Listening to my Inner Writer

You would think after twenty years of writing, I would learn this simple lesson: Listen to your Intuition, your inner writer knows what it is doing. But apparently I haven’t, or maybe I should say, that it is harder than I thought to listen to the whispering voice that is telling me that I have to do something differently with the story.

the_warlords_daughter_1_webShortly after finishing The Warlord’s Daughter in January, that small niggling that something was off in the story intensified. As I worked through the scenes of The Scout’s Captive, that feeling grew stronger. By the first week of February, the niggling that something was off had become a shout to “Stop!”

Unlike last time, where that inner voice was telling me that there was something wrong with plot of the story, this time it was making a suggestion that I completely ignored. Why? Because I’m frugal with money and I didn’t want to waste paper or ink printing off everything.

So I had this burning desire to write the next part of the story and every time I sat down to do it I totally froze up. My inner writer was refuses to let me go any farther until I paid attention to it. Which is why I took the time to print out all the books, spent the last five days not writing so I could reassess the elements and structure of my stories, and making any structural changes. I got the idea for this from Twin Creatives.

I might have lost a few days of adding new words to the books by debating the merit of every scene I’d written or that I planned to write in all five books, but in the end it was worth the time I took away from writing.

the_scouts_captive_2_webThe story structure really needed to be assessed because there were more than a few scenes that needed to be moved, added, deleted or merged. There was an entire section of scenes in books four and five that needed to be moved, merged, and deleted that made me glad that I hadn’t started writing them.

The unexpected changes that I made helped tighten and improve the story plot of each book, and reading through a hard copy of the stories also helped me understand the main plot of each book better. However, the changes to The Warlord’s Daughter shortened the books significantly, but I prefer a shorter story that moves the story along then a longer one brimming with filler scenes that don’t progress the plot. The Scout’s Captive, The Rebel Queen, and The Empty Throne gained quite a few scenes that enhance the plots of each story instead of taking away from them.

One change that I really didn’t expect was that I realization that the order of The Rebel Queen and The Empty Throne may have to be switched, but I’m going to wait until I’m a little further along before making that determination. I believe the only book that didn’t change much was The Lost Heir.

The small drawback won’t affect my goal to finish writing all five books in The Queen’s Rebellion Series this year. If anything it will help me finish them before their deadlines and get them ready to be published next year.

Wishing you all the best this February,

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January 2017 in Review

Welcome to my first “In Review” Post! Personally, this is something that I usually do at the end of each week so I can stay on track with the goals I made, but I thought a weekly post about what was working, what wasn’t, and how I could improve on a goal would be too much. Instead I’m going to do a monthly “In Review” posts, unless that gets too annoying and I decided to post this every 3 or 6 months.

Now, not all the goals I made this year were writing related but the ones I posted here in December were. My hope was that by publishing them and making monthly assessments on how I’m doing with them, I will rock these goals!

We’re about a month into 2017 and this is how I’m doing so far:


My Writing

Writing at least 300,000 new words this year (doesn’t include words written for blog posts or website unless it was something creative): I am using a Excel program from Svenja Gosen to track my word count goal this year. I’ve used this spreadsheet on and off every year since 2014.

Total Word Count for January: 34,633
Total Word Count for 2017:
34,633

Finish writing 5 books this year (this doesn’t include editing or publishing them. That will come after I finish writing the entire series):

the_warlords_daughter_1_web the_scouts_captive_2_web the_lost_heir_3_web the_empty_throne_4_web the_rebel_queen_5_web

As of January 16, 2017 the first draft of The Warlord’s Daughter (due February 1st) is done. It came in at 97,149 words. 

I started The Scout’s Captive (due April 1st) January 16, 2017. I have 51,102 words written so far.

The other books will be: The Lost Heir by June 1st (about 58,000 words written); The Empty Throne by September 1st (about 10,000 words written); The Rebel Queen by December 31st (about 10,000 words written).


Books I Read This Month

One of my goals is to read at least 50 fiction books & 5 non-fiction books. So far this year I’ve read 5 fiction books and 1 non-fiction book. The last one was a short story that caught my eye.

    

  

Happy Reading y’all!


My Other 2017 Goals

Nurturing my creativity by spending more time doing fun things with my family because downtime is therapeutic for the creative brain: I’m doing better at enforcing Family Time during the evenings and on weekends. I decided that I can always write after everyone heads to bed or get up earlier in the morning. 

Unplugging from the electronics on the weekends: I’ve been inspired to write on the weekends for a few hours in the morning or at night. They are usually blog posts as they are the easiest to return too when I’m interrupted.

