Tag Archives: accomplishments

October 2016 in Review

blog-monthly-review

Last year, I decided that I would post my accomplishments for the month and what goals I hope to achieve in the following month.

October was infinitely less chaotic than September, and now, that I’ve gotten into the groove of teaching, I look forward to what the spring semester holds.

What I accomplished in October:

  1. Worked out a system to stay on top of grading student papers/homework
  2. Read 4 books:
    1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (5 stars)
    2. The Ancient Magus’ Bride Vol. 2 by Kore Yamazaki (4 stars)
    3. The Ancient Magus’ Bride Vol. 3 by Kore Yamazaki (5 stars)
    4. The Ancient Magus’ Bride Vol. 4 by Kore Yamazaki (4 stars)
  3. Formatted the ebook and paperback of Dead Magic
  4. Prepared for Dead Magic‘s release by setting up promos
  5. Ended up scrapping a short story I had planned to write
  6. Bought a word processor to help me focus
  7. Started plotting Selkie Cove, which will be book 5 of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices

What I hope to achieve in November:

  1. Read 4 books
  2. Keep up with grading/feedback for my students
  3. Tweak the syllabus for my creative writing class
  4. Write 10,000 words of Selkie Cove
  5. Launch Dead Magic on November 10th

October has been a recover month for me. With all of the prep for Dead Magic coming out and the amount of grading I’ve been doing, I have been more than burnt out. Teaching is something I love doing, but I’m still not accustomed to it. Because I’m an introvert by nature, I often leave campus feeling high and fried at the same time. What I’m hoping is that by time I teach in the spring, I’ll be more acclimated to this sort of energy expulsion. As of right now, I’m also scheduled to teach less days next semester, which may help.

What else have I been up to? Well, I started writing a short story that I thought I would publish by Halloween, but it just wasn’t working out. Most of the time, I believe in pushing through and finishing what I start. This time, I knew it wasn’t working out. It took me days to type out a few thousand words that weren’t very good. I scrapped it for now. In the future, I’ll work on it again or incorporate the idea into a future book. It’s a doable storyline but now isn’t the right moment for it.

Most importantly, DEAD MAGIC IS COMING OUT IN A FEW DAYS!!! *screams internally* I’m so excited to share this book with everyone. I think it’s my favorite thus far, and I desperately want others to read it because I can’t really talk about it with anyone considering all of two people have read it. On top of launching Dead Magic, I’ve also begun working on the fifth book in the series, Selkie Cove, which I hope to finish by next spring. It feels great to be writing again and not editing. As much as I love editing, it’s much more draining than actually writing.

Remember to keep an eye out for Dead Magic, which is coming out this Thursday, November 10th in ebook and paperback.

 

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April 2016 in Review

spring

Last year, I decided that I would post my accomplishments for the month and what goals I hope to achieve in the following month.

Spring has arrived, and while April didn’t look like it would turn out to be a productive month at first due to health issues, it seems to have turned around nicely.

What I accomplished in April:

  1. Read 3 books and 1 short story:
    1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
    2. Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman
    3. “The 13th Hex” by Jordan L. Hawk
    4. Writing Short Stories to Promote Your Novels by Rayne Hall
  2. Wrote 12,000 words in Dead Magic (IMD #4)
  3. Finished proofing the audiobook for The Winter Garden
  4. Found a narrator for The Earl and the Artificer audiobook
  5. Finished all of my classwork for grad school

What I hope to achieve in May:

  1. Read 3 books
  2. Write 8 blog posts
  3. Write 15,000 words
  4. Finish the syllabus for the class I’m teaching in the fall
  5. Make covers for the translations of The Earl of Brass
  6. Participate in the #writewemay challenge
  7. Brainstorm a few short stories to write that are set in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices universe

I really thought April was going to be an absolute disaster. Beginning a month with a sinus infection that renders you barely functional isn’t a sign of good things to come, but I pulled it together after a few days where I wrote nothing at all.

That last sentence was hard to admit. In my bullet journal (my slightly artsy to-do list/organizer), I write down how much I’ve written every day. Seeing all those zeroes in a row during my sinus infection made me want to vomit. Originally, I had hoped to write 15,000 words in April, but 12,000 is respectable and what matters is that Dead Magic is cruising along nicely. I promise that later in the month I’ll post another excerpt from the novel. It’s one of my favorites to write thus far, and I think that’s because I love the characters.

After reading Rayne Hall’s book on writing short stories to promote your novels, I really want to write a few short stories revolving around the side-characters in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. There will probably be one with James and Eliza and maybe one of Eilian’s adventures in the Far East before he met Hadley.

Besides my author stuff, I will also be teaching two freshman English classes at the university next semester, so I need to create the syllabus for those classes. I’m excited and terrified to be teaching as an adjunct professor. Worst case scenario, I could totally ruin them and make them even worse writers than when they came in, but I’m hoping to teach them the fundamentals of writing and at least instill in them that writing is necessary for life and can be a very cathartic tool.

