Thursday, June 23, 2011

End of ROW80 Round 2

It's the end of ROW80 Round 2 ya'll! For those just joining me and are wondering what the hell ROW80 is, I gotta tell ya, it's the best writing challenge, tailored to suit your own goals, not someone else's. This challenge has not only kept me in check, but has seriously helped me stay focused on my writing.

With Round 3 on the horizon (July 4th!) I hesitated about participating again. But then I looked at my goals and how much I accomplished and I'd be foolish not to join up for another round. And as a sponsor, I also had the opportunity to support my other fellow ROWers. Plus, I met some fabulous friends through ROW80 and being able to work alongside other writers, that are going through the same trials and roadblocks, made me feel not so alone in the process.

So let's take a look at the goals I had set up for myself for Round 2 and see how I fared:

1. Write everyday - I don't have many distractions other than work obligations, so I have to condition myself to put in writing time in the morning and at night. I get easily distracted by the t.v.... Despite certain days when I didn't get the opportunity to write, I pretty much kept up with this goal. I didn't set any particular word counts and I think it helped...I could just write without worrying about numbers.

2. On weekends, spend at least 3 hours writing a day - my weekends, other than Saturday mornings, are are almost always free. Some Sunday's I'd find myself thinking, where the hell did my day go? It turns out that writing five hours straight will do that to you.

3. Promotion - I will have my first novella published, The Fury, in April. The Fury was met with warm reception and I was able to raise a bit of money for Pandora's Project. I've networked and socialized on Goodreads and gained some new readers :)

4. Finish WIP - I need to finish writing, researching and editing the final draft of Heir. Now, I haven't finished Parallel (new title), but I'm going to be positive and say I got pretty damn close to  achieving this goal. With just a couple more chapters to go, I'll finally be able to send it out to beta's by the first week in July.

So if you're a writer and are looking for a great way to stay focused, you should definitely join up for Round 3.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Parallel Cover!!

For those that haven't noticed, I've made a few changes to my blog. I have a bad habit of not being able to leave things alone, hence a new blog revamp. Plus, I wanted my blog to match up with my website.

This is one of the reasons I outsourced my cover design (I'd have gone through hundreds of covers if I did it myself), so once again, if you haven't already noticed, here's the new cover for Parallel!

Sarah at Warm Onion Designs, did a bang up job designing the cover. With very little direction from me, she was able to capture the feel of what my story is about. Part time-travel, part paranormal romance, I think this cover fits the bill. Plus, since my tastes tend to run a little on the dark side, this is definitely a cover I'd personally be drawn to.

If you are looking for a great cover designer at a very reasonable rate, you can take a look at Sarah's portfolio, rates, and contact info by clicking on the link on the right hand column of this blog.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day, Cover Art, and ROW80 Update

First off, Happy Father's Day to those dads who read my blog! Hope you had a fabulous day spending time with your kids.

I just got off the phone with my dad and surprised him with my own special gift: a dedication in Parallel, because he's not only my dad, but my former high school physics teacher and since my book deals with alternate realities, I thought the dedication was fitting. And to my surprise, he was pleased. He wanted to know if it would be available in print (yes, it will be) and I promised him a couple books to do giveaways for his classes, after I assured him it was YA and appropriate for high school students.

In other news, I got in contact with a fabulous and talented cover artist, Sarah at Warm Onion Design, to create the cover for Parallel and I am thrilled to be working with her. You can check out her amazing covers here. While I enjoy doing my own cover art, my knowledge is limited to ebook front covers and am clueless on how to proceed with doing a full cover for print, so in an effort to save what precious hours and whatever sanity I have left, I decided I wanted to work with Sarah on this project.

ROW80 Update:
Two chapters left folks! That's all I need to wrap it all up and send to my patient beta-readers. How long will that take? I'm not sure, as a pantser, I could finish tomorrow, or next week. Either way, Parallel should be done by the end of the month. Yea! I know, I keep promising, and I really hope I can live up to that promise.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Minding My Own Business

Writing books really is running your own business. You have a said product, that said product has to be promoted, then you patiently watch the sales figures go up. Obviously, there's more to it than that, but being a writer is no different than any other business trying to sell themselves to the general public.

