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Archive for March, 2015

Monday Mentions: Last for Awhile

If you caught my post on Friday, you know I’m doing the A-Z blogging challenge next month. What that means is that there won’t be any more Monday Mentions posts until May. Unless I’m helping with a cover reveal or new release, then I’ll put out a special post.

This week, I have 5 posts to share. I may not have much commentary on them as there is a good bit.

Earlier this month, I read this post about strong female characters vs being complex. I agree with a lot of this. My female characters might not always be able to kick some ass. They often make mistakes, bad decisions, and they may have to ask for help. You know, the way male characters are often allowed to be. Or, rather realistic.

And from Kait Nolan, 5 Ways to Combat Failure. These are some really nice tips on how not to beat yourself up too badly when things don’t work out for you.

From Ava Jae, a post on How Important is Originality. Sometimes too much emphasis can be put on originality and uniqueness. I read a book by one author who marketed it as being so unique. And…I didn’t like it. It didn’t feel like anything even happened in it. I just want a good story, even if it’s similar to something else out there. Each other will put their own spin on a story. That is what makes a story unique or original. Not just being something completely new.

I’ve been following this blog series from A.M. Leibowitz. I may have mentioned on here before, although probably vaguely, but while writing Flames of Retribution, I discovered one of the side characters was bisexual. It wasn’t really so much a decision on my part to make him this way(seriously, I may have resisted a bit because…fear of screwing it up). But, if I want to tell his story, then I want to do it the right way. And certainly avoid any problematic tropes and stereotypes.

And, finally, a post on Superfluous Scenes(and why they’re not so bad). I think #1 on this list is the most important. A lot of times I’ll start a scene with no idea if it’s really necessary, and it ends up being rather important. It can be hard to tell what’s important and what isn’t until the whole thing is finished. Which is one reason I don’t like to edit until I’ve written the whole first draft.

That’s it for this week. What do you think? Read any good posts lately? I’ll be back with more posts I find interesting in May.

Sunday Summary: Between Rounds

The first round of RoW80 for this year is over, but I’m still going to report on my progress for the week. Yesterday we did some shopping, after my husband had to go in and plow. Yeah, after we’ve had some 50 degree days, we got more snow. Not that much really. In fact, by the time we were in there, it was pretty much all melted. I looked for that yarn I needed for the crochet Easter basket at Michael’s. They didn’t have it either. So, looks like I won’t be making that at his time. Then, last night we went to the birthday party for a son of one of my husband’s friends from work & the fire department. It was at the local roller skating rink. For someone who has trouble staying on her feet without wheels under them, I didn’t do too bad. And the kids had fun.

I also got all of my A to Z posts set up for next month. I’m planning on drafting the ones for this next week(A-D) today. We’ll see how well that works. I’m hoping if I can get ahead, I won’t have to worry about staying caught up. I’m planning on doing my Row80(and WiPPet) posts separately from these, so that’s going to be about 8 posts a week. This month could get interesting.

Planning on staying home today. My husband has to take one of the fire trucks to another local department for a memorial thing they’re doing there, but the kids and I are staying home. My main focus today will probably be reading.

  • Flames of Recompense – 81000 words by end of round(84000 by end of the week)…or until it is finished. – Finished this on Thursday. Just a little short of 84000 words. Not sure I’m happy with the end, but I can fix it during revisions.
  • Stained by Ashes – Dialogue exercises – Should have 6/8 done by the end of the round – I got all of these finished. I probably won’t go through all of this with each MS, but I may at least do the first steps, as they do help to see where I have large chunks where it’s easy to lose track of who’s speaking.
  • By the Gun – Brainstorm(4/5 mind maps done by end of round) – got all of these finished.
  • Into the Sun(new short story) – write at least 1 page(this will be next weekend’s, so nothing by end of round) – Wrote 124 words yesterday and 330 today. So, we’re up to ~450 words. Not too bad considering I had no idea what this one would be about.
  • Beta Read – hoping for 75% by end of round, finished by end of week. I also got the latest version of my CP’s manuscript. I read it last summer, but she made a lot of changes and wants me to read through it again. And I am happy to. – I’m about 95% through the beta read. I should be able to get an email to her today. And I’m about 65% through my CP’s MS. I’ll probably be emailing her next weekend.
  • Read: Spellcaster, Death Rejoices(A.J. Aalto), Midnight Kiss(Sarra Cannon, Juliana Haygert, Alyssa Rose Ivy, & Jennifer Snyder), Sweet Perdition(Cynthia Rayne), Deliver Me(Kate Jarvik Birch), & A Hero for Holly(Kristy K James) – I enjoyed Spellcaster, but just couldn’t get into Death Rejoices. There were some parts I liked but not enough to keep me with it when I kept skimming. I’ll be starting on Midnight Kiss later this morning. I probably won’t finish all these books this month, so some will get moved to next month’s list. I’m ok with that.
  • Read: Dialogue(A Busy Writer’s Guide) – Finish – yes.
  • Knit: Bunny Hat – yes, finished this Thursday. IMG_0491
  • Crochet: Easter Basket(if I get to this, it probably won’t be before the end of the round) – like I said, can’t find the yarn for this, so wouldn’t be able to get it done in time for Easter anyway. I’m also planning on cutting down on my craft projects. But, more on that Wednesday(when I do my month goals). I have made quite a bit of progress on the Amigurumi Chocolate Bunny. I should have that finished today.

