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Archive for April, 2014

Writing Wednesday: Simplifying

It’s been a dreary, rainy week so far. But, I’ve been getting stuff done. And yet, I feel like I’m not getting much of anything done. Which could be because I’m spreading myself out between so many projects. I had added the sequel* to Duty to Protect as well as the sequel* to Stained Snow to my list to start working on. Didn’t feel like too much of a problem, but still I felt stretched out between everything. And keep thinking I could get more done if I focus on one or two things at a time. I’ve tried doing this before, and usually end up going back to too many things at once. But, for May, I’m going to attempt it again. I did read through 25% of Healing the Heart(DtP sequel) & just about finished with back stories for Adam’s Story(untitled Stained Snow sequel). I’m going to finish that last back story before I set it aside. The way I reworked my schedule/deadlines, it looks like I’ll be working on that for NaNo, although that might change. Once I send one out to CP, beta readers, etc., I’ll move on to the next. And probably end up juggling a couple. And of course, I may end up changing the schedule again by June. I really need to switch to a digital calendar and save on white out. 😉

It’s Wednesday which means WiPPet time! Another one from Flames of Redemption this week. 1 paragraph(10 sentences = 30-4-2-14) from Chapter 3.

Adrian Riley pushed back from his desk as he finished up his report on the case he had just closed. It was sent off to the captain, so there wasn’t much else to do. He did have paperwork to catch up on. But, it wasn’t what he thought about when he leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. No, the only image that came to mind was that woman leaning over the fence to pet a dog. He didn’t know what had made him run through that neighborhood with Oscar. He thought he’d wanted to change things up. Then, he’d seen her. He shook away that thought, irritated at his romanticism of something that meant nothing. He didn’t even know who she was and would probably never see her again.

On to my progress for the week! Then, my evaluation of April and onto May goals. It is the end of the month after all.

  • Flames of Redemption – another read through – 40% through this. My focus will be on this until I get Stained Snow back from my CP.
  • The Choice – 1st round of revisions – got through 15/22.5 chapters(the .5 being an epilogue). Setting this aside until I get Flames of Redemption sent off to CP(looking like sometime in June).
  • Short Story – finish(I hope) – or not. Didn’t work on this Monday and only 82 words yesterday. I don’t know when I’ll finish it, but I know I’m close to the end. I’m thinking of starting to share it here for my Friday Fiction posts. Maybe a scene at a time.
  • Read – Solving For Ex(LeighAnn Kopans) & Dark Lover(J.R. Ward) – finished Solving for Ex yesterday. Loved it. Haven’t started Dark Lover yet, but probably today.
  • Crochet – Hello Kitty Hat – almost finished with this. Have to sew eyes, nose, ears, & bow to hat then do whiskers and the braids for the earflaps. Hoping to finish it today.

As for April’s goals:

Writing:

  • Slow Revenge: Publish
  • Stained Snow: Finish rewrite
  • Short Story: Write
  • Flames of Redemption: Revisions

Reading:

  • Listen to 1 audio book finished listening to Ignite Me(Tahereh Mafi) and started listening to Erased(Jennifer Rush). I like doing this while I’m doing housework.
  • Read 12 fiction books – only 11, although Riding Desire should count as more than 1, I think. There were 14 stories of varying lengths.
  • Read 1 craft/research book

Crafting:

  • Knit 2 projects(Snuggly Chatterbox Hat & Imp Cloth)
  • Crochet 2 projects(Crochet Puppy Hat & Hello Kitty Hat) very close.

April was still a pretty good month, even if I didn’t get everything done. Now, onto May:

Writing:

  • Stained Snow: Revise/send to beta readers
  • Flames of Redemption: Finish second round of revisions
  • Short Story: Finish

Reading:

  • Listen to 1 audio book
  • Read 12 fiction books
  • Read 1 craft/research book

Crafting:

  • Knit 2 projects(to be decided)
  • Crochet 2 projects(to be decided)

And since I’m trying to simplify, some new goals for the rest of the week:

  • Flames of Redemption: Finish read through. Start revisions if I can.
  • Short Story: add words
  • Read: Dark Lover
  • Crochet: Finish Hello Kitty Hat

Sunday Summary: Finishing

Again I’m writing my Sunday post on Saturday. This time because 1) I’ve gotten everything else done for the week, and 2) Tonight is the fire department’s awards banquet. So, we’ll be at that all night, and I imagine tomorrow I may be nursing a slight hangover(it only takes me 2-3 drinks to get drunk, so this doesn’t take much). So, I may not feel like doing much tomorrow.

