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?

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

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?

Announcement

I’m proud to announce I am officially signed with Fyre and Brimstone Publishing! Fyre and Brimstone Publishing Keep an eye out, here and on their website for more information 🙂 Thanks to all of you for your support. And especially to the greatest and most loving husband in all the world for his undying support. Trevor Swaim
http://fyreandbrimstonepublishing.com/