I did pretty good this week, even if I did fall quite behind on my reading. May have to set this aside when I’m doing any beta reading.

Fire Friday: A-Z Challenge

For the first time, I’m going to attempt the A-Z blogging challenge. I’ve thought about it in the past, but that’s about all the farther I’ve gotten since I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to come up with enough topics and keep up with it. But, this year, I’ve decided to at least give it a try.

APRIL-CALENDAR [2015]

Knowing myself as well as I do, I know without a theme, this just isn’t going to happen. For those who have been following me for a while, you know I write a series that revolves around firefighters. You may not know that I’m also married to one(volunteer). Also, I grew up right next to a fire station, and my uncle and various cousins(first and distant) are also volunteers. So, for this month, I will be blogging about different terms related to the fire service. Some(maybe a lot) of these will have some personal experience mixed in. So, that will be 6 posts a week for this plus my twice weekly RoW80 updates. This should be interesting. 🙂

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Week 1:

4/1: A – Arson

4/2: B – Backdraft

4/3: C – Class of Fire

4/4: D – Drafting

Week 2:

4/6: E – Explorers

4/7: F – Forcible Entry

4/8: G – Ground Ladder

4/9: H – Halligan

4/10: I – Interior Attack

4/11: J – Jaws of Life

Week 3:

4/13: K – K-tool

4/14: L – Ladder

4/15: M – Mutual Aid

4/16: N – NFPA

4/17: O – Overhaul

4/18: P – PASS Device

Week 4:

4/20: Q – Quad or Quint

4/21: R – Rapid Intervention

4/22: S – SCBA

4/23: T – Turnout Gear

4/24: U – Under Control

4/25: V – Volunteers

Week 5:

4/27: W – Working Fire

4/28: X – X-trication

4/29: Y – Wye

4/30: Z – Zone

Wow, some of those were hard to decide on. Not many terms for X, Y, and Z. Had to get a little creative. 🙂 Anyway, I’m thinking of making this a monthly feature, even after this challenge is over. I may stick it in with my revolving Friday topics.

Winter RoW80 Round-Up

So, the first RoW80 round of 2015 is being wrapped up. I didn’t stick to my plan at the beginning of the round, so accounting for it should be interesting. First, my progress for this week, though.

  • Flames of Recompense – 81000 words by end of round(84000 by end of the week)…or until it is finished. Sitting at 81200 words. Only 1 or 2 more scenes to write, I think.
  • Stained by Ashes – Dialogue exercises – Should have 6/8 done by the end of the round – I finished exercise 6 earlier today. Still on track with this.
  • By the Gun – Brainstorm(4/5 mind maps done by end of round) – done with this too
  • Into the Sun(new short story) – write at least 1 page(this will be next weekend’s, so nothing by end of round) – haven’t started with this. I did send Take Me Under to my CP, and I have a little more to add/change in it. So, I’ll be working on that first.
  • Beta Read – hoping for 75% by end of round, finished by end of week. I also got the latest version of my CP’s manuscript. I read it last summer, but she made a lot of changes and wants me to read through it again. And I am happy too. – I’m 72% through the beta read & 47% through my CP’s MS.
  • Read: Spellcaster, Death Rejoices(A.J. Aalto), Midnight Kiss(Sarra Cannon, Juliana Haygert, Alyssa Rose Ivy, & Jennifer Snyder), Sweet Perdition(Cynthia Rayne), Deliver Me(Kate Jarvik Birch), & A Hero for Holly(Kristy K James) – I haven’t even finished Spellcaster yet. It’s not the book, but I haven’t been giving myself much reading time. I’m almost finished listening to Only the Good Spy Young(Ally Carter). I just started it yesterday and have less than 10 minutes left. Just couldn’t bring myself to stop listening.
  • Read: Dialogue(A Busy Writer’s Guide) – Finish – Finished this earlier this morning.
  • Knit: Bunny Hat – I’m almost finished with this. I just have to put some finishing touches on it.
  • Crochet: Easter Basket(if I get to this, it probably won’t be before the end of the round) – won’t be getting to this. I wasn’t able to find the yarn I need for it last weekend.

