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Archive for June, 2014

Monday Mentions:

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these posts, I think. And this one is pretty late in the day for me. Which is probably part of why I haven’t posted on Mondays. By the time I get to this, it’s later in the afternoon, and then I figure, “what’s the point.” Or I’m lazy in the afternoon. Yeah, it could be that. 😉

Anyway, the first post is from The Story Monger. On when it’s okay for smart characters to do dumb things. I saw the title and wanted to read this because it kind of fits my one character from Flames of Redemption. Kayla is smart. She’s strong and brave, a firefighter. Yet, she does some not very smart things. She doesn’t really think of them as dumb decisions. At least not until she’s in the thick of it. She’s more impulsive than stupid.  And her uncle/mentor points this out to her.

James sighed. “You have this tendency, Kayla, to be reckless. For making decisions without thinking them through first. Do you know what they call a firefighter that makes impulsive, reckless decisions.”
“What?” She asked. Her mouth felt dry, like she had just walked through a fire.
“Dead.”

And this post from L.S. Engler on A Case for Mediocre Fiction. Which sounds really weird, right? But, I’ll be among the first to admit, my stories aren’t a masterpiece. I’m okay with that. I don’t use fancy writing, they aren’t literary works of art. But, I like to tell stories. I like to tell stories about people who may have been damaged but can still find their happy ending. And I hope they entertain people. That’s what I want when I read too. Hopefully a few entertaining hours, or days. But, as most people who know me know, it’s usually the former. I devour books. And those “Literary works of art”, yeah, they usually bore me.

And the last for this week is by Kerry Schafer on The Writer Qualification Checklist. Turns out someone thinks you can’t be attractive and a writer. I, uh, never knew being ugly was a qualification. While I wouldn’t say I’d perfectly qualify, I definitely don’t think I’m automatically disqualified. But, really? Aren’t there more important qualifications here? Like, telling an interest story? Being able to dig deep into the emotions of people who only exist in the imagination? And being able to bring those emotions out in your reader. Honestly, I think that’s more important than how you look.

 

Sunday Summary

No Row80 update for today, since the latest round is over. Of course, if you’ve been following me for very long, you know that doesn’t mean I stop.

My main project this month has been the follow-up to Stained Snow, Stained by Ashes. It’s currently sitting at just over 54,000 words. Over 52,000 of those were written this month. Needless to say, I’ve met my JuNoWriMo goal(actually met it 4 days early).

As for the rest of my goals for June:

Writing:

  • Healing the Heart – read through & 1st round of revisions – ha! no. I finished the read through, but decided to set this aside.
  • Stained by Ashes – 1st draft(this is my JuNoWriMo project) – no. Like I said, I have just over 54k on it, but it’s not even 3/4 through the story. Getting there. I have 13 more scenes planned, but it’s likely there will be more before I’m finished. I thought I’d have 60-65k for this one, like Stained Snow. But, it’s looking like it might be at least 70k. Maybe longer.
  • Flames of Renewal – 24 scenes(this will get me to about 75% according to current plotted scenes). haha. not even 1. Decided to set this one aside too. Planning on picking it up next month for Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • Brian’s Story – Plot Done! Even have a working title for this(which could change on a whim). I probably won’t actually start writing it until at least August though.
  • Rick & Leann’s story – finish- hahaha. no. I’ve been making progress on it. Love fleshing out these two and watch them dance around each other. I have no idea how long this story will be.

I decided part way through the month to concentrate on 3 main projects at a time. Plotting, drafting, and revising. Which is why I set aside the other two. Once I finish 1 in a stage, I’ll probably move another into that slot. This seems to be the way I work best.

