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Archive for December, 2014

Writing Wednesday: End of 2014

This week, I’ve adjusted my routine and my goals slightly. It’s more of a trial period for the new year, or rather, the new year once the kids go back to school. I’ve done a time goal before, and usually I end up going back to more of a word count approach. We’ll see how long this lasts. But, I’ve found recently that I’ve been seriously underestimating what I can get done in a day. So, I decided to change that. I’ve been working on editing 4 hours a day(which this week has mostly been doing a 2nd read through of Stained by Ashes), and hour on plotting, and an hour for social media. In there, I get chores done. After that, I spend an hour on crafting then I have the rest of the day to read. Kids start back to school on Monday, and I’m planning to throw in some workout time in there as well. We’ll see how long I can stick with this.

This is the last Wednesday of 2014, so my last WiPPet for the year. Still, sharing from Scars and All. I’m likely to continue with that next month as well, since the WiP I’ll be working on then will probably contain quite a few spoilers. Today, I have 17 paragraphs(12+3+1-2-0-1+4) from Chapter 8. There are still a few minor characters I need to name. Until then, I have [xx] in their place.

Doren walked down Main Street, nodding to the few people who looked his way. [xx] had been busy working on a state inspection, so he’d offered to come down and pick up their lunch order. [xx] had been writing up an order for a customer, or he would have just asked her. The last few days he’d barely left the garage except to go home. The fight with his father had taken more from him than he’d wanted to admitted. It might be nothing new, but it couldn’t be okay, could it? Not when he saw the way his father looked at him.
He drew in a long breath then let it out slowly. He should be used to it by now. His father wouldn’t believe him no matter what he said. He’d tried to tell him once, and his father had just walked right out of the room. He hadn’t tried again. What was the point?
He pushed through the door to the diner and took a moment to adjust to the dimmer lighting. Few tables were occupied which seemed odd to him since they were still in the middle of what should be the lunch rush. He moved up to the front counter, and the waitress there looked up. Her mouth dropped open, but only for a short moment.
“Doren. I didn’t expect you to come in. You getting the lunch order for the garage?”
“Yeah, Anna. What’s going on? It looks pretty slow in here today.”
Her lips thinned into a grim line. “You didn’t hear?”
“Hear what?” He asked as he signed his name to the credit card receipt. “I’ve been under cars all morning. No time to listen to the latest gossip.”
“You never have,” she said, her gaze flicking to his neck. To her credit, she looked right back up at him. “This isn’t gossip though, it’s news.”
He sighed. people around here had a way of dragging things out. “Well, what is it? I should really get this back to the garage.”
“[xx] came into Pizza Village this morning and found it had been robbed last night.” Doren felt the blood drain out of his face. Anna kept talking though. “They haven’t caught anyone yet, but the state police are coming in.”
His hand jerked on the bag once. “That’s awful. I hope they find him. I better get back to the garage though.”
Doren kept his eyes on the ground in front of him as he hurried back to the garage. His leg started to ache though, and it was more of a limp by the time he stepped into the front office.
“You okay, Boss?” [xx] asked, looking up at him.
He forced air past the blockage in his throat. “Yeah. You hear about Pizza Village?”
“The robbery? Yeah. Everyone’s been talking about it. I’m surprised you didn’t hear before.”
“I tend to block out the gossip. The state police are coming in though.”
“Of course they are. We don’t have anyone else to deal with it.”

I may have mentioned before that this town is modeled after my hometown, quite closely, actually. And her last comment goes with that. My hometown(and Kurztown) doesn’t have it’s own police department. So, when something happens, the state police are called in. One stoplight, one back, a couple small restaurants(although there is a subway there now), and a grocery store. Not a lot happens.

Most of my goals for this week are finished.

  • Stained by Ashes – round 1 revisions – like I said, I’m already doing the 2nd read through. More than 60% through that. Should finish it today. Since I’m shifting back to drafting next month, I’ll let this sit until February.
  • Freeing His Heart – Outline – this is just about done. Just have to finish the scene summaries.
  • Read: Scotsmen Prefer Blondes(Sara Ramsey) – finished this. Also read Let Me Be the One(Bella Andre) & started Between Now and Forever(Barbara Freethy)
  • Read: The Wars of the Barbary Pirates – just the conclusion left to read for this. It’s sparked a few thoughts for a story idea I had.
  • Knit: Vertical Stripe Tie(if I get the needle I need for it) – haven’t started this, but the needle I need is on its way, so I’ll be doing it this next month. I did do a pattern I found in with some needles & hooks my grandma gave me, so I did that this week. Turns out it was a dishcloth(there was no title to the pattern, so I wasn’t sure what I was making).IMG_0434

It’s the end of December, so I’m going to evaluate how I did for the month(and the year, after that).