Right now, I only have one book out. A small one at that. But it doesn't make me feel any less of a writer. I've sold a few short stories and I feel pretty good about that too. Soon, I hope to add another book to my list of credits and I'm pretty damn excited.

I may be a pantser when it comes to writing, letting my characters do as they please, but I'm a planner at heart. Again, I may not have a long list of books out (yet), but I plan as if (and when) I do. You would never go into business for yourself without a solid business plan, so why would I decide to write books without doing the same?

I've done a lot of research on the matter. Not only how to publish my books, but also how to run my business as an author. At home, I'm in charge of all things finance. I pay all the bills and do all the household budgeting, so naturally, I'm thinking about finances in terms of running a business. How does making money off  my writing affect my taxes? How much do I have to save if I actually have to pay taxes? Can I actually afford to quit my day job one day? These are some of the thoughts that cross my mind.

Finances aside, I just can't take myself seriously if my business has no name. So I decided to make a home for my books. Now, this is strictly a personal choice for me. Some authors create their own company name, while many don't. But for me, it is much easier to treat my business like a business, if it has a name. And thank you fellow indie authors, Sarra Cannon and Scott Nicholson, for answering my questions on the subject.

Anyone who knows me won't be too surprised to learn that I decided to dub my business Sugar Skull Books. That's the name that's been rattling in my brain the last couple of months. Again, this is a decision that seems right for me and it's one that I'm happy with.

ROW80 Update

I don't really have any new updates other than being on schedule to finish Parallel within the next two weeks. I think I've written more this past week than the last couple months combined. That's how the mind of a procrastinator works I guess. One of my goals (aside from writing everyday) was to finish this book by the end of Round #2 and it looks as if I might be able to pull it off!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I've been writing like a bandit these last few days. The story is just flowing and my characters keep surprising me. To be honest, I can't stop writing because I want to know how it all ends! That's what happens when you're a pantser and let the characters tell the story.

For my new followers, I should probably clarify how my book came about. Earlier this year, I had an almost complete first draft of Heir. But somewhere along the way, the story changed. My characters demanded that the story be told from a different viewpoint. I listened and as a result, I've spent the last few months writing, re-writing, cutting, and editing. It went from a story about fantastical elves to alternate realities. It was an ambitious switch, but one that I'm completely happy with. The theme is still there, but the world is quite different.

Now that I'm almost done, I have decided on another drastic change. After much consideration, I decided to rename my WIP from Heir to Parallel. I also anticipate a cover change to reflect all these changes.

Until next time, when I hope to have an even better update (i.e. release date!)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Family Folklore and Footloose

With a self-imposed deadline looming ahead, I've been writing like crazy and needless to say, I've got paranormal on the forefront of my brain. Maybe that's why I think I'm psychic. You see, my character Etta, has both active and passive psionic abilities. She has the ability of telekinesis and telepathy (among other gifts). Perhaps I'm projecting a bit of her powers onto myself.

Growing up, my mom would tell me stories on how the female line in our family has psychic abilities. Now, I never met any relatives that were actually psychic...apparently this gift comes with certain rules and if you break them you can't be psychic. I've always chalked it up to old wives tales, but according to my mom, it's a family fact (so it must be true).

Here's why I think I might have dismissed her stories a bit prematurely. When we were in Vegas last week, the hubby and I hung out in the lounge bar listening to a band that played mostly oldies (Elvis, Frank Sinatra, etc.), with some modern favorites thrown in the mix. By the end of the evening, I really wanted to hear Footloose (don't ask). My hubby didn't think they'd play Kenny Loggins, so he discouraged me from requesting it.

And what did the band play next, you might wonder...Footloose! The band leader asked who had requested it and I just sat there thinking, I did. In my head! Not two seconds after the song ended, the hubby and I made a mad dash to the roulette table and I put $20 on black. I lost.

