Tag Archives: writing progress

#ROW80 Wrapup

Forgive me friends for I have slacked. It’s been six weeks since I left the internet.

And except for a single blog post, a few automated tweets, and a handful of blog comments (mainly responses on my own site), I really did put a stop to the general mingling. I can definitely feel a big difference as far as how much I feel is packed into my brain all the time.

A Round of Words in 80 Days

But I don’t want to get too much into that, because this is supposed to be about the end of A Round of Words in 80 Days. Strangely, I can’t find where I listed concrete long-term goals for the challenge. Mostly I’ve talked about my short-term goals which were about working daily on the series for at least an hour, with at least half an hour unplugged from the internet, and to write at least three scenes per week on Heroes ‘Til Curfew until it was done.

Heroes 'Til Curfew Cover Art

Cover Art by Robin Ludwig

I had mixed success on that. On the time spent, I’m still not great with daily habits. And this is on everything, not just writing. Exercise, dish washing, bed making, and there are still a lot of days I forget to eat for the better part of the day. So consistency continues to be an issue I need to work on. I would say that, for the most part, and especially since I’ve taken my internet break, I’ve at least averaged my hour per day, which is something.

Three scenes per week? No. I’ve still got the end of Heroes ‘Til Curfew ahead of me, and there was definitely a point at which I just got stuck. I stubbornly let myself stay stuck for a long time and accomplished next to nothing.

I finally decided to let myself go back and edit the front end. I’m back to working productively. I’ve fixed things that were wrong or just not so good, things that may have been holding me back in some subconscious way. I’ve done a fair amount of new writing, working on a few scenes I’d skipped the first time around, I’m shifting the order of things a bit, and I’ve still got some new material I need to add. I’m hoping that by the time I edit up to the point where I left off, I’ll have gained a stronger sense of what of I’m working toward and will be able to push through that block. I think I will. New ideas have already started coming to me.

So yeah, I didn’t stick to my short-term goals, and I didn’t achieve my Round 1 goal of finishing this book and getting it out. But I am back to doing quality work and I feel a lot better than when we started in January.

My other Round 1 goal was to try to write a short story for the Kiss Me, Kill

Cover Art by HP Mallory

Me anthology. I hadn’t actually written anything short since college, and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. It was hard to wrap my brain around that way of thinking. But as I wasn’t getting anywhere with Heroes ‘Til Curfew at the time, so I felt like it was okay to take a side trip, try to do something productive, and maybe get my writing brain working again.

Impulse Control Cover

Cover Art by Robin Ludwig

I really enjoyed writing it. It was fun and a lot less stressful than the novel. Most of my stress, ofcourse, is crap I put on myself, and I didn’t have to do that as much on a short story as the monumental amount of crap I have buried myself in over this sequel. So that goal was also achieved, was released in the anthology, and is being well received. I also decided to release that on its own, so it’s up for free at Smashwords and a few other places around the internet.

I’ll admit that I’m on the fence about Round 2, and that’s about the nature of me rather than about the nature of the challenge. These days, I kind of feel like the last thing I need is social pressure to meet my goals, you know? And the fact that I think of it as social pressure rather than community support shows the kind of place I’m still in right now.

What about you? Did you participate in Round 1? How did it go for you? How do you feel about signing up for Round 2?

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Running At An Artificial Pace

At the top of the email it reads, “To: Susan”

These emails I get from Holly Lisle, I so often wish that I could find them and link you to them, because they’re so often very wise. And, of course they are. Holly’s been putting out great books and teaching writers for how long now?

Since I can’t show it to you and I can’t copy/paste it for you, I’ll give you the gist. Once upon a time, Holly decided, based on some extrapolation of daily page count and faulty thinking, that she would be able to write 12 books a year. An agent whom she queried with this plan shot her down, explaining that he wouldn’t rep anyone who wrote twelve books a year, because they would all be crap.

Now it is true that everyone writes a different pace, and I think that a lot of people can write more than the one or two books a year that NY will publish for you. Some people can write twelve good books a year, witness Amanda Hocking with 6 out of 12 in the Kindle top 100, last I checked.

