Writing & Goals: Weekly Update

If you didn’t see my last post [here,] I’ll give you a quick recap.

Starting in May, I plan to post a short story on the fifteenth of every month! I’m excited and a little nervous about this, but I think it will be good for me. A great way to keep me moving and hopefully improve my writing skills.

As soon as I can, I’ll reveal the title of the upcoming story. I also want to give each story a cover. So, not long after I reveal the title, I’ll reveal the cover.

Set your calendars! May 15, 2018 I’ll release the first short story on my blog!

Since I’ve been focusing on my short all week, I haven’t gotten any more writing done on my other WIPs. But that’s OK. I wrote a little over 1K words on my short story and started editing it!

This week, my goal is to finish editing my short, title it, and create the cover art. Once that’s done, I’ll jump back into writing on my epic fantasy, TDB, and brainstorm another short story idea.

WOO! So much to do!

How was your week? What are your goals?

Thanks for reading!

Ann Marie Swaim icon

Announcements · writing

Announcement: This is scary

So, I try to steer away from putting unneeded stress, by way of promises and deadlines, on myself. But… what the heck.

Here’s what I’m planning…

Short stories! And I’m going to publish them right here. Well, not right here. In this post. But here on my blog. Oh, you get the point. LOL

Now, I need to get my butt in gear, because I’d like to release one short story on the fifteenth of every month. Starting in May.

Though it’s not something I usually do, I’m giving myself a deadline to keep me moving. Of course, I will allow for extenuating circumstances. Health and family come first. Always.

So, mark your calendars! May 15, 2018.Β 

As soon as I have a title, I’ll let you know.

I’m pretty excited. I hope you are, too!excited.gif

Take care!

Ann Marie Swaim icon


Writing & Goals: Weekly Update

Had a pretty good week. Or weekend, actually LOL

I’m having difficulties carving out time to write on weekdays, due to work stress and being busy with other things, but Saturday and Sunday were great! I wrote over 3K words between them.

Again, all my words were for my new WIP. Still no title. Just, TDB. But I have been brainstorming different titles. Nothing’s grabbed me yet and made me think, YES! THAT ONE! I’ll keep on it though.

I finished what could be considered act 1 and am solidly into act 2. We know what the antagonist and protagonist want and the protag has started her journey to defeat the antag. And yes, there will be training and all that good stuff.

Actually, this story is going to have a lot of familiar tropes, but that’s what I love to read and that’s what I felt like writing this time. From Stars, Come Dragons was what I wanted to read and write at the time, too, but it does not have many familiar tropes. At least, I don’t think it does. lol It’s certainly not the dragon tale you’re used to.

Anyway, I’d love to answer any questions, if you have them. I’m always up for a chat. πŸ™‚

Take care!

Book tags · Reading

2018 Book Challenge UPDATE

I’ve not made a lot of progress, but I can fill in a spot or two πŸ™‚


I’ve only read 7 books so far. I’m a slow reader and put family, work, and writing above reading. So it’s slow going πŸ˜› The one’s in bold are the updates.

  1. A book published this year
  2. A book picked for you by someone else
  3. A book you can finish in a day
  4. A book you’ve already read – I was in a bit of a slump the last couple months. I like to comfort read when that happens.
    1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
    2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
  5. A book borrowed from your local library – I thought I could finish this in a day. Didn’t work out. lol
    1. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
  6. A book that is a friend’s favorite
  7. A book published before you were born
  8. A book you own but have never read All three took care of this one πŸ˜›
    1. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
    2. The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
    3. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  9. A book that is non fiction
  10. A book from your childhood
  11. A book from a bestseller list – Does this have to be THIS years bestseller list? If not…
    1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
    2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
    3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
  12. A book written in the decade you were born


2018 Book Challenge Ann Marie Swaim

How are your reading goals this year? πŸ™‚

General · writing

Writing, Goals, & Question: Weekly Update – Is my WIP Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, or both?

OMG! Such a great writing week! I wrote around 7K words and expect to write at least that much this week πŸ™‚

I wrote on my new WIP. Which, so far, only has an abbreviation, TDB. In my last monthly update, I let you know it was an epic high fantasy. I’ve always been a little confused about how epic and high fantasy are different, so I poked around the internet for a bit and found these two definitions pretty well sum up the vast majority of the opinions I found.

Epic Fantasy:

*Generally tales of a young nobody, thrown unexpectedly into a massive “Good vs. Evil” struggle, where he must learn to uncover his own latent heroism to save the day. Often also includes a “grail-finding” quest – regardless of whether the ‘grail’ is an icon, a person, a magical talisman or any other form of symbolic token.

