Summer Ends – Write on Time


Photo courtesy of Fotolia via Microsoft Word

 

Summer, is our beach time, cookouts, fireworks and baseball games and most of all, for the majority of us, Vacation Time. What a shame, it is all coming to an end. Why is it that winter seems to last forever and summer is always over in the blink of an eye?

Now that my favorite season is coming to an end, I need to get back on track with my writing and blogging. Of course, this will be in-between the time with the newest member of our family.

Meet Keelaa – our puppy!

She will be my writing mascot, there to make sure the fingers are working on the keyboard, or not :p

Keelaa is as sweet as she looks. At ten weeks, she weighs no more than 8 pounds. Her mom weighs in at about 20 pounds and we couldn’t find out what kind of dog her dad was. This doesn’t matter to us anyway. We love mixed breeds, plain and simple.

The cats don’t like her much. They keep trying to plot ways to get her into trouble, but they all keep backfiring as the cats or cat keeps getting caught in the act. Gracie is the brain behind all the scheming.

So in-between all the conflict with a puppy and a couple of cats is my writing time.

By the way, our older pup, Julie, who is going on 14 years this coming season, adores Keelaa. In fact, the two of them are best buddies.

ROW80 Check-in:

My goal for the coming season is to write every day, no matter whether it be a blog or my work in progress. If I can write a minimum of 500 words a day, I feel I will be on the right track.

Two works are going at this time. One of which I can tell you about. That would be my Sleeping on the Beach. I started to use Wattpad for the story, but it wasn’t working out for me. I find the site sort of odd to use. So, I’ve moved back to Authonomy since they have revamped the site. Hopefully, I will be able to attract some critiquing and maybe some brainstorming for this work in progress.

Sleeping on the Beach
ß click to view on Authonomy.com. (Note: Site does not work well with Internet Explorer. Need to use Firefox, Chrome or Opera to read any of the books on the site) A new feature to the site is the ability to download the stories to your Kindle or other eReader if the author has allowed downloads for viewing offline.

How has your summer been? Did you do any sleeping on the beach like Andrea? Hopefully, you weren’t sleepwalking as she was. I hear PTSD can do that to you.

Tell me about your work in progress – or did you recently publish? I’d love to hear about it.

 

MIA – Nope, I’m Still Here!

I know, I’ve been missing in action for several months this summer. In the past, I diligently posted at least once a month. Lately, I’ve been saving my writing well for the work in progress.

So, how’s it been coming?

It’s going great. I went through a period where I was wracking my brain trying to remember what it was that I had done to get Witch Book done in that record amount of time. It seemed all elusive; there was no way I was going to be able to create another story in that short amount of time, or so I thought.

I’ve been struggling with a piece I started a few months ago. I managed to write just three or four chapters and then nothing. I couldn’t think of anything that would spark even myself. The story seemed lame, but others did comment that they were intrigued by the idea the first chapter sparked. But still, I didn’t know how to carry on with the story.

What was so special with the way I wrote, Witch Book?

I plotted that book, and even made character and setting sketches.

So I broke down this past week and dug out a book on writing that I bought way back when I first began working on, Friends of Choice. Back then, I didn’t understand a word that book said. It talked about character sketches and motivations and goals and setting sketches. Then there was the part about consistency and POV.

Four years later, I know what all those terms mean, thanks to my local RWA chapter. They’ve done a great job at teaching me the ropes.

 

The book, From First Draft To Finished Novel: A Writer’s Guide To Cohesive Story Building, by Karen S Wiesner, is loaded with worksheets, both character and setting, along with plotting, goal and motivation.

Above, is the book I’ve revisited. I know the terms in the book now, it all makes sense. In fact, after doing only half of the worksheets recommended for a proper pre-write, I’m getting that super strong urge to start writing that next chapter. Maybe even finish the darn book.

But, I’m going to hold myself back. I’m going to continue with the worksheets and use all of them. Hopefully this effect will have a springboard effect.

Come the end of September, I will let you all know the results of this little writing experiment.

 

Giveaway on Goodreads.com

I can’t forget to let you know about the paperback edition of Along Came Neil that I’m giving away on Goodreads.com. Stop by and check it out and enter to win my first of many to come YA Romances.

 



When Your Kids Start Catching Up to You

Age-Old Questions

“Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?

 

(This prompt was inspired by a suggestion from ripplesnreflectiontimes)

 

I remember when my kids were young. It doesn’t seem that long ago, when they were 4 and 6 years old. Both were and still are cute and adorable, (sometimes).