And you know, that’s what I wanted to talk about. They’ve been talking a bunch around the indie blogs lately about what some are even calling the “Amanda Hocking Effect.” (Poor thing, I wonder what she thinks of all this.) I first heard this theory from Kait, and then the term itself a few days later from Zoe. The basic idea is that one of the ways to climb quickly and build a very excited, involved fan base is to keep feeding those fans new work. Amanda hasn’t let two months go by without a new release. She doesn’t have to worry about her fans forgetting about her, and when she comes out with something, it goes to the top of the list for those fans because they’re still reeling from the last Hocking book they loved.

So in addition to having a backlist available, feeding your readers new work without too much time lag between releases now goes into our theory about how things work.

Since that came up, a bunch of indies I know are talking about ways to do that. More short stories and novellas, the possibility of serialization. I don’t like serials. Cue Queen: I want it all, and I want it now. I don’t read many short stories. I like novels, I understand the…physics of novels, and that’s how my brain works. And yet this recent talk has made even me think about these things. I don’t know if that’s me being open-minded, or just plain wacky.

But this was all still stewing in my head when I read Holly’s email because I’m just trying to remind myself that it has to be good. I know everyone who’s thinking about doing shorts knows that. We all know that. But I needed to remind myself that it might be better to play to my strengths. There was the idea that maybe I could dash off some shorts and that would take some of the pressure off, make it easier to ask people to wait for the next novel.

And then the Gin Blossoms came in and said, Susan,

How you gonna ever find your place, runnin’ at an artificial pace?

I know, it seems odd, but people be showin’ up to tell me all kinds of stuff all the time. It’s part of why nothing gets done.

Do you know what occurred to me the other day as I read my piece on Hush Money at 6 months?

It’s only been 6 months. It seems like so much longer to me, but it’s only been 6 months. Jesus H. Washington Christ, what I have I been flogging myself for for the last few months? I’m totally new at this. I set myself an unreasonable deadline. I made a mistake. Criminy, how long am I going to make myself pay for that?

I’d guess that most trad authors get at least a year to write book 2, and probably longer than that to get it all polished up and ready to go. I dunno. It just seems like Holly was giving me a wake up call. Wake up and listen to what you friends have been trying to tell me.

The top of the email reads, “To: Susan,” and it’s like she wrote it just for me.

If you’re a writer and do not get Holly’s newsletter, please consider doing yourself that favor.

That segues pretty well into this week’s

Recommended Reading

Why I’m a Fandrew
Actually, I’m not just any fan of Andrew Mocete, I’m Fandrew #1. And if you want to see an example of why, check this out. Andrew’s writing a Love Series on his blog, about loves that have shaped him as a writer. Who gets the first spot? His wife. In a charming and heart-felt post, Andrew talks about the importance of support, how rare it is, along with some good ideas about why it’s so hard to find in My Wife: Love Series Part 1. (found because you know Fandrew #1 subscribes)

I’m a speshul snowflake too!
Ok, this is a bit of ramble, but stick with it, because it’s full of sincerity, and drizzled with beauty. It may inspire you a bit, and open up your brain a bit, as Larry Brooks so often does for me. Writers, Give the Gift of “Getting off the dime” is Larry’s answer to that every-person who casually says “Yeah, I’d like to write a book someday.” (found via subscription to the Storyfix blog)

I don’t wanna sully my art by doing what I love in any way that’s less than…
If you’re on the fence about going indie because of the stigma factor, here’s a post to think about. Another from Larry Brook’s Storyfix blog, this is a guest post by Carol Tice. (via subscription)

ROW80

I’m a bit backwards this week, and I’ll admit that ROW80 hasn’t been much on my mind. I wrote a lot on the short piece this week. In both the stories I’m working I’m now at a point where I will have to break down and write an action scene on something. Damn.

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#ROW80 Check-In and Reading Recs

Speaking of #, I just popped in to Twitter and learned that it’s #SampleSunday. Something to think about.

Meanwhile, on the updatey front, my ROW80 goals were:

  • Spend at least an hour a day, half an hour unplugged, actively working in the world of the Talent Chronicles, and
  • Write at least 3 scenes per week

Thanks to Kait and Andrew, who have both given me a lot of sounding board and idea generation time this week, I’ve spent TONS of time in my world, and it’s FINALLY starting to follow me around again! I’m spending my insomnia hours a bit more productively, and this morning I woke up thinking about the anthology short story I hope to write.

