Welcome to 2017!

I hope your holiday break was as fun and productive as mine. I spent most of my free time working on finishing The Warlord’s Daughter (both productive and fun), putting together puzzles with my girls (possibly not so productive but it was really fun), working on my latest stitching project (more meditative), and spending quality time with my family (both productive and fun).

Now that our girls are back to school it’s time for me to buckle down for some heavy writing sessions this month. But first, I wanted to give you all a preview of what I’m doing in 2017.

~ Reading 55 Books in 2017 ~

I made the goal to read 50 fiction books and 5 non-fiction books this year. I’ll be making a monthly post about the books I read that month on my blog.  I wish I could say that I picked them all out ahead of time, but since I don’t know what each week will bring I thought the better plan would be to pick them out as I went along. The fiction will be a mix of novels, novellas, and short stories.

~ Writing 5 Books in 2017 ~

When I posted my writing goals for 2017 in December I mentioned that I wanted to finish writing 5 books in 2017. Those books include the entire The Queen’s Rebellion Series. They are: The Warlord’s Daughter (#1), The Scout’s Captive (#2), The Lost Heir (#3), The Empty Throne (#4), and The Rebel Queen (#5). This is where most of my focus will be for the next 12 months. My hope is to have all 5 book written, edited, and on pre-order so that I can publish them throughout 2018.

To accomplish this I had to rethink my entire writing game plan. I’m going to have to be focused, organized, and disciplined in my writing. Which is code for “stop goofing around on Pinterest and playing Solitaire or Sudoku on the computer during writing time, Stephannie!”

So I started 2017 by erasing all the games from my computer, weaning myself off Pinterest (started this in December), downloading the new version of the Cold Turkey app (December 31st), and making my writing schedule for 2017. While I don’t want to push myself too hard and burn out, I also like to aim for the moon, maybe then I can land among the stars (LOL). So while I made my goals attainable, I decided to challenge myself with an added bonus to inspire me. If I finish these 5 books before my scheduled deadline then I get a prize. Incentives are really great for people like me. 😀

I will be writing a post at the beginning of each month to let you all know where I am in my goals.  This is where I am so far in the books…

The Warlord’s Daughter (Book 1)


Click on the picture to read the description

I was about 70,000 words into this book in December 2016. My word goal for the book started out at 85,000 but I as I reached my goal I realized that the story wasn’t done so I changed my word goal for the books to a 100,000. During the holiday season, I started on the complete overhaul of the scenes in The Warlord’s Daughter and even got around to writing some new scenes that I needed.

As of January 1st, I have around 93,000 words done and about 8,000 to go. I should be done with this book before my deadline.

Deadline: February 1st
Status so far: 92,974 words written of my 100,000 Word Count Goal
My Incentive for finishing this book: Buy Miracle Morning for Writers. I love the idea behind the Miracle Morning Routine, however, what I learned about it didn’t mesh with my kinda chaotic schedule. I stumbled upon one for writers and figured it would be a good incentive to work

The Scout’s Captive (Book 2)


Click on the picture to read the description

I’m not as far along in this book as some of the others, but mostly because I took more than half this book away to create The Warlord’s Daughter.

This book will take more fleshing out as most of the big scenes are already written, although I have a few ideas for new scenes that I will be adding.

Deadline: April 1st
Status so far: 32,755 words written of my 100,000 Word Count Goal
My Incentive for finishing this book: Buy that Tibetan Singing Bowl I’ve been eyeing for the last two years to add to my meditation collection.

The Lost Heir (Book 3)


Click picture to read the description

This one should pretty much write itself as I know where this book is going and as with The Scout’s Captive all the big scenes are written. Side Note: If I finish The Warlord’s Daughter and The Scout’s Captive early, the deadline for this book will shift to compensate. It wouldn’t be much of a challenge if I had an extra month to three months to finish this book.

Deadline: June 1st 2017
Status so far: 50,905 words written of my 100,000 Word Count Goal
My Incentive for finishing this book: Buy three books from my wishlist.

The Empty Throne (Book 4)


Click on the picture to read the description

This is one of those books that I don’t have much done on. The scenes in this book are where I stopped because I had written myself into a corner and needed to figure out some plot holes. I have a better idea where the books are going so I’m hoping by the time I get to writing it it will go fast.

Side Note: Even if I’m ahead on my book writing goals the deadlines I will probably not change the deadlines for The Empty Throne or The Rebel Queen. I going to be writing these books during the Summer and Fall months when my girls are out of school and there is a lot going on around the Ranch. I’m pushing it with the deadlines I have already.

Deadline: September 1st 2017
Status so far: 3,233 words written of my 100,000 Word Count Goal
My Incentive for finishing this book: Wacom Digital Graphics Tablet. I’m not sure what model as the one on my wishlist is now years old and out of day. I have to do some research.

The Rebel Queen (Book 5)


Click on the picture to read the description

I have a vague notion of where this book is going but other than the opening chapter that refused to go away, I have nothing else written. I’m hoping to have several ideas for scenes ready by the time I write this book.

Deadline: December 31st 2017
Status so far: 9,167 words written of my 100,000 Word Count Goal
My Incentive for finishing this book: Buy a new tablet as my old one died at the end of 2016. Yeah, I know. Why am I waiting a whole year? Because I still have a Kindle I can read my books on for the moment.

