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

I got quite a bit done last week!

  1. I wrote and revised my short story to be released May 15th and am waiting on feedback from my critique partner, Lindsay.
  2. That’s right! I have a critique partner! Lindsay and I met via Twitter the beginning of this year. She’s been super supportive and she writes fantasy, too and I’m really excited to work with her. 😀
    1. Find Lindsay on Twitter and her website!
  3. I have a name for my first short story. I’ll announce it with the cover reveal on Wednesday this week! I can’t wait to show you guys!!
  4. Finally, I wrote ~3K words on TDB, my current novel WIP. I’m now over 21K for total word count!

On a scale of Not to Awesome, last week was

Hmm… That scale is a bit ambiguous. lol Oh, well.

Oh! And we went to the zoo! The baby giraffes played so hard. They were running all over. And, wow, are they light on their feet for such large, gangly animals.

Hope you all had a great week! And if not, I wish a better week to come ♥

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!

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!

🙂

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?

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

 

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?

General · writing

Writing and Goals: An even minier update?

Well, I thought things would get back to normal after my son got over Influenza A, but nothing is ever that easy, is it?

Poor kid had one good day last week, then came down with the stomach flu. 😦

Fortunately, he’s come out on the other side a little tired, but functional. Ready for life to be normal again. And so am I!

It was not at all a normal week for anyone in our house, and sickness wasn’t the only reason, but I digress. And because of the abnormalities, I didn’t get any new writing done for the second week in a row.

BUT…

I did get my revision of FROM STARS, COME DRAGONS done and turned into my content editor last night. ON SCHEDULE!

Now that I’m waiting for new feedback, I can start writing again. Our lives are still a bit uprooted and we’re trying to find new footing, but I’m shooting for the moon with my goal this week to try to get myself back on track!

My word count goal this week (always available in the What’s the buzz? widget in the sidebar) is 8K words.

Image result for wish me luck gif

And writing isn’t the only goal I have this week. I would also like to read more. And not just books. I’d really like to read more blogs. I follow so many now and I haven’t had the time to read any. And, to be honest, reading them kind of intimidates me. I can’t tell you why. I know it’s weird, but it’s true.

So, this week, I’m going to set another goal. I’m going to try to read one blog post everyday. And when I finish reading one, I’ll tweet about it! Keep me honest 😉

What are your goals this week?