There are things out there that are scarier than the State Schools, people, and Andrew and Kait helped me give one of them a name. I also worked on the characterization stuff for that story quite a bit.

More importantly, I did accomplish three new scenes on Heroes ‘Til Curfew. I wrote stuff that made me smile, stuff that made my heart pound, and stuff that is so silly I will probably have to cut it. There is so much action planned from here to the end, with another battle scene coming up next. It seems fairly insurmountable to this Emo Queen, but I’m going to tackle it.

And now on to the…

Recommended Reading

A post which gave me many thoughts and inspiration…
…which Joe Konrath’s post do with regularity. If you’re not reading this blog, you just should. The post that grabbed me this week was this guest post by Jeremy Robinson who self-pubbed before being picked up by traditional publisher and continues to work both opportunities. His is an engaging story, and Joe’s comments before and after are good reading. (Obviously I subscribe to this one.)

If all you’ve ever read was Miss Snark…
If Miss Snark or some other internet harshness has been your only exposure to literary agents, I invite you to read this lovely post by Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency. (Found because maybe I’m looking, or just thinking, or just curious, and obviously non-committal.)

Cover Wars
Jenna Anderson was kind enough to add the cover of Heroes ‘Til Curfew to a roundup of covers she likes. This post includes a giveaway to a random commenter (ends Jan 31st), so you might want to check it out and say hi. (via @JAScribbles on Twitter)

For your viewing pleasure…
Here’s a video on the effects of Amazon rankings on author mood and factors which may affect your rankings: We Need To Talk About Your Amazon Sales Ranking…. There was another very funny video with an author reading her Amazon reviews that had references to Nicolas Sparks. I saw it a while back and I loved it. So funny. I cannot find it again, so if anyone knows the one I’m talking about, I would love to get the link. (via Dayner in comments at Zoe’s blog)

Marketing, Expectations, Disappointments
Zoe Winters speaks frankly about the dangers of high hopes and expectations in No Shortcut to Awesome. Those of you who are freaked out by the idea of marketing, or who feel you must spend time on the marketing at the expense of the writing or your personal life, she also offers the perspective of someone who experiments with two different pennames who markets them very differently. Is this really effective, or are we all just spinning our wheels? (via I was on IM with Z while she was working through some of these thoughts.)

More Konrath devotion
What I love–love love love–about reading A Newbies Guide to Publishing is that Joe Konrath tells us things that no one else does. He inspired so many writers to go indie by being one of the first (at least one of the first I’d seen) to be transparent about his sales figures and income from both his traditionally and independently published releases. Ever need a little motivation and spend hours surfing the internet trying to find out how much your advance might be when you sell this bitch? Yeah, good luck with that. There’s stuff people don’t talk about. Anyway, in this episode, Joe gives inside info about book-signings. If going indie makes you feel like you’ve given up the dream of doing signings in the bookstore, this may help you realize you probably haven’t given up much. Time Investment (via subscription)

Trends in Teen Fantasy
Are you writing about kids in a real life setting who have to deal with supernatural issues in addition to the complications of being a teen? Want to feel like you’re doing something right? Check out this article by Heather Fawcett on the Whispering Pine Press blog: Trends in YA Fantasy: Magic, Romance, and Reality Checks. (Found via Google Alert for “superhero romance”)

To the ROW80 crowd, have a great week. If you’re blog-hopping, here’s the linky.

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#ROW80 and Thoughts on Blogging

So life here is slowly returning to what passes for normal. Last week wasn’t terribly productive as I had a lot of catching up to do in a lot of areas and needed a lot of staring dumbly at the wall time. If you have little kids and a low tolerance for chaos, you know what I’m talking about. But things are better now and this week I found myself faced with the fact that I REALLY have to actually work.

This resulted in a lot of procrastination. But since I had decided to give myself a freakin’ break all around, I was able to allow it to be productive procrastination. I think that when I decide I have to work on JUST THIS AND NOTHING ELSE BEFORE THIS, I end up with more stress and less productivity overall.

I’ve recently been spending more time on my blog. I’m always going around in circles about what I want to do with it and getting it “right,” and like you really care. But I finally came around to some ideas of things I want to cover. I do want to talk about writing and self-publishing because most of you who visit on a regular basis are interested in those things, and often seem to appreciate those posts. Even though they aren’t things that readers are into, and even though they’re not the kind of thing that would draw a reader in or get her to subscribe to the blog, I have no doubt that sharing my experiences and opinions about what works has earned me a lot more support than I can measure. So I’m going to keep up with the posts about writing and self-publishing.

