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Archive for November, 2014

Sunday Summary: End of November

 

November is at its end, NaNoWriMo is won(and first draft is finished), and the holiday season is upon us. We had a good Thanksgiving, and I actually did take the day off. Well, mostly. I did some brainstorming before we left the house for my mom’s, but I didn’t turn the computer on at all. Didn’t venture out on Friday, but we did order the girl’s big Christmas present(a Kindle Fire. The boy’s is a new bike). Our Christmas shopping is pretty much finished. We’ll probably get them a few other little things, but otherwise it’s done. Christmas morning at our house goes pretty fast because we keep it small. But, we have Christmas with my dad next weekend, Christmas Eve with my MiL, Christmas at my mom’s(with my 2 sisters and their families) and the Saturday after Christmas with step-MIL and husband’s siblings. They’ll get more than enough.

Yesterday we got family pictures taken then went to get our eyes checked. Both my husband and I wear glasses, although he doesn’t need his as much as I do. And at the girl’s last doctor appointment, they felt she was right on the edge of needing glasses. So, we got their eyes checked too. Both kids are farsighted, but according to the eye doctor that isn’t unusual at their ages, so no glasses for them. My prescription hasn’t changed at all, so I just got some new frames. And contact lenses for the first time in about 8 years. Feels really weird not wearing glasses. I stopped wearing them when I was pregnant with the girl because they didn’t fit right, and I just never bothered with them after that. I probably won’t wear them every day, since I’m mostly at home(and tend to rub at my eyes when I’m editing). So, I got a trial of 1 day disposable ones. And I have the regular(30 day) pair the dr gave me to check how they fit.

My CP is hosting a giveaway over on her blog this weekend. It actually runs through Monday. There’s a chance to win one of 14 different books(including mine). You can hop on over and check it out.

As for this week:

  • Scars and All – finish 1st draft – 17609 words written this week, including ‘The End’.
  • At Her Hands – brainstorm – this is done. I can start character back stories this coming week.
  • Read: How to Write Dazzling Dialogue – finished this.
  • Crochet: Easy Crochet Owl – not quite finished with this. Just have a couple final touches to add though.

It’s been a really good month, and now it’s time to look forward to the next, which will mean a shift to editing. First, I’ll evaluate how I did this past month.

Writing:

  • Scars and All – 1st draft(shooting for around 70k) just over 77500 words. A little longer than I’d planned.
  • Chasing the Ghost – get this between 45,000-50,000 words. sitting at under 40k right now. Set this aside at 42,800+ Planning on picking it back up after I finish edits.
  •  Flames of Redemption – Beta edits -set this aside after Chapter 15 to focus on Scars and All. Picking it back up tomorrow though.
  • Flames of Recompense(Callum’s story working title) – Outline
  • Secret project – Outline – brainstormed

Reading:

  • listen to 1 audiobook(to be decided) – listened to: Time’s Edge, Time’s Echo, and re-listened to Timebound(Rysa Walker), Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy(Ally Carter), and started The Retribution of Mara Dyer(Michelle Hodkin)
  • Read 10 books(or more) – 17 books
  • Read How to Write Dazzling Dialogue(James Scott Bell)

Crafting:

  • Knit: 2 projects(Wisconsin Winter Slippers & Lake District Hat)

IMG_0295IMG_0268

  • Crochet: 2 projects(Autumn Slouch Hat & Easy Crochet Owl)IMG_0269

For next month, like I said, my focus will be on editing. I’m hoping to get Flames of Redemption finished and maybe even have The Choice ready to send to beta readers.

Writing:

  • Flames of Redemption: finished beta edits & proofread
  • The Choice: apply CP edits
  • At Her Hands – Outline
  • Patrick’s Story(Gilbert #5) – Outline

Reading:

  • Listen to The Retribution of Mara Dyer
  • Read 15 books
  • Read 1 craft/research book

Crafting:

  • Knit: 3 projects
  • Crochet: 4 projects

For this week:

  • Flames of Redemption: Finish edits
  • At Her Hands – Character Work
  • Read: Falling for Autumn(Heather Topham Wood), Vanilla on Top(C.J. Ellisson), & Violet Midnight(Allie Burke)
  • Crochet: Finish Owl
  • Crochet: Flower Hot Pad

Friday Fun: Black Friday Giveaway

How many of you went out early this morning for deals? Or late last night, since those deals seem to start earlier and earlier. Me? I’d rather stay nice and warm in the house and away from the crowds. I’ve never felt any deals were worth the trouble.

