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Fiction Friday: Call for Beta Readers

A little something different today. I won’t be sharing the next scene of Garren’s story. That will be back next week though. Instead I’m putting out a call for beta readers for my western novel, Stained Snow. It’s been off to my critique partner and through a fairly big rewrite. I want to do another pass through it to do some clean up, but then I need to send it out. I’m not capable of being objective with it, so I need some other eyes on it. I’m hoping to have that editing pass done early next week, so if anyone would like to read through it, let me know. It’s about 67,000 words.

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.

Writing Wednesday: Checking In

First check-in of a new round. There’s usually not much to report at this point. But, I will report on it. After my WiPPeT. In honor of finishing my search & destroy mission on Slow Revenge last night, I’m going to share a snippet from that. 10 paragraphs from Chapter Two. Garren’s sister and her fiance never showed up when they were supposed to. Garren, a homicide detective, is at his parents’ after working a case the night before.

At a gesture from his father, Garren followed him out of the kitchen. When they were alone in the family room, Brendan said, “I saw you on the news last night. I know you didn’t say much, couldn’t say much. Even the news didn’t say much.”

Garren shook his head. He didn’t want to think about the boy who had died. “Not much to say. And the parents had to be notified.”

“I know,” his father’s voice sounded tired. Sad. “I know you’ll stand for them, even if it was their own stupidity that caused this. Just as I know you’ll stand for Connie when we get that notification.”

Garren’s throat threatened to close. “Dad.” He shook his head. He didn’t want to say anything, was afraid to admit the same thought had come to him. “Don’t think like that,” he finally managed.

“I know something happened. I knew it yesterday but was afraid to admit it. So, I was harsher on you than necessary.”

It was an apology. Most likely the only one he would get. Even that was more than he thought was needed. They all dealt with worry in their own way. Garren’s was to try to find the answers. His father’s was by shutting it down and not thinking about it. His mother acted like everything was fine.

His mother poked her head in to the family room then. “Dinner’s just about ready. You two should get washed up.”

When they returned, Garren’s mother was setting dinner on the table. “Get some plates,” she told him before he could sit.

It reminded Garren of his childhood when he and Connie would have to take turns setting the table. They would almost always end up fighting over whose turn it was. He shook off the memory and grabbed the plates out of the cupboard. The same cupboard they had always been in. He stood at the table in confusion for a moment when he realized he’d grabbed four plates out of habit but there were only three places set. Some things remained the same, even when so much was different.

“Damn it,” he muttered and went to return the extra plate to the cupboard. He had to take a moment to regain his composure before turning back to his parents. He hoped this table would see more than these three seats again.

  • Slow Revenge: Finish search & destroy mission – as I said above, I finished this last night. Cut about 2k from it just by getting those weak words out. Maybe my next first draft won’t be so crappy.
  • Line up Beta Readers – I put up a post on my Facebook page this morning and shared it to my timeline to see if I can find a couple readers. Nothing yet.
  • Send Slow Revenge
  • The Choice: Finish 5 scenes – 2/5. Will start the next one once I’m done here.
  • Chasing the Ghost: Have most of novel notebook complete – have hardly even worked on this yet this week. I will get to it though.
  • Read: Never Too Much(Lori Foster) & Simply Irresistible(Jill Shalvis) – I have about 40 pages left to read in Never Too Much. I found out this is the 2nd book in the series(oops). They seem to be connected, but there’s not much you miss by reading the second one first, but I will be adding the first one to my TBR list.
  • Knit: Boo Baby Cloth – haven’t started on this yet either.

My biggest goal for the week was finishing Slow Revenge and sending it out, and I’m halfway there. So, that pleases me. I’ll get to the rest of the stuff as well.

Tidbit Thursday: Slow Revenge

I finished the edits on Slow Revenge yesterday. Or at least the first round of them. So, now I am ready to have other people look at it. This is a story I actually started writing like nine years ago. This version is different than the first since in that time I’ve learned quite a bit. And I’ve loved getting to know these characters again. But, I realize I may be a little too close to them. So, I need some other eyes on it.

When a police detective’s sister turns up missing, he is thrown into an investigation that takes him into the darkest parts of his past.

Garren Alexander is a Homicide detective who has long struggled to keep his past behind him, using whiskey and women to drown his own pain. He knows his old coping methods don’t work and almost meant his destruction. So, he has given them up to try to fight his inner demons on his own.

But when his sister is reported missing and his best friend is the most viable suspect, he is determined to find her and prove his innocence. As he works against time and his colleagues, he has to fight his own urges to turn to those old coping methods. He turns to his sister’s best friend, Lisa Giles, and realizes he may find more than just someone to talk to about his sister. When he finds his friend dead, apparently by his own hand, he doesn’t know where to turn. But, Lisa still has faith Connie is alive and will be found, so he tries to hold onto that and her. But, he fears his demons will destroy another relationship if he doesn’t maintain control. More people with a connection to him start turning up dead. When a young boy he mentors is attacked, it sends him into a downward spiral.

