Thursday, March 31, 2011

ROW80 Round Deux

For those of you who are just now following my blog, A Round of Words in 80 Days is a writing challenge designed to encourage writers to come up with writing goals on our own terms, versus other writing challenges that utilize a one-size-fits-all approach. But the best part of ROW80 is the tremendous support you get from fellow writers/authors that participate.

I am keeping my original goals (1&2) for Round 2 and adding a few new ones (3&4):

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....

2. On weekends, spend at least 3 hours writing a day - my weekends, other than Saturday mornings, are are almost always free.

3. Promotion - I will have my first novella published, The Fury, in April.

4. Finish WIP - I need to finish writing, researching and editing the final draft of Heir.

Yes, these are simple enough goals, but I need simplicity in my life in order for me to stay on track. That's the beauty of ROW80: knowing your limits and sticking to your goals.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Laundry, Mid-Terms, and Physics

It's a lazy Sunday and I have done nothing except finish the second book in The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire by Suzzane Collins. I know, I'm a bit behind on this one, but I knew that once I started I wouldn't be able to stop! But I did manage to clean the kitchen and get some laundry in between books.

In the interim, I have begun doing a bit of research on Heir. Yesterday, I picked up a copy of Michio Kaku's book, Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension. Never in a million years did I expect to purchase a book on physics, but to my surprise, I enjoyed flipping through the book and I'm sure I'll learn something useful for my WIP.

Now back to my regularly scheduled program of cleaning, laundry, grading mid-terms, reading, writing, and networking...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Back on Schedule

Okay, so I've you've been following along you'll realize that I've kind of put Heir on the backburner. I got so caught up with other writing projects, twitter, my novella (still don't have a title for it!) and working on my backyard, that I put Heir aside for awhile.

But boy, I'm glad I did. There are going to be some major changes. The general storyline will remain the same, but for those that were expecting a preternatural world of elves, I sincerely apologize. After much thought and internal debate, I decided to switch gears and change Etta's new world to that of an alternate reality.

Thankfully I'm working with an almost completed book. I've already begun tweaking it and to my surprise, it hasn't been as tedious as I'd first thought. The result is a nicer flow and I think it makes for a much better story. I had always wanted to work on a book that dealt with alternate realities/many worlds theory and after bouncing some ideas off my dad, he helped shape some of the ideas I had been toying around with for this book (My dad was my high school physics teacher...He's even met Stephen Hawking!)

So there you go. Heir is back on track, hopefully with a summer release date, and I'm feeling pretty good about it.

If It Ain't Broke...

To be honest, I'm actually surprised I stuck around to the end of Round 1. But that's the beauty of ROW80: Being able to set your own goals, holding yourself accountable, and getting massive support from other writers. Granted, I didn't always stick to my goals (there was a week that I just didn't do anything), but when it's all said and done, I got what I needed from this challenge.

I joined ROW80 a few weeks into the challenge, but my goals were simple:

So here are my goals for the next 80 53 days:

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....

2. On weekends, spend at least 3 hours writing a day - my weekends, other than Saturday mornings, are are almost always free.

What I hope to accomplish with the first two goals will ultimately lead to my third and final goal.

3. Have the first draft of my WIP completed.


Last night, I finished up the final revisions on my WIP and nervously sent it off to my beta readers! Now, it wasn't the WIP I had in mind when I started this challenge, but nonetheless, I was able to accomplish one of my goals. So I am happy to say that by this time next month, I'll have my first novella published!

Round 2 kick-off is April 4th. I'll probably stick to my original goals and perhaps add a few more to include social networking and marketing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Novella News!

This will serve as my ROW#80 update since I missed this past Wednesday's and we are only two days away from Sunday.

I have been working hard this last week finishing up my novella (no title yet). I hadn't planned on publishing this story so soon, but once I resurrected it from the place where all unfinished stories go, I loved it all over again. There is also a sense of urgency on this novella, as I plan to publish it in April to coincide with Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I plan to donate 100% of all April sales to an organization that assists victims of sexual assault, while at the same time promoting the awareness of such a horrendous crime.

Maybe some of you have picked up on it from reading my blog, but if you haven't, I work with crime victims. For the last ten years I have worked with victims in all crime categories (in both local and federal law enforcement). This is my way of giving just a little bit more than time I already spend in my day job.

As soon as I have more info, you know I'll be posting it here. Right now, I have tentatively lined up an editor (woo hoo!) and have already contacted an organization I would like to work with on this special project.

Oh yea...what's it about? It's got everything...violence (non-graphic), courtroom drama, horror, and the paranormal. And it's not even a full length novel!