Writing:

  • Flames of Redemption: finished beta edits & proofread – this is done & up on Amazon, B&N, and Kobo for pre-order
  • The Choice: apply CP edits – My CP has been having a rough time and hasn’t gotten this back to me. So, I’ll be shifting it to next year.
  • At Her Hands – Outline – done and put on the drafting schedule for late next year.
  • Patrick’s Story(Gilbert #5) – Outline – like I said, I’m almost finished with this.

Reading:

  • Listen to The Retribution of Mara Dyer – done & also listened to Slave to Sensation(Nalini Singh), Wild Heat(Bella Andre), & Unbreakable(Kami Garcia) as well as re-listening to the Chronos Files books(Rysa Walker)
  • Read 15 books – 16/15
  • Read 1 craft/research book – I skimmed a couple other Pirate books but they weren’t what I was looking for. The Wars of the Barbary Pirates had some interesting information though.

Crafting:

  • Knit: 3 projects – finished Polarspun Baby HatIMG_0327, Sock Monkey HatIMG_0365, and Grandma’s DishclothIMG_0434
  • Crochet: 4 projects – finished Flower Hot PadIMG_0302, Slouchy Textured Beanie, IMG_0355, Starfish WashclothIMG_0361, and Baby Bear HatIMG_0366

As for how I’ve done for this year:

1. Publish. I want to get Slow Revenge published for sure. And hoping to get even more out. I have a plan for getting all my various WiPs revised and polished and out there. Now, I just have to stick to that plan.

Well, I got Slow Revenge published(although the title changed to Duty to Protect). And Flames of Redemption will be out in less than a week.

2. Read. I read about 168 books during 2013. Some of those were short, of course. For 2014, I’m aiming for 175. I tend to read fast and in the little moments throughout the day.

Well, if I count the audio books and craft/research books, I’ve read over 260. Even without those, it’s around 230. Definitely met this goal.

3. Crafting. Last year, I finished 20 knitting and 21 crochet projects. This year, my goal is 25 of both. Plus I’d like to learn something new. I’m leaning toward loom knitting.

I just got to both of these. Although I didn’t do the loom knitting. I may look to that for next year though.

I hadn’t realized I kept these so general for the year. Because I’m weird like this and love numbers(although I hate math):

Projects: 16(3 of these remain unfinished)

Words Written: 559,603(8591 of those were plotting)

Monthly Average: 46,634

Highest Month: November – 82020

Lowest Month: December – 10634

Days Worked: 294

Daily Average: 1903

Not a bad year over all. Hoping next year will be even better.

2015 goals:

Writing:

  • Outline – I have 19 stories on this year’s list to outline. I may not get to all of them, or something else might strike me so I move them around. So, I’m not listing them all here.
  • Write – 9 on this list. The first 3 are the unfinished ones. Again, I may not finish them all, but I have some to choose from. 🙂
  • Edit – 5 on this list to at least get sent to my CP. After that, it depends on when I get them back from her.
  • Publish: At least Flames of Redemption. Also hoping to get Stained Snow, The Choice, and maybe one more out this year.

Reading:

  • Read: 250 books, which means 21/month. I’ve done at least that 3 times this year. It will probably average out.
  • Listen: 12 audiobooks(will probably end up being more, but that’s at least one a month)
  • Research: At least 1 craft/research book a month.

Crafting:

  • Knit: 25 projects
  • Crochet: 25 projects
  • Learn New Craft

And for the month of January:

Writing:

  • Outline: Flames of Restoration(Flames #5 – Nolan’s story) & at least start Gilbert, CO #5
  • Write: Finish 1st drafts – Chasing the Ghost(Gilbert, CO #4) & Flames of Justice(Flames #2.5)

Reading:

  • Read 21 books
  • Listen: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood(Diana Gabaldon)
  • Forensics for Writers

Crafting:

  • Knit: Vertical Striped Tie & Baby Doll Dress
  • Crochet: Sleigh Bell Scarf & Flower Pop Hat

My revised goals for the week:

  • Finish Stained by Ashes Read Through & Compile Notes
  • Finish Freeing His Heart Outline
  • Write 5000 words on Chasing the Ghost
  • Read: Finish Between Now and Forever, Unbridled Magic(Angela Wallace), Against the Wind(Kat Martin), Shadow Spell(Nora Roberts), & One, Two, Three(Elodie Nowodazkij)
  • Crochet: Sleigh Bell Scarf(pattern came with yarn my mom got me for Christmas)

Hope everyone has had a great year and looking forward to the new one!

Monday Mentions: New Releases

Another new release edition of Monday Mentions for you. One of them actually released last month, but it was the end of the month, so it’s still new(my definition is flexible). I haven’t actually read any of these, but they’re all ones I’m looking forward to getting to.

To Get Me To You – Kait Nolan

I’ve loved everything I’ve read of Kait’s, especially the novella in her Wishful series(Be Careful, It’s My Heart), which actually takes place after this book. I have this one sitting on my Kindle, but haven’t read it yet. I’m looking forward to it though.

