#ROW80 update and progress on goals

This has been a crazy hard month for us, started really end of January, and it’s looking to continue to be another rough month. My spouse was fired, we’re switching kids’ daycare because of abuse issues, I’ve been sick with some cold, stomach bug through the house, COVID scare…it never ends. That’s legit just the last two weeks haha

So…my goals likely need to change. Here’s the original and what I’ve accomplished. I think I should still be able to get most of it accomplished. I’m on chapter 20 of 29 for Race War in terms of writing. I can’t do anything with Stone’s Mistake until I get edits back (I’m impatient for sure), and I should be able to write the other two by the end of March. Fingers crossed I’m able to start picking up the pace even just a little to meet my goals.

Round 1 Goals

  1. EDIT – Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1) – Waiting on edits back
  2. EDIT – Young & Old (Missing Persons #3) – halfway done
  3. WRITE – Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2) – IN PROGRESS
  4. WRITE – Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  5. WRITE – Alone & Lonely (Missing Persons #4)
  6. MARKET – Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1) – IN PROGRESS
  7. MARKET – Release (Quarter Life #3)

COMPLETED GOALS

  1. WRITE – Country Style
  2. EDIT – Love Burns
  3. EDIT – Lawyer Piece

Bright and Early morning in the Smith household #ROW80 #Amwriting #Lesfic

My kids have gotten in the bad habit of waking up super early in the mornings, thus my morning writing time has become very short. Which has been a struggle, not going to lie.

I’ve been struggling with this book on my writing list that I need to get done. I’ve honestly avoided it for months. I had originally planned on writing it in November, then December, then first thing January, and now we’re to the end of January and I just started it.

This piece. … It’s a tough one emotionally. This is for my FBI series, and the title of the book is Race War, so you can probably imagine what it involves. Bombers on a vendetta against one particular race, in this case, Somali Muslims. Diving face first into the world of racism, extremism, violence, why someone would do this, how they could come to the conclusion it was needed, is draining to put it in the slightest.

But I also feel, given the current climate of the US, that it is very much a necessary topic to explore. Because I think a lot of people like me (aka those who would be reading this book) don’t understand that viewpoint, they don’t understand why someone would go to those levels.

My story is in no way glorifying it. It’s an FBI mystery, procedural, so you know–of course–the bad guy gets caught in the end, but goodness, it makes writing this piece tough. Especially because I do “bad guy” POV, and I’ve essentially required myself to get into the headspace of someone who would be willing to bomb and kill someone.

On a happier note…the book is going. I’m writing chapter 7 today. I’m only one day before where I had originally planned to be, and hope to make it up this weekend sometime.

I did get edits back for my August release titled Love Burns, so I did those last week, which was not part of my original goal list since I didn’t know when I’d be getting them back, so some of my edit stuff might be switched around, so I’m going to change some of those based on what’s happening with send-backs from publishers.

I found a new online digital calendar that I think I can officially say I like. It’s got it’s issues, but thus far, it allows me to do the major thing I need, which is move chapters around on different days to shift when I get things done/don’t get things done.

Round 1 Goals

  1. EDIT – Lawyer Piece
  2. EDIT – Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1) – Waiting on edits back
  3. EDIT – Young & Old (Missing Persons #3) – Printed & kind of started but not really
  4. WRITE – Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2) – IN PROGRESS
  5. WRITE – Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  6. WRITE – Alone & Lonely (Missing Persons #4)
  7. MARKET – Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1) – IN PROGRESS/ONGOING
    1. Doing some live readings on my own Facebook page
    2. Did an official cover reveal
    3. ARC is up on BookSprout and Netgalley
    4. Doing live readings for various groups
    5. NEED – Blog Tour for release
    6. NEED – Figure out what type of launch party I’m doing
    7. NEED – Find more promo opportunities
  8. MARKET – Release (Quarter Life #3)

COMPLETED GOALS

  1. WRITE – Country Style
  2. EDIT – Love Burns

#Row80 check in for round 1

I’m going to try to consistently check in this time, and I’m aiming for once a week. Not sure yet if that’ll be Wednesdays or Sundays….today it seems to be a Sunday haha.

This week didn’t start off so great and I got behind in my outlined schedule of what I should be doing because you know people be crazy, but I made up for a lot of it Friday, and I’m mostly back on schedule assuming I finish writing the chapter I started this morning.

I’m currently writing Country Style, which is a May/December contemp romance with one singular cowgirl and a musician who needs a break. It’s going well. I’m almost halfway through it and should finish it next Friday. Then I’ll be on to writing Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2), which is a book I’ve been kind of avoiding writing for a few months now.

Friday I hosted some all day sprinting and managed just under 17,000 words in one day. Holy cow. That was a lot! My brain was definitely done by the end of it. I’ll hopefully be doing the same this coming Friday.

Overall, my goals are going well for being about a week in to this thing. =P

Round 1 Goals

  1. WRITE – Country Style – IN PROGRESS
  2. EDIT – Lawyer Piece
  3. WRITE – Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  4. EDIT – Young & Old (Missing Persons #3)
  5. WRITE – Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  6. EDIT – Country Style
  7. WRITE – Alone & Lonely (Missing Persons #4)
  8. Edit – Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  9. MARKET – Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1)
  10. MARKET – Release (Quarter Life #3)

Round 1 of #ROW80 for 2021

It is 2021, and I’m so glad we’ve started a new year. I love making goals, and setting out a plan to achieve those goals. This post is going to be two-fold for me. I have year long goals, but I’m also making goals for just this round of ROW80.

