.

The idea behind the story has been accumulating dust in my mind for several years now.  I was always intrigued by the Lost Colony at Roanoke Island back in the 16th century.  There has always been a lot of mystery surrounding the events and this caused my thoughts to go bonkers with ideas of what may have happened.  Plus, I have for a long time now desired to write a story in journal entry form.  Thus the story was conceived.

As I await the finished edits of my full-length novel, which I hope to have published this year, I wanted to get my feet wet in the book selling world and gauge what kind of response I would get out of The New Colony.  I was unsure of how to publish it at first.  But after doing some research, I found the best way to release it to the most widely distributed channels would be by using Smashwords for the e-book copies and Createspace for the print copies.  And I could not be happier with the results!  Both distributors were surprisingly easy to use, once I grasped the concepts of formatting and such.  And to top it all off, both services are free to use, which is great for someone with little to no publicity (Createspace does offer some professional paid services which you can also use).  I highly recommend both of them and will more than likely use them again in the future.

Before I get into posting a bunch of links on where to find the novella, I want to give a huge shout out to Celora Blair for designing the cover art for The New Colony.  It is indeed wonderful and exactly as I had imagined it!  She is also a tremendous writer and you can find the link to her blog “In [The] Deep” here.

Now we may begin the links.  Bring on the links!

To purchase The New Colony in print for $4.99, you can find it at:

Amazon

Createspace E-store

Otherwise for E-book versions, you can purchase it for only $2.99 at the following:

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Inktera

Scribd

Finally, I just wish to say thank you to all who take the moment to purchase and read this story.  None of this would be possible without your support!  Here’s to the beginning of the journey and hopefully further up and further in, as C.S. Lewis would put it, to the next step of the way. Cheers!

Love Unlimited

C.J. Huffman

Advertisements

My Own Worst Critic

When it comes to entertainment, most specifically movies and TV shows, I find myself to be quite a harsh critic, just ask my wife. After nearly every movie we watch together she asks me how I liked it. My typical response: it was pretty good. This is my calculated reply saying that the movie was so-so, alright, okay, something along those lines. And in case you were wondering, most movies out there receive this rating from me.

Why, you ask? Well, I’m not so sure. I perceive it may just be my low tolerance for mediocrity in entertainment. If it doesn’t wow, amaze, or make me really think about it, then I can’t give it a five star mental review. But, of course that’s just me. The film and TV show industries thrive off of making, in my opinion, mediocre productions all because most people like that sort of thing. And that is perfectly okay. I don’t want to go bashing anyone who enjoys sappy romances, cliched  dramas, and typical action films. That is not my place to judge (Though, don’t even get me started on soap operas! ughhhh).

Maybe I’m not as easily wowed as most people out there. Maybe it’s me. Yes, most likely there is something wrong with me.

Anyway, when it comes to myself, most specifically me, myself, and I, I find that I am my own worst critic, the harshest of them all. Even right now, I am calculating just how great this blog post is going to be and whether or not I should abandon writing it all together (For the reader’s sake, I will fight against this pressing feeling and post it, even if it truly sucks! Because who doesn’t love a crappy blog post?). Being such a difficult critic against myself, is by far the greatest enemy I face, especially when it comes to doing what I love, whether it’s writing or playing the drums. My own harshness can, at times, tear me down so much that I end up losing all faith in the project and put it on the shelf. I nearly did that several times with the writing and editing of my almost-finished novel. I would begin reworking a segment or touching up a chapter and then all of a sudden realize just how bad the story was and want to just throw it out altogether, hours and hours of work gone in seconds.

Thankfully that never happened. I’ll admit, there were times when I’d set the project aside for months on end because I had lost my desire for it, thinking that I’d never get anywhere with it, or that it could never be good enough. But each time I always came back to it. I knew it was meant to be written. I finally, very recently, realized that the story might actually be very good, and not just “pretty good,” as I so frequently label things.

All in all, being my own worst critic can downright devastate me at times, but it has also, in a way, helped me to strive above mediocrity. I don’t want to write just another novel, or be just an average musician, I want to be great; not in my own abilities themselves but in the songs that I play and the stories that I tell.

