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!

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 · writing

Writing & Goals: A tough update

Well, this is going to be a tough update.

I made some good strides with my writing goal. Ended up with 6K words out of the 8K I was shooting for. Untitled book 2 of The Seven Stars series is now over 18K words total.

I’m still waiting on feedback from my editor on my recent revisions to From Stars, Come Dragons.

It’s a good thing I made some progress last week though, because things are going to be tough for awhile.

This weekend, my father-in-law had a terrible accident, which resulted in him breaking his back and nearly freezing to death. We’re still waiting to hear if he’ll need surgery and are still unsure the full extent of his injuries.

Needless to say, our lives are going to be unpredictable for awhile. This may make goals harder to achieve, but, for my own health, I need to keep moving forward while helping my husband and his parents through this.

I’ve already received many messages from people wishing him the best and we are grateful. Thank you all for your kind support and positive thoughts.

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

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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?

General · writing

Mini update

It’s been a rough week. Our son came down with Influenza A and ended up in the hospital with a 104.1F temperature. There are school things going on and he’s missed three and a half days at this point. My day job has been more demanding than normal. And I haven’t had a full, restful sleep in a week. I’m exhausted.

One thing I was able to celebrate, before all hell broke loose, was finishing the first revision of From Stars, Come Dragons since getting my editor’s feedback! Since then, I’ve started reading it again and making notes for then next revision. After that pass is done, I will send it back for round 2!

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As far as word count goes… Yeah… I failed. 😛 Unless you count the 1K-ish words I wrote while revising.

I Probably won’t get much written this week either, but I’m not changing my goal. I’m going to try. 🙂

And… That’s a wrap!

How was your week? Let me know in comment below!

General · writing

I’m setting a dangerous standard

This will be the second week in a row, and by happenstance coinciding with the weeks of the year, that I’ve done a weekly status update. Normally, I’d limit updates to monthly, but things are happening right along that make weekly updates possible.

What I’m trying to get at is, don’t get too used to this. LOL Not sure how long I can keep this up. ;P

Anywho… Last week was productive, but it didn’t feel that way. It was odd. I surpassed my word count goal for the week with well over 5K words written. YAY! My WIP (Book 2 in The Seven Stars series) is now over 12K words. Which for my first drafts is roughly a quarter finished! But, I don’t know, I felt like I did hardly anything writing-wise. And now I’m going to have to lower my word count goal for a few weeks, because…

I got my first round of feedback for From Stars, Come Dragons from my content editor!

ME:

excited-baby.gif

This, of course, makes revising my first priority. I guess I know what I’m doing tonight (and pretty much every night for the next couple of weeks!)

Remember, you can always check in with the What’s the buzz? widget, in the right sidebar, to see what I’m up to even when I’m not blogging 🙂  And if you have any questions about what I’m up to or what I have coming up in the future, please leave a question (reply) on the Ask Me Anything page and I’ll be happy to answer.

That’s it for now! TTYL

General · writing

Don’t discount cliche advice!

The last month, I’ve been having a blast chatting with a lovely lady on Twitter, Lindsay Newton, (visit her website too!) about our adventures in writing. We met through #Pitmad in December and have kept up sharing our ups and downs with submitting our work to agents and publishers. Today, I was in need of a blog post idea and Lindsay, I think unintentionally, gave me the inspiration for this beast of a post, through a Twitter DM, after asking me a simple question…

[Have you] been down this book road before?

This was my answer (revised and expanded after further reflection.) I hope you find it helpful. 🙂

From Stars, Come Dragons was my first submission of any kind.

I got to the point, after the beta reading phase and MANY more revisions, where I couldn’t work on it anymore without hiring an editor. Since I couldn’t afford to do that, I said, screw it, and started submitting.

The rejections trickled in over the first round of submissions. Then the second. Then the third. And when I couldn’t take anymore, I stopped submitting and tried reworking the plot, the POV, the tense, everything. However, I never finished a rewrite, because as I tried “fixing” it, I kept setting it aside for other WIPs (For a reference point to just how distracted I was, I wrote 3 first drafts and 2 partial first drafts, of different ideas, over the last year.)

Anyway, I was convinced FSCD was broken or bad, because of all the rejections. So, I shelved it for a few months while I finished, revised, and had another WIP beta read. And during that process, one of the beta readers broke me. They gave me the worst feedback ever. Rather than telling me what they thought of my MS, they told me how they would “fix” it. I haven’t touched that manuscript since. BUT… After working on other things and stewing over their feedback for awhile, the subjective nature of the industry hit me. Not long after that, #Pitmad came up and I said, screw it. I’m going for it!

I threw out the rewrite attempts and submitted the original final draft of FSCD and got a like (thanks Tiffany!)

The cliche advice is true. Keep writing, don’t give up, and have confidence in your work and others will, too.

And don’t overlook opportunity just because it doesn’t come with a sign on bonus or a contract with one of the big 5 publishers. I’m extremely grateful for the chance FaB took on me. I’m getting the full publishing experience, editing and all, without having to pay a dime (it still stands that you should do your research. Make sure you know the difference between a small publisher and a vanity press. The money should always flow to the author, not away. If a “publisher” demands payment, RUN AWAY.)

I set several goals for myself when I started taking writing seriously just over two years ago. Publish something, was on that list. I wanted that tangible object to show for all the hard work I was doing. Of course, I could have self-published, but it didn’t interest me, at all. And so I had settled in for the long haul, because Brandon Sanderson, a huge inspiration to me, said it would be about 10 years before I learned enough and honed my craft to the point it was industry ready. And that was on average!

I still have a lot to learn, and room for improvement, but I’m so grateful for Tiffany and Jen at FaB for saying yes to me. Having my novel published is a dream come true. And I can’t wait for the day I hold my book in my hands, crack the spine, and smell the fruits of our labor in the pages and ink.

AMS

General · writing

Getting Organized

My plate was pretty well full when I signed with FaB to publish my book. My phone had a long list of reminders and was pinging me daily about one thing or another. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand a ringing, dinging or pinging phone.

So, I’m ditching it!

Not the whole phone. I need the phone. I’m just getting rid of the digital organization and going back to good ol’ pen and paper.

I’ve always worked better out of a physical planner. Couldn’t have survived school without it. After Trevor and I got married and I wasn’t in school anymore, I stopped using one. It seemed all I needed to remember was go to work, come home, and grocery shop now and again. Then, by the time we had our son, I was out of the habit and didn’t think to pick it back up.

But not anymore. It’s time to drag out the old notebook and pens and start organizing my life!

For one reason, my memory is terrible now. For another, there’s just too much to remember. With my full-time job, Cooper’s school activities, caring for our house and our cars. Keeping the family healthy and happy. The random, unpredictable things that come up and you can’t avoid.  And now the publishing, which is leading to more writing, more socializing, and eventually, things like book events after publishing… There’s just too much. And I can’t forget any of it, if I want to be a successful author and keep my family together. ❤

So, here it is! Introducing my new, old life filing system. Trevor bought this for me last year and I’ve been looking for a good use for it. Now I think I’ve found it! Thanks, Tebs ❤

Journal.jpg