Here we go.

2021 Goals

  1. Launch 5-6 books into the world.
  2. Prep 5-6 for launch in 2022.
  3. Write 1,000,000 words.
  4. Learn more about marketing.
  5. Read 20 Sapphic Books
  6. Earn an average of $500/month on royalties

ROW80 — Round 1 Goals

  1. WRITE – Country Style
  2. EDIT – Lawyer Piece
  3. WRITE – Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  4. EDIT – Young & Old (Missing Persons #3)
  5. WRITE – Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  6. EDIT – Country Style
  7. WRITE – Alone & Lonely (Missing Persons #4)
  8. Edit – Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  9. MARKET – Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1)
  10. MARKET – Release (Quarter Life #3)

Writing through grief #ROW80 #amwriting

It has been probably the worlds longest month. Writing through grief is an experience I never wish on anyone, especially when the writing you’re doing is not grief related. Journaling through grief is so helpful, please don’t think I’m saying don’t write your emotions.

The end of November is always rough because it’s the anniversary of the due date for my first miscarriage. This year hit hard because my youngest is two and I’d planned on being pregnant again and having another baby in the next year or so. That won’t happen, ever. So grief this year has been particularly strong.

But also on December 7th, we had to put our dog down. We suspected it was coming, she’s been sick for awhile, but goodness, there is nothing to do to prepare for that swarm of emotions. We lost three animals this year, and it has been rough!

So I didn’t write. From the 7th to the 14th, I focused on my, myself, and I and my family and working through our own grief. But I started typing away yesterday, and I’m so glad I did. I love how stress relieving it is.

My goals have shifted because of the slow down due to grief, but I’m still set to accomplish a lot in this Round of ROW80.

TO DO

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2) – a constant WIP
  2. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3) – IN PROGRESS (70%) done
  3. Write Beware (Quarter Life #4)

DONE

  1. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)
  2. Write Glacial Freeze
  3. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  4. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)
  5. Write F/M/F romance piece
  6. Write Lawyer romance piece
  7. Edit Glacial Freeze aka Eira
  8. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2) – not happening
  9. Write Love Burns: Take 2 – not happening

De-Termination (Quarter Life Book 2) has launched! #booklaunch #newrelease #vampire

On December 1, my first book in 4.5 years launched! De-Termination (Quarter Life Book 2) has entered into the world as we know it.

This book was originally supposed to launch in October 2016, and I apologize sincerely for its delay, but I’m in a  much better place now to launch it than I was then.

Book 3, Release, is WRITTEN! And has a publication date in 2021. So do not fear, you will not have to wait another 4.5 years for that one. I’m slated to begin work on Book 4 this December.

Here’s what you need to know about De-Termination.

Faye’s been Molly’s lover and agent for her creature-hunting friends for a year, but she’s still unsettled and unwilling to fully explore her Tainted Side. She is sent on a mission and disappears in South America.

Molly, a powerful witch, searches for Faye ruthlessly, leading to conflict with her team. Meanwhile, she’s brought Amelia in to help, and Amelia has her sights on seducing Molly as things fall apart.

There may no longer be such a thing as home sweet home.

Trigger warning: Rape, torture

You can order it here.

If you want faster and up-to-date information, sign up for my monthly newsletter here! 

I will have exclusive content, behind the scenes information, and a cover reveal for Release (Quarter Life #3) and more! There will be giveaways randomly throughout the year exclusive to the newsletter, so make sure you sign up for it.

Unbound (Quarter Life #1) is currently on sale! The eBook only is $2.99 right now, so make sure you get it to keep up with the Quarter Life series.

Manipulating a powerful witch isn’t as easy as Faye hoped.

She infiltrates Molly the witch’s mysterious house under the guise of needing help. And the guise of being harmless. Totally not a vampire at all. Unfortunately, Molly’s secrets are difficult to discover. She’s almost as good at hiding things as Faye herself.

Molly’s staff are as weird as they are distrustful, but Faye begins to win Molly over. Then A mob boss discovers what Faye’s after. Faye finds herself putting her life in Molly’s hands.

Will secrets doom their relationship, or will they form a powerful team?

You can order it here!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3nTCUKT

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2J8JHBg

iTunes: https://apple.co/3m7lWs3

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3nVb2pE

ALSO!!! I’ll reveal the blurb for Release (Quarter Life #3) here right now! Check this out.

The enemy isn’t always who we expect.

The wicked witch reigns supreme. As Molly gets closer to Dark Face in an attempt to locate Faye and draw her home, she makes reckless decisions, which are oftentimes dangerous.

With a frantic phone call, Faye leaves her respite and goes on a mission to save Molly. She flies across the world to find Molly’s trainer, a witch named Malek, who has more answers than Faye knew she had questions.

They never hesitate to go to the ends of the earth to save each other, but this time, it leads Faye directly into Dark Face’s hands.

Mid-week check in for #row80 and #nanowrimo wrap up

I spent the last week barely writing and focusing as much as I could on launching my book. The barely writing slowed down my nano progress goals so I didn’t hit my goals for NaNoWriMo, which were to write every day for 30 days and to write most of if not all of three novels, which would total about 210,000 words.