Be a better writer and develop my writing craft by taking at least 1 writing craft related ecourse or workshop before the end of the year: I haven’t even started this one because I’m afraid of a repeat of the last two seminars I attended online (going somewhere isn’t an option I’m even considering) because:

  1. When I spend money for the event like I did for the first one, I expect to gain some benefit from it and get what was promised me. Even though this seminar was aimed at helping writers promote and market their books, There were only 2 speakers in the whole lineup that had any advice for fiction writers and another 3 had advice that could be modified for fiction writers, but most of the speakers focused on marketing and promoting books for self-help writers who wanted speaking gigs. 
  2. If I sign up for it, I need to know that I can be there for the lectures. The second seminar that I signed up for started on a Thursday and went until Saturday. I had nothing going on that week and planned to watch them, either live or as a replay. It ended up being a busy weekend and I missed most of the seminar. I found out later that the link for the replays only lasted 24 hours so I didn’t get to see most of them. The only plus side for that seminar was that it was free and research for a series I plan to write in the future.

I really want to take a few classes that I’ve had my eye on for a few years now, but I’m afraid to do it because my schedule can go from empty to chaotic in the blink of an eye. I don’t want to start a class and then not have the time to work on the assignments or attend the lectures. If I’m going to take a class then I want benefit fully from it.

Writing and maintaining a work journal each writing day: I started this in December last year after I started to read Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I combined this with how I was using my new planners and tried to keep it going through January but by week two of the new year I knew I needed to do something different. I’d start to write an entry, get distracted or interrupted, and never returned to the journal. So most my entries looked like this: Worked on fixing scene between… (can’t begin to tell you who) or I need to remember to… (not sure what, I can’t remember).  I tweaked this goal a bit and tried it again. It’s working much better now but I’m not quite happy with it.

Be more disciplined in my writing by writing something (story, blog post, letter) every weekday but not feeling too upset if I don’t write something one day because sometimes daydreaming is working too: I have 27 days where I wrote and 4 days where I wrote nothing. Most days I wrote something in my current story.

Create an inspiring work space by keeping my office area/desk de-cluttered for better working and creating a desktop slideshow of inspiring quotes and pictures for my computer: I figure this will be an on-going goal. Right now my desk/office area is mostly clean, except for the pile on the left side of my desk. I’m still looking for pictures or quotes that inspire me to add to my desktop slideshow. 

Work on my time management by using the planners I created and bought, setting writing goals at the beginning of every month and reviewing them daily to see where I can make improvements, and sticking with the daily work routine that I created to mesh with my family’s schedules (to be tweaked as needed).: My plan for the planners failed two weeks into using them. They weren’t helping me manage my time, they were a time suck that took away from writing time. I downsized to one planner and decided that I would switch off to see what one I liked better. I started by taking all the goals I set for myself and breaking them down to actionable steps to make it easier to incorporate into my life. 

Be a healthy writer by keeping the daily exercise routine I started, making healthier meal choices, and drink more water.: I could do better with this one. I substituted the time it takes to feed the cows and load the hay truck with my normal exercise. It’s the water situation that I need pay more attention to, which reminds me that I need a drink of water.

Okay, I’m back.

Maintaining my meditation and affirmation practice I started in 2016.: I found that I love meditation and it was something that went really well with walking during the summer months. Now that it’s winter, I’m having trouble sitting still and my meditation practice fell by the way side. I tried a 30 Day Affirmation Challenge in January but I really hated the affirmations they choose. I want to create my own affirmations for February. 


So there you have it! All my 2017 writing related goals. 😀

I would love to hear about your goals for the new year if you’d like to share?

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One Book Down, 4 Left to Go!

When I wrote the Welcome to 2017! post I mentioned that I thought that I’d have to extend The Warlord’s Daughter to 100,000 to finish the story. I figured that it would take me another week to do this, but the second I started the new scenes everything went downhill. I ran headlong into a big problem: I really wasn’t happy with the results.

Okay, so that is putting it lightly. I hated the new scenes. They felt all wrong. I think I scrapped the first scene I worked on twice, possible three times before I took a step back to really think through the scene and what I wanted it to do for the story. While outwardly, The Warlord’s Daughter seemed to need it, it really didn’t. All I really needed was to add a few lines to a scene I already had in the book and done!

The second scene I wanted to going to add was more needful, but I was having trouble with it because it’s from a secondary characters point of view and I knew it was going to open a small subplot thread that I couldn’t close without returning to the characters point of view again. The solution was once easier then I thought it would be. The scene ended up turning out better than I thought it was going to.

I scrapped the entire third scene as it would be similar to a scene I wrote for book 2.