And as for this round:

Plotting:

  • Flames of Restoration(Nolan’s story)
  • Denise’s Story(Gilbert, CO #5) – didn’t get to this, ended up planning a novella between this & book 4
  • Josh’s Story(Kurztown #3) – haven’t started this either, but I think there’s going to be a novella before this too.
  • South of Cimmaron(this is part of a series, but I need to come up with a series title still) – nope
  • Buried Secrets(this is actually a standalone. maybe) – Outline through at least love interest’s back story

I have also plotted: Freeing His Heart(Gilbert, CO 4.5), Brann’s Story(Flames 5.5), Western Hearts, & almost through brainstorming By the Gun. I’ve written 9605 plotting words.

Writing:

  • Chasing the Ghost(Gilbert, CO #4)
  • Flames of Justice(Flames #2.5)
  • Guarding the Heart(BC Security #1) – this got shifted around when I changed my plan. It should make it into next round’s goals.
  • Stained Blood(Stained #3) – probably won’t finish 1st draft, but hoping for at least the first ~35k – I will actually be working on this during April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. But, nothing on it yet.

Despite only finished 2 of these goals, I’ve written 2 short stories in the Flames series(one of these is actually part of Nolan’s back story and takes place during Flames of Retribution), nearly finished Flames of Recompense, and wrote another short story I plan to submit. In total ~157,500 words for this round.

Editing:

  • Healing the Heart(Gilbert, CO #2) – send to CP
  • Stained by Ashes(Stained #2) – 2nd revisions & send to CP – I should have this sent to my CP by the end of the month, or at least the end of next week.
  • Demons Rising(Gilbert, CO #3, but I need to change the title of this) – first read through. – haven’t even started and when I changed my plan around, this got shifted back. I likely won’t be getting to this until June.

I did also finish applying CP edits to The Choice and sent it off to a couple beta readers. I have it back from one, but still waiting to hear from the other. And I mostly just have to polish Stained by Ashes before I send it. So, still lots of progress there(though editing progress is harder to measure)

Reading:

  • Listen: 3 audiobooks – listened to 8
  • Read: 61 fiction books(short stories/novellas count) – 59/61. I may still meet this by the end of the month.
  • Read: 3 craft/research books – Forensics for Writers, A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers, & Dialogue: A Busy Writer’s Guide

Crafting:

  • Knit: 7 projects – finished 4, almost 5IMG_0450 IMG_0453 IMG_0463 IMG_0476
  • Crochet: 7 projects – finished 5 projectsIMG_0451 IMG_0456 IMG_0465 IMG_0485IMG_0446

Despite there being more red than blue this round, I did get a lot done. But, since I changed my plan at least twice during the round, I didn’t get everything done I’d first planned. Hopefully next round I will stick closer to the plan. Now, I just have to go figure out what that is.

WiPPet Wednesday: Intoxicating

I fell behind on my goals on Monday, but I’m getting caught up now. Since this round of RoW80 ends tomorrow, I’m going to wait until then to do my final check-in and evaluation for the round.

But, today I have 28 sentences(3+25) from Flames of Recompense. This takes place a little more than a week after the last snippet. They’ve just spent the day at Callum’s grandparents’ for Memorial Day.

