Sunday, February 24, 2019

2019 Writing Goals

I set my goals for this year. I'll admit they're lofty, but I'm using a new format to attain my goals. I have five major goals this year, and each goal has been broken down into five sub-goals that will hopefully help me achieve them. One of my goals is to focus on writing and have a good draft to begin querying in January 2020.

Each of the sub-goals is detailed with exactly what portion of the main goal is to be completed. Along with a targeted completion date and a reward. I'll admit, my rewards are less than stellar and I really had to dig deep for decent rewards.

-> The first sub-goal was to finish reading Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody, and I met that goal early in January. I have since carried the book, which is marked up by a highlighter and pages bookmarked throughout, everywhere with me. I have yet to collect on my reward of a specific bottle of wine that my colleague introduced me to last January while we were on travel in Pittsburgh.

-> The second sub- goal was to outline one of my WIPs, using the Save the Cat beat sheet template, by mid-February. That sub-goal was also met and the reward of a trip to BookPeople has yet to be collected on as well. Looks like I am in need to paying up on those rewards.

-> The third sub-goal is now to rewrite and get a good working draft. This is the goal that I am currently supposed to be working on instead of this blog post. Clearly procrastination is at play here. I've also given myself more time for this one and decided to have it done by July 1st. Initially I had this portion set for mid-March, but then I reminded myself that the goal needs to be attainable and not ridiculous. Seeing as I am also currently studying for a couple of exams for work related certifications, March was not a realistic goal. So I tweaked the timing of this. Once this is completed my reward is going to be a trip to Amy's Ice Cream, which I'm sure I will be in dire need of by July 1st when Austin is hot as hell.

-> My fourth sub-goal is to edit the heck out of this project. And I need to really edit the heck out of it as I go. I hope to have it critiqued chapter by chapter as I work on the rough draft so that this portion will be a tad easier to complete by the end of October. I really want to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year, so I will need to turn my focus elsewhere on November 1st.

-> The fifth and final sub-goal is to write my query letter. I'm pretty sure that is all my brain will have the willpower to deal with come December 1st. And it will most likely take me all of December to squeak out a rough draft of that nightmare of a task. Query letters are not my thing. But, there is a template for creating both a query letter and a log line in Save the Cat! Writes a Novel.

Now to hold myself to these goals and actually collect on those rewards.

What do you writing goals for 2019 look like? 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Time to Focus

I really hate the whole idea that we have to start fresh in the new year, but honestly it's the best time to get my act together. I've been floundering for the last six months. Somehow I managed to get a groove with my work-travel schedule. Now that I'm no longer traveling for work, I've lost that groove and with it all of my good habits.

Like so many others, I've decided to start fresh this year. I told myself in December that enough was enough - it was time to get my act together. Because apparently no longer being on a super tight crazy schedule with travel days and wandering the states leaves me confused on what to do with my time. Go figure. 

So at the end of December I finished getting my bullet journal set for this year. I added my local SCBWI meetings to my calendar, mostly so that I don't forget about them and wind up missing them like I did the entire second half of 2018. I've also added them to the calendar on my phone and my wall calendar. I can't accidentally schedule something else over a meeting as I found myself doing so many times. 

This Saturday was the first meeting of the year. As with nearly every January meeting I've been to, it was packed. Today Tara Dairman gave a presentation on "Banishing Anxiety from the Writing Process." It was an excellent presentation to get the year started on a positive and productive writing adventure. 

As she gave her presentation she continued to return to a slide, which was updated each time, and it made an impression on me. She had written down her writing rules for herself. Such as write slow, or edit as you go, and so on. The first version was written based on her writing before having a published book, the second after when she was writing the sequel, and then the third yet again after perfecting her writing process.  

This got me thinking about my own writing process and how I work now versus how I used to write. I used the time as I wandered Target after the meeting to ponder my own writing process and how it has changed over the years. 

I used to hate outlining. I thought I did better by flying by the seat of my pants. Truth is, I didn't know how to outline properly and stick to it. I tried to, but ended up veering away from the idea real fast. Now I'm an outline before drafting writer. 

