Do Da Writing Sprint #amwriting #ROW80

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Puppy Power!

I remember Scrappy Do from Scooby Do. Scrappy was fearless and full of energy. That’s the way our pup Keelaa appears to be. She runs around like a miniature greyhound, doing figure eights around the older dog Julie.

Meanwhile, Julie barks encouragement, sound as though she is saying faster, faster, faster…

I’m not sure what she is in training for. Maybe counter-attacking the family cats who keep trying to terrorize her by pouncing on her from dark corners. I never realized, cats can be so mean when they want to be.

Me, I haven’t actually run sprints since High School. I’m not sure if I could either. The body doesn’t function the way it once did. I have toyed with the idea of taking up running, and think of it long enough to say, “I don’t know. Can I go that quarter mile?”

Then I’d have to take not just one dog, but both dogs, and the older dog would get to the quarter mile and require either a long rest or a car ride back home. I’m not carrying a 100 pound dog back home.

 

ROW80:

Sprints can be applied in different areas, like writing, which is what I did all week, except for Friday night and Saturday night.

My secret work in progress is coming along nicely. I have the first draft at 75% done.

It feels good to be able to write once again, after months and months of writers’ block.

I think I needed a different creative outlet to help me think and plot. So, I thought about else I’d been doing when I wrote Aaron & Keja and Witch Book. I’d been crocheting, or knitting, or one of the many craft projects I like working on.

My son has a requested that I make him an afghan. I was supposed to make this for him last winter, but never finished it in time. Since it is getting cold again, I’ve picked the project backup, and now I’m doing the finishing touches, as in the border.

Since I picked the project backup, I’ve seen an increase in my word count, of nearly 5k words for the week.

My hopes for the week are to at least match the word count for the entire week, and be done with the first draft by the end of the month.

How is your writing going?

Are you struggling? Have you considered changing just one thing you’ve been doing when you’re not writing?

I think being able to channel creativity in another form can help open up the channels that fuel our writing muse.

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Cats of Terror

I don’t know why dogs and cats can’t get along. Our older pup, Julie, was raised with two cats that she got along with very well. They used to play together all the time. One of the cats used to put his whole head in Julie’s mouth and appear to count her teeth with no fear. After seeing how she had gotten along with those two cats, it is hard to admit that dogs and cats don’t always get along.

Granted those two cats that Julie had friended were kittens when she was only 6 months old may have something to do with it.

Our new puppy is having a difficult time being accepted by the cats who’ve been residing in our home for many years before we thought about adding a puppy to the household.

Gracie:


She is the meanest cat out of the two of them. Notice how she is laying on top of the scratch pad. She has no claws and apparently no one knows this except for the humans. The reason she lays on top of the scratch pad is to hide the fact that she can’t use it to sharpen her claws. She even has poor Sam convinced that she has claws and has only chosen not to use them.

 

Sam:


He is the original resident cat. A few months ago, he was much larger. We aren’t sure, but we think he developed an allergy to his canned cat food and treats, because he kept getting sick from them. His illness started about the time the puppy arrived. Is it coincidental? We’re not sure. Since then he has been living only on a diet of dry food. He can’t keep the wet food down. Maybe his body was trying to tell him and Mom something.

He’s lost a lot of weight since then. I think he’s looking good.

Sam has a strong opinion about the puppy. He doesn’t like her. He thinks that one dog in the home is more than enough, and hisses at the puppy all the time.

Today the two cats cornered the puppy behind the coffee table. One cat in front the other behind. Sam held his ground while Gracie pummeled her clawless paws on the puppy’s rump.

Poor Keelaa, she didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t go forward and she couldn’t go backwards. All she could do was lay down and cower until the cat felt she had enough.

I think I will start calling them the Bash Kitties.

Mentoring a Puppy

This is Julie, our 13 ½ year old mix breed. She’s been wishing for a little friend to play with for years. We finally found the perfect playmate for her, but now her joints bother her. We’re not sure how many more years we’ll have left with her. Keelaa, the newest member looks up to Julie as a Big Sister, Nana, and a mentor.

This is Keelaa. She’s also a mixed breed. We’re thinking she is more on the line of a Jack Russell Terrier. She’s full of energy and a bundle of joy. Slowly she’s inheriting the writing mascot job.

The cats aren’t too happy with the new member. They keep trying to intimidate the puppy, even though all she wants to do is play.

Four Years and Five Books Later

Self-publishing is a lot of work. For those who have taken it upon themselves to publish in this manner, they learn quickly just how much work it really is.

I’ve been self-publishing since 2010, and I’ve learned a lot. I mean – A Lot! When I first started, there weren’t that many others out there mapping the way. We were all kind of stumbling around trying to find our way. There weren’t any road maps with arrows pointing the direction.

I think the hardest was learning how to format the books. I still stumble when I try to make an ePub.

Every writer has a purpose when it comes to writing. Some are trying to find a way to communicate, or educate. Others just want to entertain.

Me, I started off just wanting to play the what if game. My daughter was giving me trouble at the time, like many teenagers give their parents. I needed an outlet. A way to vent and play my wildest fears. That was how Friends of Choice came about.

I didn’t have the intention of writing a cautionary tale. This was my what if, would I survive if the main character died? Did I have the guts to kill her off?

The next book I wrote was Aaron & Keja. This was my story of escape. I wanted to escape the land – world I was living in – all the problems and stresses – and see if the Orcs could keep the elf king from gaining magic by kill a Time Dragon. Aaron was my heroine. At this point, I thought about romance. But the romance never blossomed. I wasn’t a member of RWA at this point and have never read a Romance, which was why the romance died in the first part of the book.

I wouldn’t call the romance off for Aaron just yet. She has another story coming up in the near future. The plot is still brewing.

Witch Book followed Aaron and Keja. I had a lot of fun writing this story. It seemed like the prose flowed from the ends of my fingertips. I was able to write that book in 90 days.

Road Salt came next. This was a return to my contemporary – Friends of Choice. The story needed to move forward and my daughter’s little adventure prompted part of the story line. The rest came from the fact that I am the mother of an Addict, which is my son. This disease has crippled many. Thankfully he never tried Bath Salts. I used the substance in the story after hearing my son’s rehab counselor speaking about the substance on the Sunday morning news. I ran the idea that next week across to her and she loved it.

It took so long to write it because no one knew much about the substance. I have to search the internet, and at the time there wasn’t much information to be found there either. It wasn’t until I had an epiphany and contacted an old co-worker of mine who happened to be an EMT. When he heard what I was trying to do, he was ecstatic to help. I wish I had added more about Spice to the story line too. I guess someone else can tackle that substance for now.

My most recent release, Along Came Neil, is my very first official YA Romance. This was the book that brought Friends of Choice and Road Salt in a new direction. One thing I learned at the rehab sessions, was that everyone deserves a happy ending. So I made sure that Karla, the main character, received her happy ending. What better way to end the series?

I do have works in progress at this time. The one that I can talk about the most is, Sleeping on the Beach. It will be an NA Contemporary Romance featuring a new set of characters. I do believe it will be a single title and the main character is having an issue with Sleepwalking. She meets a lifeguard who is also a firefighter.

I will tell you more about it as I develop the plot more…

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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