**UPDATE 3/20: Spent Friday night and all day Saturday finishing up my novella. I added another 3k words and now I just need to add the last two scenes!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Support Goes A Long Way

It's now Sunday and I've turned the clocks forward and survived Fat Tuesday/Ash Wednesday. My dad and I had a conversation about the practice of Meatless Friday during Lent and he asked if I knew why we do this. I thought I did, but apparently I was wrong. My dad, a science teach at a Catholic private school, informed me that the real reason behind all those *fish commercials before Easter was the Vatican's way to support the local fishermen and encouraged Italy to eat fish on Friday's during Lent. Imagine that. I happen to love seafood, so I usually use this time of year to splurge on oysters, lobster, and crab!

Well, writer's are no different. They not only support fellow author's, but they support causes as well. Last week, I bought a copy of Kiss Me, Kill Me. Not only did I get to read some great short stories from some of my favorite indie authors, but I was introduced to new ones: I enjoyed reading M.T. Murphy's short story so much that I am currently reading Lucifera's Pet.

They could have published this anthology and just split the royalties. I still would have bought the book. But these talented writer's decided to give all proceeds to, an international non-profit that aids in poverty, children's literacy, women's health and even rescued animals. What a great organization to support. And by purchasing this great anthology, I have now supported a great organization.

* I waited faithfully for the McDonald's filet o' fish commercial (the one with the fish that sings) and I was sorely disappointed with this years fish campaign. No song!

And now for my ROW80 update:

I kinda took a week off from writing. It was beginning to feel forced and I didn't want my stories to just be about word counts.

On Friday, I opened up one of my WIP's (a thriller/horror short novella that I'd neglected) and read what I had written so far. I was pleasantly surprised that I loved it (not being snotty, but you should love what you write or no one else is). Inspired, I got in about 2, 500 since Friday night! It is almost complete now, just a few sections to go and I will soon be shopping around for an editor. Yea!  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This is How I Relax

A few years ago I had to go to a training on compassion fatigue. Basically, those that work with victims of crime can undergo stress as a result of what they call 'secondary victimization'. During the training, one of the group activities was to write down what we did for fun outside of work. Naturally, I had a list that consisted of things like: read and watch crime shows, thrillers, horror, etc. As you can imagine, I was told that was not a very productive use of my down time as it only reinforces the trama I experience on a daily basis.

Whatever.... I still love reading thrillers and anything horror. I have a graduate degree in Forensic Psychology for crying out loud. Of course I'm going to be fascinated by intriguing psychopathic killers!

With that said, while I have been MIA these last couple of weeks, I have not neglected my fellow indie compadres. No matter how busy, tired, and overwhelmed I get, I still make time for myself to relax. So here's a list of what I've been reading this past week (Gee, you think there's a theme?):

Last week, I received an email from Blake Crouch offering a chance to read an ARC of his latest horror thriller RUN. I jumped at the chance to read it in exchange for an honest plug. You know a book is good when you take a nap in the middle of it and the story continues in your dreams. After reading RUN, I now have a profound appreciation of the fact that the hubby and I own two Land Rovers, an off-road pop-up trailer, an arsenal fit for an army, and my if we ever had to RUN, we're all set.

I was delighted when I found out that Blake came out with Break You, a novella that concludes the Andrew Thomas series. Luther Kite is back and if you thought he (Crouch or Kite) had run out of imaginative ways in which torture, you thought wrong.

Imagine my even greater surprise when I found out that Crouch and Kilborn brought back Donaldson and Lucy in Killers, a sequel to Serial Uncut. Lucy is one of my favorite psychopaths and quite possibly one of my all time favorite characters. Oh yea, Luther makes an appearance in this one too...

Wanting some good ol' fashioned Southern horror, I cozied up to The Red Church by Scott Nicholson. I love horror books based on religious concepts. Somehow it makes the story seem more real. The extras that follow the book are worth reading as well.


And before I go, don't forget to check out the last few stops on JL Bryan's Haunted E-Book Tour! His next tour stop will be at Fishmuffins of Doom on 3/4.

#ROW80 Update

Has it really been over two weeks since I last posted? Looks like reality, sleep, and stress has caught up with me. At least for now, I am back with a vengeance and still plugging away at my writing... I've pretty much kept to my goals of writing each day, except for Sunday when the hubby and I did some minor home improvements.

So what have I been up to since my last post? Well, I have done some major revamping of Heir, so that might push back the release date. Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut and do what you gotta do. I've also been doing a lot of reading and I'll be following up with a post on that later today/tomorrow.