My first novella, “What They Deserve” is out today!

That’s right, today is the day!

My first novella, “What They Deserve,” is now available as an eBook through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and a few other online retailers.

The story is set in Seattle, WA and follows Summer Wilkins, the official spokesperson for the New Republic. After a shocking murder rocks the city she must uncover the truth behind the new “Inevix patches” being distributed to the public.

If you like science fiction, thrillers, cyberpunk, or mysteries, I think you’ll like this, too!

Early reviewers are saying it’s fast-paced, suspenseful, and has a shocking but satisfying ending.

Check it out on Goodreads!

Order it from Amazon!

Thanks for supporting me on this wild journey!

-Sam

I completed a “no editing as you go” challenge… and I was happier before

Let me start off by saying: I love challenges. They can inspire creativity, create community, increase productivity, and act as a catalyst for other positive changes. I’ve done many of them, and I typically walk away with an increased sense of purpose and clarity.

At the end of December, I completed a challenge to write 30k words in 30 days without editing any of them. This time, when I hit the word count goal, I felt tired, disconnected, unmotivated…

The magic of writing (for me) is in the process, which has always included editing as I go. Sometimes I write several thousand words before I go back, but ultimately, I go back. I sweep the whole thing, the previous chapter, whatever feels right. Then I continue forward, thoroughly entrenched in the story. While I was doing the challenge, I’d go back over the most recent material and see mistakes I wasn’t “allowed” to fix. It felt like being punished!

It’s been a few weeks since the challenge ended and I have mixed feelings on the value it added to my life. At first, I was mostly frustrated with myself that I kept going with it after I realized it wasn’t working for me. Now I can appreciate that it gave me more confidence in my process and inspired gratitude; I appreciate my freedom to create the way I want to more than ever.

For those who keep striving to better themselves through challenges and trying out new processes: I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor. My only piece of advice is to listen to your instincts and recognize you may have to take a different path than others to get to the end.

Signing off for now,

Sam

September Update

Hello everyone!

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support over the last several weeks. It’s been a wild ride getting the behemoth Kyanite Publishing engine off the ground but it’s starting to chug along and I couldn’t be prouder. In addition to moving into a new house and a new office, I’ve also been writing, editing, and talking to retailers about stocking the Kyanite Press and our upcoming titles. If you missed any of the activity, I don’t blame you. Here is a recap of everything that’s been going on.

 

BOOK REVIEWS

I reviewed “After,” by John Prescott, “The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks,” by William F. Aicher, and “Dancing at Midnight: The Life of June Parker,” by Rebecca J. Yelland for Peak Story Reviews. Check those out on the Peak Story Reviews website!

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

I put up a new page on my website dedicated to book recommendations from my friends and peers. I’ll update it every few months with new recommendations. Consider it a current, curated list from the Twitter #amwriting community. Eventually, I’ll be adding more publishers, publications, editors, designers, and other artists to the list.

 

INTERVIEWS

I was a guest of Laura Mae for her Indie Go Interviews series last month! Check it out here!

I’m also starting an interview series I’ll be hosting here on my website. Laura will be the first guest!

 

PUBLISHING UPDATES

What They Deserve and The Assimilation Agent are both still on track for publishing in November 2018 and March 2019, respectively. I also have a series debuting in 2019 through Kyanite Glass (electronic imprint) about a summer camp for psychics. I’ll be sharing more news on that soon.

 

THE KYANITE PRESS

The Kyanite Press, a bimonthly speculative fiction journal featuring short stories, launched on September 1st. You can purchase it on the Kyanite Publishing website or on Amazon. It’s also being stocked at The Wyvern’s Tale in Asheville, NC and will be shelved in more stores, soon!

 

Thanks for reading and staying tuned!

 

Sincerely,

Sam

Take Your Time

Time is Precious.

My father died suddenly in December 2017 and I was shocked and heartbroken. I thought his best years were still ahead of him. I remember sitting in my sister’s living room after we found out, alternating between waves of grief and, as the night wore on, exhaustion. Two thoughts kept coming into my head (and they stay with me now).

