Friday, March 28, 2014

My Friday Love (17)

Things I loved this past week... 

Free Book Money. I received an email this week informing me that I have an Amazon credit from an anti-trust settlement.

 


I heard that some people received upwards of $30 or more dollars. I wasn't so lucky. My credit is only a few bucks. Hey, I'm not complaining. Honest. I'm simply sharing info. Anyway, I have enough of a credit to buy one book. Now, I need to figure out which romance novel I'm going to buy. =)


Star Crossed. I confess I'm a wee bit addicted to Star Crossed, the new CW teen drama.
 

Don't judge me. Despite what you may think, this isn't your typical CW romance. Well...Okay. There are hot shirtless men.



There is the inevitable teen soap triangle and the all-too familiar story of forbidden love.


But with an added twist-- aliens!!

 
I really like the sci-fi and political aspects of the Atrian race sequestered in interment camps and denied many of the basic civil rights of humans. Oh, and let's not forget those hot shirtless men with alien tattoos.


What's not to love? ;)


What are you loving this week?
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday

There. I did it. I gave my sagging middle chapter a facelift.


I tore apart the chapter that was giving me soooo much trouble last week, and made it all shiny and sparkly. It required a lot of work. In the end, I gave a secondary character a fresh personality, rearranged multiple paragraphs, and deleted a bucketful of words.


Fret not. Thankfully, most of the words I deleted can (and will be) used in another scene. 

 

There's no time to stop and bask in the glow of my success. I have roughly nine to ten chapters left to revise before I'm done with this second draft and can hand it over to my CP for review. She's going dark for the next two weeks for personal reasons and to focus on writing. Two. Weeks. Plenty of time for me to revise my chapters, right?


Baby steps. I will take baby steps and not panic. It's not like I'm writing a 100k novel from scratch. I'm simply revising and tweaking. In other words, I'm making my WIP purdy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Brick (aka my WIP) stalled on his way to the finish line. He stopped for a brief respite. To smell the flowers? To bask in the short-lived sun? Who knows. Everything Brick says is nonsensical.



Check back next Wednesday for an update.  

Perhaps Brick will do something ridiculously brilliant. *crosses fingers*


Friday, March 14, 2014

My Friday Love (16)


Things I loved this past week...


The Walking Dead. Since The Walking Dead returned from hiatus it has been... So. Freaking. Awesome. Heck, it's always totes awesome. But these last few episodes have focused on character development--sometimes devoting an entire episode to just a couple of characters. There's still plenty of action along with these character-driven moments. I'm loving every single second. 


This show never fails to keep me on the edge of my seat.


Sadly, there are only three episodes left until the season finale.
Noooooooooooooo!!!!!



12 Years A Slave. I watched the Oscar-winning Best Picture this week. 


Wow. Just wow. This is not an easy film to watch. It shouldn't be. But it is pretty near perfect in terms of sheer narrative craftsmanship. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup is absolutely magnificent. The entire cast is outstanding. The sharp direction and extraordinary performances combined to produce an important movie I won't forget for a long time.

 
Sunshine.
It hasn't been terribly warm in the Pacific Northwest, but we've had lots of sunshine--at least in my neck of the woods. Beautiful sunny spring days make me feel all giddy and smiley.


Sawyer loves the sunshine, too.

Chillin' in the backyard.
Basking in the sunshine.

What are you loving this week?
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday

It's been one week since I decided to post weekly writing updates. It's difficult to track one's progress when one is in the thick of revisions, and not writing with abandon or setting daily word counts goals.




Last Week's Goal: Finish revising the current chapter I was working on, and have another chapter of WHB completed. I also hoped to settle on some plot points and character names for HHD.

Easy peasy.

My Results:


I had success! I'm happy to report that I exceed my goal by one chapter.




Some days it's a struggle to stay motivated and dedicated. How do I ignore the distractions of social media when I'm supposed to be networking? How do I write when my favorite TV show is on? Face Off! Survivor! Supernatural! The Walking Dead! How do I write when I want to read? Writers should be reading in and outside their genre, right?

Add a clingy Doxie and a noisy hubby into the mix and...


Thankfully my hubby knows when I'm typing away on the laptop, it's best to leave me in peace.


Story Notes:

My primary goal this year is to be dedicated to my craft. I think I accomplished that this past week. When I could have read a book, I worked on my story. When I could have watched TV, I worked on my story. While my hubby played X-Box, I worked on my story. You get the picture. I chose to make my writing a priority--not always, but enough times to garner good results. What's more, I added in details to several of my action scenes. I like how the layers of details strengthen the sequences.

I don't even care that I didn't settle on the story details for HHD. That wasn't the priority, after all. I just hoped to work on it over the weekend. But I didn't get around to it. *shrugs* 


THIS WEEK'S GOAL


If I want to have my second draft completed by April 1st, I need to keep on going.


I plan to revise no fewer than two chapters by next Wednesday. Period. No excuses! 

How's your writing going?
Friday, March 7, 2014

My Friday Love (15)

 


My Friday Love is a weekly meme, which spotlights the things you loved during the past week.

  ---------------------------------------------- 

The Oscars. There was a lot of Oscar hate on social media Sunday night. Some people thought the awards show was a big waste of time. Others said they have no patience for the drawn-out monologues, showy musical numbers, contrived speeches, etc. I happen to like the show. I love the red carpet glitz and glam.


I grew up watching the Academy Awards. It was a family tradition that my mom and I looked forward to every year. On Sunday night my mom and I texted throughout the ceremony, commenting on everything from the jokes to the speeches and, of course, the fashions. It was loads of fun.


