Monthly Updates · writing

Writing: Monthly update for April

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

Querying:

Things happened. Not going to go into detail today, but I am no longer going to be publishing with Fyre and Brimstone. So, I’m taking From Stars, Come Dragons back on the road! I submitted it to 2 agents and 2 publishers. Have already been rejected by one agent. Onward!

Current WIPs:

From Stars, Come Dragons – Submitting again.

 

TDB – I really need to get a proper working title for this thing. If you don’t remember, this is my epic fantasy novel. I made some great progress on this in April. I wrote several thousand words and am currently over 21K. I’m not worrying about getting this done too quickly. I’m a pretty impatient person and the fact I’m not anxious about getting this done is a weird and good thing. So, I’m embracing it.

Short Stories:

April was the beginning of my short story journey! Why? Because I want to put something out there. I feel awful that I’d hyped the publication of my novel and have had to go back on that. This is my way of making up for it, and to hopefully get some feedback to improve my writing. Seriously, when I post my first short, Under the Amethyst Sky on May 15th, please please please give me your honest opinions. It’s the only way for me to improve and I so badly want to.

These shorts are not going to be professionally edited. I can’t afford that, but they will have gone through several revisions and at least two critiques. One with my husband and another with my critique partner, Lindsay. This should give you a polished product that will be fun to read!

So, for the shorts I’m actually working on…

Under the Amethyst Sky – Will probably do another revision before releasing on May 15th. If you didn’t see already, here’s the cover!Under the Amethyst Sky

I doctored, slightly, a free image I found on Canva.com and used the Canva tools to add the text. Great site! Highly recommend!

Short Story 2 (for release on June 15th) – No title for this one yet, but I have started writing it! Another fantasy. TBH, most, if not all, of my stories will be fantasy. It’s my favorite genre. lol This one has witches!

Reading:

Read two books in April, which means I’m still on track with my 2018 reading goal! Though, technically, I finished the second book on May 1. I’m cheating a little including it here. xD

This month I only included my Goodreads review for one of the books I read. I didn’t include the other, because it contains a lot of spoilers. I did link to my Goodreads page and you can find my review there if you wish to read a spoiler review.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads rating: 4 starsACourtofMistandFury

Goodreads profile (If anyone knows how to link directly to a review, could you please tell me? I couldn’t figure it out. Thanks!)

 

 

Dreamer’s Pool (Blackthorn & Grim) by Juliet Marillier

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

DreamersPoolI can’t express how much I loved this book. Sure I figured out the mystery early on, but this book is absolutely about the journey. The characters pulled me in. Grim is one of my favorite characters ever! And I love the bad guy in this. Not the typical baddie. I love this and loved Cybele’s Secret. I’m getting more of her books!!

 

 

 

BLOGS:

I’m still behind on this. May should be better since I’m starting to find a groove with my writing schedule, the changes and added responsibility at my day job, and everyday family activities. Our lives are nuts! Maybe, one day, I’ll let you in on how crazy and abnormal our schedule is, but don’t have the time today. lol

 

Well… I think that does it. Some ups and downs. One down I would have liked to avoid, but all in all an OK month. At least writing got done, and a lot more than I had expected!

How was your April?

Take care!

Ann Marie Swaim icon

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!

Querying:

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.

 

Reading:

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! 😛

 

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.

BLOGS:

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. 🙂

 

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?

Monthly Updates · writing

Writing: Monthly update for February

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

Querying:

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) – Round 2 with my content editor is done! If no other changes are needed, it’s off to line editing. So close to having a release date.

What revisions did I make?

Too much distance in my POV. I had a lot of “I think…” “I feel…” “I look…” Not so great in first person POV. It creates distance between the character and the reader. I read my MS out loud after making these changes, and WOW, it makes a difference.

 

Title coming soon (The Seven Stars #2) – If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I had hit 20K words on this, then hit a giant plot hole that forced me to start over. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to use anything I’d already written, but fortunately, changing the POV and tense of a couple of those chapters, I was able to.

I’m now over 10K words on this WIP again! Hoping I can power through the first draft this month.

 

Reading:

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

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

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Goodreads rating: 3 stars

RedQueen-HC-C.jpgThe middle of this book was 5 stars. It lost one for the slow, unclear beginning and the other for the multiple endings and unnecessary twists.

The big twist I was fine with, but the other twists, the ones that only seemed to exist so the author could avoid a trope or cliche, were frustrating and caused the ending to drag on in an unfocused mess. It felt like I read one complete book and three alternate endings that all led to the same result. I would say more but I’m doing this on my phone and it’s late and I’m sleepy lol

Here’s the thing though, I still enjoyed reading this. I looked forward to reading it every day, up until the last fifty pages. I’m going to try the second book and hope the twists are tamed. We’ll see! 

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads rating: 5 stars (This was a reread and I upped my rating from 4 to 5)

This is my original review:

77493_originalAfter TOG I thought I’d never read another SJM book. I didn’t find many, if any redeeming qualities in it. But I thought, at the library the other day, what the hell. It didn’t cost me anything to be curious. Now I’m glad I picked it up. I’ve been struggling to read this year and this drew me out of my slump. It was entertaining as hell, if absolute trash. And I will read the rest, because she so thoroughly entertained me.

