A summery productivity ahead! (Big Dreams Blog Update #44)

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That time of the month again.

Update Day is, for those of you out of the loop, every last Friday of the month for the Got Goals?/Do You Have Goals? blog hop group. There are 14 of us with 14 big, maybe craaaazy goals and we’re always looking for more people to join in the fun! All you gotta do is be brave enough to share one goal you’d like to complete, and every last Friday of the month you’ll share your progress on that goal. Good or not so great, you’ll have a cheering squad in the blog hop group. And make sure to visit author-hosts Misha Gericke, Jen Garrett and Brittney Woodson.

My goal is to write one million words worth of prose. And I’ve actually reset my counter, which means I won’t reach my goal by the end of this five-year blog hop, but that’s fine. That one-million goal was to get me writing and submitting to agents and publishers.

But enough of that. You’re here to see how I did for May. So let me start with a refresher for this month’s goals.

May 2017 goals:

☀do revision work for chapter book WIP, Sweeter the Scent

☀read four more books

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Writing update:

Sweeter the Scent, my chapter book WIP, is complete – yay! And I’ve had CPs take a look at the first four chapters (double yay!). So far, I’ve set it aside to let it sit. I’m considering taking the story in a different direction.

Reading update:

I didn’t do as much reading as I wanted this month until last week. I’ve finished 2 books, Allie Pleiter’s The Bull Rider’s Homecoming and Colleen Oakley’s Close Enough to Touch.

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A heartwarming read; I’m a sucker for reunion/second chance romances.
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I related to MC Jubilee way too much. Rocking hermit here.

So two down, two to go. I’m juggling Ruth Logan Herne’s Their Surprise Daddy and Rebecca Adler’s The Good, the Bad and the Guacamole. I should have them done by end of May (crossing my fingers). If you haven’t noticed, lots of cozies and contemp romances. Solid sub-genres.

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With spring closing, and summer shining brightly ahead, I foresee a more brighter, productive future for June. Check out my goals!

June 2017 goals:

☀begin working on the 1st draft of Ghoul & Alien 2.0

☀read four more books

Writing goal:

I’m going back to Ghoul & Alien after a little more than a month since I took a break mid-April. I’ve gotten a small bit of feedback from two professional #RevPit editors on the first 5 pages and query. Both mentioned that one of the MCs – the five pages didn’t introduce my second MC – hadn’t “wowed” them. One of the editors thought he could be more unique.

Instead of showing my CPs, I’ve decided that since I explored the MG route, and I started plotting and I’m enjoying what I have, that I’m going to age this story up from a chapter book.

Reading goal:

These are the titles I’m hoping to devour in May, in reading order (some are library books that I need to return). 🙂

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The 2nd book in the Popcorn Shop Mystery series from author Kristi Abbott. I’m hoping to be ready for Book #3 when it comes out later this year.

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The 3rd title in Kathy Aarons’ A Chocolate Covered Mystery series. A delightful read with a super funny MC (but then most cozies have hilariously self-deprecating heroines).

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An early childhood text I wanted to read. I’ve been on hold for weeks, waiting for my turn at my library!

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This one is a re-read. I think I first read it in 2015, but I’d have to check it out. I do remember enjoying it!

And hopefully more reads, depending on my time management skills.

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How did your May go as far as goals? Did you get through your spring cleaning? Are you all set for summer in T-minus 4 weeks? Let me know so I can cheer you on, whatever the monthly result(s)!

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Head-couching action. (Big Dreams Blog Update #43)

Update Day!

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Hello, world, it’s that time of the month. I’m letting you know how I’m doing with my goal to reach 1 million words of “bad” to that first word of “good”.

As part of the DO YOU HAVE GOALS? blog hop, I get to update every Friday with my goal, and other mini-goals, and I’m lifted up by 14 other bloggers with similar crazy goals (you go guys!). Hosted by authors Misha Gericke, Jen Garrett and Brittney Woodson, the DO YOU HAVE GOALS? bloggity hop is hopping, guys. It’s the place to be if you want to start on those goals (and seriously need the accountability).