Wishful, Mississippi. From the post Civil War fountain on the town green, to the gossip served along with grits and coffee at Dinner Belles Diner, it will always be Campbell Crawford’s hometown–preferably just as it is. The way he sees it, the corporate big-box store that wants to unpack on the outskirts threatens everything he holds dear, but the town’s economy demands some kind of change. He’s not sure city girl Norah Burke can possibly understand Wishful enough help him turn things around–no matter how much his dog loves her. Norah falls for the charms of the town as hard as she falls for the charms of the man, and she’s determined to help. But even if they can get the votes to send the suits packing and get the town on its feet again, can she really give up her corner office and power lunches for the corner booth at the local diner? What’s a nice executive like her going to do in a place like this?
Down and Dirty – Liliana Hart

This is the latest book in Liliana Hart’s J.J. Graves series. I love this series, as well as her Addison Holmes series. I haven’t read this one yet either, but I’m hoping to get to it soon.

Wedding plans are in full swing in Bloody Mary, Virginia. J.J. Graves is ready to walk down the aisle and start a new life—despite the fact her father is still on the loose, blood money is stashed in her closet, and an unidentified body is missing from her parents’ bunker.

But it isn’t her personal life that’s threatening her chance to say “I Do.” It’s the remains of a brutally murdered corpse found buried beneath a prize-winning rose garden. And the message attached leaves no bones about it—the body is meant for J.J. The clock is ticking as J.J. and Jack search for a killer before he becomes the ultimate wedding crasher.
Last Will and Testament – Dahlia Adler

I haven’t read Dahlia Adler’s other book(Behind the Scenes), although it is on the list. This one looked really good though.

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she’s acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she’ll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn’t exactly Lizzie’s biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you’re ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks… and that she’d like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

Any new releases that are interesting you? What good  books have you read recently?

Sunday Summary: Post-Christmas Wind down

I know RoW80 is on break now, but since I don’t seem to get the concept of breaks, I’m still posting. Well, I did take the second half of Christmas Eve and all of Christmas day off, but that was enough of a break for me. I posted a bit about those two days on Friday. On Saturday, we had our last Christmas gathering for the year. I have no idea if we’re doing anything/going anywhere for New Year’s Eve. Honestly, I’d be just as happy(maybe happier) to stay home.

We had Christmas with my husband’s stepmom and his siblings yesterday. More toys for the kids, and I got another gift card for Amazon. I already spent the one I got from my dad earlier this month on my new Kindle Touch, and a few e-books. Now, I have 2 of Roni Loren’s books(both have bonus short stories available in the paperback version), the Divergent movie, and the needles I need for a knitting project ordered. And I still have more than half the gift card left.

I did pretty good on the last week of the round, even had just about everything for the week done by the time we left for my Mother-in-Law’s Wednesday afternoon.

  • Stained by Ashes – Read Through – Done. First round of revisions will mostly be adding in a few new scenes and cutting a few extra bits. Still looking for beta readers for the first in this series, Stained Snow. I have one lined up, but wouldn’t mind 1 or 2 more
  • Patrick’s Story – Character Work – this is done. Ready to start figuring out the plot.
  • Read: Reaper’s Rhythm(Clare Davidson), How to Bring Your Love Life Back From the Dead(Wendy Sparrow), Clockwork Angel(Cassandra Clare), & Whiskey Beach(Nora Roberts) – enjoyed Reaper’s Rhythm and loved the three stories in Wendy Sparrow’s Halloween collection(which I read on Christmas Eve). Really liked Clockwork Angel and Whiskey Beach.
  • Knit: Finish Sock Monkey Hat– this is done. IMG_0365
  • Crochet: Baby Bear Hat – this is done as well. IMG_0366

There’s only a couple days of the month(and year) left. I know I won’t get to everything that was on my initial list for this year(or even this month). There’s a few things I didn’t get to, like working on The Choice, since I haven’t gotten it back from my CP yet. But, I’ve still gotten a lot done. And I’ll do my monthly and yearly evaluation on Wednesday. For now, my remaining goals for the year:

  • Stained by Ashes – round 1 revisions
  • Freeing His Heart – Outline
  • Read: Scotsmen Prefer Blondes(Sara Ramsey)
  • Read: The Wars of the Barbary Pirates
  • Knit: Vertical Stripe Tie(if I get the needle I need for it)

Photo Friday: Christmas Fun

We have two of our Christmases(three actually, but the first was earlier this month) done for this year. One more to go tomorrow. On Wednesday, we went to my MiL’s for our Christmas with her. We had pizza for our Christmas Eve dinner then opened presents.

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When we got home, the kids found Santa’s elves had snuck into the house again and left them each a new pair of pajamas. They put them on and we read The Night Before Christmas. Actually this year the girl read it to us, instead of me reading it.