I did write every day, although the last few days were about 150-500 words each. Totally NOT my norm.

I did write two full novels and then I went back and forth between two before abandoning one and focusing solely on the other. I’m about 21,000 words into that novel, which is about 1/4 of the way through the book.

I did not hit my word count goals. I wrote about 172,500 words for NaNoWriMo. Not my goal, but still a great chunk of words. NOW to all the edits hahaha.

Yesterday, I launched my first book in 4.5 years (since May 2016!). It was amazing and fells amazing still! I’m super excited for this book, and yes, I’m still doing marketing for it. That will likely not be done by the end of December since it’s an ongoing project.

I am 21,000 words into Young & Old.
I am 6,000 words into Love Burns: Take 2

My plans for December are to finish out Young & Old (Missing Persons #3), write Beware (Quarter Life #4), and maybe write or start to write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2).

I took the entire last week off in December to hopefully finish out my goals!

TTFN

TO DO

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2) – a constant WIP
  2. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  3. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3) – IN PROGRESS
  4. Write Love Burns: Take 2 – IN PROGRESS

DONE

  1. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)
  2. Write Glacial Freeze
  3. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  4. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)
  5. Write F/M/F romance piece
  6. Write Lawyer romance piece
  7. Edit Glacial Freeze aka Eira

Brandi Carlile Rabbit Hole #ROW80 #NaNoWriMo

So many rabbit holes this week, but the one I’m super excited about is Brandy Carlile music! It’s my new favorite station on Pandora to write to. My kids are so tired of be “playing music” on the TV instead of television shows for them. I keep telling them it’ll make them smarter, but I don’t think the 4 year old and 2 year old care much.

As for ROW80, I hit some goals this week but I also again slowed down this week. Seems to happen when I finish something. Totally normal! I finished writing my lawyer piece, ended up having to rewrite the whole last 4-5 chapters of outline. I finished editing Eira, formally know as Glacial Freeze/Thaw. FINALLY NAMED THAT SUCKER! Thanks all goes to my spouse who named it for me. I also sent it in for submission.

Because I finished writing a piece, I was supposed to write Love Burns: Take 2 next for NaNoWriMo, which my goal was to write three romantic pieces, but…I don’t know…just wasn’t feeling it? I managed the first chapter, and stopped to outline Young & Old. Ended up writing the first full chapter of that which was much easier. So the next 8 days of NaNo, I’m either going to focus on Young & Old or I’m going to flip flop between the two of them. Who knows.

De-Termination marketing has picked up massively. My release is 8 days away. Eeeek! So, I’m working on finishing filling out slots for my release party (need at least 1 more preferably). I need to check in with ARC reviewers, and I’ve been making teasers and figuring out posts. I’ll start doing my live readings of De-Termination next weekend after one more live reading of Unbound on Tuesday.

SIDE NOTE: I realized I needed a series bible for well everything. Anyway, so I started work on that, specifically focusing on Agent Morgan Stones series and Grace Halling Series stuff because those two are so interconnected and Morgan is a new series so best place to start. I think I’m going to take the last week in December, when I’m on vacation from day job, and really work on some of this.

This was long, but like I said, so many rabbit holes this week! I’m going to go swoon over some more Brandi Carlile now.

TO DO

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2) – a constant WIP
  2. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  3. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3) – IN PROGRESS
  4. Write Love Burns: Take 2 – IN PROGRESS
  5. Edit Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1)

DONE

  1. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)
  2. Write Glacial Freeze
  3. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  4. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)
  5. Write F/M/F romance piece
  6. Write Lawyer romance piece
  7. Edit Glacial Freeze aka Eir

#ROW80 update, week 3 round up #NaNoWriMo

Whew! It’s been an insane week. I decided after much thought and listening to my muse, the story, and my spouse, that I needed to expand Glacial Freeze (this is not the final title). So I added 5 chapters to it Thursday-Saturday and turned it into a 55k word novel from it’s 39k word novella.

Then I finished final edits on Broken & Weary (Missing Persons 2) and emailed that off to my publisher.

Before all that I finished final edits on Release (Quarter Life 3) and emailed that off to my publisher.

So BUSY! And TODAY IS NANOWRIMO! W00t! I got up at 5:30 this morning and started typing. Sundays are busy days for me because of church, so I managed 7300 words before I left for work. I’m hoping to write another chapter in the in between times tonight. Wish me luck!

I have moved around my writing schedule a lot, so the goals listed below are not entirely accurate. I don’t plan on writing Beware (Quarter Life 4) until January. Race War and Young & Old are set for December.

In November, for NaNo, I’m insane and opted to write 3 novels. I have 2 goals for NaNo. One is to write these three novels. The other is to write every single day of NaNo. I may not finish the third novel, but I know I’ll at least get a good chunk of the way through it.

First piece I’m working on is a menage FFM piece with no title yet, maybe Delivering Kris, but I’m not sold on that. The second piece is a lawyer piece that will border on erotic romance but I’m hoping to keep it to plot as much as I can. =P The third piece is Love Burns: Take 2. I had Love Burns accepted by a publisher. It’s set to release August 17th, 2021, and this would be a sequel to that.