If you’d like to be one of us (ONE OF US!), you can go ahead and sign up HERE. The more, the merrier.

Now, back to my goals. How did I do for April, you ask? Let me show you.

First, a remainder of my goals for this month.

April 2017 goals:

☀continue revision work for WIP titled Ghoul & Alien

☀read four more books

☀visit 5 participating blogs/day during the A-Z Challenge madness (that’s all of April except the first four Sundays!)

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As you can see, I’ve scratched them all out. Yippee! This must be my first “win” for this year. I’ve been struggling to stay on track. It’s so easy to set these goals for the month, and then have them explode in your face.

Writing update:

So, for my writing goal, I was able to complete my 2nd draft for my WIP, Ghoul & Alien. However, I’ve since decided I might have to do some major rewrites. You see, Ghoul & Alien is a chapter book ATM, and I started exploring its potential as a middle grade and now I can’t get my new outline out of my head. If I DID go the MG-route, then I’d be able to explore more of my characters and their conflicts. Tough decision.

In the mean time, after moping for 2 weeks, I started working on another early reader/chapter book. I love it almost as much as I love Ghoul & Alien.

Reading update:

Reading is coming along. I have to admit that I haven’t been reading as regularly these last two weeks. The first half of April was great though, but then I got depressed about my direction for Ghoul & Alien and I couldn’t bring myself to sit down and read. So much for escapism…I blame the anhedonia.

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Look at that head-couching.

Anyways, I got the reading done, and I’ve got my TBR list from my latest library haul. Again, I’m mostly reading cozies and chapter books (oh, and a bit of contemporary, sexy romance), because they’re fun. 🙂

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So, what does my May look like?

May 2017 goals:

☀do revision work for chapter book WIP, Sweeter the Scent

☀read four more books

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That’s it. Keeping it nice and short this coming month. I could do with realigning some of my smaller goals, and making sure I’m still good with the larger ones.

How’s your April been? What do you have planned for May?

Season of Renewal. (Big Dreams Blog Update #42)

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It’s Update Day!

For those of you going “HUH?”, I’m one-fifteenth of a group of crazy dreamers. We all are part of a blog hop that allows you to post and share one goal you’d like to accomplish sometime in the near future. For instance, my crazy goal is to write one million words (and I’ve been at it since August 2013). Still going…

Hosted by authors Misha Gericke, Jen Garrett and Brittney Woodson, the DO YOU HAVE GOALS? blog hop is open to one and all. Come, join us HERE!

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Now to remind myself of my goals for this month. Did I reach them, or did fall far short of them?

Let’s see…

March 2017 goals:

☀continue with the contemporary romance WIP tentatively titled The Amish Dream

☀read four books (one a week)

☀prepare the posts for the A-Z challenge

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So, I’ve scratched out my accomplished goals in March.

Huh. 2 out of 3 isn’t all that bad, peeps! Considering I’ve had a bumpy 1st quarter of this year, making goals and then hardly pushing myself to reach them.

Reading update:

I read four books, though not one a week as initially planned. I’ve been bingeing on PBs and cozies this month. Such a wonderfully fun combination! 🙂

A-Z Challenge update:

2017 Participation Badge!

As for my A-Z challenge, I am participating and I can say that confidently now because I’ve prepped all my posts. Sweet!

This frees me to approach more blogs and comment, make friends and hopefully learn stuff.

Writing update:

I didn’t touch the WIP I had originally intended to start for March. I decided that I needed to make a choice.

For the past year I’ve been hopping between children’s fiction and adult (sweet) romance, and it’s tiring me out. I need to stick with one age group and go from there for now. It’s just how my mind works. So I’ve chosen, and I decided that March shouldn’t go to waste writing-wise, so I picked up one of my children’s-geared plots.

The update on this WIP is that I’m well underway with the 2nd draft and it’s shaping up better than the first – that’s always a good sign.

I have no immediate plans for it after the 2nd draft, and I only know that my revision work creeps into April. Which brings me to…

Camp NaNo:

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The only camp I’ve been to.

Yes!

It’s already that time of the year again. NaNo fun!