In the morning, the girl was awake at 5:30, but the boy wasn’t. So, I told her to go in her room and read one of her new books until he got up. Which was about half an hour later. And she’d finished another 3 chapters. They didn’t get a whole lot, but Santa was a little mean and even wrapped some of the candy in their stockings(was trying to make it last longer than 10 minutes). The boy got a new bike and the girl a Kindle Fire, which didn’t leave a lot of money in the budget for other gifts. But, they didn’t seem too upset that they each only had a couple things under the tree. We’ve always kept things small at home, though. They also got gifts from “grandma carol”(husband’s stepmom’s stepmom who lives next to us, but is in Florida for the winter). And the girl got each of us a gift from the Christmas shop at school.

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After they were done, we had doughnuts for breakfast and got ready to go down to my mom’s. This was about 6:30 and we didn’t have to be there until 10:30. So, we wasted some time and didn’t leave until 9:30. The first thing we did on getting there, of course, was dig into the sticky rolls my mom makes every year(this may sound familiar for anyone who’s read Flames of Redemption).

one half gone batch of sticky rolls

one half gone batch of sticky rolls

Once my oldest sister got there, we went downstairs to open presents. I don’t know why, but the clashing voices of 6 kids(aged 3-11) and the adults really triggers my anxiety. A few times I thought I’d lose it. I actually had to go upstairs to get control of it again.

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We have nothing to do today, but tomorrow we have our Christmas with my husband’s stepmom and his siblings. Then, our Christmases will be over and it will be time to recharge after all the socialness of the last days.

Writing Wednesday: Merry Christmas

Getting this post started early again. It’s Monday afternoon, and I’m through almost everything for Tuesday. It’s been a pretty good week. Other than the sugar cookie disaster Monday afternoon. I mixed up some dough in the morning and stuck it in the fridge to chill until the kids got home so they could cut out the cookies. Not sure if I didn’t put enough flour into the dough(although I followed the recipe), or if I screwed something else up. But, the dough was so sticky, I could barely even roll it out. And when we tried to move the cookies they did cut out onto a cookie sheet, it didn’t work. So, we scrapped the dough. I had made some Magic Peanut Butter Middles earlier in the day though. So, I guess those will be what we leave for Santa.

I got Flames of Redemption back from the proofreader Sunday evening. And got through all the edits on Monday. And got the extra things added(dedication, acknowledgements, etc). Release date has been set for January 6, 2015, and it’s available for pre-order now on Kindle. And it’s uploaded to the other sites as well.

We went and saw my husband’s grandma last night. It was funny watching the kids interact with the little Pomeranian(I think) over there. They’re used to bigger dogs. Never seem to know what to do with, and are slightly afraid of, smaller ones. Yet, they go right up to my dad’s Great Pyrenees. Even funnier, they opened their cards from her on the way home, and we hear “I got a dollar!” I look back. “No, you got $20.” Then, my husband says “I’ll trade you one for that.” Apparently, we need to work more on understanding the value of money. 🙂

This afternoon we’re going over to my MiL’s. Having pizza and opening presents. Thursday, after we open gifts at home, we’ll go to my mom’s. 6 kids, eight adults. It gets interesting…an usually more chaotic and loud than my nerves can handle. So, after we open gifts, I usually seek at least some time to myself. Usually we have ham for lunch. Apparently this year, we’re having tacos. So much for tradition. 😉 At least my mom’s still making sticky rolls in the morning. Then we’re having Christmas with my husband’s stepmom and siblings on Saturday. Since we have four different Christmases to go to, I’m glad they’re at least spread out. There were a couple years where we’d go from my mom’s to his mom’s and it felt like we were constantly running. This works out so much better.

It’s Wednesday, so I have another snippet from Scars and All for you all. 14 paragraphs(1+2+2+4+1+4) from Chapter 7. Doren’s father comes to the garage.