This coming month, August, they will be turning 25 and 27. How time flies?

Life didn’t turnout the way I had imagined for them, but it didn’t turnout the way I had imagined for myself either. Both are still trying to discover the direction they are heading in, my daughter with my granddaughter in toe.

It took me until I turned 45 to discover my own direction that was nagging at me over the years. That was to start writing. I had wanted to write stories way back when I was in High School, but I had no one to encourage me. Both my parents said, “Really?”, when I had announced to them that I wanted to be a writer after graduating high school. They didn’t understand how anyone would want to spend their time writing stories.

When I published my first book, Friends of Choice, my mom didn’t know what to say. My dad was no longer living in our world, he had deceased 10 years prior.

Now, 5 novels later, I have continued to grow my desire to write. I’m here for the long haul. At first it was all about just getting that next story written. Now, after learning about the craft of writing, it is all about how do I add excitement into my story lines, no matter whether it is Contemporary or Fantasy. The story now has to have an element of romance and that highly sought after happy ending.

The girls in my Romance chapter have taught me that life is full of disappointments. We’ve all seen enough for more than a lifetime. Everyday people have had their share of disappointments too. This is why it is so important to end the story on a happily ever after note.

Will I continue to write a series after finishing up my Orgarlan Saga?

I’m not too sure. It will all depend on the story line. But every character, good or bad/ good or evil, deserves a happy ending. Don’t you think so?

 

ROW80 Check In:

I’m back. It seems that I have snuck away from the keyboard for the past few months. Really, I’ve been here the whole time letting my writing well fill back up. There is a big story brewing, or two, maybe three if I save that one for NaNo.

When I come across a prompt of some sort, now I am taking the time to makeup some sort of blurb for it and saving it in a file for later use. That is how the one that I have been working on came to be.

I can’t tell you much about it, except it might not be out until next year sometime.

Oh, and I have begun working on the next Orgarlan book.

Just taking it slow and carefully carving out the story outline. I can’t really write by the pants anymore. I have to have some sort of timeline so I know the order of what is to come for my characters. They have to have definite goals in mind or the story won’t go anywhere. Which is why I’m having a little bit of trouble with Sleeping on the Beach. I will get that one figured out in the near future. It just needs a timeline with goals.

It is what I did for Witch Book, Road Salt, and Along Came Neil. Timelines help me write faster.

Oh – and my typing word count average is 1000 words per hour. Not too shabby – in my opinion.

How’s your stories going? What are you working on? Care to give yourself a shameless blurb about your future story?

Do you write by your pants or are you a plotter like me?

Have you noticed your typing skills increasing since you began writing?

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What If and Why Do You Write?

Just the other day I had my last Chapter meeting for RWA until September. We had a panel of speakers give us the low down on their pros and cons of traditional publishing, hybrid publishing, and self-publishing. It was nice to hear their opinions of publishing and how things have changed so much since 2008.

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

One of the gals in my group mentioned of how one of her manuscripts had been pitched to an editor without her knowledge. She didn’t find out about it until she received a nasty letter from the editor that broke her heart. Even though she knows that the editor does not like Romance, they were so negative about the book in what she felt was an unprofessional manner and sent the manuscript back anonymous.

What do you do when this happens?

You go to your peers and vent about it. Your peers will understand. As a writer, your peers are other writers.

Then we asked her if the negative comments were of any consequence to the story as in bad editing or story line or what not. When she couldn’t come up with any damaging statements about the overall writing, we told her to toss the critique aside. It only means that the person who wrote that was in a sad sort of way that day and they knew it. That was why they wouldn’t sign their name to the critique.

 

Why? Why Write?

 

Have you had bad critiques or reviews? Have they bothered you so much that they have torn you up inside? Should you let them get to you?

I think not.

If they were constructive then you will know it. They will point out the issues with your story, and not point to a person with a bad attitude. Even if it is just one useful line in the whole damning review, it can become helpful to you instead of hurtful.

A pro about self-publishing is that no matter what, you hold the power to revise your stories as many times as you see need fit. There is a big learning curve to overcome when you choose to become a self-publisher of your own work. It will take years to understand every aspect of publishing.

So when you do get that damming review or critique you should look at it and decide if it contains one ounce of constructive criticism. If it does, learn to swallow your pride and use it. If it does not, don’t pay it any attention and know that for all it was worth, the person that wrote that was probably having a bad day.

