Getting Inspired

Last night I joined many of my fellow Parliament House Publishing authors and had a two-hour chat on Twitter where we discussed all sorts of things about the writing process and our experience in writing books. It was a busy chat filled with funny revelations (wine was the drink of choice for many) and heartfelt conversations. One of the best parts was that other authors hopped in giving answers as well! I checked the tag (#PHPChat) earlier and saw that the conversation was still going with other authors. I absolutely love it!

It was a really inspiring evening and I honestly can’t wait until our next chat. There are a lot of new faces in our author family so it was great to put our feet up and not only get to know everybody, but also to talk about our books and about writing.

Speaking of, I made some major progress on my WIP today! Woo-hoo!

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
12/2 – 2,202

Current Word Count: 40,063

Progress:
One character had a major realization and a bit of a guilt trip. Then just as expected, someone lost their head. It wasn’t pretty, and things got pretty twisted by the end of it. There were tears, screams, and serpents.

Next Up:
Approaching a lonely tower on a hill and the group of men who run it. All parties will be converging here and once again, it won’t be pretty. This is ultimately where the climax of the book will take place. After that it’s all about setting up for Book 3. Whew!

Commentary:
I’ve finally reached the halfway mark! Oh my goooosh. I was so inspired after the chat last night that I knew exactly what was going to happen when I settled in to write this afternoon. Then everything fell into place and I understood how I was going to wrangle these cats in the direction they needed to go.

I’m excited to see the final few legs of this story unfold and to see what these characters do as a result of what happens. That’s the great thing about being a pantser, you have all these ideas but at the end of the day, the characters usually choose where they want to go. Sometimes you get to be as surprised by their decisions as the reader is.

A Month of Recovery

This month has been pretty interesting. Not bad, just… interesting.

I was hoping to get a lot of catch-up writing done on Broken and put aside time to do just that, but then I got sick for like weeks. The weather down here in GA has been all over the place. Highs of 20s one day and then highs in the 60s the next, so everybody is having allergy problems. I think the plants are as confused as we are. I’m still recovering after 3 weeks of struggling with it.

So I’m not a winner of NaNoWriMo this year, but that’s okay! There will always be more – and I usually do better during the Camp NaNo events anyway. I still got around 10k+ words added to my manuscript, and NaNo helped me do that.

Now it’s December and I’m gearing up for the release of Stolen in January, meaning that I’ll soon be announcing all sorts of opportunities. I’ll soon be organizing tours, book signings, events, giveaways, and all the things that you do with a new book release. If you’re interested in getting any book swag or even a holiday card from me this month, make sure you check out my Moonlight Wanderers Facebook Group or join the mailing list. I’m collecting addresses now to ship out goodies this month. There’s going to be a LOT going on next month and these folks always get the early access & opportunities for swag.

I finally got into the writing groove today for the first time in weeks. It felt good and I really needed that creative boost that it caused. Here’s hoping I keep this going!

Project:  Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
11/26 – 808
11/30 – 1,150

Current Word Count: 37,861

Progress:
Escaping one danger only to run head-first into more. You know how it goes. It’s difficult to work with someone who is so unstable and unpredictable, and it’s also frightening when they have so much power.

Next Up:
Somebody’s going to be real mad once they are back on their feet again, and someone is going to get hurt. It’s not going to be pretty, but when dealing with matters of an injured heart, it rarely is.

Commentary:
At times I feel like my writing is too disjointed, and then at other times I see how I can stitch the parts together again. As the storyline progresses, I see the story arc fall into place. I feel the direction take shape. I’m usually a complete pantser and this book is no exception. Because there’s so much to balance though, each scene does take a careful approach. I think that’s why this book is taking me longer to tackle. Each movement is like a chess piece getting moved and the landscape changes with each turn, until finally we reach the final confrontation. I’m getting closer and closer to that moment, and I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it for a number of reasons.

Happy December, everybody!

Happy NaNoWriMo!

To every writer out there working on some kind of project for NaNoWriMo this month – good luck! I’m over here cheering you on!

You can do it!

I too will be in the trenches this month, and since I had a major author event on November 1st, I’m also starting it a day or two later than I would have liked. But that’s okay!

I use NaNo for motivation with my writing, especially when I have looming deadlines to meet. (Looking at you, Broken!) I’ve also been really enjoying doing longhand writing recently, which is great but also leads to my hand cramping up partway through and then I get distracted. I look back to when I was writing reams of paper everyday in college for my classes and just shake my head. Clearly it’s been a while since I’ve done heavy duty handwritten anything!

Since I’ve been doing journals more, it’s been more difficult to transcribe everything and to get my updates posted here on WordPress, but good old NaNo is here to get me back on track! Already have found myself far more productive than I’ve been in the past few weeks. Hopefully it’ll be enough to keep me on my goals.

On November 1st I went to the awesome Horror Writers Association Atlanta Kickoff event and got to hang out with some seriously inspirational authors. We had a whole table of books on the back table and I may have gotten carried away getting copies, hehe. I came away from it just inspired and ready to tackle my long list of writing goals! Speaking of, here’s my writing update for the past few weeks.

