I’m not burned out; I’m scared. (Big Dreams Blog Update #46)

It’s Update Day!

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I’m a day late, but here I am.

Yup. That time of the month again for the crew of the Do You Have Goals?/Got Goals? blog hop. On the last Friday of every month the 15 of us on the bloggity hop gather to update on our (crazy) big goals! Hosted by authors Misha Gericke, Brittney Woodson, and Jen Garrett, the Got Goals? blog hop is always looking for more company. If you’d like to join, click the banner above to be redirected to the sign-up page, or click HERE. You won’t regret it. 🙂

My crazy big goal is to hit 1 million words of completed fictional projects (i.e. short stories, novellas, novels). I’m likely not to hit this goal, but at this point, I’m hoping I can even hit the halfway mark of that goal at this point.

But you want to know what I had planned for July, and if I reached any of my goals.

How did my July fly? Well, for starters, my plans looked like this:

July 2017 goals:

write first 35K of Play By Ear, a category romance

☀read through my library TBR pile

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Writing:

Let’s start with writing. Honestly, I’ve been bouncing back and forth from children’s fiction to romance, and now after two months I can honestly say I have a few WIPs laying around and nothing accomplished.

I’m not even burned out. It’s more like I’ve been freezing myself out of writing. The problem is I’m scared. I’m putting a lot of pressure on the first draft when I know that, in the great words of Ernest Hemingway, all first drafts are shit. And I can’t edit a blank page anyways, so I’ll have to get something down before I can pick it apart. Problem is that the Evil Internal Editor has been winning lately. She’s on fire, and I’m not sure if I can extinguish her flames of doubting.

I’ll figure it out though. I usually get myself out of these funks eventually.

Reading:

If my writing has been nonexistent, my reading has been going really swell. I started back on YA again (finally!). I read:

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Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson. It’s the first in her new YA fantasy duology. She’s known for the Defy series (which I haven’t read yet). I really enjoyed Dark Breaks the Dawn. If you enjoyed any version of the Swan Lake (like maybe The Swan Princess film), then pick up this one. It’s got kissy romance, action and adventure and a sprinkling of political intrigue.

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The Black Witch by Laurie Forest is a long read at 601 pages, and it’s the first in a planned four book series. It’s also YA fantasy. You got dragons, wyvern shifters (so cool!), elves, Fae, and wand magic. Oh, and 2/3rds of the book follow the protagonist as she journeys through her magical university. Do I have you hooked yet?

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier was my first graphic novel for 2017 (and actually since probably 2012), but it was the PERFECT book to end a long dry spell. This book is a keeper. I borrowed it from the library, but as soon as I can I’m buying this one. It’s a book for all ages. If you have young children, pick this one up. It can go a long way in teaching understanding and compassion.

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I also read a bunch of chapter books, and I’m in the middle of A Wrinkle in Time (it’s my first time reading it!).

Now my plans for August are going to take into consideration my raising fear of facing the blank page. I’m going to take baby steps. My word count will be smaller; my expectations a little lower. It always works. Here we go then:

August 2017 goals:

write 500/day towards whatever project I end up sticking to

☀read through my library TBR pile (at least 4 titles)

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How are your goals coming along? What do you have planned for August (what I like to think of as the last hurrah for summer)? Let me know in the comments.

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July, I’m coming for you. (Big Dreams Blog Update #45)

It’s Update Day!

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Gosh, I’m always saying this, but this month felt like it zipped by. We’ve still got a lot left of summer (thankfully), and I mean to seize the still-long days.

How did my June go? My plans looked like this:

June 2017 goals:

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

☀read four more books

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So, my June goals didn’t look like too much.

I did well with the last one, but I ended up tossing Ghoul & Alien‘s most recent draft because it wasn’t going where I wanted it. I made it halfway and then petered out. Also my well of inspiration was drying up, and I didn’t want to push through, knowing I’d end up with something I really didn’t want or like.

I did some soul searching, and I’m back to romance for now, just reading children’s fiction.