There was a heavy sigh from behind him, but he ignored it, not saying another word until the office door was closed. “Seriously, Dad, what are you doing here? You haven’t showed your face here since I took over. I know you’ve been taking your truck to that place in [xx]. Mom still comes here.”
His father didn’t make eye contact with him, glancing around the room then focusing his gaze out the one small window in the office. “I got my reasons. You’ve done good with this place though. You should be proud of that. Didn’t get your business sense from me.”
“I know what I got from you, Dad. I got the build that made me a good linebacker in high school and college. Now, that’s gone, so we have nothing. What do you want?”
Doren saw his father blink quickly, and the color drained from his face. His gaze didn’t leave the window though. “You got more than that from me. You got my bullheadedness, as your mother hasn’t stopped telling me since you left the picnic yesterday. She told me I needed to apologize.”
Now, it made more sense. “I see. Why? You didn’t do anything. You didn’t say one single word to me in the time I was there. Instead you sent Susan over to see if I was drinking. I don’t drink, Dad. Not if I’m going to be driving anywhere. You should know that.” These last words were said in a whisper. This was the longest conversation they’d had in six years.
His father’s gaze finally swung to him, but only for a moment. He still couldn’t stand to look at him. “If you’d ever believed in me, you’d know that.”
His father’s face had paled, but now color flooded back in. “You have no idea what I believe, Doren. I wasn’t worried about you driving. I was worried you’ve slowly been killing yourself. I thought you’d stay longer.”
“And deal with all the judgmental looks? Why would I want to do that?”
“Talk to them then,” he cried. “Talk to somebody. I can see all the pain you’re carrying. I-” He broke off, shoving his hands in his pockets and turning away. “You’re as impossible to talk to as you’ve ever been. I came here to apologize for the way I acted yesterday.”
“It’s fine, Dad,” he said, his voice thick. What had his father been about to say? “Go back to work. I’ll let Mom know you came and talked to me. You won’t be in the doghouse with her.”
“Doren,-”
He shook his head. “I know how you feel about me, Dad, and I have to get back to work. There’s no point rehashing it.”
His father hesitated a moment then turned and left the office. But, Doren thought he heard him mutter, “You don’t know anything.”
Doren dropped into his chair once he was alone. Would they ever be on the same page again? They’d only ever had football and cars in common. Doren could barely be in the room when football was on anymore. He’d loved it at one time, and now…well, even thinking about it depressed him. And his father refused to talk cars to him anymore. Hell, his father hardly talked to him at all.

I actually thought they were going to figure things out when I started writing this scene. These two just weren’t being cooperative about that one.

  • Stained by Ashes(follow-up to Stained Snow) – Read Through – Finished this. Just have to compile all my notes & maybe start first round of revisions next week. Also, still looking for beta readers for Stained Snow.
  • Patrick’s Story – Character Work – I have all 3 of the back stories written. just need to put everything into my story tracker.
  • Read: Reaper’s Rhythm(Clare Davidson), How to Bring Your Love Life Back From the Dead(Wendy Sparrow), Clockwork Angel(Cassandra Clare), & Whiskey Beach(Nora Roberts) – Finished reading Reaper’s Rhythm last night. Enjoyed it. Also started How to Bring Your Love Life Back From the Dead. Only 12% into it.
  • Knit: Finish Sock Monkey Hat – finished this Tuesday. IMG_0365
  • Crochet: Baby Bear Hat – got this started. Have the body of the hat done. It certainly wouldn’t have fit either of my kids’ heads even as newborns. Of course, their heads were consistently in the 90-95 percentile. Still, it looks really small.

And I just remembered since it’s the end of the round, I should evaluate how I’ve done overall this round.

Writing:

  • Flames of Justice(Flames 2.5) – finish 1st draft
    I did add 3597 words to this.
  • Chasing the Ghost(Gilbert, CO 4) – finish 1st draft
    Added 30,172 words to this one. About halfway through now. I’ll be picking it back up in January.
  • Guarding the Heart(BC Secruity 1) – finish 1st draft
    Didn’t get to this one at all.

I also wrote the first draft of Scars and All in November.

Editing:

  • Healing the Heart(Gilbert, CO 2) – send to CP
    It’s ready to go, but I’m still waiting until I get The Choice back from her.
  • Stained Snow(Stained 1) – revise again send to betas
    It’s revised but still looking for betas.
  • Stained by Ashes(Stained 2) – 1st read through
    Did that this week and just need to compile notes and stick in scenes I want to add.

Also edited Flames of Redemption when I got it back from the beta reader.

Plotting:

  • The Hunt(fantasy project) – outline
    done.
  • Pirates idea – outline
    nope. Have been doing a little research toward it though.
  • Nolan’s story(Flames 4) – outline
    Started this, then decided to outline Callum’s story first, which will be Flames 4. Nolan’s will now be Flames 5.

Also outlined the first book in a new series, At Her Hands and started outlining a novella for my Gilbert, Co series.

Reading:

  • listen to 3 books – listened to 8 books. That’s not counting me relistening to the Chronos Files series by Rysa Walker. I’ve listened to the first book, Timebound, 3 times and still chuckle over the same things.
  • Read 26 books(would be 30, but I’ve already read 4 this month) I’ve read 43 books so far this round.
  • Read 3 craft/research books – I read 2: Rise of the Machines(Kristen Lamb) & How to Write Dazzling dialogue(James Scott Bell). Also reading The Wars of The Barbary Pirates for some research.

Crafting:

  • Knit 6 projects I’ve finished 5. IMG_0365 IMG_0328 IMG_0295 IMG_0268 IMG_0232
  • Crochet 6 projects
    Finished 7 projects. IMG_0355 IMG_0361 IMG_0302 IMG_0299 IMG_0269 IMG_0236 IMG_0225

I didn’t get everything I’d planned done, but I did write over 120,000 words during the round. So very good progress. I hope everyone who celebrates has a Merry Christmas!