1. I will honor my dad by honoring the time I have left.

2. I need more time.

It became clear to me that if I were to die now, not in old age like I hope, it would be with so many stories left untold and so much unshared love in my heart. I knew I had to get busy.

Very shortly after that night, I set my mind to changing my relationship with and use of time.

It resulted in huge successes for me personally and professionally. I want to share my journey with you in case it provides you any value, and I encourage you to share with me in the comments!

If you’re in a rush, the following sentence distills it all.

We have the ability and responsibility to choose how we spend our time.

If you’ve got more time, here are a few easy steps to help you reevaluate.

1. Make a weekly budget.

Start by listing out all your expenses, and yes, I’m talking about time. List things like browsing social media, getting ready, preparing food, writing, watching tv, exercising, working, even sleeping.

Take your time Sam Hendricks blog

When I listed out all the things I spent time on (and how much) it was shocking.

My husband and I, despite being active and ambitious people, were spending hours every week watching TV and scrolling social media. Our quality time often amounted to less than an hour a week and worse, we were both doing things we realized we didn’t have to do. For example, I was spending an hour a day curling my hair and applying makeup even though I’ve never cared much about it.

2. Re-allocate as needed.

Just like trimming fat from the budget, get rid of things that don’t serve you.

I didn’t set hard and fast rules, but I made an ideal schedule and I pinned it where I could see it. I shared my ideal schedule with my husband and the other people in my life and asked for support.

Slowly but surely, my life transformed in response. I finished three novels, started a book review blog, co-founded a publishing company, and started dozens of relationships with local businesses in just a few months. I cleaned up my diet and made time for exercise daily. I strengthened relationships that were important to me. And most importantly, I fulfilled my promise to myself that I would honor my time.

3. Expect resistance. Accept marginal gains.

When you start going down this path, you’ll encounter resistance. I guarantee it. Maybe when you realize how little time you have for your hobbies you feel depressed and want to quit the process. Maybe your spouse rolls their eyes and says you’re doing fine and shouldn’t worry so much about it. Most people cling firmly to the belief that life happens to them and they have no control over their time. If you take control of yours, you challenge their beliefs.

This bears repeating: if you commit to spending time on what matters most (your friends and family, dreams, goals, ambitions, and hobbies) instead of what society is selling you on (mindless consumption and competition in all its form) you’re going against the grain.

Realize that you probably won’t persuade everyone you love to sit down and budget their time like you. Realize that you probably still won’t have enough time for everything you want to do. Realize that neither of those things being true negates how important it is for you to fully face this. Accept that your end result may not be perfect, but it’ll be better than what you’ve got now.

The Mountains

I’m not usually one to drop a blog post with a vague title, but here I am, doing it with a smile.

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“You are not the mountain climber, you are the mountains,”

is my own way of sharing something my dad used to say to my sisters and me: “Be the river.”

In short, he meant that he wanted us to embrace our power over our narratives and visualize ourselves as the river, not the swimmer struggling to tread water. For all my writer and reader friends out there:

You are the author of your story.

You may be in a tight spot because of money, love, loyalty, fear, or some other powerful driver, but you are still responsible for where you are. It’s easy to act like a character, to be the hero or antagonist of your story. It’s hard to admit you’re the writer. I mean, what would you with all that power?

“That’s not true,” some of you will think. “I’ve done everything I can do. I’m stuck. X and X are legitimate obstacles. Life isn’t like a story. People don’t have ultimate control.”

Some obstacles aren’t fictional.

You’re right. Some obstacles have nothing to do with you. I’m not suggesting you are responsible for your inconsiderate, incompetent boss or your lifelong experience with poverty. I’m not saying you’re the reason your partner left or the reason your book didn’t sell.

When there’s no other way… surrender.