Wishing you all the best for the New Year!


I’m Making Changes

After so long without writing there were a few things that I realized. Now I’m not going into the details of all my AHA! moments because first, they’re boring; second, I would have to write a series of posts to explain them all; third, they’re nothing I really want to write about; fourth, most of the changes are personal and I believe inappropriate to be sharing online; and fifth, did I mention that they’re very boring?), I decided that it was time to make some changes, like:

I just want to write for the pure pleasure of it!

The same way I just want to read a book, work on my latest craft project, or spend time with my family. I want to write because it’s a creative endeavor that makes me happy. I want to write because figuring out the next part of the story is a challenge that excites me. I want to write because its better to get the words onto paper then letting them rambling around inside my head any longer. I want to write because even after writing for 28 years I still have hundreds of story ideas that want to be told.

I want to be a writer, not a book cover designer.

Even though I really, really enjoy creating book cover designs and love working with some authors and could probably be a graphic designer full-time, I don’t have the time to be a full-time graphic designer and a full-time writer. I actually don’t have the time to do either job full-time, or even part-time. So I decided it was time to choose the one I really love to do.

Writing won!

That doesn’t mean that I won’t create planners and printables in the future, just that I’ll be more picky about what I work on.

I really don’t want to be an Authorpreneur.

I thought I wanted to be a career writer, and maybe one day in the future I might be, but for right now I have enough stress without adding to it. I don’t want to feel pressured to write the next book before readers forget me. I don’t want be stressed out when I don’t feel like writing for a few days..or weeks. I’m not one of those that like the business side writing.

Okay, that one is a partial lie but only because I love writing books and publishing them so I can see them in print. I’m also not half bad at bookkeeping However, I have a very strong aversion to:

  • donning on some “secret writer” persona and try to brand myself. That statement was actually very disturbing, but only because I got a flash of a superhero with a branding iron searing a symbol on their ass. *shudder* Anywhoo, I’m basically fascinating and boring all at once (note: the fascinating part was typed in by a friend who stopped by to make sure I was still alive and informed me that I couldn’t delete it. LOL). I’m not funny or snarky, at least not on purpose and when I try to be I can’t pull it off at all. I hate sharing strong opinions or being controversial, even if I like to read authors who are. I have no life that doesn’t involve writing, being married, raising children, cleaning house, or working on the ranch. I’m pretty much a self-conscience introvert who loves to write semi-naughty fiction, what more do you want to know about me?
  • trying to figure out who my audience is and how to write a bestselling story they’ll eat up. If by audience you mean the people who like to read the books I write? Umm…I wish I knew who they were. *looks around with a bewildered look* But really, I didn’t start this writing journey for other people. I started writing to keep my sanity, and while I do publish my stories in the hope that others will like them too, I don’t feel the need to have a bestseller or be popular with the masses. *shivers* The thought of popularity actually makes me very, very uncomfortable. I tried it once, it didn’t stick.
  • marketing and promoting my books anywhere, except on this blog. Why is my blog an exception? Because this blog/website is my slice of the Internet and if you come here then you want to be here. Anywhere, else it seems to much like those annoying ads that pop up that I absolutely hate. I can’t even promote my books in my own home when someone sees the books I wrote on my shelf and asks about them. To tell you the truth, giving a speech at a televised regional conference in front of a couple hundred people or singing  Silent Night in front of the entire school in my tone-deaf alto was far less stressful than telling some people I write books. How strange is that?
  • using social media. Yeah, I know that it is a great tool and I’ve found it helpful for finding really interesting articles to read or for book ideas, but there is the thing about making a connection with people who I can’t seem to wrap my mind around (see the next point for more information). Also I have absolutely nothing to say and I refuse to tell the world that I’m snacking on chocolate covered cranberries, that I took a break from writing to feed the animals around here, that I’m staring blindly out the window because the blank page in front of me is too bright, that I’m re-enacting a scene between my characters as if I was in a one woman play and there is a sword involved, or that I’m contemplating the most gruesome way to murder my characters because they are annoying me by not doing what they are suppose to do. After seven years of trying it out, I finally deleted all my social media accounts except Facebook (because all the extended family are on there) and Pinterest. Talk about a great weight being lifted off my shoulders with that decision!
  • maintaining a relationship with people online. This might sound really bad, but I can barely maintain a relationship offline. It might not sound rational, but when I contact other people, even my friends and family, I feel like I’m bothering them unless I have something to tell them. And then I just want to tell them and get off the phone. I decided years ago that the only reason my relationship with my hubby and my kids works is because they live in the same house I do and can easily distract me from my inner writing world. Of course, I could be wrong and there is more to it. 😀

So what does all that crap above really mean? And why should you care?

Well, it means things around here are going to change. Some of those changes will be subtle and you’ll probably miss them unless I decide to point them out. Other changes will be bigger and you might notice them more.

And as to why you should care, that is up to you. This post is more a warning to those who are interested that things around here are about to change as I move from professional writer into writing as a hobby. If you don’t know what I’m talking about and want to, Anne R. Allen has a great post about writing as a hobby or a profession.

Wishing you all the best in the coming year, my most awesome of friends,