Writing the end scene became a problem that has kept me from being done with The Warlord’s Daughter already. Strangely, the perfect solution to my problem occurred the day I watching my girls crash and burn on the sled for the umpteenth time. Not sure why watching them was necessary for my creative brain to realize that I splitting a scene in half and rewriting it a bit would work very nicely.

I finished The Warlord’s Daughter today!

the_warlords_daughter_1_web

This scene was one of those that makes a perfect ending. I had moved it from the front of The Scout’s Captive to end The Warlord’s Daughter a few weeks back. Now I have taken the first part of the scene and made it the end of book 1. The rest of the scene can go back to the beginning of The Scout’s Captive.

It was a simple solution with an easy fix that worked out so much better than what I had been attempting to do with the end of The Warlord’s Daughter. I couldn’t believe how much better the end of the story worked out. It tied up all the threads while not leaving the story on too big a cliffhanger (it really couldn’t be helped) or giving away the next book in the series.

So now I’m off to pick up my reward for finishing The Warlord’s Daughter ahead of schedule before starting The Scout’s Captive.

My Reward: Miracle Morning for Writers

What is that? you ask. Well, The Miracle Morning for Writers is:

Need to find more time to write–without sacrificing the important things? Looking to consistently discover great book ideas? Wish you could generate a steady income from your words…or increase what you already make?

The solution to these questions is to change what you do first thing in the morning. And that’s why you should read The Miracle Morning for Writers: How to Build a Writing Ritual That Increases Your Impact and Income (Before 8AM).

The Miracle Morning for Writers combines Hal Elrod’s global phenomenon with Steve Scott’s proven writing habit techniques (which helped him get on the Wall Street Journal bestsellers list). You learn how to take charge of your morning and maximize “the rest of the day” for your writing efforts.

Here’s what you’ll discover in The Miracle Morning for Writers:

  • How a morning routine can change every area of your life (Including your health, happiness, finances and relationships).
  • The proven strategy for “finding the time” to write–even if you have a full-time job.
  • Our method for selling lots of books (and the 8-step process to build it).
  • Steve’s favorite app for tracking your great ideas and researching your next book.
  • Hal’s process for overcoming the limiting beliefs that hold you back from success.
  • “Flow state” and how it can forever eradicate writer’s block.

You will also learn:

  • 4 business models perfect for writers, how to get started, and which one we recommend.
  • The 10-step process for publishing a book that readers love.
  • 6 tools for improving your writing skills.
  • 2 techniques for doubling (even tripling) your daily word count total.
  • How to find the “80/20” of your book-based business.
    The Miracle Morning for Writers is your key to building a writing habit that will increase both your income and the value you provide to the world.

Planners Are So Not Working for Me!

2017_writers_notebook_plannerWell, it’s the second week of using my 2017 planners for work and life. I bought both planners this year to check them for any printing issues before placing them on Lulu for those who didn’t want to print them to buy.

Since I absolutely hate wasting stuff, I tried to figure out a way to use them both. By week one (December 25 to January 1), I already saw a problem with how I was going to use them. I tweaked the system and tried it for a second week (January 2 to today).

The system I devised looked something like this:

  • 2017 Project & Task Planner was to be used at the beginning of each day to show what I want to accomplish each week, to plan out my projects for the week and year, to record deadlines/events/appointments that will change how I plan my week, and to give me a good overview of what I wanted to get done.
  • 2017 Writer’s Notebook Planner was to be used at the end of the day to track how I used my time (using the time tracker), to show what I actually accomplished each day, to record my scheduled posts, to write down my day reflections (work journal and goal for 2017).

Both versions of this system ended up being too complicated, too time-consuming, and just plain old annoying. I really, really hated using both planner throughout the week. Also decided that I’m never going to be one of those writer’s who journal and dropped the work journal idea from this year’s goals.

2017_task_plannerThis morning I decided that it was time to return to the drawing board and figure out how I could utilize both planners. I even did some internet research and read article after article of how others used multiple planners.

After about an hour of reading I knew that the multiple planner idea wasn’t going to ever work for me. Having two different planners to keep track of things just isn’t feasible for the way my brain works or for how I work. Also I just don’t have that much stuff going on now that I’m not designing covers any more and I use a wall calendar to record my family’s schedules.

So I’m scrapping my planner system and trying something else.

I wish that I had someone I could give one of the planners to so as not to waste it, but everyone I know that wanted one bought one and I’ve already started writing in them and I doubt anyone would want either of them now. So instead I’m going to use one planner at a time, possible for a few months before switching to the other one. This way I can see which features I like better for when I design another one for 2018.

That said, I’m curious to know if anyone has any suggestions for how they use their planners? For those who bought one, how are you utilize your planners? Do you have any suggestions for next years planners?