Monday Mentions: Plotting Tip, Achievements, and Precious Time

I didn’t share any posts last week since I was revealing my cover for Flames of Redemption. This week, I have three posts to share, though.

First, Jami Gold talks about a plotting tip that will help insure a story works.

And Ava Jae discusses what she hopes to achieve with her writing. What about you? For me, I want people to read and enjoy my stories. I hope they entertain; that they make the reader laugh, cry, swoon.

And Kristen Lamb wrote about how time is precious and if we’re investing it wisely. I know I don’t always use my time the best I can. But, I do always try to get to my writing goals first. Unless, of course, we’ve run out of forks. Again. Then, I may have to put doing the dishes a bit ahead. It has gotten a bit easier now that both kids are in school most of the day. I can get more done when they’re gone, especially the writing, and get to the other things during the less quite times(otherwise know as, when the kids are home).

What are your thoughts? Have you read any good posts lately?

Fiction Friday: Stained Snow

I have finished editing Stained Snow, the first in my western series, again. I’ve rewritten and revised this story more than a few times. So, I really need to get some other eyes on it. I just don’t think I have any objectivity left for this story or the characters.

Sometimes blood isn’t thick enough.

When everything is taken from him, William Jensen knows just who to blame. It’s finding him that’s the problem.  When he’s wounded and taken in by a rancher and his daughter, he starts to see that there might be more to his life now than vengeance. But, when he’s faced with losing even that, can he face down the man who is willing to take everything until he has nothing left? Even if it means killing his own brother.

This is a little under 65,000 words now. If anyone would like to read it and give me some feedback, I’d greatly appreciate it. 🙂

Sunday Summary: Last Days

We’re down to the last days of this round. Well, technically, at the time of writing this, I still have a week left. This pretty much sums up how my week has gone:

That was from Tuesday morning. By early Thursday morning, I was already figuring out next week’s goals. And the “so far ahead, I’m almost lost” reminded me of school. When we had to read along a book as a class. As much as I love reading, I hated that. Because I’d get ahead of everyone else, and when I got called on to read, I had no idea where we were. I was probably the only one to get “in trouble” because of reading ahead. 😉

The World Unknown Review, which includes my story “Forever Again”, is now available. So, go check it out. There’s also a physical copy available through Createspace.

And I should be getting Flames of Redemption back from the proofreader by tomorrow. So, I’m thinking a January 6 release.

  • Stained Snow – Edit – Finished this on Wednesday. Ready for beta readers if anyone’s interested in giving feedback on a ~65k western romance.
  • Patrick’s Story(Gilbert, Co #4.5 – I think. probably won’t be a full novel.) – Brainstorm – Finished this on Wednesday(anyone else mistype this every time?) too. I have one back story written, also a tentative title.
  • Read: The Iron King(Julie Kagawa), Just Breathe(Tamara Mataya), & Lengths(Steph Campbell & Liz Reinhardt) – Finished all of these by Wednesday night. Enjoyed them all. Not loved, but they were good stories. Also finished reading Making Faces(Amy Harmon). Really liked this one even though she had someone walking into a grocery store, supposedly in Pennsylvania, and buying beer. Yeah, no. We don’t sell alcohol in grocery stores here. You have to go the beer distributor or a wines & spirits store(also referred to as the state store) around here.
  • Crochet: Slouched Textured Beanie & Starfish Washcloth – Finished both of these by Wednesday too. I ran out of the orange cotton I was using for the washcloth, but I had some other yarn, so the middle is solid orange and the outside is orange and white.IMG_0361
  • Knit: Vertical Striped Tie – still haven’t started on this. I did start a sock monkey hat and am almost finished with it. Just have to make and attach the ears.

You may have noticed a trend in that reporting. Yes, I had everything(except the last more b/c of a lack of materials) done by Wednesday. I did say I wanted to try to have everything for next week done before Christmas Eve. Seems I’m well on the way to accomplishing that. I also finished a beta read, which I need to type up notes and an email for.

  • Stained by Ashes(follow-up to Stained Snow) – Read Through
  • Patrick’s Story – Character Work
  • Read: Reaper’s Rhythm(Clare Davidson), How to Bring Your Love Life Back From the Dead(Wendy Sparrow), Clockwork Angel(Cassandra Clare), & Whiskey Beach(Nora Roberts)
  • Knit: Finish Sock Monkey Hat
  • Crochet: Baby Bear Hat

Writing Wednesday: Pre-Holiday Busyness

I started this week ahead. Monday morning I was already starting to work on Wednesday’s goals. I only had dishes & laundry left to do for Monday and Tuesday. Of course, that means I started this post Monday, too. And will add to it throughout the week. At the rate I’m going, I might be starting next week’s goals by Wednesday or Thursday.