TO DO

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2) – a constant WIP
  2. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  3. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3)
  4. Write Love Burns: Take 2
  5. Edit Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1)
  6. Write F/M/F romance piece – IN PROGRESS
  7. Write Lawyer romance piece

DONE

  1. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)
  2. Write Glacial Freeze
  3. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  4. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)

#ROW80 update and heading straight into #NaNoWriMo

I did not update this week, which is my bad, but this week had shit hit the fan hard. It’s too long and too personal to explain, but let me start by saying I’m so grateful to have a therapy appointment on Monday. It will be well-utilized.

Quite a lot has also happened in this week, which is a bit crazy and awesome at the same time. I put a pause of edits of Broken & Weary and sent it to a beta reading. I’m very much worried I tried to smash too much plot into it for it to be developed enough and that some things get lost. I’m waiting to hear back from my trusted beta before I go any further in editing (in case it needs a massive overhaul).

I picked up editing on Release (Quarter Life 3), however. I’m hoping to be done with these by November 1, so I can focus on NaNoWriMo. I’m on chapter 22 of 38, so not too far off. It’s going well, and I can’t wait to send that in to my publisher.

NOW, for the good and exiting news. Last month, I submitted Love Burns (a contemporary May-December lesbian romance) to a new publisher after it was rejected from another publisher. I heard back Friday, and they want the book. Not only that but they said they rarely pick up F/F books but mine was so well-written and the characterization good that they wanted it.

I did submit tentatively two sequels to Love Burns, which they don’t want at the moment. They don’t think there’s enough plot in my outline of them. Totally fair, there wasn’t much plot there haha. But I can always write them or combine them into one and submit it and see where it goes from there. I wasn’t dead-set on it being a series, so I’m still freakin’ crazy excited.

I’ll let you all know more when I know more. Which hopefully is soon!

I’ve been playing around with and learning more about Amazon Ads, which has been an adventure. I’m focusing primarily on Memoir in the Making and Unbound (Quarter Life Book 1) for now, but maybe I’ll do more eventually. For marketing for De-Termination, I set up a blog tour SIGN UP HERE if you want to join in on it. I’ve sent out some review copies and have been doing weekly Facebook Live readings from Unbound which will soon turn into De-Termination once we get closer to the release date.

I also wrote and finished Glacial Freeze, which I have sorely undermentioned. It’s a retelling of the Snow Queen, set in modern times in Glacier National Park with obviously a lovely lesbian twist to it. It’s paranormal romance plus fairy tale. It’s a novella, so only about 40,000 words in length, which was super interesting and weird to write. I had to hold back on my need for plot haha.

I’m adding two pieces I plan on writing during NaNoWriMo, both romances, both May-December lesbian romances. One is a menage, but definitely romance and not erotic romance (though it’ll be borderline. I like my plot!).

TO DO

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2) – a constant WIP
  2. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  3. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3)
  4. Write Love Burns: Take 2
  5. Write Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  6. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  7. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)
  8. Edit Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1)

ADDING

  1. Write F/M/F romance piece
  2. Write Lawyer romance piece

DONE

  1. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)
  2. Write Glacial Freeze

ROW80 Update #ROW80

Good morning!

I’ve been working hard (kind of). I’ve actually been resting a lot too. I had surgery last week, and recovery has been slow. Here’s my mid-week update on what I’ve been doing.

For marketing, I’m learning about Amazon Ads, I’m looking at blog tours and a release event for De-Termination which is coming up QUICK! I got my pre-order links today.

I participated in a podcast of sorts! Chanel Ivy has a podcast where she reads the sexy parts of books, so I sent her over an excerpt from De-Termination for the month of October, a spooky scene with Faye & Molly pushing each other’s buttons and trying to entice the other to their own ways.

If you want to take a listen, go here! It was an interesting and fun experience.

I have been writing…slowly…Sun, Sea, and Gwyn. I’m almost done with chapter 3 as of this morning. I don’t know why this piece is so slow going compared to my normal writing, but it is. I’ve also been distracted with edits and market, so that might be why.

I started editing Broken & Wear (Missing Persons 2) yesterday. I’m 3 chapters in out of 21. Onward and forward.

Oh! Oh! I did get the first round of covers for Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone 1) and I’m in love! Can’t wait to share it when I get the final version.

See you all Sunday!

ttfn

TO DO

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2) – a constant WIP
  2. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  3. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3)
  4. Write Sun, Sea, and Gwyn
  5. Write Love Burns: Take Two
  6. Write Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  7. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  8. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)
  9. Edit Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1)
  10. FOR EXTRA — if I need it — write Love Burns: 3 Together, Agent Morgan Stone #3 or Missing Persons #4. And edit edit edit everything in sight!

DONE

  1. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)

De-Termination (Quarter Life 2) #amwriting #backlist #newrelease #comingsoon

SO! I realized this morning that I had announced over on my Facebook but I forgot to announce here. Ooops!

De-Termination (Quarter life 2) will release on December 1st!

This is huge, you guys. Seriously. This book was originally supposed to release in 2016, but life got in my way, and instead of writing it, I didn’t. I finally wrote it this summer, and since a lot of the back work was already done (cover, blurb, etc) because it’s been planned for 4 years, my publisher and I agreed to release it December 1st rather than wait until 2021.

What this means for everyone else.