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The Covers for The Queen’s Rebellion Revealed

My girls’ school was canceled for today. Yay! Oh, Hell…

Due to my girls being home all day and hubby home by noon, I’m not really expecting to get a lot of writing down later today. So I’m writing as much as I can this morning in the hopes of finishing The Warlord’s Daughter today. I’m so close to the end and I really want to start the next book in the series.

So why am I writing a blog post? Well, I’m not. I took a small break from an hour-long writing session to look through my list of unpublished posts to make a game plan for later today and realized that I hadn’t posted my cover reveal for The Queen’s Rebellion Series before the Welcome to 2017! post where they were featured. So not cool! 😦

Now I’m only writing an introduction to this post and publishing it. So even though it’s a little late in coming, here are the covers for The Queen’s Rebellion and descriptions for the series of books based on the life and adventures of the Lady Laramina Khynal and her husband Lord Cynel Maelti.

The Warlord’s Daughter, Book 1

the_warlords_daughter_1_webWhen Warlord Darton Khynal accepted the mission to end the bandit threat and train the next recruits for the Baryano army, he accept, but his reasons have nothing to do with career advancement and everything to do with his daughter. The Lady Laramina Khynal has come of age and the power flowing through her veins is becoming stronger and harder to hide. It’s only a matter of time before she is discovered and enslaved by the Council, undoing everything Darton has done to protect her. Forced to play a dangerous game with Laramina’s future, Darton accepts the Council decreed marriage between Lord Nyden Farlon and Laramina, a union that could have terrible consequences for everyone, if he allows it to take place.

The Scout’s Captive, Book 2

the_scouts_captive_2_webCondemned to death and hunted by Baryano for being Nyfeli, Cynel joined a rebellion he didn’t believe in for three meals a day, a warm place to sleep, and a chance to survive. He become a legend among the Rebels as a lethal warrior without mercy. But the ruthless Cynel is ill-prepared for the Lady Laramina Khynal, the woman who saved his life and whose life he swore to protect, for she is far more dangerous than any foe he’s faced. She is the one woman he cannot have, and the only one he wants.

Dodging Council Soldiers scouring the land for her, Laramina must make a terrible decision. Will she let events play out and willingly go with the men who abducted her? Or will she attempt to save the ones she loves by escaping from the man she is coming to love and return to marry the disgusting Lord Nyden Farlon?

The Lost Heir, Book 3

the_lost_heir_3_webCynel has always played his part, be it servant boy, thief, warrior, scout, or killer. Now he’s being asked to play the part of Laramina’s husband or protector until the Rebel leaders are ready announce the return of the Lost Heir, the only hope they have of rallying those who hate the current state of politics to their dying cause. They will do anything to gain and hold the advantage, including end the relationship between the Lost Heir and a Nyfeli killer.

Rocked by the truth about her heritage, the Lady Laramina Khynal doesn’t want the responsibility of ruling the three races. She doesn’t want the power to start a war. She doesn’t want the man she loves to hand her over to the Kydeloi Prince she’s been promised to since she was four years old. She doesn’t want the destiny chosen for her if it means losing Cynel. But to stay together, they will risk everything and defy the most powerful people in the land.

The Empty Throne, Book 4

the_empty_throne_4_webBetrothed to a man she despises, married to a rebel she’s grown to love, and promised to a prince she’s never met, the Lady Laramina Khynal is tired of being other people’s puppet, she’s ready to make her own choices. And while falling into the hands of the Council Soldiers searching for her wasn’t the best choice, she would do it again to protect the Rebels she has come to love. She just didn’t plan on Lord Nyden Farlon presences or his demands to finish what they started so he can seal his claim to the Empty Throne.

Determined to save his wife from the clutches of the Council, Cynel and a few loyal warriors cross into Baryano territory to infiltrate the heart of the Council’s City. Their plan is simple: abduct the Lost Heir before the Council can claim control of the Empty Throne through her. But they didn’t plan on being captured by the enemy or finding a land in turmoil. They didn’t plan on Laramina.

The Rebel Queen, Book 5

the_rebel_queen_5_webThe fate of the Lady Laramina Khynal has always been precarious and uncertain, resting in the hands of those who care not for her happiness but only their own ambitions. Angry and determined to bring an end to the Council’s rule, she must decided if she will become the weapon other’s will wield or if she will take her newfound power and forge her own destiny with the man she loves.


Now I really must get back to writing this next scene. Cynel has just done something and I’m not sure that Mina will be able to forgive him so readily for it. I really need to see what comes next.

Wishing you the best weekend this week,

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