If you can’t let it go then you need to ask yourself why. Why does this one person’s opinion bother you so much? Should it really matter that much to you to make you feel sick inside? It is just one reader, right?

Then if you are still unable to see constructive criticism then you need to ask the next question.

Why do you write?

Are you out to try and please every person you have ever met? I certainly hope not. Where is your identity if you do so? We all have reputations that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Are you going to be the one that takes your book and hit the one star reviewer over their head? I certainly hope not. I bet you are better than that.

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

So why do you write?

What are you trying to do? If you are in this for the money then you need to find a different profession. Go be a doctor or a lawyer. Wait, aren’t they switching to writing too?

Anyways, I write for my own entertainment. I like to amuse my own brain, create worlds, create people, monsters and creatures. I like to play the What If game. I like running different scenarios and seeing which one holds the most excitement. How can I make myself chuckle?

There are only a few writers who are going to be Nora Roberts, Huey Harvey, or Amanda Hocking. It happens but not to the extent that some people like to believe.

They say that even the advances from the traditional houses are getting lower.

 

So if you are being bothered by rejection after rejection, ask yourself why.

But most of all, ask yourself why do you write?

When you can answer this question, you will see your perception of that negative blurb change as you drop your defensiveness and look at your work with the same magnifying glass that the readers hold in their hands.

 

My ROW80 Check In:

Writing slow and steady, but I am getting somewhere, finally after struggling with letting one single word out of my brain since NaNo. We will see if I decide to skip NaNo this year. It will all depend on whether I can finish writing Sleeping on the Beach before November rolls around. You can follow my first draft on Wattpad. See the link in the side bar.

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Borrow a Prompt to Spark Your Muse

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Writing Prompt:

Your neighbor starts a brush fire in his back yard, only to have it get out of control. He goes to look for a fire extinguisher and finds out that he doesn’t have one. So, he runs to the store to buy one. When he returns he discovers his house is on fire.

Chapter by Chapter

It’s official. It’s Summer!

Cookout time!

Beach time!

 

Rain?

Snow? – Really now? Wrong season, but it’s been so cold lately. Yesterday I was expecting to see flakes falling from the sky.

With all the rain we’ve had recently the grass should be knee high. Mike is out cutting it as I write this. I know the chickens will be feasting on a green dandelion salad when he is through.



Photo courtesy of Linda Nelson’s personal collection

 

ROW 80 check In:

It has been a while since I last checked in for ROW80. I’ve been suffering for the past four months with a writers’ block, and the block has finally broken.

I’m not sure if the NEC Conference or the Deb Dixon Workshop had anything to do with it. Maybe it was the fact that I had an ah ha moment today with Scrivener. I can now work the split screen function on my own.

You say big deal. I say for the simple minded it is a big deal. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been stumbling around with that complex program.

It might be complex, but I do love every bit of it.

Now I am relearning accountability on my part. It was something I had done way back when I was on MySpace. That seems so, so long ago, almost a century ago. It was back before Facebook became the thing it is today.

So where am I doing this accountability?

Why, I’ve been visiting Wattpad of course. It has been around for a few years. I just never knew how to use it until now. Kind of the way I have been learning to use the Scrivener Program.

I’m on Chapter 3 of Sleeping on the Beach. Please feel free to follow along. It is a work I am panstering. Note: Usually, I’m a plotter.

That’s 900 words for the week. It is better than nothing.

See the link for my Wattpad story in my right hand sidebar, if you are interested in following along.

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Adventure Into Self-Publishing

 

Have you been wondering what it’s like to be a self-published author?

I don’t want to scare you, but it is a lot of hard work and the learning process will take you down an immensely long and winding road.

The journey of the Self-published author is a dangerous one. Critique Partners, editors and most of all reviewers will jump out at you along the way. Each one will tell you how you should have done this with your story, or how you shouldn’t have done that with your story. And mind your grammar and spelling. Jesum crow!


Image courtesy of mcom520 wikispaces.com via Bing Creative Commons

 

I see spelling mistakes all over Facebook. They are random mistakes that everyone makes. But being a self-published author you are not allowed to make those mistakes anymore. You are now about to embark on the journey of the elite.

This will be a learning process that will change the way you see yourself. At first you will think that everyone hates what you are writing. Maybe, you will even think that they are out to attack you. Some just might be. There are a few trolls out there that like to see what you are made of. Can they push your buttons and make you uptight by saying something mean and nasty about your story along with a single star rating?