However, my wonderful critique partner, Kat Morrisey, is hosting a Black Friday giveaway over on her blog for this weekend. A chance to win one of fourteen books from six different authors(including me).

The giveaway runs through Cyber Monday, so head on over and check out some good books.

Writing Wednesday: Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I’m actually planning to take the day off. My morning alarm is turned off anyway. So, unless I wake up early on my own(which, granted, is usually the case anyway), I will not be writing tomorrow morning. *cue laughter* Yeah, I’ll probably still be awake at 3:30 and at the computer by 4. So, I guess I should say I’m going to try to take the day off.

We’re going to my mom’s house for dinner around 1 then heading to husband’s stepmom’s around 4. So, it’s going to be a full afternoon/evening. I’ll probably take my kindle, and maybe even a notebook so I can do some plotting if I so wish(because I’m not the sociable type and will probably need a break from people). At least there is no cooking(we’re just taking drinks to my mom’s) and no cleaning up. 🙂

Now, since it is Wednesday, I have another snippet from Scars and All. I’m almost done with the first draft, but since next month is going to be about editing, I will probably still be sharing from this. For this week(11/26), I have 26 lines from Chapter 3.

“Hey, Dor, you in here?”
He turned at the voice and saw his brother standing in the doorway. Even if his two brothers were standing side by side, there wasn’t much to tell you they were twins. Jarrett had their father’s light brown hair while Jeffrey had gotten their mother’s fire red hair, just like he had. Jeff had their mother’s green eyes though. While Doren, Jarrett, and their sister had all gotten their father’s brown ones.
“What are you doing here, Jarrett?”
“Heard about your wreck last night. Wanted to be sure you were all right.”
He could hear the concern in his brother’s voice and bit back a comment about him knowing if he’d been at the track. That wouldn’t be fair. He knew why Jarrett didn’t like to watch him race. The same reason he was here at the garage to check on him at barely eight on a Sunday morning. The twins had hardly been teenagers when he’d been hurt. Jarrett had always been the more sensitive of the two, and seeing him in the hospital had scared him. Even now at nineteen, Jarrett didn’t care for cars and driving.
He smiled at his brother now. “I’m fine, Jare. It wasn’t a big wreck, really. Maybe you can help me fix up the car.”
Jarrett shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t know, Doren. I’m not good with cars.” He glanced toward the pile of ruined tires. “I was wondering something though.”
“What is it?” Doren put his tools back in the drawer. He probably wasn’t going to get any more work done this morning.
“Those tires. You going to be using them for anything?” Jarrett scratched at the back of his neck and didn’t make eye contact.
“Why?”
“I just…I thought…well, maybe I could do something with them.”
Doren felt a little smile tug at one corner of his mouth. “An art something?”
Jarrett just lifted one shoulder, and Doren’s smiled widened. “You know I won’t judge you about art, Jare.” He’d kept his own sketchbook hidden under his mattress for too many years to judge anyone. “Take whatever you need.”
“Thanks, Doren. I’ll pick them up after church if that’s all right.”
“Fine. Where are you going to keep them? Dad’s never cared for you storing the materials in the house. Those wouldn’t fit in your room anyway.”
Jarrett laughed. “Mom finally convinced him to set up part of the garage for me. After all, he set up areas for Jeff to practice his sports in the yard.”
“Good,” Doren said although his own smile dimmed slightly. Talk of their father usually did that. They’d always butted heads, but for the last six years, they could barely be in the same room together.
“He misses you, Doren. I don’t know what happened-”
“Nothing,” Doren muttered. “Not a damn thing.” His father just couldn’t stand to even look at his oldest son anymore.

The first half of this week has gone pretty well. I’ve written over 12500 words so far. I’ve finished just about 8 scenes in Scars and All. It’s now sitting at over 72k. I still have about 6 scenes left to go. So, it’s going to be longer than I’d first predicted. Still hoping to have it finished by the end of the month.

  • Scars and All – finish 1st draft – almost there.
  • At Her Hands – brainstorm – almost done with this too.
  • Read: How to Write Dazzling Dialogue – finish – almost done with this too.
  • Crochet: Easy Crochet Owl – have the front and back of the body done. Planning on doing the head today.