High Fantasy:

*The type of fantasy that most people expect when they regard ‘fantasy’ as a genre. Includes lords and ladies, medieval styles and settings, kingdoms and castles, and dragons and knights. High fantasy, while generally rooted in classical mythology and medieval European legends, focuses its themes on Good versus Evil. Sometimes called “Epic fantasy”. Often plotted to encompass three or more books.

*I found similar definitions in many places, but decided to use this specific definition from this source

TDB fits pretty darn well into the Epic catagory. Actually, I think I check every box in that definition at one point or another.

But now I’m going back and forth on whether or not it’s High fantasy. TDB has a medieval style, though it’s not a classical medieval setting. I have a kingdom, but my royals live in a palace not a castle. Yet, there are fortified cities throughout the land. There are plenty of creatures lurking in the dark and some in the light, but none of them are dragons. And there are armies with ranked soldiers and such, but not specifically knights.

Right after I started seriously writing again, I watched Brandon Sanderson’s BYU writing lectures on YouTube. I think one of his students asked his take on the differences between these sub-genres or maybe he just mentioned in passing, that he considered anything not of Earth, and specifically with “alien” races to be high fantasy. If I take that alone as the definition, then TDB is high fantasy.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the subject. What do you think the difference between these sub-genres are? Do you even care? Does this definition affect whether you pick a book up or not? Tell me all the things πŸ˜›

Take care!


Monthly Updates · Reading · writing

Writing: Monthly update for March

It’s the first of the month, or close enough lol Time for another writing update!


While I’m deep in the revising trenches preparing to publish, querying will be on hold.

Current WIPs:

From Stars, Come Dragons (The Seven Stars #1) – No new developments. Still going strong with editing!

Title coming soon (The Seven Stars #2) – March was the worst! I’ve restarted writing this book three times now. I think I’ve found my way with it, but I’m so frustrated by the stop and go progress I’ve decided to set it aside for a bit. After a break, writing other things, I can come back to it with fresh eyes.

Which brings me to…

TDB – I’m not totally sold on the title of this, so I’m only going to use the acronym for the working title. I started the rough draft for this at the end of October last year and was in love with it. I put it aside to do my NaNoWriMo project (write a script) with the intention of coming back to it in December. Then everything happened with Fyre and Brimstone and this got left behind.

Well, it’s forgotten no more! While I break from book 2 of TSS, I’m going to finish this rough draft. It’s an epic high fantasy inspired by Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series, pirates, and Hungarian folklore. I already have about 9K words written and expect this to be a long one. I’m hoping to make good enough progress on it to include a nice size update about it every week. I’d love to tell you more, but my process won’t allow it. Oversharing kills my momentum. And since I’m already struggling with getting words down, I don’t want to risk making it worse.



Read two books in March, which means I’m still on track with my 2018 reading goal!

Below, I included my reviews of the two books I read in March. TBH, I wouldn’t say I review books as much as I give my initial thoughts after closing it. Anywho, here they are!

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Goodreads rating: 2 stars

9579634Just finished Prince of Thorns and *le sigh* I ended up being disappointed. It was amazing to start. I got an A Clockwork Orange vibe from the brothers. Jorg slotting O so lovely into Alex’s blood spattered boots. I was ready to go on the ride of ultraviolence with this band of deplorable brothers. But as the book went on, this fell away. I got confused and the plot seemed to meander or was unclear. By the time I got to the last 80 pages, after the “climax,” if you can call it that… I was ready to put it down and not pick it back up again. Then the ending, well… I was underwhelmed. #notmyAlex


The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Goodreads rating: 3 stars

This is my original review:

51kXoQwdLlL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_That was a really fun read. The characters were a bit too surface and cliche, but overall I like them. I was disappointed we didn’t get to spend more time with Dandy, but hopefully he’s going to be a bigger part of later books. If not, that will be even more disappointing. The plot became extremely predictable as the book went on and I actually skimmed some of the book because I knew what was going to happen. Boy… Seems I have a lot of negative things to say, but honestly, I liked it. I’m going to read the next one. To the library! πŸ˜›


Beta Reading:

Wasn’t able to beta read in March. I have volunteered to beta for someone as soon as they’re ready. She contacted me last week and says she won’t be ready for another couple of weeks.


I feel like I really fell down on this in March. It was a rough month with all the changes at work. I didn’t get a whole lot read, written, or discovered. I’ll try to do better in April. πŸ™‚


Well… I think that does it. Some ups and downs, but all in all an OK month! At least writing got done, even if it wasn’t a lot of it.
How was your March?