I'm a write first, edit later kind of writer. I always have been and don't think I could change this one. Mostly because I lose the momentum of writing and tend to get stuck on chapters trying to get them just right. Also, I don't like to read while I draft. My characters and story tend to melt into whatever book I'm currently reading if I happen to do this. On the flip side, I love to read while I edit. I usually have better ideas of fix an issue in my own work as I'm reading, and I am still able to keep my writing voice mine. 

I'm a fast drafter and a slow editor. Nothing has changed there. I like to draft in the NaNoWriMo fashion and then take my time going chapter by chapter slowly trying to get each chapter just right. However in my early days of writing I tended to do very little (or poor) research and prep leading up to writing a rough draft. This lead to a very frustrating and long editing process. Now, I feel that being better prepared by having a better outline and knowing my characters better, leads to a better rough draft and in turn a much less frustrating time of editing. Mostly because I was no longer trying to figure out the plot after writing the draft. 

I used to be a write every day person. Then again when I started writing I was a married stay-at-home mom. That's no longer the case. I'm now a very happily divorced, single, working mom. I have a job that requires me to work Monday through Friday. My son is in soccer, which requires running him to the field three days a week, in rush hour traffic. My daughter and I do Camp Gladiator together in the evenings, when we're not sitting in a car at the soccer fields watching the little guy run around the field. Needless to say my writing times have diminished greatly. This means I need to be focused and prepared when I sit down to write. I've set aside Sunday as my writing day. It's my day to wash clothes, write, and even read up on the writing process. However, there may still be days that I work on my writing while sitting in my car at the soccer fields. Now I'm the write when I get a chance type of writer. And that's okay, as long as I don't stop entirely.

Go check out the link above to Tara's blog post on this very topic. She goes into much more detail than I do and she gives some great advice. Also, knowing how my own process works makes it a bit easier to plan out my writing time and set writing goals for the year. 

What type of writer are you? 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year - 2018

Happy New Year!!!

I've been MIA for quite a while in the writing world. After started my new job (not new anymore) I wound up losing out on writing time. I'm trying to get myself back to writing and back to the bookish world.

Looking back at my blog I realized that the last actual writing related post was from November 2015. So what have I been doing the past two years? I've been working as a trainer, traveling around the U.S. training people on a web application their company is implementing. It's been fun, exhausting, entertaining, painful, and interesting. I've seen things, done things, and been places I wouldn't have been able to go to otherwise. I've been lucky to be home for my kid's birthdays both years that I have been traveling. This year will mark the final year of our traveling escapades and a new chapter for me professionally.

It's also the year that I plan on getting back to writing. Back to the world of Young Adult books. In the last two years I've become disconnected from the world of young adult reading and writing. I feel like I don't know what the trends are, what the buzz books are, or even what is going on at all. One of my goals this year is to get back to the writing and book world again. I have two WIPs that I want to revise and shape up to send out to agents.

I would also like to participate in NaNoWriMo agains this year. I've been working on an idea in my head for a while, making notes here and there, but not working on it. So my goal is to have both of my WIPs revised enough that I can start submitting them by November 2018. Then I can start working on a new WIP. Fingers crossed I can do it.

My reading goals are a little less crazy that they have been in years past. I tend to be super busy and don't have a lot of time to read. Which causes serious issues. I will start reading a book only to not have time to read it, and then lose interest. And these are books everyone is talking about too. Great books. I just can't get anything read. So this year my goal is to read one book for fun a month and at least three craft books. Anything more than that is the cherry on top for this year.

I also want to blog more. I'm not sure how often yet or what topics I plan to cover, but I do miss blogging. I miss reading blogs and writing them as well. I guess I have a lot of work ahead of me.

One of the ways I've decided to keep track of all of this crazy is by using a bullet journal. One of the young women I work with introduced me to the idea this past year. I've struggled to find the right things to track, how to set up my weekly calendar, and then actually using the thing. I think I have finally found the right combination of pages for me. ways to set and track my goals monthly. Now I just have to commit to using the book daily.