At Speed. This week I finished reading the book At Speed. It's a fascinating glimpse into the life and mind of British pro sprinter, Mark Cavendish (aka The Manx Missile) -- one of my favorite cyclists.

He's a polarizing individual, one of the brashest and most honest voices in pro cycling, and arguably the fastest man on two wheels.













I liked learning about Cav's training and race tactics, as well as his frank take on his rivals, teams, the Tour de France, and the sport of cycling. This book is the perfect read for cycling fans.

Giveaways. The Jewels of Historical Romance hosted a giveaway this month on their site, offering a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. And I won!


I can't believe it. Buying books is not in my budget these days, so this Amazon gift card is a real treat. *doing a happy dance*

Things I Did Not Love This Week:

Lost Phone. I spent forty frantic minutes on Thursday searching the house from top to bottom for my missing cell phone. I searched through closest and cabinets, the trash and recycling bins (twice!), all to no avail.


Goodbye writing time, hello frazzled me! I never lose stuff. Ever. After a wild hunt, I finally found the phone tangled up in my bedspread, where it had been all night long. D'oh!

Wind. The very same day I had to chase down my two garbage bins after the trash was picked up and the wind blew the bins halfway across the street.


Spotty Internet Connection. I yelled in frustration a few times this week due to my spotty Internet connection. It's not usually so unreliable, but this week...it was going in and out on a whim. Grrr.

Bills. Too many bills + Too little money = an unhappy me. *le sigh*



 What are you loving (or not loving) this week? 
 GIFs courtesy of Tumblr
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

WIP Wednesday

My wise and wonderful CP, Natalie, recently suggested I start posting weekly writing updates on my blog. It didn't seem like a good idea at first. Why? Because I'm shy about sharing my writing habits on my blog. Not because I worry about someone being judgy or anything, but because it makes me feel kind of like this...


I admire Nat for sharing her thoughts, ideas, frustrations, and jubilations on her blog. It's time I creep out of my shell and share, too! Am I right or am I right?

Another reason for my hesitancy to do weekly writing updates is that I'm currently revising more than I'm actually writing. I'm still in the revision stage on my second draft of Wild Highland Bride, therefore I'm not tracking my daily word count. Instead I'm focusing on the nit-picky stuff, like word choice, sentence structure, pacing, etc.


So what do I talk about? How do I show progress? I can't break down the amount of words I need to write every day, seeing as how I'm revising large chunks rather than writing new words. For now. Besides, I don't thrive on tracking my numbers on fancy charts and graphs. It's a useful tool for some, no doubt about it. But for me?


I admire anyone who adheres to a daily word count goal, even during the revision stage. I can't do it. Militant strictness doesn't make me a better writer. It just kills my creative energy.

For me, it all comes down to this:

1) Establish A Goal. Like I said, tracking my progress doesn't involve charting a daily word count goal. It's not crucial during the editing stage. Not for me, anyway. That doesn't mean I don't have a definable deadline in place. Every day I set a goal, whether it's to revise "x" number of scenes, write for "y" number of hours, or to finish a specific chapter. Regardless of my word count, I make a daily goal and don't stop until I cross it off my to-do list.

My long-term goal is the same at my CPs: Complete my second draft by April 1. I don't know if it will happen, but I'm going to work hard to make it a reality.

2) Write Every Day. I feel better about myself when I write every day. It helps me stay on track. It makes it easier to dive into my story and my characters' minds. Last month I altered my writing schedule to write in the morning before I tackle the rest of my day. It paid off. Sadly, I didn't write every day. Sometimes life gets in the way and my plans go awry. Like this week.


My hubby and I enjoyed a work-free day together on Monday. We watched movies and played with our Doxie. Then I suffered a terrible sinus headache on Tuesday. I didn't write a single word.

Life happens. Things go wrong, and unexpected issues come up. Get over it and move on, that's my new motto. 

3) Be Dedicated. A big reason my favorite writers are successful--besides having an enviable talent for writing--is that they work hard. They write. They hone their craft. They're dedicated to their career goals. My primary goal is to be a dedicated writer.


While I'm not desperate for outside accountability to meet my writing goals, I hope sharing my writing updates will both motivate and challenge me. I may delay my update every now and again in favor of a "Waiting On Wednesday" post (because I like spotlighting new-to-me books and authors), or simply because I don't have the time to write an update post. Rest assured I plan to make an effort to provide a progress report when I can.

Let's get started. Here are my WIP numbers so far:

Current Completed Word Count: 44, 139
Projected Length: 60, 000

THIS WEEK'S GOAL

Since my week didn't get off to a great start, I want to get back on track today. I want to finish revising the current chapter I'm working on, and have another chapter completed next week.

I'd also like to settle on some plot/character decisions for my full-length medieval WIP, Her Heart's Desire.

That's it. Wish me luck.

GIFs courtesy of Tumblr
Saturday, March 1, 2014

March Releases

A few reasons why I love March: Spring is coming! Everyone seems to be a little happier. Easter candy. St. Patrick's Day. Shamrock Shakes. And new book releases. =D

Here are the books I want to read:

  HISTORICAL ROMANCE
 
 

The Dark Affair
by
Máire Claremont March 4
The Jade Temptress
by Jeannie Lin
March 3
The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell by Paula Quinn
March 25


Mad Victorian Passions, Medieval China, and Highlanders, Oh My! 


  YOUNG ADULT
  
  
 Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington March 11
Wicked Little Secrets by Kara Taylor  March 4

Ghosts, murder, and prep schools. What's not to love?


  What's on your must-read list?