General · writing

In lieu of a weekly update…

I got some writing done last week, but there’s nothing more than that to report. And since I didn’t want to go without posting, because I like to share with you all and get your feedback and stuff, I thought I’d do something a little different.

Here’s an aesthetic I made for my main character, Henry Roy. He’s a bit of neat freak, but mostly because his mom is a borderline hoarder and he can’t stand it. Which is probably why he prefers to spend so much time outdoors doing things like fly fishing, bird watching, and snowmobiling.


*These are not my photos. They were all found through Pinterest.

I can’t wait until the release of From Stars, Come Dragons. For Henry to share his story with you all. πŸ™‚

Hopefully I have more to share next week.

Take care, everybody!

General · writing

Writing & Goals: Weekly Update

Seriously considered skipping this update. I was so unproductive last week.

Please, someone, make me do things!

I blame the weather. It was spring for a couple days. We even went disc golfing, it was so nice. Then… winter came back. We got several inches of snow and it killed my motivation to do anything. Winter needs to end. I want to start my spring routines. I want to be able to make plans and not have to account for the possibility of snow.


So, not sure how much writing I’ll get done this week. I have Good Friday off of work and we’re spending the weekend with family. If the weather’s nice, we’ll go disc golfing. There are some great courses in our hometown.


Those are the plans, as long as it doesn’t snow. Do you have plans for the holiday/weekend?


Writing & Goals: Weekly Update

Last week wasn’t all that productive, but the weekend was.

I ended up taking a break from book 2 of The Seven Stars series. I was too blocked. I worked on another WIP for a few days and ended up tearing it apart and making it something different that I like a lot better. LOL It’s called The Leech Queen and went from being a portal fantasy to straight up high fantasy. I love it, but I’ll have to come back to it, because Saturday I had an idea for fixing TSS book 2.

Aaaaand I’m scrapping it and starting over… Again.

But here’s the difference, I can actually SEE the scenes. Before, I was trying to make the scenes happen without being able to see them. That just doesn’t work. How can you describe something you can’t see or write what the character’s thinking if they aren’t thinking it?

Saturday and Sunday night, I was up until 2 am plotting and outlining. I’ve never done this before. Not in this much detail. But I couldn’t let myself get 20K words into another draft of this book just to stall out and have to start over again.

I’m so excited though. My work over the weekend resulted in a 45 chapter outline. It’s so detailed! I can see the whole story! I’m still coming up with questions to handle possible plot holes, but they’re filling in nicely.

With this new direction, my goal this week is to write, write, write, write, write. No limits. Just get as much down as I can to make up for lost time.

And we’re off!


Book tags · Reading

Reading Habits Book Tag

I found this tag on Reading with Jessica’s blog. Make sure to head over and check out Jessica’s answers!


1) Bookmarks or random piece of paper?

I have 4 of these bookmarks. I flipping love them.


2) Stop reading randomly or after a chapter/certain amount of pages?

I think my bookmark answered this for me… lol I don’t have a goal in mind when I start reading. I just read as much as I can, when I can. Though I’d love to always be able to finish the chapter, it’s not always possible.

3) Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Usually in bed. Sometimes in the living room with my feet up.

4) Do you eat or drink while reading?

I always have water with me, no matter what I’m doing. But I don’t need anything while I read.

5) Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

I don’t prefer it, but I can read with these things going on in the background. My husband is usually watching something while I read next to him πŸ™‚

6) One book at a time or several?

I should be a one at a time reader, but I’ve started a lot of books lately without finishing any first. Not sure what’s going on there.

7) Reading at home or everywhere?

I read when and where I can, but most of my reading is done at home.

8) Reading out loud or silently?

Silently. But my husband and I have wanted to read a book together, reading it out loud. Just haven’t gotten around to it.


9) Do you read ahead or even skip pages?QOS

I’ve done this once. With Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. It was really dragging for me and I scanned ahead to try to find a place where I could get back into it, but it didn’t happened. Ended up DNFing. Sad 😦




10) Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I try my best to keep my books looking new, but I don’t freak out if the binding breaks.

11) Do you write in your books?

Not fiction, but I write in text books and technical books all the time.

12) Who do you tag?

If I tag you and you’ve done this tag before, please put a link to your post in the comments for everyone to follow!

Rachel @ Island Girl Reads

Phannie @ Phannie the ginger bookworm

Danielle @ The Introverted Booknerd

And anyone reading this post! Please feel free to post a link to your tag in the comments when you’ve finished!