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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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March 2016 in 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.

March was a strangely productive month for me in probably every aspect but blogging (sorry, readers). April has started with a lovely sinus infection, BUT I know it’ll shape up to be a great month.

What I accomplished in March:

  1. Read 5 books, 2 of which were for class.
    1. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
    2. Hunter of Demons and Master of Ghouls by Jordan L. Hawk
    3. Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez
    4. A Chorus of Stones by Susan Griffin
  2. Wrote 10,ooo words of Dead Magic (IMD #4)
  3. Found translators for the Italian and Spanish versions of The Earl of Brass (IMD #1)
  4. Finished all of my projects for the English department

What I hope to achieve in April:

  1. Read 3 books
  2. Write 12,000 words of Dead Magic (IMD #4)
  3. Write 4 more blog posts this month
  4. Edit the cover for The Earl of Brass in translation (Italian and Spanish)
  5. Finish up the last of my grad school work and prepare for graduation

So March was a much better month in terms of productivity. I think as the days get warmer, it gets easier for the words to come. I also got into a better writing routine at night, which I’m hoping to keep up as soon as I get over this sinus infection. It’s always lovely to start the month sick and completely disrupt my writing mojo. Oh well, life goes on, and I keep telling myself that I’ll feel better in a few days.

Anyway, I’ve been working on Dead Magic and have finally begun making decent headway into it. I’m really starting to get into this book, and I think you’ll like it as well. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting more info and insights about it now that I know where it’s going.

I’ve also taken up using a bullet-journal, which is a way to keep up with monthly and daily goals. Pictured above are March and April’s bullet-journal spreads. This little journal holds me accountable and reminds me that I need to get things done. It’s also highly portable and not as easy to lose as scraps of paper. I don’t always get everything done, but I try to get as much done as I can. You may notice the little sad face on April 1st. Sinus infection = nothing getting done.

What I’m most excited about are the forthcoming translations of The Earl of Brass! I recently joined Babelcube, which helps put translators and authors together, and now I have Italian and Spanish translators. I’m beyond excited. I know a bit of Italian, but not nearly enough to get anywhere near translating an entire novel. As the translations progress, I will update everyone. Hopefully it’ll be a smooth process. What I will need is a second set of eyes that can read Spanish or Italian, so if you can and are willing to read my The Earl of Brass for any glaring typos, please drop me a line!

That’s all I have for March. Let’s hope the productivity continues in April!

What are you planning for this month?

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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.Ā  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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