Unbound (Quarter Life 1) is currently on sale (ebook only) for $2.99. If you get it and read it, please leave a review! They are so helpful in many ways, AND it lets me know what you think. I don’t even care if you hated it, leave me a review. =P

De-Termination releases December 1st, so ARC copies will be going around shortly and a blog tour set up, and a release event. If you are an author or blogger and interested in any of those, let me know.

NOW for the fun part!

I have decided every Tuesday from here on out, I will be doing a live reading from Unbound every week until De-Termination releases. I’ll be reading one chapter a week over on my Facebook page. It’ll net us 7-8 chapters I believe. Chapter 1 is already up.

This is a huge celebration for me. I’ve been out of the writing game for 4-5 years, and it feels so good to be back in it! Let’s celebrate in a huge way!

Faye’s been Molly’s lover and agent for her creature-hunting friends for a year, but she’s still unsettled and unwilling to fully-explore her Tainted Side. She is sent on a mission and disappears in South America.

Molly, a powerful witch, searches for Faye ruthlessly, leading to conflict with her team. Meanwhile, she’s brought Amelia in to help, and Amelia has her sights on seducing Molly as things fall apart.

There may no longer be such a thing as home sweet home.

Trigger warning: Rape, torture

Outlining and Kids #ROW80 #Goals

It is 7 am. …

I routinely wake up between 5-5:30 every morning and do some writing work. My kids wake up, generally 7-8 every morning, especially on Sundays. Right now, it is 7 am and both my toddlers are running amok in my bedroom as I ATTEMPT to outline this novel. It’s been this way for close to an hour now.

Yo…this parenting and working game is not for the weak-hearted OR the easily distracted.

This weekend I officiated a wedding and once again attempted to install a fan in my living room (long story), so my Friday work time was cut significantly short. I did manage to finish my final edits on De-Termination a whole 3-5 days earlier than planned. I sent those back to the publisher.

I am currently PANICKING about what I’m going to be writing for NaNoWriMo. I had originally planned to write 3 novels during that month (Love Burns: Take 2, Young & Old: Missing Persons 3, and Agent Morgan Stone 3), but I have literally NONE of them outlined. So I’m panicking.

This morning, I’m attempting to outline…not a novel in that list of three. haha! It is a romance. I tend to write romances for NaNo. No idea why, but I do. This piece I’m outlining is my first F/M/F romance and it’s boggling my brain. I’ll update Wednesday since I should be outlining things this week along with writing Sun, Sea, and Gwyn. Hopefully I’ll have more answers by Wednesday.

TO DO

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2) – a constant WIP
  2. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  3. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3)
  4. Write Sun, Sea, and Gwyn
  5. Write Love Burns: Take Two
  6. Write Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  7. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  8. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)
  9. Edit Her Cold Heart (Agent Morgan Stone #1)
  10. FOR EXTRA — if I need it — write Love Burns: 3 Together, Agent Morgan Stone #3 or Missing Persons #4. And edit edit edit everything in sight!

DONE

  1. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)

#ROW80 and Writing Goals

I used to participate actively in ROW80, ages ago, as I did with WIPpet Wednesdays. I always love supporting other aspiring and published authors. We all need to encourage one another.

I’ve fallen behind on my blogging, which is not abnormal. I’m so focused on writing and getting some new material out there right now that that’s been my focus. I also tend to miss Sunday check-ins because well, I work Sundays in an insane way.

I’ll keep this quick.

Goals for ROW80 Round 4 are as follows (I think because I left my calendar at home, doh!)

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)
  2. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  3. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3)
  4. Write Sun, Sea, and Gwyn
  5. Write Love Burns: Take Two
  6. Write Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  7. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)
  8. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  9. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)
  10. Edit Her Cold Heart (Agent Morgan Stone #1)
  11. FOR EXTRA — if I need it — write Love Burns: 3 Together, Agent Morgan Stone #3 or Missing Persons #4. And edit edit edit everything in sight!

I’ve got some really big plans for 2021 and hopefully onward from here on out. De-Termination releases December 1, so that’s going to take a lot of my focus upfront.

Another round of #WIPpetWednesday #amwriting #thriller

I can’t think of the word thriller without Michael Jackson’s voice running through my head! Yesterday during therapy, my spouse mentioned that I had written a scary weird ass novel to our therapist. She was all “What!?” I was all, “I wrote a thriller.” Cue Michael Jackson.

Anyway! I am here to share another excerpt from this book, Stone’s Mistake. I did finish writing it, and the lovely and insane editing process begins tomorrow.

Yesterday, I went through my calendar for the rest of the year in what I have planned to write. I changed my mind. SHOCKER! haha. I ditched my short stories. They’re just not happening. As much as I want them to be written, every time I sit down to work on them, nothing happens. So back to the closet they go for awhile.

I rearranged my schedule, added two new romance novels to the list (sequels to Love Burns) that have been rocking it around in my brain these past few weeks.

So here’s a brief outline of what I am working on and what I will be working on.

