lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A New Time November 14, 2019

Things change so fast these days.

Remember when wearable tech seemed like such a niche thing? Now I always have my Fitbit on.

Remember when getting to plug your iPod in through the tape deck in your car was cool? Now I listen to music on my phone.

Remember when blogs were the happening place to tell your story? Podcasts are the wave of the future.

Every change makes sense. The way we interact with technology is changing every day, and so are our expectations of everyday interactions with technology. With more and more people using speech to search the internet and listening to their news and social updates instead of reading newspapers and emails, audio is playing a larger and larger part in our lives.

That’s not to say blogging, newspapers, and the good old fashioned letter are dying completely, but the time has come for me to take stock of what the best path to reach my goals might be.

And I have decided to move in a more audio/vlog direction.

I don’t know what that is going to mean for this blog. I don’t want to stop sharing stories with all of you, but I think it might be time for the format to change.

So what would you think about a podcast instead of a written blog? Do you have vlog channels you love to watch on YouTube?

I don’t want to lose touch with all of you, but I don’t want to be left behind by the wave of the future.

So, drop a comment or send me an email―how would you prefer Life Beyond Exaggeration to continue?

 

Working on the Masterpiece November 7, 2019

I’ve been writing for a while now. With around twenty books under my belt, I’ve been through the full range of author emotions.

From the overwhelming fear that everyone is going to hate your work, to the imposter syndrome when people say your work is great, I thought I had done it all.

Apparently not.

I’ve been working on my new Ena of Ilbrea series. It’s a project I’ve wanted to write for a long time, but when I was working with my traditional publishers, I didn’t have the freedom. And when I went Indie in January, I didn’t have time.

But I’ve finally gone through rereleasing my whole backlist, and I’m diving headfirst into Ena’s world. And I’m really proud of it.

Not just like I love the characters and want readers to love them, too. Not like I’m pretty sure I came up with a clever concept that readers can escape into. Like I am damn proud of the whole package, and I’m like 95% sure people are going to fall in love with the series.

I think that and then I get a little terrified that I’m wrong and people are going to hate it. But then I work on editing the series some more and I’m like, “Nope, this is great.”

Is this what it feels like to create a masterpiece? Is this what is feels like to set yourself up for a massive fail?

I don’t honestly know. I’m just going to enjoy the feeling while it lasts and plug away at planning an awesome book release for book one in the series, Wrath and Wing.

 

The Beauty in Sight October 23, 2019

I just got contact lenses for the first time.

I know, I’m a little bit past that phase of life, but bear with me. I’ve had a prescription for glasses for a few years. It was a very light Rx, so I basically only wore my glasses for watching movies, hiking, international travel, and Disney World. My head is so large, glasses that aren’t comically big give me a headache, so it just never seemed worth it.

But I took a chance at my eye exam and asked if I could have contacts, and the doctor said yes!

Getting them in and out in the office wasn’t that bad. I think my years of sticking on fake eyelashes eight times a week finally came in handy. I popped those suckers in…and life became amazing!

Trees have leaves. So many freakin’ leaves! And roof singles don’t all sit at one level―they stack on top of each other! Signs have lots of words, I can tell it’s a stick, not a bird in the river, and the people in the audience have faces.

Audience members have feelings and reactions while you’re performing for them. Not all of them good. It’s shocking how many expressions the people staring at you can cycle through in a short amount of time.

Okay, so I did scratch my eyeball trying to get my contact out. And maybe I gave myself a cyst on my eyeball because of said scratch, but screw it. Contacts are the freakin’ best, and I’m never going back to fuzzy life.

(Once I wait three to four days for my eyeball to heal.)

 

A Proud Book Mama September 30, 2019

I’ve written a book I’m really proud of.

I know, I write a lot of books, and I love them. And people love them. And that’s all well and good, but I still have a massive case of imposter syndrome at the end of the day.

But I think this new book is really good. Like, not sidle up to people and be all like, “I wrote this thing and I think it’s good, and I think you’ll think it’s good, too.” I’m talkin’ like walk into a bar, order a martini, and say in carrying voice, “Yes, I am an author. Have you heard of my book?” and then pull out a fancy business card case while I schmooze with strangers and tell them all about how cool I am. You know, that concept scenario that generally sounds like a nightmare from hell.

But I’m really stinkin’ happy with this book!

I’ve seen the first draft of the cover, and it’s amazing. I love the language. I love the protagonist. I’m a big kid author, dammit. (more…)

 

The Suffering Protagonist September 9, 2019

I love writing. I love books and words and storytelling and the whole messy world that comes with all of it.
But sometimes…sometimes I feel a little guilty for the damage I do to my characters.
When you get down to the heart of writing, I’m just a person sitting at a computer, torturing innocent, imaginary people.
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The level of guilt I feel for torturing my characters varies depending on the series. With Girl of Glass, the world is ending, people are dying in mass, so the damage I did to Nola Kent is like…meh, at least you’re alive.
In How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days there’s tons of drama and magic and danger, but Bryant’s resilient so I feel like he’ll be okay.
The Girl Without Magic gets a little tougher. Maggie Trent is strong and bold, but world hopping adventures are hard. And saving people is a lot of pressure.
The Tethering is rough because Jacob only wants to love Emilia, but it’s not that easy…
But I’m working on a new series, one in which I feel super guilty for the level of pain I’m putting my poor protagonist through.
She’s strong, she’s brave, she’s everything I would want to be if everything I had ever known was destroyed and my fate was to become an assassin. Her name is Ena, and I love her. She may be my favorite character I’ve ever written, but bad things just keep happening.
And I’m the one doing it.
Maybe it’s weird to be so concerned about the damage I’m doing to my imaginary characters. And I can’t make things easier for Ena because that’s just not how her story goes.
But dude…I feel really bad.
And I’m only on the first book in her series.
Oops.
Sorry Ena.
 