I’ve also read: Trophy Husband(Lauren Blakely), Falling for a Stranger(Barbara Freethy), Broken Forest(Eliza Tilton), and Please Me, Cowboy(Megan Crane). Also started Courage(Carrie Butler) last night.

Hope everyone who celebrates has a good Thanksgiving tomorrow. And if you’re going shopping on Friday, are you crazy? hope you get all the deals you’re looking for. Online deals are the most I’d consider going after Friday.

Sunday Summary: Breaking Records

Okay, so the only record I’ve probably broken is my own. In case you missed my post on Thursday, I won NaNoWriMo again. Already. I actually passed 50k on Wednesday afternoon, but Thursday was the earliest I could validate that. It used to be the 25th, but apparently they changed it to the 20th this year. The story isn’t finished, of course. It’s at almost 60k, and I have thirteen more planned scenes to go. There may end up being more than that by the time I finish. Which I’m hoping to do by next Friday. I’d like to have it finished by Wednesday, before the kids get home from school, but that would probably be pushing it.

  • Scars and All – add 18000 words(this will get me over the 50k for NaNo). – I added 23825 words this week. Switching to measuring my goals by the scenes I need to write to finish on time seems to have worked. I wrote over 6k on Wednesday and over 4k Thursday and Friday. Friday I even had those words done before lunch. The words have just been rolling along.
  • Flames of Redemption – edit 5 chapters
  • Chasing the Ghost – add 1500 words
  • At Her Hands – brainstorm – added this goal on Wednesday, but got some general character brainstorming done and some more specific character brainstorming done. I have some more to do before I start character back stories.
  • Read: Where You’ll Find me(Erin Fletcher) & What Once Was Perfect(Zoe York) – I’d finished both of these by Wednesday, then I also read Breaking Fences(Juliana Haygert) and Faking It(Cora Carmack). That’s all the books I had on my list for this month.
  • Read: How to Write Dazzling Dialogue – not finished but pretty close
  • Knit: Lake District Hat – finish – finally finished this yesterday morningIMG_0295

Since Thanksgiving is Thursday, I’m not planning anything for that day. So, I’ll be trying to get everything done on the other days. Thankfully, we never host dinner, so all we have to do is show up and eat.

  • Scars and All – finish 1st draft
  • At Her Hands – brainstorm
  • Read: How to Write Dazzling Dialogue – finish
  • Crochet: Easy Crochet Owl

Photo Friday: Snow Times

Last week, we finally got some snow. And it was the wet heavy kind that makes for good packing. Last year we had a lot of snow, but it was never good for making snowmen and mostly too cold to even go outside. Well, it was in the high 20s on Monday, so when the kids got home from school, I figured we could go out and play.

 

not going to lose him in any snow piles.

not going to lose him in any snow piles.

trying to make a snowball

trying to make a snowball

building a snowman

building a snowman

building snowmen together

building snowmen together

We were outside for about half an hour, and that was certainly long enough for me. We went out again yesterday for about the same amount of time, but they did more snow angels than snowmen. And I didn’t get any pictures of those.

NaNoWriMo 2014: In the Bag

yes, yes, I know. There are still 10 more days(okay, more like 11 since it’s not even 6 a.m. on the 20th, we could still count this as a full day), but winning is open at the NaNoWriMo site as of today. So, I compiled what I have of Scars and All and got this pretty thing:Winner-2014-Square-Button

This makes the fourth year in a row I’ve won(and it’s the fifth year I’ve participated). This is the fastest I’ve done it though. I actually hit 50k yesterday, so that is 19 days, but I actually only wrote 15 of those days. And the first 2 days I only wrote a total of 1k. Still, that’s an average of 3387 words on the days I wrote anything. That’s pretty good. Last year it took me 21 days to hit 50k on Flames of Redemption and I had over 80k by the end of the month.

I still have more to write on Scars and All of course. 20 more scenes planned, so the first draft will probably end up somewhere between 70-80k.

In honor of winning, I will share the prologue for Scars and All here. It’s still rough, of course, and may not even end up in the final draft. And there may be some of [xx] mixed in there for details(probably names) I need to fill in later. This takes place about 10 years(actually about 9.5) before the actual story starts.

