Tag Archives: may

May 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.

Somehow I didn’t expect to be so productive in May, yet I feel like I’ve walked away with a lot of writing and ideas to use in June.

What I accomplished in May:

  1. Wrote 17,000 words on Dead Magic (hit 39,000 total)
  2. Wrote 8 blog posts
  3. Read 2 books
    1. Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
    2. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  4. Heavily researched for an Ingenious Mechanical Devices companion novella
  5. Began cover construction for Dead Magic
  6. Finished the audiobook for The Winter Garden to Audible’s specifications (should be out within the next week)

What I hope to achieve in June:

  1. Write at least 18,000 words of Dead Magic (for 57,000 total words)
  2. Write at least 6 blog posts
  3. Read at least 3 books
  4. Begin outlining and writing one of the IMD companion novellas
  5. Write the back blurb for Dead Magic
  6. Do a preliminary edit of chapters 1-10 of Dead Magic

I can’t believe I wrote 17k words this month. March and April were so slow in terms of my word count, but it seems that once the story hits the 1/3 mark, it just starts to roll. Laying the foundation is the slowest part, followed by the end when I need to make sure that I’ve tied everything up. I’m hoping that June will continue the trend of the productivity.

I’m so excited to be able to share some random excerpts of Dead Magic. Writing it has been a blast so far with lots of dark things, some gore, a bit of magic, and having to do a lot of research on trauma and PTSD (sorry, Immanuel). My artist boyfriend/cover designer/Photoshop guru will soon be working on the cover for Dead Magic as soon as I finish the back blurb and convince him to do it instead of working on his new design shop, Regal Rook designs. I’m sure I’ll be posting more on that in the future as well.

The one major thing that was sacrificed this month was my reading. I meant to finish Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater in May, but I was busy researching and writing and it ended up sitting on the sidelines. It’s a really good series despite how long it’s taking me to get through it.

On Tuesday in my post Plot Bunnies and Projects, I wrote about the companion novellas I’m planning to write over the summer. I haven’t really begun planning them out yet, but I hope to have at least one of them written (probably Judith Elliott’s first). I’m super stoked to work on them because I really love the ideas I have rolling around, so hopefully, they’ll come out as good on paper as they are in my head. I will be updating you as I write.

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So what are you working on this month?

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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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May 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.

School’s out for summer! May has been the month of sweet freedom. Unlike April, which was stressful and made me want to tear my hair out, May has been lovely. Currently, I am at home except for one day a week where I work at my office job, and now I finally have time to write and read, which means, I can hopefully get a lot of work done in preparation for the fall semester. Yes, everything revolves around grad school… and writing, which is practically the same thing when you’re working toward an MFA in creative writing. Shockingly, I think I accomplished most of the goals I set last month.

What I did accomplish:

  1. Finished my last bit of schoolwork and received good grades
  2. Continued to blog and create a monthly newsletter
  3. Wrote 2 chapters of The Earl and the Artificer
  4. Edited The Earl and the Artificer
  5. Read 3 novels, a novella, and a short story (and began Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell)
  6. Didn’t stress out at the Steampunk World’s Fair

Goals for June:

  1. Write 4 chapters of The Earl and the Artificer
  2. Work on creating a routine to be able to write every day
  3. Read every day
  4. Continue to produce content for my blog and newsletter
  5. Research marketing (possibly buy Susan Kaye Quinn’s marketing book)
  6. Get out of the house more

The last goal may seem a bit odd, but as an only child who lives at home and has the summers off for the most part, I become a hermit– a cranky, bored, semi-delusional hermit by the end of the summer. Cabin fever does not help my productivity, so this summer I am hoping to maybe get out a bit more when possible. I’m hoping that on Thursdays when my boyfriend is home from work that maybe we can go to the beach and sit and write/draw by the water. We are also celebrating our 10th anniversary in June, and while we probably aren’t doing anything that spectacular, I am still amazed that we’ve been together this long.

Anyway, getting back to goals, I only wrote two chapters this month. Part of this was due to my transitional period between school and vacation and the rest was caused by my own confusion regarding my plot. That week between the end of the semester and vacation beginning was a sort of limbo for me. My brain was still in work-mode, but I didn’t have any work to do and my story was not coming to me because I had been pushing it away for so many weeks. At that point, it felt like all I could do was read and recover from a lovely cold I developed at the same time. The other issue was my confusion regarding the plot of my current project. From writing bits and pieces over the course of a few months during the semester and never truly focusing on my book, I had no idea really where the story was going apart from the major plot points. If I don’t know where I’m going, I end up not going anywhere.

A good chunk of May was devoted to rereading The Earl and the Artificer and plotting what points I covered and what points needed to be addressed in the next few chapters (introducing certain characters and facts). As I reread it, I edited what I had, tightening the plot and beefing up some of the descriptions and scenes. I must admit that I tend to panic when the beginning of a story takes me a while to get into. Somehow I forget that I do this with every book, but when the threads of the plot are incredibly loose and not yet knitting together I worry they never will come together. I keep reminding myself that they will. I just need time and words.

Right now, I’m hoping to sit down in the next day or two and loosely plot chapters 6-10 of The Earl and the Artificer, so I can get cracking for the rest of the month. Maybe I’ll even be able to slip in a short story for the Ingenious Mechanical Devices universe or possibly for an anthology I have been looking into. One thing I have noticed with my writing is that it tends to pick up when I’m reading an inspiring book. Currently, I am reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and I am loving it. It’s a huge book compared to what I usually read, but it’s moving quickly and I catch myself reading it as often as possible. Because of its size, I haven’t given myself a set number of books to read this month.

As a final note on May, I decided to run a sale where I set both books to 99 cents for a few days. I accidentally set it for Memorial Day weekend, and I’m not sure whether it was a good or bad thing because tons of authors planned sales for that weekend but it was the first official week of summer when people look for beach reading. At the same time, I ran an ad with Ereader News Today and sold quite a few copies of both books. Part of the reason I like to run sales is not necessarily to make money off of it (especially since the mark down obviously cuts my royalty) but to get my books into the hands of new readers. At 99 cents, readers are much more likely to take a chance on an unknown author, and after running the sale, I received a few more reviews and hopefully gained a few more readers along the way.


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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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