July 2017 goals:

☀write first 35K of Play By Ear, a category romance

☀read through my library TBR pile

Writing goal:

As I plan to write daily towards my contemporary, sexy romance project, tentatively titled Play By Ear, I decided I’ll use Camp NaNo as a way to hold myself accountable. I don’t need to stray from this story, too. No “shiny new idea” distraction for me!

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Reading Goal:

Like I said, I read all 4 of the books from my June 2017 list. Yay!

This time I’ll be going through these titles during July:

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I haven’t read the Defy series from author Sara B. Larson, but I was pulled into the premise of this new series. Dark Breaks the Dawn was released earlier June, so I’m hoping that I’ll love it. Also be my first YA in a year (yeah, it’s criminal; deal with it).

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I’m diving into the second of The Kid from Planet Z series by Nancy Krulik. It’s a new sci-fi chapter book series, and it’s adorable! I’ll be doing reviews on GR soon for this treasure. 🙂

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The Fairybell Sisters by Margaret McNamara is already off to a wonderfully magical start for me. I loved Book 1, and I’ve got Book 2 & 3 in my TBR pile clamoring to be read. I’m so, so ready to fall back into the world of Tinkerbell’s younger sisters!

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All five published books in The Friendship Garden series are waiting on my TBR shelf reserved for library hauls. I’m excited to check out this one. I love Aladdin, the Simon & Schuster children’s publishing division for their beautiful covers and their wickedly awesome stories! I’m sure this one will get a two-thumbs up from me!

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And finally, the last of my chapter books for July: the first book in the Penelope Perfect series by Chrissie Perry. This was a recent release from Aladdin for North American readers. I do believe it was first published by an Australian publisher. Glad someone decided this one was worth it.

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I know I got the “I’m coming for you, July” mindset, but how did your June go?

Did you get as much as you wanted accomplished? Or do you have some goals that you’re moving into July to complete? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to cheer you on.

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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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#AtoZChallenge (2017 edition): Challenge Aftermath

I survived the A to Z, and I’m posting this late, but I’d still like to reflect on April’s crazy month of blogging. (Crazy for me at least.)

I’ve been doing the A to Z since 2015, and the first year was a crazy slapdash of creating posts on the day of, so I changed it up last year. I started writing my posts early and I had them all finished and ready to go by April 1st. This year I decided I needed to do that again if I had any hopes of getting to The End and not tearing out my hair from the frustration.

Luckily, I chose a theme I was interested in. One thing I enjoyed was I learned something new in writing every post. It was fun, too. Always a bonus.

If I do end up doing this again next year, I’ve already got my theme set aside. This year I scrambled for an idea (after sticking to movies for two years in a row). Hey, mayeb I’ll even starting writing the posts later this year, so I’m not rushing around to get it all done in March.

But right now, I need a long rest from thinking about posting back to back like that.

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How did your April run if you participated in the #AtoZChallenge?

If you weren’t participating, did you make it around to some (if not all) the blogs? A lot of cool, innovative themes were floating around… Never too late to backtrack and check out those posts.

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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#AtoZChallenge (2017 edition): Theme Reveal

*cue drumroll*

A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal [2017]

I can’t believe it’s almost April. That means A-Z Challenge time! And that also means figuring out if I’m doing a theme or going totally rando.

I like themes though. This will be my third year doing the A-Z Challenge, and the last two years I’ve chosen to go the theme route. It keeps everything nice and tidy. So, I’m choosing a theme again this year.

And that theme is…

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Greek mythic heroes, places and things/objects.

It took some time. I bounced back and forth between a few theme choices, but I’m stuck on this one. And since I never did end up taking that Greek mythology course in uni, which I’m still butt-sore about, my plan is to crunch through the alphabet and do my own kind of self-study here.

Hopefully I don’t flounder…because, for once, X isn’t the problem letter with this plan. But more on that later!

And if you have time, check out the official A-Z blog for all Challenge-related, fun info. If you haven’t already, jump in and get started. There’s still plenty of time to plan for the A to Z. You got this!

Now, off to figure out how to make a list of blogs to visit.

Toodles~~