I believe strongly in the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, who drew upon many spiritual and religious texts. His principles parallel the modern teaching of mindfulness and provide me great comfort when I’m “resisting what is.”

Sometimes the only way through is to surrender. When we stop resisting, stop spinning stories in our minds that confirm our own beliefs and fuel our toxicity, stop blacking out the wisdom the universe is trying to provide us, stop closing all the doors and windows before anything has a chance to get through, we find that the answer was there all along.

Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up.

Embracing your role as the author and active creator of your life doesn’t mean there aren’t real obstacles, and surrendering doesn’t mean you’re giving up. On the contrary, surrendering means you are stripping the obstacle of its power and changing the flow of energy. You are regaining control even as you release your desire for it.

There is more than one way to scale a peak.

If you’re still stuck on that mountain climber analogy (I know I am), imagine all the different ways a rock climber can trek up a cliff face. There are almost infinite possibilities, all with their own pros and cons. When you pull yourself out of your own narrative and fly over the bigger picture like a crow, you can see possibilities you wouldn’t have seen before.

I invite you to reframe your obstacles with me.

As part of a journaling exercise I’ve been doing for the month of August, I’ve been writing down obstacles and allowing myself time to come up with solutions throughout the month. It’s amazing to see the variation in my thinking over time. It’s obvious to me that I’m looser, more hopeful, and more organized when I’m post-meditation and post-exercise. They both seem to bring me balance and help me to love myself and cherish my body.

I invite you to join me in writing down your obstacles and giving yourself space to come up with solutions over a period of time. You might surprise yourself at how different your ideas will be when you’re coming from a centered, balanced place of surrender and acceptance.

Did you try it? Let me know how it went in the comments!

Announcing: Kyanite Publishing & New Book “What They Deserve”

I have never been more excited to sit down and write an update in my entire life.

Today, July 11th, 2018, I am so proud to announce the formation of Kyanite Publishing LLC alongside my partners, B.K. Bass and Sophia LeRoux. Kyanite is an author-owned, independent publisher of speculative fiction and horror seeking to connect authors and readers like never before.

Kyanite Publishing Banner

We’ve each been building to this moment for what feels like our entire lives, and we are so grateful for the chance to help other authors put their stories out into the world (along with our own).

My titles, Marketing Director of Kyanite Publishing and Managing Editor of Kyanite Glass (a digital imprint), reflect my natural relationship building abilities, optimism, vision, and commitment to financial solvency. B.K. will be working as the Director of Acquisitions and Editor in Chief of The Kyanite Press, our bimonthly literary magazine, and Sophia will be working as the Director of Design and Operations and Managing Editor of Kyanite Kiss, our romance imprint.

what they deserve sam hendricks graphic

My other title, my first book!, “What They Deserve,” is coming at you in November 2018! I can’t wait to hear what you think about the cover design and concept. I’m finishing it right now and it’s intense!

In the first quarter of 2019, I’ll be bringing you, “The Assimilation Agent,” the first novel in a trilogy about alien genetic experiments. I’ve been building it in my mind for five years and getting it out on paper has been cathartic and emboldening in more ways than one.

Many of you have been supporting Peak Story Reviews over the past two months and I am humbled by your patronage, as are the authors of the stories we’ve been reviewing. We haven’t released much content there because of the publishing launch, but we’ll be getting back on a regular schedule soon!

If you made it to the end of this, thank you!

Sincerely,

Sam Hendricks

You Are Not An Imposter: Sunday Brunch Club Post

Sunday Brunch Club

For this edition of Sunday Brunch Club, a new blog series where I’ll explore popular terms in the writing zeitgeist and attempt to connect writers, creators, and professionals with like-minded friends, I’ll be covering imposter syndrome.