I’m participating, and this year I joined a cabin (full of hopefully chatty writers). Also this year Camp NaNo is expanding, and it’s allowing writers to choose not only their word count (which I think the minimum is 1000 words?), but to switch things up and instead stick with a page count for the upcoming month. Or maybe your thing is a line count?

I’ve chosen a time count: 3 hours/day, for a total goal of 90 hours in April. I can definitely confirm the first two-three weeks will be dedicated to revision work for my current WIP. And the rest…who knows? The possibilities are endlessly within the scope of children’s fiction.

So to sum it up

April 2017 goals:

☀continue revision work for WIP titled Ghoul & Alien

☀read four more books

☀visit 5 participating blogs/day during the A-Z Challenge madness (that’s all of April except the first four Sundays!)

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Done and done. I’m ready to tackle April. *rolls up sleeves*

And YES, happy Spring everyone!

And on this season of renewal, let us revitalize our spirits and tackle our goals together (hehe, I sound cheesy)!

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Yeah, I’m done moping…for now. (Big Dreams Blog Update #41)

It’s Update Day!

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Yes, we’re at the end of February – and last Friday of this month means Update over at the DO YOU HAVE A GOAL? blog hop. Hosted by authors Misha Gericke, Jen Garrett, and Brittney Woodson, this blog hop is all about choosing one (possibly crazy) dream and then setting the small goals needed to achieve its greatness!

Want to sign up? Click on the banner for the blog hop above, or right HERE and share your goals; let us cheer you on!!

My big, maybe – crazy goal is writing a million words worth of completed stories. They don’t need to be published; I just need to write it and read it over, decide whether to pursue it.

So, February did not go as I planned at all…and I spent 2 weeks doing nothing but moping. I DID read a lot on my Kindle, so I guess there’s an up here, but I’m doing this full-time and so I don’t have the luxury of moping. I am revising my plan for my freelancing work, but that can often be soul-sucking (content mill hell), and though it does bring in money, I spent a week-ish wondering if it was worth it.

Anyways, here are said goals I set for this month.

February 2017 goals:

☀start and finish holiday novella WIP

☀kick off my #ChiVamps series marathon (more deets on that later)

☀start to plan for A-Z challenge–have no clue what my theme will be this year…>_<

How did I do?

I scrapped the holiday novella before I even started it. I did plot it, but that’s all I got, a brief outline. My heart isn’t into UF right now. I’m stuck between cozies and sexy romance.

As for the A-Z challenge planning, I’ve been tossing different themes around, and I think I might have found one that works. I’ll be developing that more in March, because like last year, I learned it’s way easier planning and writing posts beforehand, so I have more time to visit other blogs participating in the awesome challenge event. You should consider joining if you haven’t already!

Now, my goals in March are…

March 2017 goals:

☀continue with the contemporary romance WIP tentatively titled The Amish Dream

☀read four books (one book a week)

☀prepare the posts for the A-Z challenge (gotta make a run to the library…*hint, hint*

I’m determined to hit all my goals this month. I haven’t started 2017 the way I wanted to, but I’m darn ready to turn that around.

Wish me luck?

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New year & other stuff. (Big Dreams Blog Update #40)

New year, new update, and some other new stuff!

Now for the last 3.5-ish years I’ve been part of the Do You Have Goals/Big Dreams Blog Hop. Hosted by author Misha Gericke, we call it lots of things actually, but the point of the blog hop is to share at least one (crazy optional) goal and publicly hold yourself accountable to reaching it. It’s WAY more likely you’ll complete a goal if you share it. Saving face is EVERYTHING (for some of us anyways).

Interested in making your goals reality this 2017, JOIN us and take that first step! We promise you a cheering squad!

Let’s move on to see how I fared in January.

My big, sorta crazy goal through this blog hop is still going: I’m aiming to write 1 million* words. All words I have to read at some point. I hadn’t been doing that the first 2 years of this blog hop, but I had 2016 to set myself straight there.

*NOTE: I haven’t calculated where my word count is at in relation to that 1 million. I’ll see to doing that next month, have actual stats posted and all. 🙂

All-righty! What were my goals for this month…?