This has been a very good week. My goal this month(and really this round) has been to finish things. Or at least get them closer to finished. Toward that, this week has been a success.

  • Duty to Protect(formerly Slow Revenge): Publish – Available on Amazon, BN, Kobo, and iBooks
  • Flames of Redemption: Finish revisions finished these Thursday night. Sent the new draft to my kindle so I can do another read through then I’ll do another round of revisions, making sure all the scenes mesh and fit. Then, probably one more to fix my grammar/style issues before I send it off to my CP.
  • The Choice: Read through – Finished this on Thursday as well. Some news scenes to add, fleshing it out. Then it will probably go through two more rounds before sending it off as well.
  • Short Story: 1/2 hour a day – didn’t work on this Monday or Tuesday. Did get time in on it Wednesday-Friday though. I wrote 899 words on it. It’s sitting at 8888 words(I find that massively funny). I only have a few more scenes to go before I think I can end it. Still not sure what I’m going to do with it once it’s done. Thinking of either putting it up on a page here, or posting in installments for my Fiction Friday posts.
  • Read: Riding Desire set – Done. While Nice Girls Don’t Ride is still my favorite out of them, there were a few others I really enjoyed and have found a few new authors to check out
  • Knit: Imp cloth Finished this Thursday too. Must be something about that day. 🙂

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  • Started working on the Hello Kitty hat. I have the body & earflaps finished now. just have to do the face, ears, bow, and braids. Might still have it done by the end of the month.

For next week, I want to:

  • Flames of Redemption – another read through
  • The Choice – 1st round of revisions
  • Short Story – finish(I hope)
  • Read – Solving For Ex(LeighAnn Kopans) & Dark Lover(J.R. Ward)
  • Crochet – Hello Kitty Hat

Fiction Friday: Duty to Protect Playlist

I actually have 460 songs on my playlist for this novel, so I won’t be sharing all of them. 😉 Really it’s more of a master playlist for the series, but I’ve been starting separate ones for the others in the series.

I tend to listen to a wide range of music while I’m writing. While my tasted tend to fall toward country for my regular listening, when I’m writing I listen to whatever fits the story. I still don’t think I have any rap on any of the playlists. Or classical(for personal reasons, I just don’t listen to that). For my westerns, my playlist has a lot of Marty Robbins, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Dirty River Boys and similar. Flames of Redemption has soundtracks from Backdraft, Ladder 49, and REscue Me, among other music.

The playlist for Duty to Protect(and the others in the series) had Lifehouse, Breaking Benjamin, Daughtry, Seether, and like I said, pretty much whatever I felt fit the story.

Falling In by Lifehouse

This fits how both Garren and Lisa felt as they were getting to know each other and afraid of falling in love.

All These Lives by Daughtry

Makes me think of how Garren’s family was feeling when Connie went missing.

Start of Something Good by Daughtry

Another one for when Garren and Lisa were getting to know each other.

We’re Not Gonna Fall by Daughtry

Garren insists at one point that he can’t do relationships. That he just ruins them. I can imagine Lisa saying exactly this to him(and she pretty much does in her way).

Without You by Three Days Grace

Garren realized this is how he felt after he pushed Lisa away and almost lost her.

Without You by Breaking Benjamin

This one fits the final scene(and that’s all I’m saying about that. You’ll just have to read it ;))

It Only Hurts by Default

This one makes me think of Garren’s battle with alcohol.

Keep It Together by Puddle of Mudd

“And you know that I would take a bullet just to save your life.” – This is Garren all the way.

Better Man by Lady Antebellum(seriously surprised this is the only country song on the whole playlist)

Bonus:

This one doesn’t necessary have any connection to the story, but I found myself going back and repeating it whenever it would come on. Not sure why I liked it so much.

Forget It by Breaking Benjamin

 

Duty to Protect is available at Amazon, BN, and Kobo.