What are your goals and how to you plan to track/keep them? 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cover Reveal: TORN by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same.

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her.

Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him?

But as the Fae Prince begins to close in on Ivy, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself.

Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans…

Don’t miss the first title in the series, WICKED, now just $.99 for a limited time only!


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Author PhotoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout:

#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Cover Reveal: TWIST by Kylie Scott

Twist (Book Two) in the Dive Bar Series by Kylie Scott releases on November 22nd!

About Twist

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot, bearded, bartender extraordinaire, Joe Collins, only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, friendly, and pretty much everything he's been looking for in a woman. And in no time at all they're emailing up a storm, telling each other their deepest darkest secrets...apart from the one that really matters.

And when it comes to love, serving it straight up works better than with a twist.

From Kylie Scott, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Stage Dive series, comes a fresh, hilarious, and sexy new series. Welcome to Dive Bar, where the tattoed bartenders keep the drinks - and romance - flowing with a perfect cocktail of heartbreak, humor, and sweet, sexy romance.

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Are you ready to get Dirty? Dirty is Book One in Kylie Scott's Dive Bar Series releasing April 19th!
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About Kylie

Kylie is a long time fan of erotic love stories and B-grade horror films. She demands a happy ending and if blood and carnage occur along the way then all the better. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and one delightful husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Kylie is represented by Amy Tannenbaum at the Jane Rotrosen Agency, New York.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Cover Reveal: INFLICT (Muse #2) by Cora Carmack

Yay! It's cover reveal time for Inflict by Cora Carmack. And not only is Inflict getting a cover reveal, but the first book in the Muse Series, Inspire, also is also getting a re-cover reveal.

About Inspire

Kalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too.

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About Inflict

Wilder Bell made a dangerous bargain...

For a chance at love, he gave up his life.

History knew Kalliope as an ancient Greek muse, but to Wilder, she was simply the woman he wanted to fall asleep with every night and wake up next to every morning. He made a deal with Hades, but the only thing the Lord of the Underworld deals in is death. Now Wilder is wasting away in a cold and wretched afterlife, waiting for Kalli to come for him. She will come. He has to believe that. Because the alternative is worse than death.

Kalliope lived her entire existence knowing that she was both a blessing and a curse to anyone she encountered. Wilder was no different. She loved him, and she got him killed. Now to get him back, she’ll have to face a scheming god, a perilous task, and death itself. But before it’s done, the Underworld will take more from her than she ever thought possible.

To be made whole, all must first be lost.

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About Cora Carmack

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

NaNo 2015 - Week 1 Check-In

Originally I wanted to do regular writing craft related posts for November. After a tiny bit of though, I changed my mind. There was no way I was going to get away with writing 50K words and four blog posts. So, I decided to do weekly updates.

Week one started with a bang on the first. I wrote well over 2k, but didn't write down the number. I thought I could recall the exact word count by day on the NaNo website. I was wrong. Good thing I either posted my daily word counts to Facebook or on a sticky note.

Here's my week one breakdown by day.

Day 1: 2,670
Day 2: 3,778
Day 3: 2,581
Day 4: 1,134
Day 5: 2,331
Day 6: 2,461
Day 7: 3,959

Week 1 Total Words Written: 18,914

The words came fast and the story is taking shape. I'm getting to know the characters and their world. It's fun and exciting. Of course, once I'm finished and do a read through I'll probably be saying it's a total piece of junk. Until I set it aside for a little bit and then polish it. 

So I did really good for week one. Which I made a huge push on. Mainly because starting in week two, things get crazy around here and my writing time slashes drastically. In fact, day 8 didn't see a single word, but that's for next week's recap.

And hopefully, I will have some NaNo related links to add in to that post. I wanted to do that this week, but I got way behind and completely forgot to write this recap in time for an early Monday morning post. So it's a late Monday evening post, written on the fly.

If you're doing NaNo, how did you do on week one? (Don't compare to my week one, it's a fluke! I swear the daily word count is dropping.)