When this happens, will you take what they say personally, or will you give them the benefit of the doubt and look over your story again to see if what they say is undoubtedly true or will you get all worked up and not read one more word of what they have written? Saying, they don’t know what they are talking about. Obviously they didn’t read the story. Meanwhile they did. Their review holds subliminal messages about what is wrong with your story.

The writing journey of the self-published author will continue if you have not fallen by the wayside to the dangers that are out there along the way. The dangers of self-doubt brought on by the reviewers who have left those nasty tidbits about your book.

Image Courtesy of cinquee.It via Bing Creative Commons

Well if your book is that awful – then fix it – you hold the power to change what you have written. You are allowed to revise your story as many times as you see fit. Obviously you will never be able to satisfy all the readers, but if you make just a few happy then you are learning to improve.

A few more years or months will go by and soon you will learn how to take the positive from a negative review. These will be your beta readers. They may be a dangerous bunch, but they will help shape your writing journey.

Continue that journey and never, ever stop learning to write one word at a time.


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My Month of Conferences and Workshops

Finally, a gorgeous weekend, though, I’m not saying that the past few weekends haven’t been nice. The sun has broken through the clouds melting all the snow. Winter is over, and we are about to skip spring. This happens every year in New England. Spring seems to last only a week or two and then – bam – its summer.

Don’t get me wrong. I love summer. I just wish that spring time temperatures of 70 +/- would last more than a week or two.

My last two weekends have been busy – busy – busy. First I went to the NEC Conference for RWA. It was my first Conference, and I loved it. I learned a lot too. I am looking forward to going back again next year. I’m hoping to make it an annual event.

Last weekend was my NHRWA Chapter’s Deb Dixon Workshop. We had a terrific turnout, more than was expected. Talk about a pack load of info. Now I want to go and buy her book GMC – Goal, Motivation and Conflict.

I can’t wait for our next Chapter event, whatever that may be. I will keep you all posted if I hear mention of anymore events.

Between the Conference and the Workshop, I was able to find the motivation to get my butt back behind the keyboard and start pumping out the word count. I successfully hit 3k words today. It has been quite a while since I was able to do that kind of word count. I know all I actually needed to do was to give in and just write. Drop all my censorship, create a world, and let the story to write itself. The story has been there all along. It’s the fear of telling/showing how the world needs to be perceived to the reader. I need to remember to let go of any world rules one would think belongs in a world of fantasy, and only focus on how the world will be explained by my own rules to the reader.

It’s not a historical. It’s just a fantasy. All the world rules are up to me to create. The freedom to create world rules is what has always drawn me to fantasy. The escapism and freedom to do what I will with my characters and the world they live in.

I have three works in progress going at this time. I don’t know which one I will finish first. Probably the one where the characters scream for attention the most, just as long as the story can flow.

So, if you ever get the chance to attend a Deb Dixon Workshop – do it. You won’t regret it. I hear she only does a couple of workshops a year.

 

 


Our Deb Dixon Workshop – Write a Book in a Day

Photos Courtesy of Kathy Hills


My NHRWA Chapter, Photo Courtesy of Kathy Hills

 

What a Weekend

Along Came Neil is coming to your local bookstore.
Ask for it!
It is the third book in the Wings From Ashes Series – Teen Contemporary


Along Came Neil (Wings From Ashes:3)


by Linda Nelson

There’s a new boy in town, and Ashley wants him badly. Will Karla steal her man too?

Karla Centon no longer is the newest student at Brantwood High. Since moving to Brantwood six months ago, her life had been going nowhere in the right direction until she meets Neil Allard, a handsome cheerful boy who wrestles his way into her heart. Karla takes an instant disliking to Neil because she thinks he’s not her type. However, what is her type? Is it tall skinny guys who wear baseball hats backwards and who happen to be bad boys or warm loveable funny guys who are more than just nice occasionally, like Neil?
Ashley likes Neil too, and her friend Maggie tries her best to keep Karla away from him. However, when Ashley starts making a big deal out of his wandering eyes, Neil doesn’t like it. Karla is his friend, which is more than either of the other two girls can say. Karla begins to notice that Neil is actually rather incredible at heart. He may not have the body type she is attracted to, but his good-hearted nature attracts her instead. Finally, when Ashley throws one last tantrum at the dance over Karla, Neil has had enough. Who will really win Neil’s heart?
*****
Here is your coupon code to receive this free eBook download from Smashwords.com

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/368935
It is available in your choice of ebook format

This code is not case sensitive.
Promotional Price: $0.00

Coupon Code: ZY57S

Expires: June 1, 2014 
Please remember to help the author out by leaving a rating and review and sharing the book link with your friends and family.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Nelson, All rights reserved.