Writing Wednesday: Into the Wild

Duty to Protect is now out in the wild. Okay, maybe not the wild, but still. 🙂 Needless to say yesterday involved a bit of bouncing around, checking on the status(more on that below), and obsessing. Yes, I’m good at that part. Not much else going on here. It’s cold again after being 75 on Monday. It’s supposed to warm up again tomorrow then settle in the 50s.

Still working through revisions on Flames of Redemption, so I’ll be sharing another snippet from that today for my WiPPet. Today’s picks up right where I left off last week. 27 sentences(4+23).

Kayla had only taken a step when she stopped again. She wasn’t sure what had stopped her until she focused on what she’d seen from the corner of her eye. A man just standing on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. He didn’t look much older than her, his dark hair free from a hat. He had a stocky build and was only wearing a long-sleeve shirt and track pants. And he was staring right at her, even though a dog, what looked like a border collie, pulled on the leash. Sunglasses covered his eyes, but his face looked like what she imagined his body did under the clothes: hard and toned. He wasn’t just out with a walk with his dog. She imagined he ran almost every day and kept himself in shape. There was something else about him, but she wasn’t sure what.
She wouldn’t dwell on it. She had to get to work. And she’d promised herself three years ago that she was done with intense men. She didn’t need more than one look, or to even see his eyes, to know he would be.
She strolled into the station a few minutes later. One of the men glanced up at her, his eyes narrowing. “’Bout time you showed up, Brooke.”
She refused to even look at him. “Shove it, Young,” she said, glancing at the clock as she passed him. “I’m a minute early for shift.”
“Run out of time baking cookies before you came?”
Now, she did turn to him. “Seriously, Young, what is your problem with me? I’ve been doing the job longer than you’ve been with this department. I don’t think I’ve baked cookies more than once in my life.” She muttered the last and saw a few smirks around the table of men.
“Doesn’t mean you belong here.”

Oh, (Mark) Young is such a jerk. Or is he? I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say he redeems himself before the end of the story(and no, him and Kayla are never an item).

  • Duty to Protect(formerly Slow Revenge): Publish – DONE! I hit publish on Tuesday morning and by lunchtime it was available at Amazon. By the time I got the girl off the school bus, it was up at B&N(which from some of what I’ve heard, that’s pretty quick). And a little later on Kobo. Still waiting on iBooks. I, uh, may have had some trouble focusing on much else yesterday.
  • Flames of Redemption: Finish revisions – getting there. I adjusted the goal, so i’m doing 3 chapters a day. Today’s went pretty quick, so I may still end up finishing this week. But, as long as I get this round of revisions(since I think I’ll do one more before I send it to CP) by the end of the month, I’ll be happy.
  • The Choice: Read through – 60% through this. Focusing on the big picture things right now. After I do this, I’ll go back through for scene level changes. Then probably another for more of the details.
  • Short Story: 1/2 hour a day – haven’t worked on this at all this week. Not too worried about that.
  • Read: Riding Desire set – still working my way through this. Haven’t read any I liked as much as Nice Girls Don’t Ride.
  • Knit: Imp cloth – Started this yesterday. About halfway through it now.

Monday Mentions: Self-abuse, Reading, Profanity, & Slush Piles

I skipped Monday Mentions last week since I was revealing my cover. So, I’ve gathered a few blog posts in the last 2 weeks(and 1 of them just today).

First is this post by Kerry Schafer about the things we say to ourselves that would seem abusive from anyone else. I do this way too much. In fact the quotes at the beginning of the article, yeah, pretty sure I’ve said every single one. I’ve said it before: I’m harder on myself than anyone else could ever be. Certainly harder on myself than I would be on anyone else. It’s not right, or good, but I do it. And it’s something I need to work on.

And this post on reading from Elizabeth Spann Craig. Someone else who reads like me! I always have people saying how they’re surprised I read so much and want to know my secret. I don’t really have one, except maybe my obsessive personality. I have to actually set limits on myself. “I’ll read when I finish doing this thing(usually writing)” or I’ll keep reading until I’m finished. Now, that I have a kindle(for 16 months now actually), I get even more reading done. Because I find it easier to take it in the car or down to wait for my daughter’s bus(as long as it isn’t raining or snowing). Even when it’s cold, I can “flip” the pages on it easier than I can a book. Although sometimes I still try to actually flip it over to turn the page. Yeah, old habits die hard. 🙂

Then, there was this post from Chuck Wendig on pushing past the bullshit and finishing a novel. Beware: lots of profanity(doesn’t bother me, but might other readers). I write more than 350 words a day, but the point is no matter your goal, you have to do what you can to meet it. And if you don’t meet it one day, it doesn’t mean you can’t the next(and even make up the ones you’d missed).