Reading:

  • Listen: The Winner’s Curse loved it! Also listened to Daughter of Smoke and Bone & Night of Cake and Puppets(Laini Taylor). Loved both of these. The second had me laughing so much and constantly texting Lauren Garafalo with all my loves for Mik. Currently listening to Days of Blood and Starlight. About 1/3 of the way through.
  • Read 11 fiction books(I’m including re-reading Shadow and Bone & Siege and Storm before Ruin and Rising comes out in this number even though they’re not new reads). 15/11. I finished the ones I had planned for this month and read through 4 of the free ones on my kindle: Selling Scarlett(Ella James), Awakening(Christy Dorrity), Speak Easy(Melanie Harlow), and The Shadow and the Rose(Amanda Dewees). Have added the next book in series to my wish list for 3 of those(and the other 1 isn’t out yet).
  • Read 1 craft/research book(to be decided) – I read 2 research books on the Shoshone.

Crafting:

  • Knit 2 projects(Schooner Hat & Fair Isle Scarf – fail. Never did get the yarn for the hat, and the scarf has been giving me trouble. Thinking about just setting it aside, at least until it cools off.
  • Crochet 2 projects(Easiest Headwrap Ever & Easy Crochet Owl) – 1/2. Finished the headwrap, didn’t start on the owl.

Think I’m going to dig up some patterns using cotton yarn for the rest of the summer. It’s easier to work with when it’s hot(the scarf uses wool-ease, which I don’t really have any desire to touch when it’s 80+ degrees).

Just going by my goals, not a great month. BUT…I wrote over 57,000 words, plotted out a story, made good progress on drafting another, and about 1/3 through revising another. While working on 2 side projects(yes. 2. Haven’t mentioned the second here, which I’m about 2k words into). So, I am happy.

Now, for July’s goals. I’ll be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo again. Planning on using it to finish Stained by Ashes and hopefully getting at least a good way through Flames of Renewal. Also should be getting Flames of Redemption from my CP soon, so there will be that to revise. As soon as I finish The Choice. 🙂

Writing:

  • Stained by Ashes – finish 1st draft
  • Flames of Renewal – I’d like to get to at least the midpoint on this
  • The Choice – finish revisions & polish(maybe even send to CP)
  • Flames of Redemption – revise once back from CP
  • Stained Blood(follow-up to Stained by Ashes/Barrett’s Story) – plot
  • Flames of Retribution – start plotting. Hoping to at least get character back stories written.
  • Rick & Leann – finish

Reading:

  • Listen: Days of Blood & Starlight
  • Read: 10 fiction books
  • Read: at least 1 craft/research book

Crafting:

  • Knit: 3 projects
  • Crochet: 2 projects

Fiction Friday

If you’re just tuning in, you can get caught up on Garren’s story here. If you’re all caught up, or have been following along, here’s the next installment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Garren stepped out of his car and shielded his eyes against the sun. Again he wondered why he’d let himself drink so much. His eyes watered against the glare of the sun, and his head pounded. It was still early so he’d probably be able to find his father in the barns. He wasn’t so sure he wanted to though. He knew his father would recognize the symptoms. He’d had more than one lecture about drinking too much. He really didn’t want another.
Instead, he turned toward the house. He didn’t usually get judgment from his mother.
He stepped into the kitchen, and she turned from the sink. Her smile instantly faded. “Oh, Garren, what did you do?”
“What makes you think I did anything?” He asked, but slumped into a chair at the table.
She didn’t answer him. “Is your head hurting? Did you already take something?”
“It’s fine, Mom. I’m fine,” he said when she came toward him. “I met Kyle, Geoff, and Ginny for a couple drinks last night. I just had one too many. I’m fine. It’ll pass.”
She stepped back, but he could still see the worry on her face. Maybe he should have just gone to see his father. The lecture would have been better than this. He heard heavy steps on the porch and cringed. Never mind. Dealing with his father’s lecture and mother’s worry all at once were the worst possible outcome. He should have just stayed home.
He dropped his forehead into one hand as the door swung open. “Elizabeth,” his father said as soon as he stepped inside, “I saw Garren’s car. Is he-?”
Either she had stopped him, or he had seen Garren sitting at the table because he stopped mid-sentence. The silence that followed was almost smothering. “I hope you didn’t drive in that condition.”
The words sounded hard, but when he looked up, his father’s face was tight with worry. “I’m not drunk, Dad. Just a little hungover. And I was fine last night when I drove home.”
That only made his father’s face pull even tighter. “You shouldn’t drive when you’ve even had one drink. Are you ever going to learn that? Or am I going to have to bury you too?”
Garren sucked in a breath. His grandfather. He’d never met the man because he’d demolished his truck against a brick wall, killing himself in the process, more than a year before Garren was born. “Dad-”
His father stopped him with with a wave of his hand. Then, he ran that same hand over his face. “No. I’m sorry. I really wish you wouldn’t drink so much though, Garren. I really wish you wouldn’t drink at all.”
His stomach twisted and turned. Was his father trying to say he was an alcoholic? No, he couldn’t think that, could he? “I was just having a good time with some friends, Dad. It’s not like I do it all the time.”
“No, just a little too often. What are you going to do if it costs you your job?”
His face blanched at the question. “That’s not gonna happen, Dad. I have it all under control.”
His father was silent for a moment then he turned away. “Is lunch ready, Elizabeth?”
“Almost.” She rested her hand on his shoulder for a moment then turned toward the counter. “I hope you’ll stay too, Garren.”
He cast a look at his father then turned his attention back to her. “Of course. Better than whatever I’d fix.”