Chances are, you’ve heard of it. The term was coined in the 70s and now thousands of academic and entertainment articles have been written about what it is and how to overcome it. According to the American Psychological Association, it’s a very real and specific form of intellectual self-doubt attributed to high-achievers. I asked my colleagues and friends what they thought and got mixed feedback. A popular opinion is that at one point or another, we’ve all had it.

tweet from @lesliedrush

I first heard of imposter syndrome from a beta reader. He said he follows a lot of writers and creators and they often feel mired in self-doubt for reasons like not having “good enough” writing credentials, a traditionally published book, the ability to write full-time, a certain writing method or routine, or a high number of followers. So when is self-doubt considered imposter syndrome?

tweet from @awheeler2017

Imposter syndrome is different from self-doubt in that it impacts high-achievers with an inability to recognize their own qualifications, not people experiencing reasonable self-doubt. For example, a banker with no background in medicine might feel like an imposter applying for a position as a doctor. That makes sense. A writer might think their latest draft is crap. That’s normal. But chronically believing you’re unqualified, undeserving, or underprepared even when you’ve put in the time and work – that’s imposter syndrome.

For this edition of Sunday Brunch, I’d like to throw up a few reminders for those experiencing self-esteem issues anywhere on the spectrum.

1. Qualified is a relative term.

The publishing industry is often described as a small village with only a few gatekeepers. Sure, independent publishers, Amazon, and self-publishing have increased access to smaller voices. But the perception remains that a traditional publishing contract or an award from the literary elite define success, even though the people handing them down are just people, only slightly more qualified than the authors or creators they’re reviewing.

Here’s the real deal: just because someone told you that in order to do X, you should probably have X credential or X experience doesn’t make it true. Even if the person dispensing advice is brilliant, successful, and well-liked by many people, it still doesn’t make it true.

The world may seem small but the amount of knowledge our race has aggregated is not. It would take many lifetimes to learn everything in your field. Why do only a small number of people get to decide what’s worth learning?

Yes, I accept that to be a writer, you should probably be a reader. Yes, I accept that studying ancient art is a good idea for any painter. But no rules are hard and fast rules, and no qualifications are absolutely required. If every writer and painter waited for the art community to consider them qualified, they might never create.

2. Other people aren’t as qualified as they look.

If you’re comparing yourself to other people in your field, stop. Most people are projecting a fantasy version of themselves. They aren’t showing you the whole truth, the struggle, the same feelings of self-doubt. Some people even exaggerate their backgrounds and fabricate credentials. Even if they’re telling the truth and they’re the most qualified a person can get, they’re still not better than you.

Say you’re a writer with no college degree and they’re an author with an MFA. That doesn’t mean you have to get an MFA. Their MFA doesn’t qualify them to be a writer, it qualifies them to be a person who received a degree called an MFA. It might help them on their journey but it isn’t required.

I can see this post steering into dangerous territory about the validity of college degrees, but I want to make a point here: credentials, degrees, and participation in workshops, seminars, etc. are not required to be a writer or creator or professional. There is a place for people without those credentials.

Same goes for writing groups on Facebook and workshops and hashtags on Twitter: they are not required, no matter how many people tell you they’re essential. Plenty of people who don’t have the time or energy to join those groups publish fantastic art.

3. If you recognize and own your self-doubt, it can be transformed.

Whether you’re suffering from self-doubt or imposter syndrome, a proven technique to overcome it is to recognize its existence. Several friends said once they realized how bad their self-esteem really was, they treated it like a medical condition and saw a doctor, talked to a counselor or built a support group. Taking any steps seems to be better than taking none at all.

tweet from @fatmopzoo

Writer Profile: An Interview with Britt Whidden

I chose to interview Britt Whidden, a copywriter and brand consultant based out of Nashville after she identified as someone with imposter syndrome while I was researching. She submitted answers to a few short questions, indicating that a tribe of like-minded creators can both help and hurt each other. In the following text, IS stands for imposter syndrome.

SH: There’s a lot of advice out there about overcoming imposter syndrome. Has any of it worked for you?