Speaking of profanity, Elizabeth Anne Mitchell had this interesting post on the History of Profanity. I’m a bit of a history and word geek(I think I hear some people laughing). Since I’ve been working on some westerns lately, I’ve been looking up the origins of quite a few words to make sure they’re time-appropriate. And don’t find this tedious at all. 🙂

And lastly, today Ava Jae posted about some common issues in the slush pile. Informative post with some good tips.

Sunday Summary: Happy Easter

I’m actually writing this post on Saturday because 1.) tomorrow=Easter, which means I won’t have as much time to get to it. and 2.) I’m actually way ahead on my goals for the week. Which is actually a surprise since the girl has been on Easter break since Thursday. She doesn’t go back until Tuesday, and I figured I’d get a lot less done. Especially since the weather turned nice again, so we’ve been spending a lot of time outside. Friday I even took down the frame for our canopy. Last fall, we didn’t take the tarp down(which was our fix to the canvas that had ripped the year before). The first time it snowed, it was too heavy for the poles of the frame. Bent them so bad, it couldn’t really be fixed. It was more of an ordeal to take it apart than I thought it would be. The nuts and bolts were extremely rusted, which made it hard to turn most of them. Plus, they were up above me, which was a little hard on the shoulders. But, I got it done, so it’s now just a pile of scrap.

 

  • Slow Revenge: Format – had this finished before Wednesday
  • Stained Snow: Send second half to CP – done
  • Flames of Redemption: Work out revision plan & start revisions – I’ve made it through chapter 10/29. And part way through chapter 11. Added 2 more scenes to the plan, so have to write them before I move on to Chapter 12. Have added over 5000 words so far.
  • Short Story: add words every day – done. I’ve worked on this for 1/2 hour a day. Added 1866 words to it. It’s at almost 8k, but I think another few scenes and it will be finished.
  • Read: Sins of the Lost & A Most Devilish Rogue(Ashlyn Macnamara) – Done & done. Loved both, for different reasons. Also read Once Upon an Heirloom(Kait Nolan) – very sweet story. And started the Riding Desire box set. I’ve read the first 3(out of 14) stories. Favorite so far was Nice Girls Don’t Ride(Roni Loren). As I posted on twitter after reading it, it was “funny, sweet, and sexy.” I haven’t read anything of hers I haven’t loved.
  • Crochet: Puppy Hat – finished this on Friday. Turned out pretty cute, although the face looks a little off center.

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I also sent my contemporary romance, The Choice, to my kindle so I can do a read through and make up my revision plan, since it’s next on the list to work on. I meant to just check the formatting on it before I sent it, and ended up reading over a lot of it on the computer.

It turned out to be a pretty good week even though I didn’t think it would be. Hoping next week will be just as good. Goals for next week:

  • Duty to Protect(formerly Slow Revenge): Publish
  • Flames of Redemption: Finish revisions
  • The Choice: Read through
  • Short Story: 1/2 hour a day
  • Read: Riding Desire set
  • Knit: Imp cloth

Writing Wednesday: Quite a Week

It’s been quite a week already. I was awake around 2 Monday morning. No idea why I woke up so early, but I couldn’t get back to sleep. I was out at the computer a little after three and managed to get quite a few things done before the kids woke up. Tuesday I was up at a more reasonable time(which for me is 4 a.m.). I didn’t get quite as much done then since the kids decided to get up just after 5. But, I did work is shorter spurts during the day. Also, it went from 70s to 30s in a day(and the boy locked me out of the house while I was getting the girl on the bus in the rain). It’s still cold today, but it’s supposed to start warming up and be back in the 60s tomorrow. I was up pretty early again today(around 3) and instantly thinking about the book I just finished reading last night. It utterly destroyed me. Glad I picked a more light-hearted one for my next read.