RoW80 Wrapup

This has been a pretty good week, and it’s not over yet. I’ve written over 12000 words and am about 1700 words away from hitting my JuNoWriMo goal. I should get there by the weekend. Which is a good thing since I’ll be working at the racetrack for the first time this summer. So, there will not be much time for writing Saturday. I still don’t think I’ll finish this first draft by the end of the month though. So, I’ll probably roll it into my goals for Camp NaNoWriMo next month.

  • Stained by Ashes – 50k – barely. And that just a few minutes ago. I’ve written 3128 today.
  • Brian’s Story – finish plotting – again close. I have 10 scenes added to Scrivener. The main plot points basically. The rest I’m planning to fill in as I go. I just need to write up the scene summaries & the GMC for these scenes. According to my current plan, I’ll start writing this in August. That could always change though.
  • The Choice – 4 chapters revised done! I’ve added 377 words so far. Probably could have tackled 2 chapters a day instead of just one.
  • Rick & Leann – 400 words – 421 words.
  • Read: Holding on to Yesterday(Kristy K James) Also read Selling Scarlett(Ella James) and Awakening(Christy Dorrity). Enjoyed both. Planning on starting Speak Easy(Melanie Harlow) next. 
  • Knit: Fair Isle Scarf – I’ve made some progress, but still not back to where I’d been before the major rip out. I’ll get there. Some time.

It’s been pretty good progress. If this was a normal week during the round, I’d probably meet all my goals(okay, maybe not the knitting one. But, the rest). On Sunday, I’ll evaluate this month’s progress and figure out next month’s goals. But, for today I’ll see how I did for the round.

  • Slow Revenge(title changed to Duty to Protect): Publish.
  • Short story: finish. This is based on some back story from Slow Revenge and plan to share either here or through newsletter.
  • Stained Snow: Finish draft & get it revised also sent it to a couple of beta readers
  • Flames of Redemption: Revise & hopefully send it to CP(s)
  • East of Abilene: replot & rewrite – kept changing my mind about what I would work on. Didn’t even do this.
  • Guarding the Heart: finish 1st draft – didn’t do this either.
  • The Choice: Revise 1 round of revisions done on story level. Currently doing another on the scene level.
  • Read 36 books(my 2nd quarter goal was 39 but I’ve already read 3 this month). I read 52 and listened to 5 audiobooks.
  • Knit: 6 projects 4/6 This could have been better. But, between it getting hotter(which kills my motivation to have yarn in my lap) and the problems I’ve had with this latest project, that’s not too bad.
  • Crochet 6 projects 5/6. A little better than knitting. Still didn’t get everything I wanted done.

It was a pretty good round. I wrote almost 90k, edited 2 projects, added words on 6 different projects, and plotted 2. And got 3 out of my hands, 2 temporarily. Hoping next round will be just as productive.