Maybe I'm not psychic after all, but I will always continue to request songs in my head and keep my money where it my wallet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


This has definitely started out to be a word bangin' week! I am near the finish line with Heir and it has certainly motivated me to finish it already! I am really hoping to wrap it up by the end of the month, before my long awaited, much deserved, beach vacation (where I'll be editing with my feet in the sand), which pretty much coincides with the end of Round 2 of ROW80. I'm really shooting for an August release date so that I can finish up some of my other writing projects. Keep your fingers crossed!

I know...this update is strange coming from the Queen of the Slackers :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Office Space

There's nothing like several hours of hard labor in order to spur up some much needed motivation. I spent half the day yesterday finishing up the backyard (I still had to pick up fall leaves, okay?) and what can I say? In just four hours I managed to finish repotting my hibiscus trees and transformed my leaf infested yard into a relaxing haven, resulting in a outdoor office.

Now, I bought this wicker set on the cheap ($50 for the whole shebang) and thought it would make a great writing area out on the deck. Well, I finally plunked down and started writing last night and realized that the chairs aren't very comfortable to write in (the arm rests get in the way if I sit all the way back). I'm actually writing this post from said wicker chair and I am trying my damnest to make this work!

See my hibiscus? I've got yellow, pink, and red. Being from South Texas, my knowledge of plants extends only to tropical ones. Too bad I can't actually plant them. Now, I've posted on my other gardening endeavors (hydrangeas, peonies, etc.) and with those varieties, I spent more time on google trying to figure out how to prune and water them than I did actually planting them!

So once I finished up with the backyard, I decided to relax and enjoy a good book poolside. I wasn't sure what I had currently on my Kindle, but I was happy to find that I had Seed by Ania Ahlborn. This is her debut novel and I absolutely loved it. It reminded me a bit of Amityville Horror, only better. A great horror novel with Southern flair. And check out her blog, it is highly informative and hilarious.

Now for my fellow ROW80's, I didn't waste ALL my time on hard labor and relaxation. I actually managed to get some writing done. Like I said, nothing like a great office space to get the creative juices flowing!


When I last left you, I had managed once again to have excuses for putting my writing on the back burner (albeit only a few days).

Thursday - I realized that The Fury wasn't finished. Encouraged by readers, I decided to do a prequel. I spent Thursday afternoon coming up with a draft outline and will be working on that inbetween other projects. And for those who read my last post, I decided Erin's story takes place in 19th Century London, England.

Friday - Finalized some more scenes for Heir. It is slowly but surely coming along.

Saturday - Worked on some more scenes for Heir. I really hope to have the first draft finished by the end of the month.

Sunday - Aside from my goal of writing everyday, I also had a goal of promoting The Fury. Well, this morning (I've been up since 5am, don't ask me why) I decided to work on my website (, adding some reviews and more information on upcoming projects. Let me know what you think! I also plan on getting in some more done on Heir. I need to finish this already!

PS: Looks are deceiving! Our cheap house in the boonies just happens to have a pool, but our deck is falling apart and we still don't have our a/c fixed because we can't afford $4,000 to get a new one! But if 6,000+ people purchase The Fury, they'd really be helping me out :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

On Being Late and Lazy

Yes, I realize my ROW80 update is late. Again. I swear, I am never this late in my everyday life. But then again, my blog IS a part of my life, so perhaps I need to reevaluate that statement.

My fabulous weekend in Vegas came to an end Monday night, so I don't have much of an update. I stayed home Tuesday to recoup from my trip (not to mention the three our time difference) and trust me, I TRIED to get some writing done, but it was so HOT and of course, our a/c is busted, so I spent the day lounging by the pool instead. Yesterday was no better, but I did manage to get some editing done until my laptop got too hot for me to work with.

But now that the weather has cooled off a bit today, I will be catching up on some much needed writing. I have a few new ideas for a possible prequel to The Fury (you guys keep asking for one) and right now I'm stuck with the setting. I can't decide on London, NYC or LA. Erin will be the focus, as she has an interesting story to tell.

And for those that are wondering...I won $170 playing nickel slots, it was cold and windy our second day there, and I now know that anything over two bottles of Champagne is too much.