January 2017 goals:

☀start writing that YA contemp WIP I’ve been mulling over

☀read the 7 books I have waiting in my most recent library haul

☀start on some SUPER early not-spring cleaning…so winter cleaning. Sometimes I wish I lived a more minimalist lifestyle. One of these days… *grimaces at clutter*

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I didn’t do the YA WIP. I decided to go the freelancing route for now. So I’ve been writing, just no writing toward that.

I didn’t read 7 books. I got 3 books completed, 2 of which I started in December. So not a lot in the reading department. Something I need to change going forward. It’s great I’m writing, but I need to round my schedule out, and I’m not time managing as well as I could honestly. Gonna change next month, promise!

Paused on the winter cleaning. Just because.

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February 2017 goals:

☀start and finish holiday novella WIP

☀kick off my #ChiVamps series marathon (more deets on that later)

☀start to plan for A-Z challenge–have no clue what my theme will be this year…>_<

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 Again, doable goals if I peck away at them little-by-little, day by day. I got this, guys and gals! But in case you’re like “RIGHT” and pulling a doubting Thomas there, I invite you to come back next month and check out how my smaller goals are coming along.

♪ My heart is like an open highway! ♪ (Big Dreams Blog Update #39)

We’re here!

Final 2016 Update blog post for the Do You Have Goals? blog hop!

Before I jump into the monthly (and sorta yearly) update, let’s talk the “Do You Have Goals?” blog hop. Hosted by authors Misha Gericke and Beth Fred, the blog hop is OPEN to any brave souls who want to share a crazy goal and blog on the progress of reaching said nutty goal. 🙂

There’s 18 of us right now (myself included) and we’re always happy to see more goal-links to blogs added. Signing up is one step, just click HERE.

Now back to my update…

2016 saw me grow as a writer even more, and I’m hoping the same from 2017.

But God helps those who help themselves, so I’m going to have to step it up and see to it that I’m not necessarily writing more, but writing steadily and towards the goal of publication, which means opening myself to more resources (i.e. beta readers or CPs) for editing, and then applying said revisions (even if they hurt initially).

Let’s break down the year:

2016 in a Nutshell

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“My heart is like an open highway, like Frankie said I did it my way…”

My goals for 2016 included reading 52 books (or a book per week, roughly) and I accomplished that goal (YAY *throws confetti*) and writing more. Honestly, I don’t recall the exact writing goal(s), but I’m sure productivity was a key point and it still remains that I want to be more proactive with my career choice, writing full-time as I am right now.

The bigger goal I set up in August 2013, when I started this blog, and joined the “Do You Have Goals?” blog hop, was to write a million words, which in turn was to get me to be more decisive about my writing projects–namely finishing a novel for the first time (I finally accomplished that in 2014, a little less than a year later…).

As far as the 1 million words go, I’m sitting at about 560K, but I haven’t read a lot of the stuff I’ve written. Like actually sat down and read it over, once even. That’s going to have to change, and I’m choosing to re-calculate of my word count, but I’d say that I’ve gotten better at forcing myself to face the words that I’ve filled the blank pages up with. Because I like to think authors actually read their work, in order to edit and revise and give themselves the best chance when sending it out to prospective agents or editors. Just my two cents…

So, yes, in super short, super frazzled manner, that’s what the last three years and some have been like. I’m a growing writer, and I’ll probably never outgrow learning new things, or doubting myself or both hating and loving my stories, so I’ll strap myself in and let this roller coaster called Life drop and spin and loop-de-loop into 2017.

Okay, now to the itty-bitty monthly updates. As a remainder, my goals for this month are outlined below…

December 2016 goals:

☀ read 8 books (yeah, I’m challenging myself; I also hoarded a bunch of books from the library, teehee)

☀ keep writing (super vague; bear with me)

☀ finish up art journal for 2016

I can proudly say that I did finish art journaling. I’m not going to share, because I’m not comfortable, but I think it’s beautiful. I haven’t written all that much. More plotting if anything, deciding how to go about tackling my writing schedule, making myself the most productive I can be. And I did read 8 books! Novellas, the majority of them, but they still count!

