Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year End Wrap-Up

Goodbye 2014. Hello 2015!

Another shiny new year is upon us, and I'm ready for a fresh start. 2014 wasn't such a bad year, but I'm looking forward to 2015. It's a new beginning and anything is possible. 

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions. I prefer to set small goals throughout the year. While I can't claim complete success, I'm not disappointed by my efforts to reach my goals this year. I crushed my self-doubt -- my biggest weakness -- and continued to write.

Here are my 2014 goals and how I fared:  

1. Finish Wild Highland Bride. Write the synopsis and query. This is my top priority. I will do it!

Well, that didn't happen. *le sigh*

My life changed drastically when my new puppy joined my little family in June. Milla required all of my attention, and I'm afraid my writing suffered. It took a long while before I found a writing schedule that worked. 

2. Write detailed outlines for the next two novellas in the Wild Highlands trilogy.

I realized this trilogy should only be two books. 

So I created a rough outline and first page for
Wild Highland Hero, which is Liam's story.

3. Start writing another novella.

Does an idea for a new novella count?

4. Write every day. One of my biggest weakness -- besides self-doubt -- is my inability to write every day. I need to do this in 2014. I don't even care how many words I write. Seriously. I'm not one to go crazy over daily word count goals. I just need to write every day.

I didn't tackle this goal until November, when I challenged myself to write every day or else. It went swimmingly.

I learned that writing every day does wonders for my motivation, word count, and creativity. Amazing insights bubbled up. My confidence soared. Accomplished writers are not wrong when they advise newbies to write every day. It makes a huge difference, IMO.

5. Earn RWA Pro status.

I obviously did not meet this goal, since I didn't finish my story.

6. Finish first draft of my medieval -- either Her Heart's Desire or A Warrior's Crusade.

This didn't happen either.

On the bright side, I decided which story to work on next.

7. Revamp my blog and create a website.

I revamped my blog. I love the fleur-de-lis design. It's so me.

8. Come up with a tagline.

With the help of my CP, I chose a tagline: History Made Sexy.

9. Continue to critique for my CP, Natalie Murphy.

Done. I can't wait to critique more in January.

11. Research Marie Antoinette and the Elizabethan era.

I bought two research books on both eras. I need to read them soon.

12. Buy more cool research books.

I added three new research books and one craft book to my library.

13. Continue to network with writers and readers on Facebook and Twitter.

I did, and I enjoyed it very much. I'm also now on Tsu, though Facebook and Twitter are still my favorite ways to connect with other writers and readers.

"No Excuses. No Regrets. Never give up. Never surrender."
-Natalie Murphy & Jena Lang

I didn't reach my goal to read 50 books in 2014. I fell short by 14. *shakes fist at sky* I need to read more. Period.

My main goal for 2015 is to accomplish what I didn't accomplish in 2014. I can do it, I know I can. I'm very close to finishing my story. I feel more focused than ever. I will not give up.

How was your year? Did you achieve your goals?
Friday, December 19, 2014

My Friday Love

Things I loved this past week...

Hart of Dixie.
Good news Bluebell fans...Hart of Dixie returned on Tuesday. Squeeee! This is the best early Christmas gift ever! I adore this show, it's cast, and Zade (aka Zoey and Wade).

I can't wait to see what's in store for these kooky characters. They make me smile, laugh, cry, ooo, and aww every week.

Gift Wrapping.
I spent all Sunday morning wrapping Christmas gifts. It put me in a holiday mood.

A Sweet Treat.
My hubby bought me a Christmas cupcake from our favorite bakery.

Blue Labyrinth.
I'm currently reading Blue Labyrinth, the fourteenth book in the Special Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

I don't usually read a lot of thrillers, but I never miss a Pendergast novel. I love this series and the entire cast of characters. The plots are always engaging, and Pendergast is one of my all-time favorite characters.

The first book, Relic, was made into a movie sans Pendergast. I'd love to see all of the books made into a TV mini series. I've always thought Paul Bettany would make the perfect Pendergast.

Hallmark Christmas Movies. I serious have a problem. I'm addicted to Hallmark Christmas movies. I've been watching them since Halloween.

Sure, the plots and characters in these movies are predictable and formulaic, but I don't care. I love 'em. The guys are adorable. The girlfriends are cool. The stories are all about hope, love, romance, second chances, and new beginnings. And they put me in the holiday mood. What's not to love?

What are you loving this week? Do share!
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday

I've been so caught up in the Christmas crunch, I forgot to do a writing update these past two weeks.

Needless to say, it's a busy time of the year. I may have become a blog slacker, but I'm still working on my WIP and trying to write every day. The latter has been a challenge, given all of the holiday events on my calendar. However, I've done quite well. I've only taken four days off from writing this month.

All is going well with my story. I'm over halfway through and nearly finished with my revisions, my CP seems to like my chapters, and only minor revisions have been required. As of yesterday, my revised word count is at 24,610 -- only 15,390 shy of my projected length. I'm very pleased. I love my story and my characters.

I'm neck deep in a file folder full of notes as I tackle my next chapter. It's slow going, but it's going.


I plan to work hard all the way up until Christmas Eve. I want to finish this book!
Monday, December 1, 2014

December Releases

Claimed by the Highlander, Book 3
By Rowan Keats
December 2, 2014

Shunned by her village, weaver Morag Cameron lives a solitary existence in the woods—until the night she finds a sorely wounded Highlander by the loch. Under her care, the handsome warrior slowly recovers his strength, but his memories have disappeared. Morag is torn. For if she helps him regain his past, she may sacrifice a life with the man she has come to love...

Wulf MacCurran wants nothing more than to claim Morag as his own, but his past holds too many dangerous secrets—secrets that put them both in mortal danger. He must discover who attacked him and left him for dead. Traveling to Edinburgh, Wulf and Morag find themselves swept into a mystery with the power to determine the fate of their passions—and change Scotland forever... . 

I liked the first book in this series.  

AN OATH TAKENAn Oath Trilogy, Book 1
By Diana Cosby
December 8, 2014

As the new castellan, Sir Nicholas Beringar has the daunting task of rebuilding Ravenmoor Castle on the Scottish borderlands and gaining the trust of the locals—one of whom wastes no time in trying to rob him. But instead of punishing the boy, Nicholas decides to make him his squire. Little does he know the thieving young lad is really…a lady.

Lady Elizabet Armstrong had donned a disguise in an attempt to free her brother from Ravenmoor’s dungeons. And though intimidated by the confident Englishman with his well-honed muscles and beguiling eyes, she cannot refuse his offer.

Nicholas senses that his new squire is not what he seems. His gentle attempts to break through the boy’s defenses leave Elizabet powerless to stem the desire that engulfs her. And when the truth is laid bare, she’ll have to trust in Nicholas’s honor to help her people—and to surrender to his touch…

Hooray for medievals!


Wicked Trilogy, Book 1

By Jennifer L. Armentrout
December 8, 2014

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

I love this author's voice. I also love that this New Adult trilogy is set in New Orleans.

What's on your must-read list this month? Do share!

Book blurbs from authors' website.