Writing Wednesday: Mind Your Business

Only Wednesday morning, and it’s been a productive week already. I got ahead on my writing goals last night, so had today’s finished by 7:30. Hoping that means I can get ahead for the rest of the week as well. I’m not doing a RoW80 check-in today though. Since tomorrow is the last day of the round, I’ll just do the final wrap-up then. But, I do have a WiPPet snippet for you at least. Not far past last week’s bit. For today, I have 31 sentences(6+25). Adam is out checking fences with the foreman when he sees something disturbing.

He drew in a breath and slowly released it, then fell in beside James. But, they hadn’t ridden far when he pulled on the reins. “I can’t do it,” he said. “Tell Patrick I’ll be back before dark.”
“Damn, Adam. Get the hell back here.”
Adam was already urging his horse into a trot then a lope. He didn’t bother responding to the foreman’s words. Something did not feel right. It weighed on him like a heavy blanket. He was afraid it would suffocate him if he didn’t find out what was wrong. He heard another shout behind him, knew James had turned and followed him. He didn’t stop though.
He came to the rise of a hill then yanked on the reins. A cabin had stood in the clearing below. The trees were cut back, leaving enough so that it would have been hidden coming from the other direction. The direction that the Kline ranch lay. But, someone had obviously known about it and had not wanted it here. All that remained besides the stone of a chimney and a few logs of the foundation, was smoking ashes. He saw another pile of ashes to the right of that. What had probably been a lean-to for the homesteaders’ animals.
That heavy blanket still hadn’t lifted from him.
Adam heard the pound of hooves behind him. Probably would have reached for his gun if he hadn’t known James was following him. “Damn,” the older man breathed when he pulled his horse up beside Adam.
“I’m going down there.”
James reached for his reins before he could even urge the horse forward. “It’s still not our land, Adam. Not our business.”
“And what if whoever’s cabin that is is still down there. We can’t just leave them.”

I’m more than halfway through the first draft of Stained by Ashes. I was hoping to have it done this month, but it may spill over into July. That’s all right. It takes as long as it takes. I may just have to adjust my goals for Camp Nanowrimo.

If you want to know how the second RoW80 round went, check back in tomorrow.

Sunday Summary

It’s been quite a week. Not really going to complain about it. We had storms earlier in the week, then some really nice weather. Of course this meant playing outside and adjusting how I get things done. Not always easy for me. We had a birthday party yesterday. Which included swimming. And even though I felt mentally exhausted by the time we got home(social interactions do this to me), I managed to write about 500 words after the kids went to bed.

  • Stained by Ashes – 40k – not quite there. I’m a little over 38k right now. I did write 12,782 words on it this week.
  • Brian’s Story(brainstorming titles) – Character work  Finished this on Friday. Don’t think I’ll fully outline this like I usually do, but I do want to have at least the major plot points.
  • The Choice – 10 scenes revised  some of these didn’t take much to finish. But there were a few bits added, even one new scene. Only added 323 words(there was some cutting in there too)
  • Rick & Leann – 500 words – 578 words
  • Read: Siege and Storm & Ruin and Rising – finished Siege & Storm Monday night. And finished Ruin & Rising Wednesday afternoon. I probably would have finished it in one day, but I exerted some self-control and finished my other goals before reading it. LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED(can you tell how much I loved it?) Turned me inside out and ripped my heart out, but I still loved it. Also finished After this Night(Lauren Blakely). I had to take a break Thursday and not read anything. But, Friday I was able to pick this up and read it. Enjoyed it.
  • Knit: Fair Isle Scarf – I made some progress on this. Then after I’d finished row 17, I realized I’d made a mistake on it and another on row 6 that threw the pattern off. So I had to rip out 11 rows and try to untangle all the yarn(it uses 3 colors). Still untangling it, then I’ll pick it back up. I might finish this by the end of the month.

I wrote over 15,500 words this week, including about 1400 in plotting(character back stories). Not too shabby at all. Next week’s goals will be shorter, since the round ends on Thursday. Of course, I’ll still be working on things during the break.