Well, onward to May, and I hope it’s a good one for you!

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September in Review

Starting in January, I decided it would be a good idea to look back at each month and see what I have accomplished in my writing and marketing as well as reflect upon what needs to be improved in the future.

September means… GRAD SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION, which really means added stress, learning how to juggle again, and feeling anxious on the days when I have class. Ultimately, I was less productive than I hoped, but I still got quite a bit of writing done. I really shouldn’t complain now that I look back at the stats.

What I did accomplish:

  1. Wrote 17,000 words of The Earl and the Artificer (77,000 words total)
  2. Read Pantomime by Laura Lam, Afflicted by Brandon Shire, Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker, and The Cogsmith’s Daughter by Kate M. Colby
  3. Wrote every day and kept my creative reservoirs filled for the most part
  4. Survived my first month of the new semester without freaking out too much
  5. Gave away The Earl of Brass for free in record numbers

Goals for October:

  1. Finish writing The Earl and the Artificer (about 13,000-15,000 words)
  2. Begin editing The Earl and the Artificer
  3. Read 2-3 books
  4. Keep on top of my school work without too much stress
  5. Have fun while my best friend from England is staying with us (really looking forward to this one)
  6. Get the ball rolling on the cover for The Earl and the Artificer
  7. Begin outlining book 4

So I didn’t write 20,000 words, but I did write 17,000 and that’s pretty damn good for a month where I have class. At first, I was kicking myself for lower productivity level, beating myself up for not cranking out 3,000 more words this month to meet my far goal. This kind of thinking is rather self-destructive and completely counter-productive. I should be really happy that I wrote 17k in a month because usually during the school year I’m lucky if I write 5,000 words.

I still can’t believe I’m this far into The Earl and the Artificer. It’ll be out soon. SOON. I still can’t really fathom that; it doesn’t seem real. I began writing it (half-heartedly) in February and really got into it in June. So from July to September, I’ve written 62,000 words. For some writers that wouldn’t be much, but I have never written this much this fast before, and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve been able to do this year. This month I’ll be moving into the production aspects of The Earl and the Artificer with editing and cover design. It’s insane how fast it’s coming.

What shocked me this month was how much I read. I really didn’t expect to get through four books. I fluctuate between reading voraciously and not picking up a book for a week, but I enjoyed the mix of books. A dash of romance, some info on writing, and a bit of fantasy.

So the most exciting thing happening next month is that my best friend is coming from the UK to stay with us! We speak all the time on messenger, but we’ve never met. I’m hoping we’ll have time to hang out, see the sights, and enjoy our time together while she’s here. I’m super stoked. I don’t socialize very much outside of the university, so I’m hoping we can have a lot of fun. Also, I’ll finally have someone to go to the amusement park with as long as the weather holds.

Well, that’s it for now. Let’s see what October brings.

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August in Review

Starting in January, I decided it would be a good idea to look back at each month and see what I have accomplished in my writing and marketing as well as reflect upon what needs to be improved in the future.

Much like July, August has been a rather productive month. It seems so long ago that it just started, and I am absolutely amazed that it’s already over. This month I have tried to get as much done as possible before graduate school started again for me in September. Usually when school starts, my productivity tanks for a while as I adjust, but I’m hopeful that September won’t be too bad.

What I did accomplish:

  1. Published my series companion short story “An Oxford Holiday” on Amazon
  2. Wrote 25,000 words of The Earl and the Artificer (60,000 words total)
  3. Met my “far” word count goal for the month
  4. Read For Love or Money by Susan Kaye Quinn and 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love
  5. Released the audiobook for The Earl of Brass
  6. Proofed the first 15 minute clip for the audiobook of The Winter Garden
  7. Put The Earl of Brass ebook on sale for 99 cents for a limited time.

Goals for September:

  1. Write at least 10,000 words of The Earl and the Artificer (but optimally more like 15k to 20k)
  2. Read 2-3 books
  3. Manage my grad school stress
  4. Continue to write every day
  5. Balance life, writing, and fun
  6. Refill my creative reservoirs
  7. Possibly work on another bonus short story (if an idea takes shape)

So I think I have finally found something that works when it comes to keeping my productivity up and at a good pace. Seriously, the word count tracking spreadsheet has done wonders. I’m now about 60,000 words into The Earl and the Artificer, which blows my mind because I’m over 2/3 through it! A few months ago, that was unimaginable. Now, the end is in sight in a few months (probably October). During this time, I also finished and released the audiobook of The Earl of Brass and the ebook of “An Oxford Holiday” on Amazon. Now that I know I can work on a short story and a novel without sacrificing either, I hope to release more companion short stories in the future. The best case scenario is that I might be able to release a Halloween themed one in October, but I can make no promises there, especially with the semester starting. I also got a glimpse of the audiobook for The Winter Garden, and it is perfect! I am so looking forward to hearing more, and while I would like to say that I hope my narrator will send me some this month, I won’t push it. He has a life outside of narrating.