BW: Some of the advice I’ve received has been to write daily affirmations and journal little victories or moments of gratitude I’ve experienced throughout the day. It’s daunting. I also have dabbled in mindfulness and it’s been a game changer too. I am able to separate the actions (mine and other parties) from the thoughts that cloud my judgment and push a negative agenda. I also was able to afford talk therapy sessions and worked through some other mental health issues that enabled IS to have some prevailing themes in my life.

SH: Do you know other people struggling with it? Do you feed off each other in a positive or negative way? Both?

BW: I know quite a few folks who have dealt with or are actively combating Imposter Syndrome. I get a lot of support and commendations from some furiously happy internet friends collectively named The Bloggess Tribe. There are SO many of us threaded throughout the BT with creative, talented minds that we tend to stick up for each other. For me, it’s been negative at times to see someone in the group spiraling or publically dealing with the anguish of allegedly not being good enough to do anything. When I have active IS, I find myself comparing my journey to their success or failure. Either way, I feel IS then becomes a thief of joy.

SH: What do you think the difference between low self-esteem and imposter syndrome is?

BW: I do think that my IS comes from a place of prolonged bullying and tormenting as a child for my appearance and education. It ruined my self-esteem as a child and teenager, to the point where I believed everything they were saying about me for nearly a decade. I didn’t believe I was good enough for positive attention and my work has suffered from the constant fear of “being had” again in a professional setting. For instance, my battle for bettering my self-esteem placed my self-worth in the hands of my work. My IS told me that I couldn’t possibly have the guts to turn an assignment into anything meaningful. Without the strategies and mindfulness in place to overcome, I would swing between a mental state where I could not let myself turn anything regardless of the task, and researching everything I possibly could on a topic until I missed the deadline because I was trying to make it just right.

Connect with Britt @whiddengem on Twitter or through her website.

Summary

Many creators feel as though they’ve developed low self-esteem, up to and including experiencing imposter syndrome. In some cases, trauma and bullying have been identified as possible influences.

tweet from @ciona89

If you feel like you’re unqualified or unworthy, remember that you don’t have to be qualified to create and those who are qualified are just people, like you. Recognize your self-doubt and face it. Go on a mission to strengthen your self-esteem (I’ll have more on this soon!) and if you need additional help, reach out to your community or on social media.

That’s it for this edition of the Sunday Brunch Club. Please leave your comments here and on Twitter. I’d love to hear what you think! Contact me directly for inquiries, collaboration requests, and other business.

 

10 Ways Writing Will Bolster Your Bravery

I’ve heard a lot of my friends say they’re feeling scared recently. Scared of losing their jobs, scared of saying the wrong thing, scared of never achieving their dreams. I express myself through writing and have found that I can isolate and transform my fears when I journal, write fiction, or help others through writing.

Here are 10 reasons writing helps eliminate fear and bolsters bravery. I hope one or some of them can work for you. If you don’t need any help in the bravery department, maybe you could pass this along to a friend. As always, I accept that my opinions are not for everyone. Bravery is noble but I in no way wish to offend or condemn those who are not brave.

#1 – A daily journal can help you figure out what’s important enough to be brave for.

It’s all fine and well to aspire to be brave, but why? I want to be brave for the people and things I love: family, community, education, the environment.

If you take the time to journal daily, or even once in awhile, you’ll probably be able to look back over your musings and clearly see what matters to you jumping off the page. Once you know, picture those things when you find yourself in moments requiring bravery. If your actions are in line with your values and support the things you love, your bravery will be more likely to bubble up.

 

#2 – Making lists can turn scary, intangible obstacles into real goals.

Sometimes the obstacles in the way of our bravery, like fear of being judged, fear of losing, fear of the unknown, etc. manifest in our thoughts as foggy, unexplained anxiety. To combat the paralysis big decisions and projects can create, make a list of the things that you want to accomplish and then write out the obstacles.

For example, if you want to become a rock star, some of your obstacles might be forming a band, money to travel, and stage fright. Under each obstacle, write down some ideas of how you could power through, over, under, or around the obstacle. Following the same example above, under ‘forming a band’ you could write down some action steps, like: post an ad on Craigslist, post an ad on social media and go to local venues for live music. Smaller actionable goals also help you realize your own momentum and completing them gives you a boost.