My thoughts after the reread:

This second time, it was even better. I still rolled my eyes a couple of times, but I got so much more out of the characters and plot knowing what was coming.

 

Beta Reading:

I read for CK Page last month and provided him with feedback on the third installment of his series Love, Death, & The After. Check out him and his books!

BLOGS:

So, I’ve gotten pretty good at this! Making it part of my routine helped a lot. Thursday and Monday now blog days! I write my weekly update on Monday, then read, like and comment, and follow new blogs. On Thursday, I usually write a thoughts blog and visit the blogs I follow. It’s awesome! Here are a couple of the bloggers I’ve been keeping up with!

Ashley Rae @ Thrifty Bibliophile

Bree @ Perpetual Fangirl

 

Well… I think that does it. Some ups and downs, (let’s be honest, mostly ups) but all in all a great month!
How was your February?

Monthly Updates · writing

Writing: Monthly Update for January

It’s the first of the month! Time for another writing update!

Querying:

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) – Had a great month with this. I received feedback from my content editor. Not as bad as I expected. I spent two weeks revising and handed my revisions in. This guy is is now back with my content editor and I’m waiting on my next round of feedback!

What revisions did I make?

There were some clarity issues. People in one place suddenly appearing across the room with no indication they had moved. It was a bit disorienting.

No structural changes. But I did add and change some minor world building things to allow for the development of other characters and the direction the series is going.

General clean up! It had been many months since I touched this manuscript. My writing has improved a lot in those months. There were several passages that were clunky. Descriptions that were too shallow or on the nose. Not that I went purple with my prose or anything. That’s not how I write. It just needed beefed up a bit to bring you into the scene better.

Title coming soon (The Seven Stars #2) – The beginning of January, when FSCD landed on my editor’s desk, I dove into book two of this series! I’m having a great time with it. I love where it’s going! As of this morning I’ve already written 16,752 words. It’s coming right along. My goal is to finish the rough draft by the end of February. Though, revising FSCD could push that back. Publishing comes first!

 

Reading:

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

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

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson51kirZzj7BL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

I’m not really sure what to say. A beautiful story told even more beautifully. Yet… I was left feeling off balance. Not bad, necessarily, just… Off. A lot happened in this book for it being a little less than 300 pages and yet, I didn’t feel like anything important was missing. Then came the end and the epilogue, and I just felt like there was so much more could have been told between them.

I suppose my only complaint is the one I should have… I wanted more.

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

81EfKX7fryL

Goodreads rating: 4 stars (I really wish they’d implement at least half stars)

4.9 really, but can’t quite bring myself to round up. This was such a fantastic journey. It was so deliciously dark. I even teared up at one point. The poor children! Truly, I loved this book. Until the last chapter. Not that I didn’t like it at that point. I was just so far on the edge of my seat throughout, I thought for sure the end would push me off. But I just felt like… is that it?

I still highly recommend it! It’s a journey worth going on. The fairytale telling. The characters. OMG the Defaiders! The use of religion… Deep breaths… I don’t know if the author was inspired by it or not, and this story is not this, but the tone, many times, reminded me of the movie The Village. I’d say if you like that movie, you’ll like this book. Just don’t expect the M. Night twist 😉

Ok that’s it. Really liked this book. Probably read it again sometime.

Beta Reading:

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for beta reading in January. I have volunteered to read for one of my beta readers. Should see that soon and read it in February.

BLOGS:

This week I set a new goal to read more blogs! To keep myself honest, I’m also tweeting about the blogs I read. I’m doing pretty well with it so far. Here are the links to the tweets about the blogs I read this week.

S.E. Isaac

Lindsay Newton

 

Well… I think that does it. Some ups and downs, (let’s be honest, mostly ups) but all in all a great month!
How was your January?

Monthly Updates

Writing: Monthly Update for December

It’s the first of the month! Time for another writing update!

Querying:

If you haven’t noticed already, querying went really well in December. I participated in #Pitmad on Twitter on December 7th. FaB liked on my pitches and I submitted my MS per their requirements.

On December 21st, I woke up to an email in my inbox offering me a contract to publish my book: From Stars, Come Dragons.

As you can see, I accepted the offer (after much discussion with my husband and research) and I think it was the absolute right decision. FaB has been amazing. The communication is superb and everyone is extremely nice and helpful. I know I’m in good hands!

Current WIPs:

From Stars, Come Dragons – Currently with content editor. When I get the feedback, I will start revising!

From The Vast – I’m around 3/4 of the way done with this draft. I’m hoping to finish it soon.

 

Reading:

I completed my goal of 24 books this year! I wish I could have read more, but I’m so pleased with how my writing has come along this year, I can’t complain too much. I only finished one book in December, Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier. Loved it! LOVED IT! I’m currently reading An Enchantment of Ravens and loving it too!

I set my 2018 reading goal. It’s the same as 2017, but it’s not the number that matters, it’s the motivation to keep reading. I like seeing those books pile up over the year.

Beta Reading:

In December I beta read a novella for Alison Ingleby. Make sure you check her out here!

Well… I think that does it. Some ups and downs, (let’s be honest, mostly ups) but all in all a great month!
How was your December?