I’ve been trying to blog too frequently, I think, and I just write up a post when I think about it and hit Publish. Now I’m hoping to jump in and write up that post and hit Schedule. And keep those writerly posts for Mondays. Maybe that will keep it from being so feast or faminey around here.

I do absolutely agree with Kristen Lamb–and how can you not?–that readers don’t want to read about writer stuff, and the way to attract readers is to talk more about the kinds of things that readers like in your fiction. Well, it’s easy to get caught up in that expert knowledge trap we talked about the other day. I’ve probably mentioned before that I was caught in that for a long time with regard to the Talents. There’s that bit of wisdom, and it is wise, that says you need to read a lot in the genre you want to write in so that you understand the rules and reader expectation. So I thought that to write about superheroes, I needed to become an expert on comics. Even when I put that aside, I still felt under-qualified to blog¬† about superheroes on a regular basis.

Just like it was hard to blog about writing before had a book out there to point at and say hey, here’s how I put this into practice. Lately I’ve come to realize that my best posts aren’t the ones where I try to be an expert, they’re the ones where I really personalize what information I have to offer, wrapping it in my own perspective, and feeling less like it’s my turn to stand in front of the class for the oral report and more like we’re all sitting around getting caffeinated and I’m the one sharing for a few minutes before the really hot guy painting the storefront across the way takes off his shirt and I lose your attention.

So in the one day a week reader-oriented (hopefully) posts, I’m talking about what I love in fiction: superheroes, heroism, and/or romance. Those are the things I tend to pay attention to when I read or watch. This may lead to me feeling like I’m reviewing some stuff, which I don’t like to get into, but I’m more trying to think of it as discussing my perspective on a particular facet of the fiction in question, and if I have to include a paragraph or two to gush or whine about the overall fic in general, well, you guys are used to OT babble, so…

We’re in ROW80, and rounds of that are planned throughout the year. So I’m also looking at two more days on the blog for updates. On Sundays, I’ll be combining my update with list of recommended online reading for the week. I don’t have time to read a whole lot of blogs, but sometimes something really stands out and you just think others should read it or might enjoy it. I keep a file on my desktop to make note of those when I read them.

Wednesdays, in case you haven’t figured this out, are for me to be even more self-indulgent than usual. A free day to include in the ROW80 update whatever happens to be on my mind, or not include anything else at all. Today the bloggy stuff is on my mind, along with the fact that our bus driver just told us she’d be coming over 45 minutes earlier starting tomorrow which is going to add more time to my work day (good) and cause less sleep, more morning stress, and take some getting used to (bad). Anyway, a me me me babble day. Witness the babble.

So back to the update: This week’s productive procrastination has allowed me to try out the schedule I had tentatively set for myself, and I now have posts for my topic days scheduled through Feb 4. I’m still spending a lot of time on writing blog posts. I posted the schedule, tinkered in my sidebar a little, gave some thought to what people are looking for when they come to the site, if they can find it, what I’m trying to present and what they see, etc, and I’m pretty satisfied with what I have right now.

Goal #1 has been to spend specific amounts of time on the work. Recently I’ve been suck and fail at that, but I didn’t change my goals because it wasn’t about scoring, it was about continuing to strive for that. This week I’ve been excessive as far as time spent working on problems in the Talent Chronicles world and in Heroes ‘Til Curfew specifically.

Goal #2 has been 3 scenes in Heroes per week. I wrote the first of those three yesterday. I also finished listing everything that was supposed to happen from here forward so that I could identify all my holes and logic problems. A loose outline that allows room to move around is important. But it is amazing to me how it can seem like a solid story and then you get to that part and it’s like–well, that doesn’t really make sense. Why would he do that? Why wouldn’t she just…

Meta-humans are fascinating, but their abilities cause all sort of dilemmas.

So I’ve made copious notes and written all my WTF? questions in pink, and hopefully I’ll be able to draft some of my buds to help me kick ideas around this week because talking things through with someone else really helps me focus, and I often lack focus even though there are no shirtless painters in my neighborhood.

Today’s ROW80 Linky.