January 2017 goals:

☀start writing that YA contemp WIP I’ve been mulling over

☀read the 7 books I have waiting in my most recent library haul

☀start on some SUPER early not-spring cleaning…so winter cleaning. Sometimes I wish I lived a more minimalist lifestyle. One of these days… *grimaces at clutter*

So for 2017 I’m renewing my goal to read 52 books. I have no plans to review the books as I did in 2016. Taking a break from book reviews. A long, indefinite hiatus… I’m hoping to write daily. I’ve been saying this EVERY year since 2014, so this make it the fourth time it’s hit my resolution list. And that includes even a sentence. I can totally do that…right?

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Right.

2016 was certainly an interesting year and since we’re still living it for another day and a half or so I’d like to say, “2016, it’s been great. In some way you touched us all, hopefully more for the good. We won’t forget you…and yes, I’ll be making that same speech to 2017 when it gets here and is ready to leave us too. Cheers.”

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Happy New Years’!

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Trampled by plot bunnies… (Big Dreams Blog Update #38)

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It’s the second to last 2016 Update Day! My, how does a year fly…

*For those of you who are like “What the flippity flap is Update Day?” and are also all “TL;DR”: Update Day is part of the Do You Have Goals? Big Dreams blog hop, hosted by authors Misha Gericke and Beth Fred. Every last Friday of the month, we share the progress for one of our big, maybe crazy, goal. My goal is to hit 1 million words of finished writing projects, and there are 17 other crazy goals and their dreamer you can check out HERE. Will you be lucky number 19 to join us? SIGN UP NOW! We’re always looking for more bloggers.

With a little more than five weeks remaining until we ring in the New Year, I’m entering that mode where I have to evaluate the past years’ achievements and misses.

I’ve been doing this throughout the year, but there’s something that always pushes me into making year-long plans when the (American) Thanksgiving passes and people batter each other black and blue for Black Friday (totally joking; stay safe today!).

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No, seriously. Stay safe. Great sales aren’t worth bruises or broken bones.

As I do that, I’m heading into this Update Day with my prepared list of goals for December, but I’m also looking to the future, ahead into those first few months/quarter of 2017. This is also on the heels of my failure to write all that much in November. I spent the first 2.5 weeks of this month dreading the task of getting my rear in my not-so cushy office chair and writing my next project.

I’ve also been having trouble committing to anything, from reading to cleaning up and getting rid of extra junk lying around and cluttering my creative space (I do a fall/autumnal cleaning too).

I have picked up on the writing these past few days, and that’s going well. I’m also getting back into the swing of having a life–I’ve just been living/breathing until a few days ago it seemed.

So, enough of the weird, existential mess that is my mind. For November I’ve set these goals…

November 2016 goals:

☀ catch up with my art journal (I’m still behind, boo hoo!)

☀ continue to read 4 books; aiming for 1 book/every week

☀ (hopefully) complete the 1st draft of current WIP, a YA title (my first, peeps!)

I’m happy to say I’ve caught up with my art journal. YAY! It’s been months in waiting, but I finally did it. Watched lots of White Collar and Suits to do it, but I did it. 🙂

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I didn’t read four books this month; I read two, but I’m getting that checked.

I didn’t even start writing the YA WIP, so yeah. I am in the middle of serializing a NA paranormal on Wattpad, for fun. I’ve been reading stories on there and I wanted to jump in. Wattpad always reminds me that I write because I want to give at least one other reader out there the same squishy, squeezable, giddy high that I get when I’m reading a good story. If I can do that, I’ve succeeded.

And now onto my goals for December.

December 2016 goals:

☀ read 8 books (yeah, I’m challenging myself; I also hoarded a bunch of books from the library, teehee)

☀ keep writing (super vague; bear with me)

☀ finish up art journal for 2016

That’s it. Pretty simple reading and writing goals. And since the next Update Day is at the very close of December, I’ll be bundling it up with my 2017 goals, both for January, and maybe I’ll try something new and pitch into the first quarter of the New Year. We’ll see…

Until then, remain safe, stay healthy and classy.