October 7, 2005

Doren Holland wiped his arm over his forehead then settled the helmet back over his head. He didn’t need to glance at the scoreboard. It flashed in his head. Down by four and the other team had the ball. He was up.
He joined the huddle of players, listened to the coach’s instructions, but he could already see the play forming in his head. Backs were slapped then they were heading out to the field. He met the eyes of the other two linebackers on the field, and they nodded to each other. Then, he turned his focus back to the game, particularly the quarterback. As soon as the center snapped the ball back into the quarterback’s hands, Doren’s feet moved.
He didn’t think about much except reaching the quarterback before the ball left his hands again. His feet dug into the soft ground as he moved forward. He could feel others moving around him, but his whole focus was on that quarterback. The ball was still in his hand as Doren lowered his shoulder and took the other boy to the ground. He saw the ball fly from the quarterback’s hands, but nothing else as the ground flew up at him.
The fall knocked the wind out of him, and he rolled to the side as a whistle sounded. He got to his feet and held a hand out to help the other kid to his as well. Then, they separated and went to their own sides as they waited for the decision. When the ref held one hand toward Doren’s team, he nearly pumped his fist. Someone had intercepted the ball. Now, they just had to get it down the field and score a touchdown. With just under two minutes on the clock, he knew it was possible, but it was going to be close. But, it would be nice if for the first time in his high school football career, they could win at least one Homecoming game. It would be his last.
He dropped onto the bench, grabbing a bottle of water and squirting some of the cool liquid into his mouth. A hand slapped against his shoulder pads. “Nice sack there, Holland.”
It was one of the defensive ends, Chris Soranno. They’d been in school together since Kindergarten. It was something he could say about almost all of his teammates. The joys of a small town. “Who got the ball? Did you see? I was a little busy getting rid of the birds around my head.”
Chris laughed. “You’ve always been an odd one, Holland. It was Morrey. He managed to keep his hands on it before they all piled on him.”
“Good. Maybe we can pull this off.”
“Thanks to you, Man,” Soranno said, slapping him on the back again.
Doren shrugged off the praise. He never quite felt like he deserved it. He kept his attention on the field as the team took the offensive now. A band around his chest tightened as the ball left their quarterback’s hands, sailing over the heads of the opposing team. “Come on, come on,” he muttered.
A long breath expelled as it hit the hands of Josh Brewer, one of their wide receivers. He was one of the quickest on the team. Doren watched as he tucked the ball to his chest, spun on his heel and sprinted toward the end zone. He darted around the other team’s defensive end and cornerback. The rest of the opposing team was converging on him, but their team came in to block them. Doren let out another breath when he passed into the endzone. The other teammates on the sideline started cheering, but he just slumped there. Ahead by two, and as long as the kicker didn’t screw it up, they’d put another point up there. Unless the other team scored in the last minute of the game, they’d won this.
***
Cassie Siddell watched the football players file from the field. She’d cheered right along with the crowd when the other team had failed to score again in that final minute. For that minute, she’d barely taken her eyes off Doren. Not that he had ever bothered to look at her.
She ran a hand through her tight black curls. She was being ridiculous. He was a Senior, and she was only a Junior. Why would he look at her? Why would any of them look at the half black girl who had always been under their feet? And their attention apparently.
A shoulder slammed into her, and she stumbled back. From muttered comments, she knew it hadn’t been an accident. She didn’t bother with tears anymore. Most people treated her fine, but even though she’d lived here as long as any of them, she wasn’t accepted. Simply because of her mother’s skin color.
“You’re such an ass, Morrey.” The honey sweet voice was nearly next to her ear. “You all right?”
She looked up into Doren’s deep chocolate eyes and saw concern in them. Genuine concern for her. It sapped away her voice, so she just nodded. He still held his hand out to her though. Her smaller one slipped into his, and he helped her back to her feet. She heard one of the other players yelling his name. “I’d better go,” he said slipping his hand out of hers.
She nodded again, and he turned away. “Good game, Doren,” she said as he started to trot away. He turned and flashed her a grin then took off for the stairs that would take him up to the school’s locker room.
Cassie had to wait for her heart to stop fluttering before she could turn away from the field. She needed to find her friends for her ride home. But, she was sure she would carry the memory of his smile. It wasn’t a moment that was likely to happen again. He had just felt sorry for her.
She could live with that though.