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#ROW80 Update

Not a lot to say here. Things have been much better this week in general. I’m getting to spend more time on the writing stuff, with time to actually think. I spent brainstorming time this week with Kait and Andrew, which is always good because I’m the sort of person who thinks better with help. When I have someone else to ask me questions or throw out ideas–even if they’re not ideas I can use, at least it keeps me focused and not thinking about things that have nothing to do with the Talents.

So anyway, Kait helped me think through a new story that I’ll write at some point. I know what basically happens in the story, I just haven’t got the why of it–why I should write it/why you should care.

I always get stuck right before an action scene. They don’t come naturally to me, I’m not practiced at how to think through them yet, and I always balk at writing them. Fortunately Andrew got me a lot closer to figuring this next one out than I was earlier this week.

Some recommended reading…

On writing something good, then trying to do it again…
Well the title of JM Tohline’s blog post really says it, doesn’t it? The Trials Of Writing A Work…After Writing A Work Of Art. (Link given me by Andrew Mocete during a discussion of the pressures of expectation in trying to write a sequel.)

On Blogging
Yes, of course it’s a Kristen Lamb post, and of course it’s amusing. But Blogging Part 7- Fashion Faux Pas also contains helpful advice I wish everyone would follow. (Found because I subscribe.)

Oh Snap, we been told!
Laura Kinsale, author of the wonderful Flowers from the Storm and other works, tells it like it is and kicks some serious ass in Writing Is Not a Service Industry. She does this with such lovely, lyrical language that it’s kind of like eating elegant tea cakes iced with spite. (Link sent to me by Zoe Winters.)

Speaking of Zoe…
Zoe Winters is planning to release her new novel, Save My Soul this week. Naturally, I recommend picking that out when it becomes available. But for now you can check out her awesomely spiffy book trailer. (Found because Zoe’s been telling me about this a lot.)

Oh Snap, we been told!
Laura Kinsale, author of the wonderful Flowers from the Storm and other works, tells it like it is and kicks some serious ass in Writing Is Not a Service Industry. She does this with such lovely, lyrical language that it’s kind of like eating elegant tea cakes iced with spite. (Link sent to me by Zoe Winters.)

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Late #ROW80 Check-in, Minced Oaths and Miscellanea

This is intended to but will probably not be a quick post. As it’s two days late, I obviously don’t have a lot to say on the subject, so probably light on the ROW80 appeal.

Review of my short-term and measurable goals for anyone just stopping by:

  • Spend at least an hour with at least half an hour unplugged, working in the world of the Talent Chronicles.
  • Finish at least 3 scenes per week.

I didn’t get any new scenes finished, but I did do a lot of thinking. A lot of it is series stuff, side jaunts, and that kind of thing, but I also had a really good day of note-making at Chuck E Cheese on Thursday during which I had some new ideas for book 3 that will help fill in some stuff in book 2.

Good News:

The schoolbus just left. After 27 straight days of no school (snow days plus holidays and weekends), I finally have some hope of getting back to work. Things are kind of a mess here, I need groceries, I need to EXERCISE, but hopefully some of that, done without all the chatter and the I need I need I need and “the dog is following me!” etc, will let me think my way into some stuff.

Had a nice family weekend. I’ve been trying to wean myself off the internet lately, especially on the weekends when we do more family stuff. It happens that when I don’t answer email for a day or two, I sometimes get a note from someone asking it I’m mad at them. Which is fine; that doesn’t bother me at all, and it’s always just that I wasn’t on the computer to respond. But I think it really shows that I’m pretty responsive with my communications and could do with slacking off a bit, as many of my friends have suggested.

Have had great Amazon sales this month. It’s making me really long to know what my PubIt sales are. But Amazon sales were such that yesterday I felt I could justify spending money. So I declared it Epic Game Day. We went to GameStop and bought everyone a new video game, stopped off for snacks (like Epic-Sized 1 liter bottle of Diet Coke), and played all day.

Even though I started ROW80 with the intention of doing it and getting this book out as soon as possible, I’m feeling so much better since I just accepted that I can’t do everything. I can’t force a book out in the conditions I was in, and my daughter isn’t at a point in her maturity where I can try to go to work every day when stuff like that happens. And once I stopped trying to be an author and a mom at the same time and punishing myself for not doing really well with either, I started to feel much better, and maybe even like my brain is starting to unlock.

