General · writing

A new brand of writer’s block

Recently, I discovered that I have absolutely no idea how to share my writing journey.

My husband says my posts are great. No one else has complained about them, but I’m not happy with them. For example, my monthly updates are copy, paste, replace old info with new info, repeat. I think the structure of the post is good, but I’m not happy with the content. With how limited my expression of my journey is.

The problem is, I can’t say too much about what I’m working on, because, in the past, telling too much about something I haven’t finished writing has killed those projects. I’m scared to death to lose the passion for what I’m writing, that when I sit down to share my progress, I freeze up.

Now, I know I don’t need to share my writing progress on my blog. I could just write in a journal or something that no one sees, but making it public keeps me honest. For example, if I’m in a writing slump or have been too busy or just haven’t written in awhile, because I’d rather be doing other things, I can easily ignore a my private journal. It can sit on my desk, gathering dust and be forgotten without consequence. That isn’t true when I start making public statements of my goals and progress. Doing this motivates me.

Also, I crave conversation. I can’t wait until this process becomes a dialogue. I want to have a back and forth in the comments so badly. xD I don’t only want to share what I’m doing, I want to hear how your writing is going. How what you read inspired your writing. What you’re struggling with and how you’re getting through it. Celebrate your accomplishments. I think that will be so much fun!

So, how do I do this? How do I talk about my writing progress without killing it?

I don’t know, honestly.

You know, I told myself I wasn’t going to make this post and just write a writing update post in an effort to fix this issue. Yet, here I am. Avoiding the issue by talking about it. *le sigh*

Oh, well. I’m going to post this. Get it out of my head. Then, maybe I can move on.

This is a strange kind of writer’s block.

How about you? Do you have trouble sharing about your writing? Are there certain things you leave out when you do share? Why do you leave out some things and not others? Let me know in the comments!

And take care!

Ann Marie Swaim icon

Book tags

Book Tag Tuesday – Inside Out Tag

BookTag

This tag is short and sweet! Everyone should do it! 🙂

The original tag is from Kristina Horner’s YouTube channel, but I found it on Sarah’s @ BookHookedNook Check them out!

Joy: Which book brings you the most joy?

I hugged this book before I set it down every time I finished reading for the day. It was such a beautiful story and it doesn’t hurt that this was a gift from my husband. ♥

Disgust: Which book grossed you out the most?

Need I say more…

Fear: The book that scared you more than anything?

I’m not easily scared by book anymore, but when I read this when I was about 12 years old and babysat a lot… It was scary as hell xD

Sadness: Which book made you cry the hardest?

CrookedKingdom

I won’t say why, because spoilers… But my heart broke so hard!

Anger: Which book pissed you off? 

This book… I hated this book so much by the time I finished it. Everything about Celeana pissed me off. And there were just so many things that happened that felt cheap or like a deus ex machina or done just to keep things interesting. Having said this, I’ve read a lot more of SJM’s books and love them. Especially, her ACOTAR series. IDK. Maybe I should give this another chance. LOL

I tag

Krystin @ Here’s the Fucking Twist

Vanessa @ Through Prose Tinted Pages

Amanda @ Peaks and Pages

And anyone else reading this post!

Take care!

Ann Marie Swaim icon

 

 

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

writing

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

writing

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. 🙂

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 🙂

2018-book-challenge-1.png

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 😛 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 😛
    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? 🙂

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 🙂

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 😛

Take care!

🙂

General · writing

Writing and Goals: Weekly Update

WELP! This is fantastic…
So, I’ve been going in circles with this MS, book 2 of The Seven Stars Series, and I think I finally figured out why.
There was a GIANT plot hole. Like, EPIC. The question, vaguely, was “How does this character know this thing?” And I couldn’t answer the question without breaking everything.
I think, THINK, knock on freaking wood, I finally worked through it.
The problem now? I have to scrap the last 8K words and find a new path to the ending. Or possibly a new ending entirely.
The upside? It didn’t break book 1. From Stars, Come Dragons lives to fight another day!

 

Always working toward that word count goal, but a lot of those words, this week, are going into outlining.

Still waiting on editor feedback for FSCD. Nothing to report there.

I started beta reading another author’s manuscript. I’m a little over 30% done.

Father-in-law is still in the hospital, recovering. Things are looking up.

Time to get back to work! Have a great week!

General · Music

Music playlist for From Stars, Come Dragons

Well, my day, week, month… You name it, was made today. A super awesome Twitter friend, Avery Ames, (<– Click it!) offered, in a Tweet to make a playlist for the first two people to reply to her offer. I missed the window for the first and second slot, but Avery was kind enough to extend the offer and make a list for From Stars, Come Dragons.

After giving a little information about the book and the characters, and just a few days, Avery sent me this YouTube playlist:

Here’s the Spotify playlist if you prefer:

Now, Avery made this list for my character Libby, who I described like this: She’s summer when it’s always winter. Has a smile you can’t refuse.

From that, Avery made the list of upbeat songs focusing on joy and encouragement. What Avery didn’t know, was how well many of these songs captured the whole book.

Now, From Stars, Come Dragons is not an upbeat book. It’s not depressing or anything either, it’s just very much… life. Ups and downs and how the character’s deal with them.

I’m Good by The Mowgli’s was the one that punched me in the gut. I had never heard this song before. And HOLY CRAP! The lyrics capture FSCD so well. Henry, Gary, Libby, Karen, and Elsie are all doing their best to be good, to live life like they should, but more often than not, this is just the lie they tell themselves to keep moving.

Thank you, Avery Ames. You made me smile and cry all at once and I ❤ you so much for it!

Literally, me with this playlist

 

General · Reading

2018 Book Challenge

Thanks to Ashleigh Bekkah, I’m going to give this 2018 Book Challenge a try!

Also, you can check out Vicki’s original post about this reading challenge here!

2018-book-challenge-1.png

I’ve only read 3 books this year. Here’s what I’ve have, so far!

  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
  5. A book borrowed from your local library
  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 😛
    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
  12. A book written in the decade you were born

I have my work cut out for me, but I think this will make choosing my reads fun. Plus, since I don’t necessarily own a book to fit every item on the list, this gives me a good excuse to go the library more often 🙂

To keep up, I’ll post an update whenever I finish a book on this list. If nothing else, I’ll add it to my monthly update post!

So, how ’bout you? What are you reading this year?