He tries to push Lisa away from him in an effort to keep her safe. Instead he pushes her right into the danger. Will he be too late to stop someone bent on revenge from taking the woman he loves? Or will time run out before he can face the shadows from his past?

***

If anyone would be interested in reading this and giving me some feedback, let me know. You can either leave a comment here, message me on twitter(@frbrown906), or email me at fallonrb@gmail.com

Late Row80 Check-In

Never got on the computer yesterday, so here’s another late check-in for me. I may just decide to skip the Sunday check-ins completely. I did that during one round, and it worked well for me then.

  • Finish 1st round of edits on Slow Revenge – still working through this. I got through chapter 18 this morning. So, still 12 more to go. I’ve cut out a net total of almost 250 words so far.
  • Send to Beta Readers(if anyone is interested, let me know) – still have to finish the edits, but if anyone is interested in reading it, let me know.
  • Finish 1st draft of Flames of Redemption – didn’t make a whole lot of progress on this one last week. And my plan is to focus on Slow Revenge until the edits are done. Then, I’ll turn my focus back to finishing this. Last week I only added a little more than 1000 words to this.
  • Read 20 books – I finished 4 books last week, but only one since Wednesday: Firefight in Darkness by Katie Jennings. I started Beauty of Fear by L.E. Perez on Saturday. I’m currently about 13% through it. So, that’s 5 books finished for the round so far.
  • workout for 30 minutes 5 days a week – I walked on the treadmill 3 days last week and that was it. So didn’t quite meet my goal.
  • Track calories every weekday – I did ok on this about 3 days out of the week. Need to try to do better this week.

 

2013 Round 1: Simplifying Goals

I feel like I’m running behind because I’m not writing this until the day the round starts. Usually I’m ahead of the game. But, I guess I’m having a harder time than usual getting back to my routine after the holidays. It’s not a problem though because it will come. I did have a list of my goals made out. It was my typical one, organized by month and writing/editing/plotting goals. Then, I started to feel that might stretch me too thin. That focusing on so many things really left me with little focus at all. So, I decided to simplify my focus. I was going to just work on one thing at a time, whether it was writing or editing or planning. But, I just can’t seem to narrow my focus quite that much. So instead, I plan on working on two projects in different stages of completion. And I have my goals prioritized. Since for some of them, I have to have another goal finished before I can start that one. So, for each check-in, I’ll just report on whichever ones I’m working on currently. But, I’ll probably have the list of all of them there, so I can keep in mind what I still want to get done and have the finished ones crossed off. Or I may just do the current set of goals(I have them grouped by priority). I also have a few goals that will cover the whole round.

So, here is my list of goals for this round:

  • Finish 1st round of edits on Slow Revenge
  • Send to Beta Readers(if anyone is interested, let me know)
  • Finish 1st draft of Flames of Redemption
  • Finish plotting Connie’s Story(#3 in my series. Slow Revenge is #1)
  • Find title for Connie’s story
  • 2nd round of edits on Slow Revenge pending feedback
  • Start looking into editors & cover designers
  • Start drafting Connie’s story
  • start 1st round of edits on Healing the Heart

I have a goal this year of reading 100 books. I managed 90 last year. I’m a bit of a binge reader, so I can sometimes finish a book in a day or two. And some of these books are novellas or collections of short stories/novellas. I count them all. Only a week into the year and I’ve already finished 5(4 novels and 1 novella). Also, I want to get back on track with my workouts and eating.

  • Read 20 books
  • workout for 30 minutes 5 days a week
  • Track calories every weekday

Looking back over it, that may not seem too simplified. But, compared to my other lists of goals, it is. Or at least better prioritized and organized(and we all know how much I like to be organized).

 

Writing Wednesday: Nearing the End

Hard to believe it is almost the end of another round of ROW80. This will make the fourth one I’ve finished. In that time I’ve finished two novel first drafts and one novella. A lot more than I’ve finished in previous years. I’m very good at starting things, but finishing them takes a lot more work.

  • Get Guarding the Heart sent out to Beta Readers.

Not sent out yet, but did contact the two readers I lined up. I just contacted them this morning, so after I hear back from them I will send it out. I would still like a couple more readers as well.

  • have note cards/mapping done on Slow Revenge

Finished this on Wednesday.

  • Going to set a “test mile” of 500 words a day on Slow Revenge. So, have 2500 by Wednesday(for a total of 12500 on the WIP).

On both Thursday and Friday, I managed to meet the test mile but not surpass it by much. Over the weekend, I sat down and figured out how many words I needed to write a day(5 days a week, since I don’t usually write on weekends) to finish by the end of August and came up with about 1232. So, I rounded that up to 1250. I plan on readjusting this goal each weekend, so that I can hopefully meet that deadline. On Monday, I wrote just over 1300 words. And yesterday I had 1266 done in the morning before either of the kids were up. Today I’ve only written 517 so far. Hoping to get more down during nap time though.