I sometimes stay up later than I should, just to have some quiet time in the house by myself. I’ve been in one of those sleeping 5 hours periods anyway. So I watched White Oleander. I put this in the good news because I had been feeling a lot of mom guilt, and then I was like, hey, I’m doing better than that. And so I decided that I should get kudos for not murdering a boyfriend and making my daughter complicit in it, and started giving myself a break.

Mixed News:

After a straight month with me, my daughter is saying “freakin'” all the time. This is especially cute when she says, “That’s freakin’ awesome!” and I’m like, “I know, right?” It’s mixed because while I think the minced oaths are totally fine, we live in a place where some parents get uptight about them. Dang, geez, etc., are often not good. I don’t get this. I don’t know how these kids are ever supposed to express their thoughts. So if my daughter wants to complain that the freakin’ dog took her freakin’ toy outside, I figure what’s the big deal? At least she didn’t end the complaint by referring to him as a goddamn sonofabitch, right? But my husband is coming down on the use of “freakin'” which is, I’ll admit, a bit excessive. So yesterday B and I talked about language and that the trick with language is knowing your audience and when it’s appropriate. See? I’m framing that as an important life lesson, not so much as, “I don’t care, just don’t do it when Daddy gets home.”

Hope everyone else is doing well. As a ROW80 sponsor, I was supposed to go around and visit some blogs over the weekend, so I still need to make that up. But maybe I’ll save that for tomorrow’s round. Who knows, maybe I’ll get so much peace and quiet this week that I’ll even be able to write some concise, topical blog posts instead of just personal babble.

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#ROW80 Check-in: Fail

Snow day #11 for our district and, including weekends, the 22nd straight day of unrelieved parenting.

She got up at 4:45am. My husband gets up at 5 to go to work, so I got up too and tried to encourage her to stay out of his space as he’s one of those people you’re not supposed to talk to in the morning. I ended up not being able to keep my eyes open and, by the time he went to work, had to go back to bed. Except then of course I really couldn’t go back to sleep and just fretted about stuff. It was awesome.

So back to the ROW80 thing…

My goals:

  • spend a minimum of 1 hour working on the Talent Chronicles every weekday
  • a minimum of 1/2 hour should be unplugged from the internet
  • finish 3 scenes per week

What I did:

  • No hours spent
  • No scenes completed
  • No words written

I’m not going to get my mom to write me an excuse note. Besides, she freakin’ abandoned me and went to freakin’ Florida. Where I could have been, hanging out with Mickey, since there’s no school anyway.

I don’t have to tell you guys who have been here lately that I’m pretty much on edge. The only work I did in my world this week was stealing some of Kait’s time to try to brainstorm the details of the upcoming scenes, which mostly was just me telling her stuff I already knew. Because when she had time, I was trying to put supper together and shockingly, was not real focused.

Yesterday I was accomplished in that I wrote to an IP law firm which has a branch in town and told them I needed information and advice, and then contract review if it came to that, but I’ve had no response to that. I’m concerned I will actually have to make a phone call. (I’m kind of phobic about the phone.)¬† Of course it’s snowing, so there’s probably no one there. I wrote back to the individual who contacted me and asked for patience. I hate feeling like an idiot, but what are you gonna do?

Not like that took all day yesterday. I took my tree out because my husband’s been too busy to do it, and then I set about cleaning up all the pine needles and mud the pets have tracked in (three and they’re indoor/outdoor), that’s been there since Christmas. Since my daughter wanted to skate, I did that on skates. Inefficient, but kind of amusing since I had to move furniture and stuff and kept rolling away. There was also side by side Nintendo DS play morning and evening.

Last week I had pretty good luck with shutting myself in my room to work. Even though there were multiple interruptions, I still got stuff done. Now there are whiny guilt trip fits any time I try to do stuff. We’re both just really tired of it being just us. I’m sure it’s lonely being an only child. I was the kind of kid who spent hours in my own head. I could sit in my room with my dolls, and I didn’t even have to move them around to play with them. I never voiced them out loud, I always played in my head. It’s often hard for me to relate to someone who is outward, social, and always wants connection.