 

What a Weekend!

I went to my very first NECRWA Conference. We had a fantastic lineup of speakers and workshops. Let me name a few of our speakers. Bella Andrea was our keynote speaker, she was amazing. I attended the workshop, Before you hit Send. It was about self-editing and given by Angela James. I know what I will be doing over the next few months. Our Saturday Speaker was Cara McKenna, she was fabulous. I also attended the 2 hour workshop given by Madeline Hunter which I do believe has helped me break past my writers block.

I know I walked away with a lot this weekend, besides books. By the end of the day, on Saturday, I was exhausted. The conference was well worth the time, effort, travel, and the money.

Would I do it again?

Absolutely!

In fact, I am going to try and make it my annual event to attend.

The Jersey Conference is coming up in October. I don’t know if I would be able to make that one, but I am sure going to try. It will all come down to having funds available for another event. I may have to work tons of overtime at my day job, which would be nice. I will have to take a wait and see approach with that event.

 

ROW80 Check-In:

 

Not too much to report this week for word count, except that I am making this post. I think I know where my Wattpad story is going to go. I did a little plot outline today, thanks to some sparks that shot into my head during Madeline Hunter’s Workshop. She talked about using strong conflict in your story to get the book to write itself.

Next weekend I will be attending the Deb Dixon Workshop given by my own NHRWA Chapter. That following Monday I will be doing a little experiment by trying to write a book in a day.

I wonder if it can be done.

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Going to Happy Places

Finding That Happy Place:

This past week I got to observe my son while he found that happy place that he had lost so many years ago. It made me want to giggle inside to see the boy that I once knew reappear before my eyes. He was cheerful, excited and so full of life.

You see; my son is an addict. This is a huge deal for an addict to find their happy place. It lowers their need to use to acquire the same feeling. And when they do use to find that feeling, their outward results are not the same. They exhibit false excitement. Their excitement is caused by their drug usage as an after effect/side effect of using that particular substance. It is not real.

And when it comes to be full of life, they become tired and sleep their life away. This is also an after effect/side effect of using the substance.

His happy place was rediscovering his love for fishing. He was always pretty good at setting the hook in his younger years. Once again he had no problem setting that hook to catch his first largemouth bass in over five years. That’s right! It has been a good five years since he went fishing. One can’t fish while sitting in jail or rehab.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fish my son caught.

Seeing him happy reminded me of how I once found my happy place. I remember it well. It was when a friend/past co-worker made a VHS tape of some home movies of mine that I had not been able to watch in years. You know those old 8mm tapes that have gone the way of the dinosaur. They held all the happy times in my life when I had no cares or worries and was able to dance away, not caring about what others thought. The innocence of a five year old child is a cherished moment.

 

Coming Events:

Talk about excited and happy moments!

Next weekend I will be going to my very first RWA Conference. Granted it is not the main event, just a chapter event, but the same, I’m going to a conference. Can you tell I’m excited?

The New England Chapter of RWA is holding their annual Conference, and I decided to attend it. I can’t wait to meet these girls. I’m looking forward to their workshops they have scheduled.

Then the following weekend I will be going to the Workshop my own chapter has planned. It is a Deb Dixon Workshop.

We will see if the workshop lives up to its name, A Book in a Day. I will be spending that following Monday at home trying out her techniques.

 

ROW 80 Check-in:

It has been a while since I have checked in.

The writing has still been going slow. In the past two weeks, I have managed to add no more than 3k words to the next Orgarlan Book. I also have two other works that I have been dabbling with, one of which is my little story on Wattpad.

Sleeping on the Beach is a panstered story – unless I break down and plot the thing out, I really don’t know where the story is going or what it is about, except that the main character is having a bad bout with insomnia. It appears that sleepwalking is the result of her insomnia.

Oh, I just had an ah-ha moment. I know what to do with the story next. I won’t tell you – you’ll have to read the next chapter. (lol)

The third story I have been plunkering with I won’t tell you anything about it. I don’t want to get your hopes up. Not yet anyways. Right now it is just a junk story. (Is plunkering a word? It is now. I just made it up. I just Binged it, and it is a word. J )

 

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