Sunday we had the kids’ Christmas party at the Moose club. Of course, it was the same day as the fire department’s elections. So, my husband dropped us off at the Moose, and he went down to the station. The Moose also has a family fun day during the summer. It always seems to fall on the weekend of the girl’s birthday party. Never fails. 🙂

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The girl got a scrapbook kit and the boy got a remote control loader. They were both happy with those gifts. In fact, the boy wanted to stay home and play with his toy instead of going to school Monday morning. Yeah…no.

I’d like to thank Shan, Adrian, Amy, Kate, and Kathi for helping with my cover reveal on Monday. I really appreciate it.

Last night, the girl had a concert at her school. It was for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders. Each grade sang 3 songs then came together for the finale. It was good, even if I did nearly have a panic attack when it felt like I was being boxed in on the bleachers in the gym. The boy’s preschool pictures are going to be available to view at his school today(and we can decide if we’re going to purchase any), then I think we’re clear of having to do anything/go anywhere until Saturday.

All that snow we got last Thursday is now melted. This is the second time we’ve gotten snow just to have it melt within the week. It’s supposed to snow again today and tomorrow, only to warm up again by Monday. This is one of the oddest winters we’ve had in a while.

Since it’s Wednesday, it’s time for another WiPPet snippet. I’m still sharing from Scars and All. I will be for the rest of this month, and possibly next month. I’ll be back to drafting in January, but I’m hoping to be finishing the 4th book in my Gilbert, Co series and maybe the Flames novella. Both of which will be full of spoilers for the other books. So, I may just stick with Scars and All for these posts until I start working on something that isn’t so spoiler-y. I may be able to share some snippets from the others. I guess we’ll see.

Anyway, today is 12/17, so I have 17 paragraphs from Chapter 6. The first 3 lines are from one scene, then I switched to Cassie’s POV for the next scene, but they flow together.

“So, that’s why you’re back here.”
Her gaze shot back up to his. “You remember me?”
“I’ve never forgotten you, Cassie.”

Cassie just stood there in the parking lot beside the bike, staring at him. “What was there to remember, Doren? You never even looked at me.”
She saw the tip of his tongue dart out to touch his lips as his gaze skimmed down her now, quickly then it was right back on her face. “I looked. Trust me. But, I was preoccupied with my last season of football. Then, you were with Mason. Then, I was leaving for college.”
“And we had moved.”
His eyes softened then, and she saw some of the boy she remembered. “Yes, you did.”
“I didn’t remember you, the other night. You hid your face from me.”
“I remembered you. Not until you mentioned your aunt though,” he admitted. “It’s been a while.” Those eyes stayed right on hers. “I’m sorry about your uncle.”
She’d heard the same about half a dozen times already, but there was something different in his voice when he said it. Something about the way one fist kept clenching at his side. The pain she could see in his eyes now. What her friends had said at the picnic came back to her. No, he couldn’t be responsible for something like that. How could anyone look at him and see it?
Silence draped over them then until Doren cleared his throat. “Anyway, my raptor. You were touching her.”
She felt color stain her cheeks and glanced away. “Your raptor is a her, huh? I don’t think most men would describe it that way.” And there was that choking sound she’d heard on the phone the other night. She glanced back up at him and saw his cheeks had reddened too.
“My bike,” he choked out, like he was still trying not to laugh. “The raptor is my bike.”
“This is yours?” She turned back to it, running her hand along the length of it again. She’d never been into motorcycles, but the lines were sleek. And picturing him on it definitely did a number on her nerves. She brought her gaze back to him, saw his eyes had gone a deeper brown, nearly black now. “That was you the other day then. Out by my aunt’s.”
“Yes.” The one word came out sounding rough, but there was no anger in his face. He looked intense though, some red stubble running along his jaw, and the dragon shooting flames up by his ear.
“I never pictured you as the motorcycle type.”
“I’m not the same guy you knew in school. I imagine you’re here about your car, not my bike.”

  • Stained Snow – Edit – This is done. Just want to do another polishing run then I need to find some beta readers. I really need other eyes on this. It’s gone through a couple rewrites, and I’m just not sure I can be objective about it anymore. If anyone is willing to read the ~65k western romance, let me know.
  • Patrick’s Story(Gilbert, Co #4.5 – I think. probably won’t be a full novel.) – Brainstorm – I’m nearly finished with this. Have the main characters mostly figured out. Will flesh them out more as I write their back stories, though. Now, to figure out exactly what’s going to happen in the story.
  • Read: The Iron King(Julie Kagawa), Just Breathe(Tamara Mataya), & Lengths(Steph Campbell & Liz Reinhardt) – I finished The Iron King Monday night. Really enjoyed this and put the next book on my “to buy” list. I’m a little more than half way through Just Breathe. I found myself irritated with the narrator at the beginning, but I’m enjoying the story now.
  • Crochet: Slouched Textured Beanie & Starfish Washcloth – Also finished the beanie on Monday. And I started the washcloth on Tuesday. IMG_0356IMG_0355
  • Knit: Vertical Striped Tie – I was going to start this, but I need a size 2 circular needle(b/c of the number of stitches). I don’t have one that small. So, it will wait until I can get it.