We’re supposed to get a break from the snow tomorrow. I have a commitment in town tomorrow if I can possibly make it, and that, plus at least an hour of travel time each way in this mess, will suck up the whole school day, if there is one.

Hoping everyone else did better on their goals. If you’re blog hopping to find out, here’s the linky.

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#Row80 Check-in and the Snow Day Saga Continues

They’ve already called off school for tomorrow. In December we had 6 snow days, and then they got for Christmas. They were supposed to go back from holiday break on Thursday, but they called it off Thursday and Friday, and now Monday.

When I looked at my calendar for December, and I noted all the snow days and vacation days, and the days I had plans to do things with and for my mom, I had 3 days on which I could get things done. And I used two of those to get my Christmas shopping done, leaving me one day in December on which to write.

Clearly the thing of feeling like I need to wait for the peace and quiet in which I do my best work hasn’t been working out really well.

So I’m happy to report that my first week of working my ROW80 goals went pretty well. Even though there was no school, even though my daughter had that rescheduled minor surgery thing and we had to spend a whole day in the hospital.

My two small, measurable goals:

  • spend at least an hour, with at least 1/2 hour unplugged, every weekday, working in the world of the Talent Chronicles, whether it be on notes or prose, but NOT on blogging, correspondence, etc.
  • finish 3 scenes per week

The second goal I was able to do. The first I did every day but Friday. On Friday I shut the computer down at 10:30 to get ready to take my daughter to an emergency “let’s not eat our young” gathering of moms and small kids at Burger King, didn’t open it again until Sunday morning, and was hardly online during this whole very family-oriented weekend. I’m not going to beat myself up about that or try to make it up. I went into overtime 3 of the 4 days I did work.

Word counts:

  • Monday: 1255
  • Tuesday: 1133
  • Wednesday: 842
  • Thursday: 1225
  • Total: 4455

Which is more than I’ve been able to do lately with the whole struggle with attention and focus and doing a lot of spinning my wheels and staring thing I’ve been into lately. So yay!

In other news…

Trivia! For those of you who use PubIt, did you ever notice Hush Money on the log-in page? Lauralynn Elliot sent me a heads-up about that this week. I usually go there at least once a day to record my numbers and never noticed. I’m there with HP Mallory and Amanda Hocking. Must have been a good day. Neat, huh?

AND…

I didn’t get a whole lot of time for reading this week, but I did jot down some things that I particularly enjoyed. So here are some links for you:

Book Marketing
Chuck Wendig’s Drop the Pen, Grab a Hammer: Building the Writer’s Platform. A fabulous post about platform that made me laugh a lot. Do I have to tell you this is NSFW? (via Kristen Lamb)

Getting the Writing Done
Kristen Lamb’s post Being More Productive- Taking on Procrastination Pixies by…Eating Frogs? is a funny and scarily accurate look at a common problem for many of us. You may see yourself in this and a number of the posts Kristen has written lately. I have. (Read this one because I subscribe to Kristen’s blog, and I’d recommend it for all my writer friends.)

Superheroes!
The Samhain Publishing blog featured a wonderful article on romantic relationships in superhero comics and movies by Corrina Lawson, What’s So Scary About Romance? It points out a lot of the romantic relationships we’ve loved, and how they made these fictions speak to us, even though the romance isn’t supposed to be the focus. Great article by someone who obviously loves romance and superheroes. (Found via Google Alerts)

And for today’s ROW80 blog hoppers, the linky list.

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My first ROW80 Check-in

I set two short-term goals for ROW80:

  • Write every weekday, at least 1/2 hr unplugged, at least 1 hr total
  • Write at least 3 scenes per week.

I’m doing this in the morning, before my day explodes, as I’ve got a gimpy cat to take to the vet, phone calls to make, a phone call to await, an appointment to chat with my TechGuy this afternoon, I have to grab an hour to write today (not sure of the specifics either), I need to do some cleaning, making a ham dinner, and my daughter is home asking me to play something every 5 minutes. (Not a lot for normal moms at home or people who work for paychecks, but I lack coping skills.)

So for this check-in, we’re only dealing with Monday and Tuesday.

On which I did great!

I ended up taking two hours on Monday, writing 1229 words, and finishing the sequence I’ve been working on pretty much the entire month of December. (Which isn’t saying so much, as I had maybe 1 day to myself to actually write stuff in the entire month. See above: lacks coping skills. But that’s what I’m working on.)