September:
Broken & Weary: Missing Persons #2
Release: Quarter Life #3

October:
Release: Quarter Life #3
Special Agent Stone #2

November: AND NANOWRIMO!!
Love Burns Take Two (not the actual name)
Blind & Seen: Missing Persons #3

December:
Beware: Quarter Life #4 (tentative title)
Love Burns Take Three (not the actual name)

This gives me a WHOLE lot to do, but I’m pretty sure I can do it. I slowed down writing my Grace novels. I was planning on writing two chapters a day, but I realized how unrealistic that was, so now I’m aiming for one chapter a day. Grace is long winded in her chapters. haha

Without further ado, however, my WIPpet for September 9th, 2020.

This is from Stone’s Mistake: Agent Stone #1. 10 paragraphs for today’s excerpt from chapter 8. Math is as follows. 9 (for the month) + (2/2) = 10!

Little introduction. Morgan really likes Fiona. Fiona is kind of clueless. Morgan is BAD at dating. Morgan has just returned from a stint in Kansas were she worked on a human trafficking case. Fiona has been waiting for her to get back so they could meet up at a crime scene and discuss Fiona’s case. Fiona is Chicago PD homicide detective and Morgan works for the FBI.

Morgan’s heart rose to her throat again. She coughed to try and clear it, sputtering as she tried to find words. Business she could talk, but she wanted so much more than business with Fiona. Wexford took a step closer, her hand on Morgan’s arm.

“You okay?”

“Uh, yeah. Just a frog. It’s been a long week.”

“Where’d you go? You said you were driving back yesterday.”

“Had an operation to do.”

Wexford’s eyes widened. “Were you in Kansas? Was that your case?”

Morgan’s eyebrow lifted. She didn’t answer as Fiona stepped even closer. Her heart thudded hard, and her breath stopped up in her lungs once again. She didn’t know what possessed her, but leaning to her side, she pressed her mouth to Fiona’s.

The kiss didn’t last long. Morgan jumped back, her eyes wide and fear settling in the pit of her stomach. Looking wildly to her car, Morgan begged for a phone call, a distraction, something, anything.

“That was…I don’t…Uh…” Morgan bit her lip. “I don’t know why I did that. I should…I should go.”

Booking it for her car, Morgan escaped and didn’t wait for a response from Wexford. She didn’t want to hear or see the reaction she might have had. Putting her car in drive, Morgan headed back to the bureau, ready to dig in to some old case files and see if she could find another one that matched the two here.

Updates and updates #amwriting

I realize I haven’t been over here in almost two weeks, and I promise you there will be a WIPpet Wednesday tomorrow (scheduling the post today =p). We took a small trip to Keystone, CO last week to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary which was Sunday. It was a blast, except kids came with us and one is deathly afraid of heights, apparently, so we had to change up our plans a bit on what we were doing.

Tis life.

I wanted to stop by the blog and give you some updates as to what I’m working on and not working on and what I’ve accomplished so far this year.

In November of 2019 for NaNoWriMo, I did start a novel. I did not finish it, nor did I finish NaNo. But I did get something like 35,000 words in. For some reason, every time I hit about 35,000 words in any novel when writing, I slow down and have to really work hard to push through to the end, so it’s no surprise that I didn’t finish this one then.

But I did finish it. In July. It’s called About Time and features an ER doctor and a Hospital Chaplain. It’s a contemporary romance, and they literally cannot find the right time to just freakin’ get together.

I also started a second romance novel earlier this year (feb/mar) that I finished in June which is titled Love Burns. This is a contemporary romance, may/december, let me fill you with all the tropes book. Celebrity chef meets nanny and they cannot resist each other no matter how hard they try. Massive conflicts of interest and so forth.

After finishing up those two (which have been subbed to publishers and I’m impatiently waiting to hear back about them), I worked on De-Termination (Quarter Life 2). This book. You guys, this book…It has been weighing on my since my hiatus started. I always said when I got back to writing, this would be the first one on my list, and it was. And you guys…

I fell in love with Faye.

I did not like her so much in Unbound. I didn’t understand her. She was weird and lied a lot and just snaps her fingers and changes her mind, but this book, her and I got to know each other a whole lot better. De-Termination is with the publisher and will hopefully be out sometime in 2021, but I have no dates for anything and definitely more edits to do.

Then I worked on a new book in July/August. I wrote a short story eons ago called A Blizzard’s Blow which is in an anthology (Young Love, Old Hearts, find it on Amazon). I have had this idea for ages to take that piece and turn it into a novel, an FBI agent trying to find this serial killer (sorry SPOILER). So I did, and it kind of turned into a series and it kind of connects to Grace Halling. It’s awesome. I’m in the process of doing first round edits right now.

That least to WHAT AM I WORKING ON TODAY!

This was the great debate of the last week. Because of vacation, I took off from writing to spend time with family. Next on my list/schedule was to work on the next Grace book, but heavens, it was scary thinking about writing her again. No idea why. I debated between Grace, Release (Quarter Life 3), and a sequel to my Love Burns romance.

I ended up, finally, on Grace. Broken & Weary: Missing Persons 2 is what I began writing yesterday. I spent the morning outlining the book, spent the afternoon writing chapter one and the evening attempting to write chapter two. I got tired so stopped about halfway through it.

Grace is…my not-so-secret girlfriend! I love her to death, and this book just brings me right back into her drama.

My spouse always asks me why I write so many series? I don’t know, but I do know that I fall in love with my characters daily and over and over again. What else can I do but write their stories?