It’s been a really good start to the week. Hope everyone else’s is going well, too.

Cover Reveal: Flames of Redemption

I can’t believe I’m getting close to releasing this new book baby into the world. I’m excited and nervous and hope everyone will love Adrian and Kayla as much as I’ve come to. I don’t have a firm release date set, as that depends on when I get it back from the proofreader. But, it should be in January. First, though, a peek at the cover.

I was browsing through premade covers when I came across one that was so so close to what I imagined for this book. Not perfect, really, but nearly. I purchased it and emailed the designer, who made some adjustments to it and got it even closer to perfect. Even better, for the future books in a series, she’ll design the covers for a discount to the normal custom price. And since I already have the next couple books written(but not yet edited) for this series, this was definitely a selling point for me.

Title: Flames of Redemption
Cover Design: Marianne Nowicki
Release: January 2015

 

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Summary:

  Kayla Brooke has firefighting in her blood. She followed her father’s footsteps into the Crystal Glen Fire Department, but when she shows an interest in the whys, she moves into her uncle’s path; fire investigation. Fighting the flames has cost her: a man she thought she’d loved and friends taken by the flames that call to her. After her fiance walked out on her because he couldn’t handle what she was, she never expected another man to light a different kind of fire in her blood. Until Adrian Riley ran into her life.
   
   Adrian Riley came from a family of cops, but he decided to start over in a town where no one knows his family. Now, on the fast track to promotion, he thinks this new case could be the key to proving himself. Then, he butts heads with a hotheaded firefighter on the scene, and his whole world turns upside down. She could be the key to everything, or the one weakness that could take him down.
   
   They fight the sparks that threaten to burn them both. But, once they light, there’s no stopping the blaze. Kayla’s been burned before, but this time the flames may consume her. When more fires start, they know it’s more than a simple case. But, when the arsonist seems to have turned his attention to Kayla, Adrian will do everything within his power to keep her safe, even stand between her and the fire.

Excerpt 1:

When she stepped outside, though, the cop was still there. She couldn’t see his face as he leaned over the railing of the porch, but she still recognized him. The lines of his back were as strong as his front even with his coat on. Maybe it was a good thing that he reminded her of a fighter. He’d fight for this family, for Josh, if it did turn out to be arson.
Something about his posture now was different than when he’d been inside. The bowed back, his head hanging down. He couldn’t have been hurt in the time it took to walk out here, but she knew not all pain was physical. She was sure of it when a shudder passed over his body. What was wrong with him? She hadn’t gotten the impression he had known Josh. He hadn’t seemed affected inside.
She took a step toward him but backed away again when he spun toward her. His hand reached toward his side, where he was probably used to wearing a shoulder holster. He wouldn’t carry a gun to a funeral home though, would he? His jacket lifted, revealing the badge on his belt.
She held her hands up and worked up a smile. “I come in peace.”
He relaxed a bit, but something still held him rigid. The pain was evident in those hard blue eyes. “You’re one of Josh Nunley’s colleagues.”
His voice put her on edge. Her own back stiffened. “One of his sisters, so to speak. What are you doing here? Aren’t we allowed peace to grieve our brother’s loss?”
“I wasn’t trying to get in the way,” he said. “In fact, I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. I’ve lost colleagues in the line of duty before. I understand. But I still have a job to do. I would think you’d want me to find who is responsible for your friend’s death.”

Excerpt 2:

Yet he found he wanted to take care of her. Not like she would allow it. Still, he reached out and brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. She looked shocked by the gesture. “How much sleep have you gotten?” he asked.
She stepped back from him, bringing her own fingers to touch the lock of hair. “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “I can still do the job.”
“I never said you couldn’t.” He shoved his hands in his pockets. “Look, I don’t really know what your problem is with me. The only thing I’ve tried to do so far is my job. Are you really going to hold that against me?”
“Your job sucks, then. Coming to question us when we’re grieving for our friend. Crashing his funeral. We should be able to have those moments.”
“I didn’t question any of you. I was only there observing. Watching for some suspicious behavior. Anything that might give me a clue to who did this.”
“You think that’s so much better? What, do you think one of us did it?”
He kept silent at that accusation, not quite sure what to say to her. She apparently took it as confirmation. “You do, damn it.” She held her hands out in front of her. “Well, why don’t you arrest me now, Detective, if you think I’m guilty.”
“I never said you were guilty, or that I even thought that.” His voice was low, the calmness not matching the turmoil he felt. No, the anger boiled in his veins.

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It’s not up for pre-order, but you can add it now on goodreads.

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