  • Finish reading Family Ties

I finished this last week and read Crash Into You by Roni Loren and last night I finished reading Roots of Insight by Breeana Puttroff. Next up is Director’s Cut by Keri Knutson & Susan Branham.

Just one more week to finish meeting those goals. Even if I don’t meet all of them, at least I know I am making progress.

Goals for next week:

  • Send Guarding the Heart out to Beta Readers.
  • Have about 20000 words on Slow Revenge
  • Finish reading Director’s Cut.
  • Re-figure my blog schedule

Writing Wednesday: Organizing

A couple weeks ago I found an article on a new way to outline. What I’ve been doing works pretty well for me, but I’m always willing to try something new. This method will actually let you see all the plot lines of your story and see how they intersect. thought it was interesting. So, Monday I started filling out note cards with each of my scenes(a  couple of them I put on the same note card b/c they are so closely connected). Right now I have about six left to do. Then, I will go through them and mark which plot line(s) they go with and then draw a diagram to show the different plot lines. I think I will still use the snowflake method to do the initial plotting. But, then will use this to figure out my scenes and outline before putting it all into Scrivener.

Onto what I’ve managed in the last week:

  • Finish this scene for Guarding the Heart.

I did get this done. And I compiled it all and exported to Word. then, I went through and tried to find at least the glaring errors. So, it is now ready for other people to read.

  • Find at least two more Beta Readers.

Nothing here yet. Would anyone else be interested? You can read the synopsis here.

  • Have at least 11000 words for Slow Revenge

Have not gotten any more written on this. Once I finish the note cards and mapping out the scenes, I will get back to the writing. Of course, today is my daughter’s last day of school before summer vacation, so I don’t know how much I’ll get written while she’s home. I know I’ll adjust to the different routine though.

  • Catch up on blogs and comments

I did catch up on reading blogs. Still falling behind on posting blogs and replying to comments. I’m thinking about rearranging my blog schedule since I can’t seem to keep up with it right now. Going to do some more thinking on that.

  • Finish The Gnome and start a new book.

I did finish reading The Gnome last week and started reading Family Ties, by Louise Behiel. I’m currently 89% through it. So, I should be finishing it either today or tomorrow.

Goals for next week:

  • Get Guarding the Heart sent out to Beta Readers.
  • have note cards/mapping done on Slow Revenge
  • Going to set a “test mile” of 500 words a day on Slow Revenge. So, have 2500 by Wednesday(for a total of 12500 on the WIP).
  • Finish reading Family Ties

Writing Wednesday: Beta Readers

It feels weird not having a check-in to do on Wednesday. But, instead of just taking the day(or even the week) off from posting to the blog, I come with a question. Or more likely a few. About beta readers. How do you find them? What kinds of things do you want them to look for in your writing? How long do you expect them to take to get back to you? And lastly, anyone want to be a beta reader for me?

I’m not quite ready for beta readers yet, but pretty close. I’m just about finished with the novella I’m writing. Once the first draft of that is finished, I’m going to do a read through of my novel, Guarding the Heart. I know there are some parts that need to be cut and other areas where I need to add more. So, I’m going to focus on that right now. I am hoping by the end of April to have that ready for any beta readers.

This is a new prospect for me as I have never really edited a work before. I thought I did, but what I really did was just fix grammar and spelling issues. Not really anything on plot or characters. Of course, that was before I had really studied anything on the craft of writing. So, like I said, I’m hoping to have this ready by the end of April, but it may take me longer(or not as long, depending on how it goes).

So, anyone interested in reading through this when it’s ready? It is a romantic suspense and runs about 83,000 words. Here’s a quick synopsis:

Casey Brannigan, a personal bodyguard and former Marine, who is trying to get his life back after losing his last client. He almost lost his life and is on the verge of losing his business as well. With his future and that of his partner and best friend, at risk, he feels he has no choice but to take the next job that comes their way no matter what it is.

But when he gets the phone call from Senator Blaine, he wants to turn down the job even though he knows they cannot afford to and feels forced to take it. His daughter, Emelyn, who Casey thinks is just a spoiled rich girl, has been receiving threats against her life. Her father wants someone to protect her while the police look for the person behind the threats. Casey thinks this will be an easy job and goes by himself to her house to watch her. But, there are problems from the start. And when he finds his feelings for her deepening, he realizes there’s more to her than what you see on the surface.

Now, he has to decide if it is worth the risk of getting close to her only to lose her. When Emelyn is taken under his watch, he throws everything he has into finding her, even calling on people he has not spoken to in years. But, as time starts to run out, he fears he will never see her again, let alone confess his true feelings for her. As he closes in on the man who took her, he is forced to face the past he’s tried to leave behind. Will he find her in time or will he have to bury another woman he loves?

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