Religion in lesfic #brokentaboos #amwriting #shortstory

I write lesfic, and I write religion, and the two do not often mix. There are some places that this works, but most likely, whatever I write with a women loving women bent and religion is not going to take off.

I know this, but still I write it. Why? Because lesbians are Christians and Christians are lesbians. I tend to stick in the Christianity realm (versus other faiths) because that is my area of expertise. There are a whole slew of LGBT et al folk in the Christian faith. The loudmouths like to let us believe otherwise, but it’s not true.

I’ve got a romance novel that’s sitting finished on my laptop. I finished it in July. And here it sits. I did submit it to one publisher, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be rejected because one of my main characters, my lesbian character, is a chaplain at a hospital. Now, to note, she may be a chaplain, but this is ironically one of the least religious books I have ever written. I think she prays twice in it.

My Spirit of Grace series and anything to do with Grace and Amya is religious. Grace is named for the grace of God. Can’t get much more connected than that. I’ve had people tell me the book series is preachy, but well, I’m a preacher during the day, so I disagree. If they want preachy, I can give them preachy. =P

But why is it that these two subjects can’t seem to go well together and sell. I can’t sell it on the Christian market because well, lesbians and women loving women and sex (sometimes). I can’t sell it on the lesfic market because apparently all Christians are assholes and don’t like the gays (not true).

I’m left with the conundrum. Do I keep writing it? Do I stop? Where do I put it out for others to read? And who the hell wants to read it other than me?

I’ve been literally working on a short story serial called Kansas Beatitudes for four years now. You should know where this is going. The Beatitudes are scripture. There are eight of them. For each Beatitude, I am planning on writing a short little romance story around the central theme. I’ve already written two. But the first Beatitude is Poor in Spirit, and I’m struggling beyond compare with it.

Two reasons: poor in Spirit is far more religious centered than mourning or being meek. Secondly, I really want it to be an open relationship, F/F/F, with a pastor as one of the F’s in there. So what happens if and when I write it? Hmmm? Because I can’t imagine a publisher who would be willing to publish it. Yes, there is self-pubbing, but the questions about marketing and production are the same. Who will read it? Who on earth is the market? Is the market big enough to warrant the story and the time and the effort? Do I write it anyway because it’s not about sales but about story itself?

It would be easy enough to change the story. To write something different. But I tend to go where the muse and the little green men in my computer tell me to go and write.

Why is this taboo so taboo? People come in all shapes and sizes and religions and faiths and colors. Why is it that religion and the LGBT et al combined is so hard to sell and so repulsed by every side of the reading spectrum?

I recently finished reading Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Shameless, and I’ve got to say, we need a sexual reformation in the church, but we also need a religious reformation in the world. I live in a world where I almost have to 100% keep everything separate from each other. I can’t talk about my lesfic writing in church; I can’t talk about my church in my lesfic writing.

Sex and religion have so often been at odds with each other. It’s time we stop fearing both. It’s time we open the table for discussion. It’s time we shut up and listen, truly listen, to what is being said and what is being felt.

If you haven’t read Nadia’s book. It’s worth it. Trust me. So worth it!

Let’s talk about outlining #amwriting #outlining #plottervpantser

Let’s talk about outlining for a minute or two. I have been seeing on Facebook a lot of conversation about having inspiration and being able to find inspiration and how some people just don’t get the juices to write very often.

I’m a firm believer that thinking like that is putting limits on yourself. Whether or not you plot or pants your stories and novels, you have to take the time to write. You have to make it a priority. If you don’t, well, it’ll never be a priority and it’ll never happen on a regular basis.

I set a schedule to write almost every day. I’ve done this from pretty much the beginning on my writing career. Currently, I write Monday-Thursday from 3pm to 5pm. Which is not a whole lot of time. I write all day Fridays. I rarely write on Saturday and Sunday as those are dedicated family days; however, if I’m close to finishing a novel. You bet your ass I’m writing on my off days.

I used to wake up every morning at 5am and I would write for 3 hours straight. That was it. Three hours a day, seven days a week was about 21 hours. My goal at that time was to finish three novels a year for publication, and I often achieved that.

Second to my dedicated writing time is outlining. There are hundred million different ways to outline, and you have to find what works for you. I’ve found–for me–that my outlines need to be simple and not overly detailed. If I put too much detail into them, I have zero desire to actually write it because I feel like I’ve written it already.

My current set up is to write 2-3 chapters of a novel and then I’ll finish outlining. Usually I already have some sense of where the story is going to go by that point. I set out each chapter, figure out roughly how many scenes I want in each one, and then I do simple bullet points for each scene. The one I’m writing today looks like this.

1. Morgan goes to St. Louis to look at the crime scene and see the body. She notes the 5 stab marks and the fact that the scene is bloodier and more violent than the last. Killer is escalating. Finds Samantha’s iPad, where they are able to run searches. Find searches for all the murders Morgan is aware of as well as information about Seattle.

2. Morgan spends a lot of time in the office, running the credit cards and anything else she can think of. She searches flight manifests for names. Pax keeps her updated on the trafficking case.

Now, none of what’s in that outline may make sense to anyone other than me, but it makes sense to me, which is what matters. Two simple scenes that will fill one whole chapter approximately 2000-3000 words, so 1500 ish per scene.

That simple. But I have this whole novel (all 33 chapters of it) outlined like this. I just finished outlining Release (Quarter Life #3) yesterday, which has 39 chapters and again, bullet point 1-3 sentence scenes.