“You’re more intoxicating than anything I’ve ever tasted,” he said against her lips. One hand moved up her back until his fingers danced at the ends of her hair. “This used to be longer.”
“It’s easier to fit under the helmet with it short.” She took a step back, as if them talking had splashed cold water on her.
Callum grinned at her, though. “You broke your own rule,” he said. “You kissed me.”
“Kaelin is sleeping. She won’t see anyway.”
He kept his hand at the back of her neck, his fingers playing in her hair. “Would it be so terrible?”
It might be dark outside, but just from the porch light, he could see the wariness in her eyes. “I don’t want her to get her hopes up. She really likes you, but I don’t want her to start thinking that just because we’re spending time together, it means anything.”
He was sure that, again, she didn’t mean for the words to hurt him. But, they felt like knives, digging right into his chest. “Does it?” he asked. “Mean anything?”
Her eyes were sad, but still guarded as she looked up at him. “It can’t,” she said, her voice sounding strained. “I can’t be your weakness this time, Cal. I won’t be your drug.”
His heart plummeted. It hadn’t just been them speaking that had broken the spell, but the words he’d said. Damn it. Was he destined to screw everything up? “Meg, please.”

Head over here to see the other snippets(just watch out for the flying monkeys). Or feel free to add your own.

I should have the first draft of this finished tomorrow(maybe Friday), and I’ll be starting a new WiP next week. But, I’ll probably continue to share from this one, at least for a little while longer.

 

Monday Meanderings: Hair Cuts & Pennsylvania

A little different post for me this Monday. A couple random things. First, I will share a link. This is one my aunt posted to Facebook. Well, technically, she’s not my aunt anymore. She hasn’t been married to my father’s brother for a long time(she was actually his first wife, he’s on at least his third now. I don’t know. We don’t really talk to him anymore). Anyway, still consider her an aunt.

31 Things People From Pennsylvania Have to Explain to Out-of-Towners. Some of these were so on. At least one(#11) isn’t so much a PA thing, as it is a Pittsburgh thing. We don’t say youse(or yinz) up here in the northwest corner. Might hear a “you all” or “you guys”, though. Of course, I’ve said before, I often say Northwest PA as if it’s a whole different state. Sometimes it feels like it.

But, # 1, 3, 6(we have always had the Monday after Thanksgiving off from school), 16, 19(that’s where we had our wedding reception), & 27(so bad this time of year), so very true.

#25 isn’t quite true. It’s the “Pennsylvania Dutch” who are actually German, not Dutch.

And yesterday, we went down to my sister’s. Both kids and myself needed haircuts. Pretty bad. The kids’ haven’t been done since before Christmas. The girl’s, like mine, has a tendency to get very snarled no matter how much you wash and comb it. Mine hasn’t been cut for almost 18 months, when I decided to take the scissors to it myself. I’ve been getting fed up with it recently, too, so it needed done. I haven’t had a lot of luck, though, with anyone besides my grandma or sister cutting it. But, now, all three of us have shorter hair. I’m very happy with the cuts too.

The boy before & after:

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The girl:

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And, finally, me:

IMG_0482 IMG_0490

Feels so good not having all that hair hanging on my shoulders. And the girl’s is a lot easier to take care of now. Don’t think I’ll go so long between hair cuts again(haha. I’ve said that before, though).

 

Sunday Summary: Evening Out

On Wednesday, I had been falling behind on some of my goals. By Friday night, I was caught up on almost all of it. Part of the problem was the read through I was doing on Stained by Ashes. I was trying to get through 25% a day(reading it on my kindle), and it was taking me longer than I figured. Plus, my kindle was starting to act up. Taking forever to bring up the menu when a selected a word or phrase, being very delayed in turning pages. It really only did this on documents. And it was killing my battery. I usually only have to charge it once a week, even with leaving the wi-fi turned on all the time(can go a couple weeks if I turn it off). I had to charge it two nights in a row this past week. Then, I was about 94% through the document & it restarted on me. Everything I had highlighted that day got wiped out. So, I had to go back through and do the last 25%-ish over again. But, it started working better then.

Last night was our fire department’s annual awards banquet. My MIL came over to watch the kids. We had dinner(ox roast, ham, mashed potatoes, corn) that my husband, the fire chief, and one or 2 other members made. Used to have it catered until the department decided to start saving money. Then, they did the awards. It was a short one this year. And a little sad to see how few people stood up when they went through the years of service(they call for those with 0-5 years, then 5-10 and so on). A lot less people are volunteering these days. And around here, we depend on the volunteer departments. The city has a paid department and some of the bigger towns, but all the small towns in between depend on their volunteers.