The End of the Story August 26, 2019

It is the end of a long and rocky era. The final book in The Tethering series has been published!

The amount of work it took to get The Tethering series from the first scribbles in a notebook to four published books was…painfully monumental.

Though, I will have to say, seeing the charts as The Tethering goes out to thousands of readers definitely makes the tears worthwhile.

The Tethering by Megan O'Russell

When I started writing The Tethering, I was literally writing in a notebook. I was super pleased if I could scrawl out a few pages a day. I would write the scene I wanted to write instead of forcing myself to go in chronological order. I had no idea that head hopping was a thing, let alone a problem. I didn’t know that being an indie author was an option. And I didn’t know if anyone besides my husband and my mother would ever want to read anything I had written.

Now over 60,000 people have downloaded my books.

That is completely insane to me.

I love writing. I love hanging out with my characters and my keyboard. I love being a part of the author community, which is so genuinely supportive it’s a little insane sometimes.

I won’t lie and say it’s all sunshine and roses. The husband and I have had to make a lot of hard choices to fit the massive amount of work my career as an author brings into our lives. I work, like, fourteen hours a day most of the time, and things that I really like to do (like blogging here) have fallen by the wayside.

Building a dream takes a lot of work, and I’m in it for the long haul. From the scribbled notebooks to answering emails from readers, things have changed a lot. But at the heart of it all, and whatever the format may be, I love storytelling. And that is exactly how I have the privilege of spending my time.

 

Worth the Work July 26, 2019

This year has been a lot.

It started with separating from both of my publishers, which was a really tough thing to deal with. But being on my own gave me the push I needed to dive into Indie Author life.

And I dove in deep. These are the proofs of all the books I’ve published/republished so far in 2019.

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I haven’t been getting a ton of sleep. I actually haven’t been doing much of anything but working. All the working.

But this past Tuesday, book three in The Tethering series, The Dragon Unbound, was released. Readers have been waiting for this book for four years. The amount of time I spent in college, people have been waiting for this book. (more…)

 

Bad Beer June 11, 2019

Have you ever wondered if you really suck at something, but everyone around you is just too nice to tell you?

The husband and I recently went to a brewery we had never visited before. Visiting local breweries is something we like to do when we travel. You get to taste new beers, support the local economy, and you don’t have to pack anything in your suitcase when you move on. It’s great.

So, we go to this brewery that had decent ratings online and each order a flight of beer.

It was, without a doubt, the worst craft brew I have ever had in my life. The husband and I were playing backgammon while we drank our nasty beer, and when I suggested another round, he nigh on shouted “No!” I had to explain I meant the game, not the beer.

Here’s the thing. It was a nice-looking tasting room. With fancy seating and purse hooks under the bar. Someone had clearly put a ton of money into the place. Which means they think they’re making good beer.

It was not good beer! (more…)

 

Santa Did It May 31, 2019

The condo I’m currently living in as a part of my cast housing is for sale. A few days ago, we had some potential buyers come through. They looked at the banisters, checked the layout, and then on the way out, they decided to ask the husband and I about our jobs at the theatre.

Since the husband and I are both actors, we get people asking about what shows we’re doing and what our lives are like very frequently. We always offer a little tidbit about our current show and how great it is that we get to travel together so often. Usually, we get responses along the lines of you must really love your job or wow, that’s so exciting! This time what we got was a little weird.

The woman told us that she liked theater, murder mysteries in particular, because she had at one point gone to a murder mystery and knew who the killer was. She was very proud of herself because no one else had come close to guessing the killer was, in fact, Santa Claus.

Now, I’m not sure what sort of murder mystery casts Santa Claus as the killer. I hope it was seasonal. If not, I have some serious questions about the sanity of the author. She said everyone in her party was mad at her for accusing Santa Claus of murder. (more…)

 

In a Mood May 24, 2019

I am in a mood as I write for all of you.

I won’t deny the stress of going Indie Author and basically becoming a small business owner has been a lot, but then today…I just can’t with today.

See, about three years ago, while the husband and I were in Alaska, we received a recall notice on the driver’s side airbag in our car. Apparently, they had a tendency to shoot shrapnel when deployed. Shrapnel is generally considered a bad thing, so my sister was super nice and arranged to have our car towed (since it couldn’t be driven because…shrapnel) to the dealership to be fixed.

The tow dude for the dealer messed up the back axel of our car. Of course, we didn’t realize until it was too late to really prove it was the dealer, so we paid to have it fixed ourselves. Though, to be honest, we still have a weird hum in the back of the car to this day.

Recently, we got another recall notice. This time, the passenger side airbag was going to shoot shrapnel…awesome.

But it was the passenger side, so I drove the car to the dealership today to be fixed.

Dealership dude looked up my VIN number and said, “You had this car fixed a few years ago.”

And I said, “Yes, but that was the driver side airbag.”

He shook his head. “Nope they fixed both.”

I started to get excited like I might get to go home and not have to chill in their waiting room for two hours.

I asked if I can go home, and he said no.

Because when they fixed BOTH the airbags in my car, they put in the same exact model of airbags they had pulled out for shooting shrapnel in the first place.

Cue flames shooting up the sides of Megan’s face. (more…)