  • Stained by Ashes – 50k
  • Brian’s Story – finish plotting
  • The Choice – 4 chapters revised
  • Rick & Leann – 400 words
  • Read: Holding on to Yesterday(Kristy K James)
  • Knit: Fair Isle Scarf

Writing Wednesday: Flying

This has been a productive week already. By Tuesday night, I had written 5756 words. So, I would say the working on three separate projects seems to be working for me. At least for now. We’ll see if it continues to work. First, this week’s WiPPet Snippet. 12 paragraphs(18-6) from a couple scenes after last week’s in Stained by Ashes. Still in town and the same day, but this is from Adam’s POV.

Two steps took him to the side of the horse she currently stroked. He tipped his hat forward. “Ma’am.”
Her head jerked up at his voice, and he saw the irritation turn to interest. Then, her face went bland. “Sir. If you’ll excuse me,” she said, stepping back.
“Do you need help with anything?”
He saw her gaze flick across the street, was sure she was looking for her dad and brother. Whether it was because she was afraid of what they would do if they came over, or if she was uncomfortable and looking for help, he didn’t know.
“Thank you, sir, but my brother has it handled. Now, please, I’d ask you to leave.”
That was fear in her eyes. And he didn’t think it was directed at him. He nodded at her and took a step back, lifting his fingers to tip his hat again. “Good day then, Ma’am.”
She kept her eyes on him as he took another step back. He didn’t want to take his from her, but he had to turn before he ran into someone else. As he did, he saw Lucas and Louis crossing the street toward them. The old man’s eyes were trained on his daughter, but her brother glared right at him. Then, he veered away from his father and came toward Adam.
Adam turned away, settling his hat further on his head. Too late though. Louis caught him, wrapping his fingers around Adam’s arm. “You damn halfbreed, keep your dirty paws off my sister. You won’t make her your squaw.”
Rage boiled under his skin, in his blood. That was all these people would ever see him as. He had too much of his mother’s blood to fit in with them. And there was too much of his father in him to let it go. He pushed Louis away from him. “I didn’t have my hands on her. I asked if she needed some help. And I have no desire to take a wife.” It was a lie, but he wouldn’t let that show. He wouldn’t like anything more than to find someone to marry, someone he could make a family with. Like he’d dreamed of doing with Maggie.
“Louis, leave him alone.” Her soft voice came from behind him. “He did nothing. People are allowed to speak to me when I’m in town.”
“Not him. Get in the wagon, Leah. We’re going home.”
He saw her tremble for just a moment then turn to do just that. He wanted to strike out at the man for talking to her like that. For putting that fear in her eyes. But, before he could do more than think it, Patrick spoke his name. “Come on,” he said when Adam turned to him. “We have things to see to before we head home.”

WiPPet Wednesday is hosted by K.L. Schwengel and everyone is welcome. Just share a snippet of your current work-in-progress that corresponds with the date. Or if you like, just make the rounds and read what everyone else is writing. 🙂

Now, for my RoW80 progress so far this week.

  • Stained by Ashes – 40k – I’m at 30185 words currently. Actually a little ahead of schedule. So, I should be able to hit 40k.
  • Brian’s Story(brainstorming titles) – Character work – Figured out the main character’s goal/motivation/conflict and wrote out Brian’s back story. Two more back stories to write & some character worksheets to fill out.
  • The Choice – 10 scenes revised – 4/10 finished. Wasn’t a whole lot in those scenes that changed. Some will have more than others(and even have a couple whole new scenes to add).
  • Rick & Leann – 500 words – 368/500. coming along.
  • Read: Siege and Storm & Ruin and Rising – Finished Siege and Storm Monday night. Got halfway through Ruin and Rising on Tuesday. I exercised some will power at least and kept from diving in until I’d met the rest of my goals for the day.
  • Knit: Fair Isle Scarf – I’ve done 4 more rows on this. Still have 8 more of the pattern to do then some ribbing & it will be done.

The first half of the week has been good. Hoping the second half continues the trend.

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