 

Writing Wednesday: Some News and Changes

First, some news. Back in October, I submitted two short stories for the first edition of L.S. Engler’s World Unknown Review. One of them was accepted. So, next month, ‘Forever Again’ will be published along with several other stories. And the other story, well, I have some ideas for that. Mostly, as a starting point for a potential series(which I got the idea for as I was fleshing the short out from a flash I wrote a few years ago). And unlike most of my series, connected but with different main characters, I think this will be more of a traditional series. Because, you know, I don’t have nearly enough ideas. 😉

As for the changes: I’ve been drafting my NaNo project as well as editing Flames of Redemption, and working on a side project this month. And while I could probably keep that up, I’m thinking it’s not the best use of my time. So, for the rest of this month, I’m concentrating on just Scars and All. Once I finish that, I’ll finish up edits on Flames of Redemption, and hopefully The Choice. Basically, December will be dedicated to editing. In January, I plan to go back to drafting. I’ll probably switch back and forth like that. I have a lot of first drafts that need revised, but if I go too long without any actual drafting, I might lose my mind. 🙂 I’ll also probably be plotting. I’ve taken a break from any of that for the last couple weeks, but I think I’m going to start brainstorming for At Her Hands.

When the boy came home from school on Monday, I was told that his preschool is cancelling transportation for the rest of the week due to staffing issues and the weather(which we have gotten pretty much no more snow). If we had another way to get him there, he could still go. If not, it’s not a problem, since they cancelled it. Well, there’s a reason he rides the bus there. I don’t have another way to get him there. So, he’s been home the last couple days. And probably will be until Monday. I’ve still managed to get a lot of words written. Yesterday, I wrote just over 4800. Doren and his father finally had it out about something they’ve both been holding onto for the last six years. I always seem to find that the emotional/argument scenes come really easy. Kind of surprising, considering how much I avoid conflict and confrontation in my own life.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday, so I’m sharing another snippet from Scars and All. Today, I have 10 lines(1+9) from Chapter 2.

“Don’t worry, Mom, everything’s fine.” Cassie nearly rolled her eyes, but she was sure her mother would somehow know even over the phone.
“Are you sure? You said your car broke down. That doesn’t sound fine to me.”
She could hear the worry in her mother’s voice and wanted to soothe it. “I am fine, Mom. The car might not be, but I am. It was just a flat tire, and there might be something wrong with the engine. I’m here at Aunt Beth’s though. So, you see, I’m perfectly fine.”
Her mother’s sigh came through the phone. “I just don’t want to worry about you. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t suggested this.”
Cassie smiled and leaned against her aunt’s kitchen counter. “You act like I’m by myself in the big bad city or something.”
Her mother laughed. “I know Kurztown is about the farthest thing from that, Sweetie. I’m still allowed to worry though. We didn’t always have the easiest time there.”
“I know. People are jerks. But, it’s not like moving to Ohio got us away from jerks.”
“You’re right. That’s not all I was thinking about though. You left a lot behind when we moved. I didn’t know if you were ready to face it all.”

Since I’m only working on Scars and All for right now, I changed how I figure out my goals for it. I have figured out which scenes I need to get to each day to finish by the end of the month. Of course, that’s judging by what I have outlined right now. I ended up moving several planned scenes to my ‘cut scenes’ folder, because it felt like they would be too forced. I’ll probably end up adding other scenes in as I go though. Here, though I’ll still be tracking by word count. It’s the easiest thing to measure and report on.

  • Scars and All – add 18000 words(this will get me over the 50k for NaNo). – I’ve written 9995 words so far this week, and I still have at least 2 more scenes to finish today. I’m just over 46k right now.
  • Flames of Redemption – edit 5 chapters – edited 1 before I changed my plan.
  • Chasing the Ghost – add 1500 words – added 349 words on Monday
  • Read: Where You’ll Find me(Erin Fletcher) & What Once Was Perfect(Zoe York)  Finished Where You’ll Find Me on Sunday and What Once Was Perfect yesterday. Both very good reads. Started another book last night, but right now it’s not drawing me in. Think I’ll give it at least 1 more chapter before I decide whether to set it aside or not.
  • Read: How to Write Dazzling Dialogue – still going through the section on dialogue issues. Only have a few more to go.
  • Knit: Lake District Hat – finish – I’ve got about 9 inches on this. Still on track.

For the rest of the week, I’ll only be tracking a few of these goals. We’ll see how long I can stick to the simplified goals.

 

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