This has been an odd month. I’m feeling very productive in terms of what I have produced, but as of the last few days, I’m feeling incredibly drained. Last week, I had a workshop to go to, which is mandatory for my degree. I enjoyed it and it was incredibly interesting (about teaching writing), but it kind of drained me. It’s hard for me to be social and outgoing while surrounded by new people. It’s done now, just in time for the semester to start. Yay… Prepare to see me crawl back into my shell for about a month while I continually scream internally until I’ve adjusted to dealing with people again. Current status: exhausted and in denial that school is starting again in a few days. Today, I will be reading and chilling with my dogs in hopes of recovering some of that creative mojo since it’s edging toward burn-out level.

Kate

This month also brought a new addition to our family: Miss Kate (named by my dad). Kate is a border weenie, meaning she is dachshund and border collie. If you think she looks oddly familiar, it’s because we have 2 other border collie mixes (Edgar and Finny) who are also black and white and look a lot like her. The boys are still ignoring her, but they seem to be getting along. Don’t let her cute face and squeaky toy voice fool you, she has plenty of attitude. She already hip-checked Edgar and took a bone from his mouth.

For September, my hope is that I can keep writing every day, even if it’s only a few hundred words. 500 a day for 30 days still equates to 15,000 words. I only have two more semesters of grad school left until I have my MFA in creative writing, so I just need to power through and get it done. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to start outlining book four of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices. I’d love to begin writing that while editing The Earl and the Artificer.

One last thing of note: The Earl of Brass is on sale for 99 cents for a limited time on Kindle. You can pick it up here.

eob 99c promo

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April 2015 in Review

Starting in January, I decided it would be a good idea to look back at each month and see what I have accomplished in my writing and marketing as well as reflect upon what needs to be improved in the future.

April was a crazy month. At the university, it’s crunch time for papers and projects along with a deluge of events. I think I spent more time at the university than I ever have in my past year and a half there. With all of these extra curricular activities, I was a tad stressed out. Okay, a lot stressed out, which led to me buying quite a few books. I have no shame regarding that, but I don’t think I should have rewarded myself for not getting as much done as I hoped.

What I did accomplish:

  1. Finished reading for class and turned in portfolio
  2. 50% done with final paper (I’ve been bad about finishing this)
  3. My thesis portfolio was accepted
  4. Learned more about marketing by reading Joanna Penn’s How to Market a Book and Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies
  5. Scheduled a 99 cent sale for The Earl of Brass from May 22nd-26th
  6. The Winter Garden has 6 Amazon reviews and 7 Goodreads reviews
  7. Sent out my first newsletter

Goals for May:

  1. Write 3-4 chapters of The Earl and the Artificer
  2. Do a preliminary edit on the chapters I write
  3. Read 3-4 books at least
  4. Stay positive and work on stress (as always)
  5. Do well with my reading at the Steampunk World’s Fair
  6. Get my art commission done

I think I’m most excited about the last one. One of my favorite artists opened her commissions again, and I jumped at the chance to get one. At first, I was wait-listed, but she added more slots to allow me a few others to get in. I won’t give too many details, but it will be Adam and Immanuel from The Winter Garden. As much as I’m looking forward to (and dreading) the Steampunk World’s Fair, I am super excited about more artwork of my characters. The date and time of my reading at the Steampunk World’s Fair will come in a few days. They’re still working on the schedule.

Anyway, April has been a difficult month for me. Everything was due for class, so I quickly polished off the books I needed to read and started my papers and portfolios. This means I have only been able to write one chapter. Luckily, by the end of the first week of May I should be able to really get back into writing book three.  In my last post, I discussed how book three has been my problem child, and it really has been. For me to write, I need to figure out what story within all of my random ideas I would truly like to read. Otherwise, the book is stilted and just not fun to write. After having a discussion in the car with my boyfriend last night, I feel that I have a better handle on where it’s going. I’m sure I’ll still pester my bestie some time this weekend about it.

I know I’ve set myself a somewhat rigorous schedule for May in terms of writing, but I think with time on my hands and a plan, I can get through at least three chapters. I tend to be a slow writer because I hem and haw over every word, yet I’ve gotten through that much before in a few weeks when I was really determined. The hidden “to-do” is to figure out the rest of my major plot points and get maybe the next five chapters mapped, so I can hit the ground running when I start writing in the next few days.

Last month, I gave myself the goal of working on managing my stress. I didn’t. I was a mess this month. Part of me doesn’t want to rely on excuses, but this month was insane. It seemed like I was constantly on the go. I was definitely stressed out, so much so that I threw my body out of whack. I really don’t want that to happen in May, so I will try to take things as they come and not freak out. This is partially why I gave myself the goal of reading a few books this month. I need to take time to read something good to engage my mind and imagination and to unwind a bit. Reading always helps me focus and inspire my writing. Some books I’m hoping to get through are: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, A Case of Possession by K. J. Charles, Auraria by Tim Westover, and Possession by A. S. Byatt. It’s an eclectic mix, but I’m dying to get to them.

So what are your goals for April?


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