I find this gives me enough freedom to mess up my outline but enough to go off so when I’m not feeling it that day, I know where to start. You can outline by character too. If you have one main character or even two, you can literally just outline their development. Start where they are, move into what happens to create conflict and what the character learns from it, then how they use what they’ve learned and up to a pinnacle plot point that then resolves all the pent up issues your character no doubt has.

I tend to write plot driven stories rather than character driven stories, hence the second method I’ve shared of outline is not very useful to me. The most important thing is that you find what works for you. Play around with it. Try something new. I didn’t outline in the beginning. It took me several books to find my method.

Be willing to learn something new, every day, and be willing to invite inspiration to come have a play date. If you don’t send the invitation, inspiration isn’t going to know when and where to show up.

There’s Something Peculiar About #Trauma

I’m currently writing a novel that has a lot of trauma for one of my main characters happening within it, not only that, but it is very clear she has experienced similar trauma before. There’s something peculiar about trauma for sure. Trauma changes us. It changes the way we think and the way we behave.

I had this novel planned before my long absence from writing. I outlined it in 2016. In fact, it’s based off a fanfiction I wrote in early 2012 and throughout the rest of that year. So this piece of work has been on my mind and heart for a long time.

I put my character through the ringer, during this book, in other words.

I can’t help but notice the similarities in my own life now. None of this was the case when I first wrote it or plotted it out now, but as I rewrite and make it more my own, the similarities are stark. Mostly the emotion.

There is an intense amount of grief and mourning that comes with trauma. Sure, there’s the pain and the outrage at what happened. The shock. But the grief comes later. It comes when all of that has calmed down, and there this loss. Loss of stability, loss of innocence, loss of safety that can’t be compared with.

In 2018, I nearly died. Like…they had to shock me to get me back and gave me 11 units of blood total after I had my daughter. That changes a person. It morphs the way I think and feel and look at the world. I look at it from a whole different place.

With Faye, this character I put through the ringer, I’m really resonating with that in her. It’s the first time I’ve written her that it’s been easy to write her. She’s by far the hardest character for me. She’s crazy, she has very little restraint in what she says and does, she isn’t quite sure on ethics and morals, and she came into this world unwanted and completely alone. None of which I can readily relate to.

But this I can. This is something I think a lot of us can relate to. Not only the changes within ourselves but the changes in our relationships. Faye and Molly were in a pretty decent spot when we left them in Unbound but this just throws them for a whole new loop, and it comes into question whether or not they will recover from it. They’re trying. Both of them. But they just seem to be missing the mark a lot of the time.

I really can’t wait for you all to read this story and to actually know what I’m talking about. I don’t want to spoil a bunch of it for you! Faye’s past trauma comes to bite her in the ass just as much as the new trauma, and Molly’s failures and fears as well. It’s a non-stop cycle of oh my god, what now, and we need to do something about this.

Really, can’t wait!

A Mission and a Risk #WIPpetWednesday

And here we are at ANOTHER WIPpet Wednesday. So excited to be here. =P I’m sharing from a book titled De-Termination, which is the second Quarter Life book. I published Unbound in 2015! That seems like so flipping long ago, it’s hard to imagine. I didn’t realize it had been that long.

This book has been lingering–outlined 2/3 of the way–in my files on my computer. I knew that whenever I got back to writing, it would be one of the first I worked on. I finished the outline and have written about 45,000 words of the book (as of writing this blog post for you on Tuesday afternoon). It’s set to be over 100,000 words total when all is said and done.

This scene comes to us from the 16th chapter. Molly (my witchy BFF) is on a rescue with her protege (Joel) and tech guru (Ben) to find Faye. Faye (my vampy lunatic) vanished like ten chapters ago, and Molly’s crew had no idea where she’d gone off to or why she was gone. They obviously figured most of that out and are now out to rescue their newfound friend.

This book takes place about one year after Unbound. PS, I’ve already thought out what will happen in book 3, tentatively titled Release, and I might be itching to outline it fully soon, though I’m trying to hold off until I finish this one.

Here’s the WIPpet. 21 sentences for (8 x 5) – 20 = 20 + 1 for good luck!

They walked another kilometer in complete silence, not wanting to alert whoever had taken Faye that they were arriving. Molly kept her wits about her, relying on Joel’s empathic abilities to alert her if anyone was in the vicinity. Through silent communication, they knew they were alone.
She used her hand to direct them as they reached the ravine. Putting one finger over her mouth, she made sure they stayed quiet. Her heart rapped in her chest. She was about to attempt something either very stupid or life saving. Closing her eyes, she cast a protection spell over Ben and Joel, weaving the protection net around their bodies. If they stayed put they would be fine.
Licking her lips, Molly put her hand up so Joel and Ben could see from where they were hidden. She waved and then she focused all her magic. She’d done this spell before, had failed at it before, but she had done it. There was no telling if it would work this time, especially because she had no idea where exactly Faye was.

Listening to her own breathing, Molly calmed her heart. She focused on Faye. Her smile, her scent, her voice, their love. With that brimming and swirling within her, Molly called on the power of force, manipulating it, changing time and space.

This had to work. This had to be it. Molly could taste it. They were close to bringing her home.