Thank you, reader, for following my ever messy and tumultuous journey.

Love unlimited!

C.J. Huffman

(Happy?) Birthdays

Every year, you’re forced to celebrate the day you arrived on this planet… wait, no were not aliens…

Every year you’re forced to celebrate the day you came into this shiny, strange world. It’s a day to commemorate you turning another year older and another year wiser. Though the latter is not always the case, as I know from experience, it means another year flushed down the drain and your life closer to its finale.

It seems like such a dark and calloused look on the ordeal, but, alas, that’s the way I’ve viewed them the last few years. To my defense, it’s tough having a birthday in the winter months, when everything’s cold and dreary (at least where I live), and that seasonal depression stuff is in the air like pollen at all other times of the year. The hopefulness of spring, the fun-spirited joys of summer, and the beauty of fall, have all come to an end and grumpy, gray winter has settled in.

Now, I don’t wish to make excuses and I definitely don’t want to play the blame game here, it’s just kind of how it is. For me, I don’t like growing older, I don’t like feeling that another year has passed without living life to its fullest. It sucks, I despise it, and birthdays always remind me of those things. They force me to relive the past year and see just how wasteful I have been with my time, or how short I have come to meeting my own expectations for the year, or how I’m stuck in certain places I wish to be unstuck from but can’t see any way out of. Still have any desire to wish people “happy birthday”?

Thankfully there is always a “but” to be had when writing about these kinds of things. I believe in hope. I believe, even in the darkest, scariest, and most painful places, there is light to be seen; a light that shatters the darkness. This birthday, for me, has been different. I’m lighting hope’s candles and not extinguishing them this time. I’m not focusing on all those “could’ve”, “should’ve”, “would’ve” possibilities. Believe me, there are many of them just waiting for me to fall into their traps, waiting to suck me in and spit me out the other side beaten and bruised. But I’m looking at the present, where I’m at now, and how I’ve gotten here. Life is precious and life is all too short. There are blessings around every corner, if we but open our eyes to them.

So, happy birthday to you; to all of you, each and every year. Let us not focus on the downfalls of each passing year, but the good. And let us glean from the past but never get stuck there, for progress is made step by step.

Don’t forget to have a piece of hope; I here it’s delicious!

Love unlimited,

C.J. Huffman

The Story Behind a Story: Rooms

It’s been my deepest desire to write about the making of my short story Rooms, which is extremely personal to me.  I finally felt that the time was right to actually sit down and share about a darkness that, for the longest time, haunted me and cost me so much lost time.  What better way to do this than to put it on a public blog for all the world to see!  Joking aside, I feel that it’s good for everyone to see that we are all just human.  We all make mistakes and we all fall flat on our faces.  And that’s okay.  The sole point in sharing our failures with others is to, one, learn from them, and two, release any guilt or shame we may unintentionally be carrying with us in the process.

So, let’s dive into the muck, for out of the dirt came this story that I am so passionate about.

The entire concept behind this story began on one Sunday morning quite a few years ago (specifics unknown). My pastor was teaching on how to let go of certain things in our lives by giving those spaces within our minds over for God’s use.  He explained that our brains are like storage facilities or large buildings with many little rooms with them; each serving a function or thought process in our lives, whether it be a certain activity we enjoy, a habit, a philosophy, or specific cluster of ideas.

He used his personal example of his habit of smoking cigarettes.  That entire room within his mind was filled with all the ideas, processes, decisions, etc, involving smoking.  It was an unhealthy habit he could not shake.  It seemed the entire ability to be able to finally quit had gone up in smoke (I couldn’t help it). At last, he decided to give it over to God to take care of; he gave that room to be occupied by Him.  In that moment, he was no longer a “smoker.” God had gone through, cleaned up the place, maybe even redecorated a bit, and became the lone tenant.  It changed my pastor’s life in that aspect, and all because of faith.

Continue reading “The Story Behind a Story: Rooms”