Show your lists to someone you trust to see if they can come up with even more ways to turn your fears into actions.

 

#3 – Journaling can help you relate to yourself differently.

When you take the time to write down the important things happening in your life, you might start to see yourself as the writer of your own story, which you are, rather than a passive actor. Bravery can seem abstract, but it’s really about separating yourself from your fears in a single moment. When your journal, you can see those moments more clearly.

Another tip: write what you would have said or done if you’d been braver, as well as what you did. See the words on the page. Picture yourself saying them. Picture yourself as the character in the story you want to be. Over time, you just might become them.

Journaling also contributes to your mental health, so this is a tip to remember!

 

Let's get started, journal, writing, hand, bravery

#4 – Creating characters involves sussing out their values, conflicts, and motivations. It can help you to learn yours.

If journaling isn’t up your alley, try writing fiction! It’s like playing make-believe and dress-up except better. Your characters can be as brave as you can imagine but for their bravery to seem real they’ll need real motivations, values, and obstacles of their own. Once you’ve created a few characters, compare and contrast them with yourself. Get to know yourself. Really dig deep, and you might just uncover some bravery under there.

#5 – Writing plot can make you a risk taker.

Write down a one-page synopsis of the “plot” that is your life. Then write the ideal plot for your life.
Thinking about your life as the plot of a book might open up your brain to possibilities outside of the most common, practical, or simple. When you have new roads to go down, you might find yourself more willing to take risks to see where they lead.

#6 – Writing will give your fears a place to live.

The opposite of courage is cowardice if you believe The Wizard of Oz. Rather than letting your fears live inside you, let them live on the page. Write them down and then commit to yourself that you’ll leave them there. When you feel scared instead of brave, imagine your fear back inside your journal or computer. You don’t have to carry it. Give it another place to live and fill the empty space with books, instead!

#7 – Writing dialogue forces you to imagine all the different things a person can say.

Real life is hard. The conversations you have with people exist inside the structures imposed by our society and the institutions you’re a part of. If you’re a female at work, for example, the things you feel comfortable saying are probably more limited than a man at a pub.

Try writing dialogue that isn’t restricted. Be as honest or outrageous as you can stand. How does it feel? What would be the consequences for talking like that in the different areas of your life?

 

#8 – Some people, especially women, minimize their authority. Writing about a non-fictional topic can help demonstrate expertise.

I know a lot of people who are afraid to own their knowledge and experience. If you’re one of those people, writing about what you know can help you to realize what your strengths are. Hopefully, when you see them in writing, you’ll become brave enough to share them with others.

Find something in your life you feel adept at. It could be anything from making scrambled eggs to utilizing the Google platform for your small business. Then write a how-to guide or workflow. When you’re done, consider sharing it! I guarantee there are people in the world who know less than you and would love to hear your unique way of explaining it.

 

#9 – Forums are sometimes safe spaces for interacting through writing.

It can be easier to feel brave behind a computer screen than in person. If you start behind the computer, use it as a stepping stone to more acts of courage in other areas of your life. Some people abuse the anonymity of the internet and I’m not suggesting you do that. Rather, own everything you write online just like you would in person.

 

#10 – Sharing your creations can cause feelings of temporary bravery.

Sharing what you write with people (not your dog) is scary. Take it from me, who waited 20 years to share anything substantial online. Whether you journal, write a political essay, describe an event in your life, respond to a writing prompt, or write a poem, share it. Share it with your family or somebody at work. Share it on social media or on a forum. By sharing your work, something you created from thin air, you are opening yourself up to criticism, accolades, rejection, and acceptance. It requires courage and once you’ve done it you’ll be one step closer to another act of bravery!

If you’re looking for a coach, editor, reviewer, content creator or just a new friend, please reach out!