Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Summer Challenge: June Results


So to recap, my writing besties and I kicked off June with The Summer Challenge, a plan to create writing and exercise goals. The Challenge runs through the end of August.


For the month of June, I came up with a personal writing and exercise goal that I wanted to do every day. The goals were small and manageable to avoid a freak out. My goals: To open my WIP and write/edit for a minimum of 1 hour each day, including weekends. Also, do 100 sit ups a day (in addition to my daily exercise routine).


I bet you're dying to know how I did. Weeelll, I confess I didn't have a perfect record in June.


It's okay, really. I knew I wouldn't be able to write or exercise every day, thanks to my mini vacation getaway to Oregon, so I went into the challenge fully aware that I'd fail come up against a roadblock. Little did I know I'd get a cold after I returned home from my trip. I felt so terrible, I didn't write or exercise for a week. 



No worries. Life happens. I'm still satisfied with everything I accomplished this month. When I was home and able, I wrote and exercised. In other words, I did my best. Though I'm a perfectionist, I don't have to be perfect. What I mean is, I don't brood and moan and agonize for hours if my day doesn't go as planned. What's the point?


Tomorrow is another day. As long as I made an effort to accomplish my goals, I'm satisfied. Of course that wouldn't have been the case had I simply procrastinated and not met my goals. 


A new month starts tomorrow, and with it comes a brand new challenge. Forget those daily goals for June. Now we're aiming to accomplish a whole new set of weekly goals.


My goals for July are: 1) Line edit 30 pages a week. 2) Do Pilates 2 times a week.


I still intend to stick with the daily writing and exercise goals I created in June. I'm currently on summer break, so setting aside writing time every day is something I can easily do. Also, the glorious summer sunshine gives me a sort of adrenaline rush. I feel more energized and eager to tackle my tasks when the sun is out. 


 Watch out July, I'm ready for you.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Funks Happen


Sometimes funks happen. My most recent writing funk was in April. The sky was gray, the air was cold, and some family woes had me worried. I wanted to be on vacation far away from the gloomy Pacific Northwest and all of my stress, which made it terribly hard to focus on my writing.


I just couldn't bring myself to sit down at my desk, turn on my laptop, and open my WIP. I wanted to stop procrastinating, really I did, and nearly drove myself crazy trying shake off my winter blues.
 


I watched costume dramas and read historical romances, hoping they would inspire me to write. Nothing jarred me out of my funk. A week passed, and I was still stuck in my pity party. To be honest, it was mentally exhausting.


As the days flew by, I became more discouraged and upset with myself for not meeting my self-imposed deadline. Why wasn't I writing? I didn't have writer's block. I wasn't uncertain about which direction to go with my story. I had characters and a routine that excited me. My goals weren't ridiculously hard. I knew I could meet them, if only I tried.


All I had to do was put my butt in my chair, my hands on my keyboard, and get some words down. Put in the hours. Write. Revise. Repeat. It was the only way I was going to finish my story.


Giving up for one week is what worked for me in the end. Weird, I know. But giving myself permission to step away from my writing for seven days gave me the mental break I needed.


I brooded. I watched more movies. I read another book. I worked on craft projects. And when I reached the day that I told myself I'd snap out of my funk, guess what happened. I sucked it up, sat down with my computer, turned on my timer, opened up my WIP, and started writing.



Everyone needs a break from work from time to time -- it's no different for a writer. So take a mini vacation if you need one. Then get back to work.
Monday, June 8, 2015

Bulls and Beards


The trend in the Renaissance was toward dignity, and what could be more dignified than a beard?

Clive Owen, Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
Early styles were broad and square, à la Henry VIII, but as the sixteenth century progressed, a whole range of styles cropped up: the tiny, pointed Spanish beard; the pencil beard, nothing but tuft; the stiletto beard, a razored strip; the cathedral beard, an august mass of fluff; the spade beard; the fetching, double-pronged swallow's tail beard.