On Tuesday I wrote the next scene. 1133 words with an alarming number of swears. Yes, Marco was involved. As well as two characters new to this story who are also pretty bad in that regard. Marco’s thoughts continue to be…let’s just say he should be tried as an adult. Regardless of the conventional wisdom that says teen characters = YA, I’m starting to question the categorization.

I’m thinking about adding in a new idea right now, something to support what’s already there and strengthen a thread that’s weak. So today I’ll probably spend a little time looking down on the big picture.

Anyway, see where my head is? In the story, with the planning and stuff? I think the ROW80 goals are working really well so far. I’ve been letting myself be run by circumstances, waiting for the conditions to be right to do my best work, and getting no work done at all. There’s more to it, but that’s the part that’s my fault and that I can work on.

Writing that post last night, looking back on my attitude as I wrote Hush Money, was very eye-opening for me. Definitely some things for me to think about.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to reading about how the start of the challenge has been for others. Thanks for stopping by.

Blog hoppers, here’s the linky.

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Status Update, Coming Attractions, Secret Identities

Let’s just get this out of the way. I don’t think Stacey Wallace Benefiel (authoress of Glimpse, Glimmer, Day of Sacrifice) ever initiates a conversation two times in a row using the same messenger. One day it’s email, then Goodreads PM, then Facebook message, then a DM on Twitter… Is Stacey a secret agent, trying to cover her tracks? Are there coded messages I’m too blonde to see? While posing as a home-renovating mother-of-two, is she really about to drop from a helicopter onto a moving train and wondering why I haven’t rushed her plea for extraction to the agent they have planted at the local Waffle House?

These are things I ponder.

Hush Money hit a new milestone yesterday: 2000 sales. The end of October/beginning of November was freaking awesome on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

This will probably not be the last time that I mention that there’s nothing like a shiny new paperback under the tree, should you wish to consider Joss and her friends to fulfill your gift-giving needs this holiday season.

Can you believe she’s starting up with that crap already, and it’s not even freakin’ Thanksgiving yet? Damn. I know!

Ok, what else. Oooh! Right. So Quantum! Who’s a fan of the Portal Chronicles, raise your hand? (If your hand is not raised, it’s because you haven’t read yet, so go, buy Portal, start getting caught up now, ’cause…) The third book, Quantum, releases on Tuesday, November 16th. The main character, Arizona, is due to drop by here and drop off some kind of message for you on Tuesday. So make sure you’ve done the homework.

Also of possible interest, she said innocently, the cover of Heroes ‘Til Curfew, the follow-up to Hush Money, will be revealed on Wednesday, Nov. 17th. It was not at all what I expected, and really took my breath away when I saw the initial concept. Robin is awesomesauce, and I hope you’ll all like it as much as I do.

Yes, the new book is coming along better, thank you for asking. Yesterday I finally pushed through a scene that was giving me all kinds of problems. When I was finished, I just wanted to sit and write more. Dammit. Self-washing dishes, where are you?? As I was driving to Girl Scouts, I was totally seeing the inside of the record store instead of the road, Joss was yelling, stuff was flying–it was all pretty distracting. Now imagine me, having this realization: Wow, I could totally have a really bad wreck right now! and grinning from ear to ear because I’m finally getting somewhere.

Watch out you Nano peeps. Don’t count me out yet!

Did you guys know I have another identity? No, I don’t use a pen name. In the dark and dangerous manuscript critiquing underworld, I am known, by those who can find me, as Pink Hammer. My supercharged weapon of choice? The Pink Hammer of Doom, of course. Now this is all totally wrecked by Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, because now even I am asking myself if the hammer is really my penis, and it pretty much makes me the laughingstock of the underworld. Thank you very much. Nevertheless, I persevere, and will be taking out these frustrations on Devil’s Eye by Kait Nolan. So if Kait seems a little jumpy this week, if you see her stocking up on adult diapers because she’s pissing herself in fear, be kind.

Haha, no, really. It’s not like that.

Is it?

Ok, I think I’ve babbled at you guys long enough for one morning. Anyone have news? I haven’t been getting out much; feel free to tell me what’s up.

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Filed under books, characters, Guests, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, Kettle chat, me me me, NaNoWriMo, progress update, PubIt, romance, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, writing