Anyways, it’s Wednesday so that means RoW80 & WiPPet. It feels like I’m bouncing around a lot on the WiPPets, probably because I am. I finished up my rewrite of Stained Snow last week and started revisions on Flames of Redemption this week. So, that’s the one I’ll be sharing from for the rest of the month. Probably. Maybe the short story I’ve been working on too, if that’s what I have open. Today, I still have Flames of Redemption up, so I’ll be sharing the first 9 paragraphs(4+1+6+2+0+1+4=18=1+8=9) from the new 1st scene of chapter 1.

Kayla Brooke hurried down the steps of her apartment building, buttoning her coat as she went. She stopped with one hand on the door. Her gloves were still in her apartment. Crap. She didn’t have time to run back up and grab them. Not if she was walking. Since the weather was still decent for late November, she didn’t want to pass up the chance at walking. Soon it would be too cold and snowing, and she’d need to drive. For now, she could deal with it. The station was only a few blocks away anyway.
She opened the door then shoved her hands deep into the pockets of her coat. The chill of the air bit at her cheeks, but she just took a deep breath. Around here, they were lucky not to already have one heavy snowfall. So the cold wasn’t too bad. She’d take it.
Kayla kept her pace brisk as she headed down the sidewalk. She didn’t keep her eyes on the sidewalk as she saw others doing. There was too much going on, too much that could happen in a split second. She knew just what could happen in a short amount of time. A family could go to sleep only to wake up to a smoke-filled house. It only took a second for the flames to turn back on those fighting it.
She gave a shudder at the direction her thoughts were going. She tried not to think like that. They had a job to do, and they did it. Most of the time her colleagues and the victims of the fire walked away from it. She hated that those other times hung on her so heavy.
She heard a happy yapping and smiled as she turned her attention to the yard in front of her. This was another reason she liked to walk to work. She leaned over the fence as the dog came running across the yard. “Hey there, Buddy,” she said, holding her hand down to him. He sniffed her hand then tried to get his nose further up his sleeve.
Kayla laughed and ran her hand over his golden head. They’d never had purebred dogs. But, when her and her brother were younger they’d had a mutt that looked a little like Buddy. They’d lost him about the same time she’d joined the fire academy.
“Sorry, I didn’t bring any treats today.”
The dog let out a soft woof then dropped back to the ground. He came back a moment later with a ball in his mouth. She laughed and shook her head. “I don’t really have time to play either.” At the baleful look in his eyes, she sighed. “Fine. Just once.”
She tossed the ball across the yard, waved to the woman who had stepped out onto the porch, then turned away. She knew if she didn’t leave, the dog would have her throwing the ball all day. She was such a sucker.

And for RoW80:

  • Slow Revenge: Format – Done. This was actually a lot easier than I figured. Other than the way scrivener kept trying to set up the chapter titles with Chapter One then right under it “Chapter 1”. Once I got that figured out, everything else looked good.
  • Stained Snow: Send second half to CP – still waiting to hear her thoughts on the last bit I sent her.
  • Flames of Redemption: Work out revision plan & start revisions – Done & started. I’ve made it through the first 4 chapters. My goal is 2 chapters a day with taking Sunday off(unless I have to catch up on this goal). I’m up almost 1400 words so far
  • Short Story: add words every day – Done. I’ve been working on this for half an hour when I finish everything else for the day. Have added 634 so far. As I said on twitter last night:

I’m having fun with this story even though I know what ends up happening. It’s a pivotal moment in the character’s back story and I’ve liked developing it even more.

  • Read: Sins of the Lost & A Most Devilish Rogue(Ashlyn Macnamara) As I said at the beginning, I finished Sins of the Lost last night. And oh my! It destroyed me. Absolutely and totally. And I realize I’ve said this about other books in the past. This one really did. I stared at my computer screen for close to an hour last night, not able to do anything else. And I woke up this morning thinking about it. Not sure I’ll survive the wait for book 4(okay, being dramatic there). I did start reading A Most Devilish Rogue this morning while waiting for the girl’s bus. Only 6% through, but it’s made me laugh a few times already.
  • Crochet: Puppy Hat – I have this started finally. The body of the hat & earflaps are finished. Just have do all the face pieces.

How is your week going? Have you read any books that have completely destroyed you? These seem to be the ones I love the most.

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