Ben Affleck, Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Colin Firth, Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Beards were powdered, waxed, and perfumed -- and, in a compliment to russet-haired Queen Elizabeth I, even dyed red. To preserve their hairy treasure overnight, men tied cloth bags around their beards or kept them clamped in iron presses.

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Summer Challenge


My writing besties and I have decided to do a summer writing and exercise challenge.


The challenge officially kicked off yesterday and will run through the end of August. I'm excited about this challenge. I know I can stay focused on my writing and exercise goals with the support of my friends. They're as eager as I am to be successful this summer, and that kind of enthusiasm is a big plus. We've made our goals small and manageable, so we don't get overwhelmed and become discouraged.  


For the month of June, we all have a goals we want to accomplish every day. Next month, we'll choose a goal we want to accomplish once a week. Then in August, we'll challenge ourselves to do something big for the month.


My goals for June are:

1) Open my WIP and write and/or edit for a minimum of 1 hour every day, including weekends
2) Do 100 sit ups a day (in addition to my daily exercise routine)

No fear here. I'm all ready and raring to go.


I want to do more than achieve my goals this summer. I want to achieve and exceed my own expectations.
Monday, June 1, 2015

June Releases

  HISTORICAL ROMANCE 

THE UNDERCOVER SCOUNDREL
The Hope Diamond Trilogy, Book Three

By Jessica Peterson
June 2, 2015


Mr. Henry Lake spent the past twelve years uncovering the most scandalous secrets of Europe’s wealthy and powerful, serving as one of His Majesty’s most decorated spies. But when a mission to find the legendary French Blue diamond brings him back to London, and face to face with a beautiful noblewoman he once loved, it’s his own hidden passions that are uncovered…

Lady Caroline, Countess of Berry, knows better than to lose her head over a man. After an embarrassing romantic entanglement forced her into a loveless marriage and early widowhood, she learned to never trust in desire, especially when it comes to the man who once broke her heart. Only, despite her good sense, she finds Henry impossible to resist—even when he once again places her in deathly danger.

This is a great trilogy.  



A DUKE BUT NO GENTLEMAN
Masters of Seduction, Book One

By Alexandra Hawkins
June 30, 2015

London, 1792. The Duke of Blackbern and the Marquess of Norgrave are boyhood friends who will still compete at anything. Racing, drinking, gambling, even seduction—until Lady Imogen Sunter crosses their path. Achingly beautiful, and innocent, she has no understanding of the jaded gentlemen who are courting her for favors—of how far they are willing to go to get what they want…

In this game of seduce and destroy?

Fighting for Imogen’s affection should have been no more than their usual spirited rivalry. But when Blackbern discovers his feelings for Imogen have deepened, all bets are off. Norgrave, driven by his own demons, won’t forsake his pride—and with one shocking act of betrayal that threatens Imogen and Blackbern’s newfound desire, Norgrave will set the course for a generation of Regency bad boys who will go down in history as the Masters of Seduction...

OMG, I love this cover!  


  YOUNG ADULT


INK AND ASHES
By Valynne E. Maetani
June 1, 2015

Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.

Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father . . . until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed.

So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life.


I like a good mystery.


CHARLIE, PRESUMED DEAD

By Anne Heltzel
June 2, 2015


The charming, jet-setting Charlie Price is presumed dead following a tragic plane crash. At his funeral, Charlie’s double life is exposed when his two girlfriends—Lena and Aubrey—collide.

Reckless and glamorous, Lena Whitney believes Charlie is still alive, and she won’t rest until she’s found him. She and Aubrey Boroughs—a sheltered aspiring artist—team up on a journey across Europe and Asia to uncover the full extent of Charlie’s deception.

As a trail of Charlie’s lies carries them across continents, it’s the girls’ unlikely friendship that keeps them strong…until they each discover that the other has been harboring a destructive secret of her own. Can their fledgling bond survive Charlie’s final—and most insidious—betrayal?

Ooo, I'm intrigued.

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

Book blurbs from authors' website and/or Amazon