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
10/20 – 1,033
10/23 – 693
10/24 – 1,555
10/27 – 847
10/29 – 269
10/30 – 566
11/1 – 1,098
11/2 – 2,779

Current Word Count: 28,968

Progress:
I finally started the second POV I’ve been needing to dig into for a while now. Both are going to be converging, so I needed to make sure I understood where they were in the storyline. The best part about writing this in Scrivener is that I can easily drag and drop scenes or chapters around to make sure the flow is good between the two POVs. If I did this in Word it would take MUCH more work to do this!

Next Up:
I’ll be shifting back to my original POV and finishing out the psychological scene going on there. I’ll also have a good idea about where I need to go from there. Did I mention I’m a pantser when I write? 😉

Commentary:
Oh goodness, I’m creeping up on that 50% mark on that word tracker up there and I’m so freaking excited! I was amazed looking at my last progress bar and seeing I was only at 20% and now I’ve jumped up to 36%. Writing so much on paper helped get me untethered from my wordcount which helped me not to stress out as much and just get words onto paper.

I’ll have worldbuilding to do soon once I finish up this upcoming scene. Then comes the great big moment this is all building up to. I’ll be honest, I’m excited and nervous at the same time! I want it to be as cool as it has appeared to be in my head for the last few years, but I guess that’s what every author struggles with. Wish me luck!

Bullet Journaling as an Author: A Sticker A Day

Since my first blog post about using trackers in my bullet journal was so popular, I thought it couldn’t hurt to do more in this vein. Clearly there are a number of authors out there looking for ways to keep on track when working on their novels. Heck, I was that way too not very long ago.

While trackers are wonderful for long-term planning and smashing out goals, what motivates you on the short term? I know during the work week, I don’t go flipping to my progress chart very often. I’m too busy fixing the nuts and bolts of work and life every day. So I wanted to find a way to give myself a little bit of a boost for squeezing in maybe just ten minutes of writing over my lunch, or maybe dedicating a whole hour one evening to tackling that scene, or giving myself the space to work on edits. Do you know what I found was super inspiring? Stickers.

Yes, I know, it’s very grade school. I remember helping my mom set up sticker boards for her classroom for a number of years, and seeing it slowly fill up as kids did awesome things. A sticker at the end of the day was a way to easily see how great you did, and made it easy to look back over the week to see how you did.

Guess what? It works for us adults too!

You can buy little flower sticker sheets at Amazon or Etsy. They’re adorable, and just the little burst of inspiration I needed to keep going some days. If I had a rough week, just seeing a bundle of stickers spread out over the pages made me proud. That was work on something I enjoyed. That was proof of what I accomplished, even if my word count had barely nudged, I did something worth celebrating.

Lately I’ll admit I haven’t written on my WIP as much as I would like, and seeing my pages lack those stickers makes me sad. Even their absence is motivating. But I’m getting that inspiration rolling again.

Of course, this little trick could work for anything that you want to work on a little bit each day. When my life gets really crazy busy though, I find that my writing time suffers. It’s hard to pull the words out and it’s hard to delve into my fantasy world, the characters, or the plot when life is pulling my attention in a dozen different directions.

Having an easy way to glimpse my progress helps immensely. Remember, all it takes is a sticker a day.

Tough Times

Dang, sometimes the words flow, and sometimes you want them to flow but they just refuse and life doesn’t help by throwing wrenches into your plans.

It’s been a rough few weeks, folks, I’ll admit it. Maybe I’ll elaborate more on this at some point here, but for now just know it’s been difficult. It’s been tough at times finding the motivation and the time to work on my latest WIP with all the stuff that’s been going on, so please forgive me if my updates or communication has been sporadic. Life has been a bit crazy lately, but I’m slowly finding the groove for this piece again.

It’s interesting to me, as kind of the chef here, that this book has such a very different taste than Stolen does, but all the elements are the same. It’s like putting the same ingredients for a recipe in, just in a different order. The place I’m at is also going to be the calmest part of the entire book, and I’m gearing up for all the rough times these characters are going to be dealing with down the road.

ALSO I’ve got the cover reveal for Stolen coming up on August 28! If you check out my Instagram page, you can view a preview for it in my Stolen story highlights. If you’re not following me already on Instagram, why not? Each week or so, I’m currently posting a little peek at the world behind Stolen which also will be the world behind Broken.

Check out all the posts at #WorldOfStolen

 

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
8/12 – 1,840

Current Word Count: 12,651

Progress:
Finally finished stitching everything together and able to move forward at a good pace. I also figured out how I want to link this in with later scenes. My only big concern is that I’m already 12k into this story and I haven’t even written the other POV scenes yet… so, if that’s any indication, this may be longer than my predicted 80k!

Next Up:
A beautiful but deadly tour of some fascinating specimens. Also an urgent message and some sudden changes.

Commentary:
Finally these two folks are on the same page and moving toward the same goal! I have a lot of pieces to hit before I move on to the next big plot arc and really start hitting on the spooky sections.

Also you may notice that my added words don’t match with my overall wordcount updates. Basically there was a lot of fleshing out of locations and people today, so even though the overall wordcount didn’t budge as much as I wanted, some motivations for characters became far more concrete. Which is good, I’ll need that when I revisit this area later.