After the awards were over, we had the after party. The DJ got set up and people started drinking and dancing. I’m not a big drinker(or dancer), so the wine coolers my husband bought will probably last most of the next year(we actually still had some from last year). I had 2 of them last night and a little cup of raspberry wine that someone else brought. My head is hurting a bit this morning.

Today we are going down to my sister’s. Both kids and I will be getting our hair cut. Mine hasn’t been cut in almost 18 months, and that was when I took the scissors to it myself because I was fed up with it. I’ve never been pleased with hair cuts except for when my grandma and sister have done it. Not planning to go really short(too many of those hair cuts in the past where I was mistaken for a boy), but I’m tired of long hair. My dad’s also planning on being there tomorrow, so we’ll get to see him again. That will be 3-4 times in just over 3 months. Might just be a record.

  • Flames of Recompense – get to 69000 words – yes. 69,220 words actually. The last(and rather steamy) scene was rolling right along, so I kept going. I’m heading right for the end. Shouldn’t have any problem finishing by the end of the month.
  • Stained by Ashes – Fragment Fix round – this is done too. I cut another 101 words just going through these fixes. It wasn’t just fragments, but also phrases/sentences I realized weren’t necessary or connecting short sentences that had made it choppy. Also checking and fixing a couple details. I’m going to be going through it again with the exercises from the dialogue book I’ve been reading. Then, just need to polish it up and it will be ready for my CP(or whenever she’s ready for it).
  • Western Hearts – Finish plotting – this is done and ready to go on the drafting list(though I likely won’t get to it for awhile).
  • Take Me Under – Revise – I revised it yesterday morning and added 485 words to it. Printed it out so I could read through again. Then, added another 127 words. It’s just over 3000 words now.
  • Beta Read – Making progress with this. I’d probably get through it fast if I didn’t try to do so much at once because I am enjoying the story. I’m hoping to have it finished and back to her by next weekend.
  • Read: Dare to Surrender(Carly Phillips), Back to You(Jessica Scott), Anna and the French Kiss(Stephanie Perkins), Hope for Her(Sydney Aaliyah Michelle), and Spellcaster(Claudia Gray) – I really enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss. I have mixed feelings about Hope for Her. I’m about 15% through Spellcaster, enjoying it so far but no strong feelings. I also finished listening to I’ll Give You the Sun(Jandy Nelson) yesterday. It was such an emotional rollercoaster ride. I’m not sure I’ve ever alternated between laughing and crying so much, often times within minutes of each other. There may have been tears at the end too(happy ones though).
  • Read: Dialogue(A Busy Writer’s Guide) – 75% – yes. I should finish it this week
  • Crochet – Amigurumi Bunny Basket – I did finish this, although it didn’t turn out all the great. It doesn’t stand up like the one in the picture for the pattern shows, just kind of flops over(for the picture, I set a little bowl inside it to give it some shape)
  • Knit: Bunny Hat – I was going to start this yesterday, but realized I don’t have the yarn I need for it. Or for any of the other projects on my list.

We don’t even have a full week left for this round, but I’m going to list my goals for the end of the round and through the end of the week. It’s just easier for me that way, and I imagine I’ll still post during the break.

  • Flames of Recompense – 81000 words by end of round(84000 by end of the week)…or until it is finished.
  • Stained by Ashes – Dialogue exercises – Should have 6/8 done by the end of the round
  • By the Gun – Brainstorm(4/5 mind maps done by end of round)
  • Into the Sun(new short story) – write at least 1 page(this will be next weekend’s, so nothing by end of round)
  • Beta Read – hoping for 75% by end of round, finished by end of week. I also got the latest version of my CP’s manuscript. I read it last summer, but she made a lot of changes and wants me to read through it again. And I am happy too.
  • Read: Spellcaster, Death Rejoices(A.J. Aalto), Midnight Kiss(Sarra Cannon, Juliana Haygert, Alyssa Rose Ivy, & Jennifer Snyder), Sweet Perdition(Cynthia Rayne), Deliver Me(Kate Jarvik Birch), & A Hero for Holly(Kristy K James)
  • Read: Dialogue(A Busy Writer’s Guide) – Finish
  • Knit: Bunny Hat
  • Crochet: Easter Basket(if I get to this, it probably won’t be before the end of the round)

 

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