Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Teaser Tuesday's - Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 57 of Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts:

Polite too, even if she was a bit stiff about it. As if, Ripley thought, she wasn't quite used to dealing with people.

Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Goals

I am like most people in that I become reminiscent at this time of year. I also start to look ahead and think about the year to come. I am not one to make New Year's resolutions, though. For me, starting something as a resolution because it's January first has never really worked. I'm far more successful if I think in terms of goals, whether they be new ones or ongoing. With that being said, I'd like to share my 2014 goals with you.

Writing

Naturally, as a writer, my goal for quite some time has been to achieve a book publishing deal. I've had some success recently with being published and I'd definitely like to expand upon that success. I've also learned a lot more about the publishing world and querying process in recent months that I intend to apply to my process. Here's my plan:

1. First, foremost and always, I will continue to write on a daily basis. I won't have anything to publish if I don't do this and keep up with it. As Nora Roberts says, "You can't edit a blank page." The most ideal way for me to keep on writing is to continue with the amazing Write Chain Challenge. The premise is to pick your daily goal for anything writing related and stick with it to make a Write Chain. It has been so motivational for me and I can't say enough good things about it.

2. Editing. I write and say that word with a big sigh because I am bad about editing. Some people LOVE it but I am not one of those people. I DREAD it but know that I need to get over it so that I can move forward in my quest for a book deal. So, I will edit more efficiently than I have in the past. And my first order of business in this regard is to figure out the best method of editing for myself. If anyone has any suggestions. please throw them my way.

3. I will query my properly edited and polished manuscripts. I've done this in the past with more than one manuscript but have received rejections. I went through almost two-thirds of 2013 depressed about this and barely writing. Thanks to #writeclub (on Twitter) and The Write Chain Challenge (which can also be found on Twitter) I am over my funk. I have regained and rebuilt my confidence as a writer over the past few months. I have also educated myself on things I needed to know but didn't. So I'm ready to start the querying process again. I plan to do this by the end of January.

4. Blogging. Here is another sigh-inducing topic. I was not a very good blogger in 2013. So, in 2014 I plan to write a blog post at least three times per week. It is very doable and in fact, I have several posts planned already.

Reading

I always start the year with a goal of reading 52 books during the year. I always surpass my goal. For 2014, I'm still starting off with the aim of 52 books but I'd like to read some genres I've never tried. I keep seeing New Adult and while I understand what it is - I don't think I've read any books in this category. I also keep hearing about Steampunk. In fact, this is what the Municipal Liaison for my NaNoWriMo region writes. I have actually read one short story that was Steampunk but I'd like to read more because it was very entertaining.

I have personal and crafting-related goals as well. I crochet a lot of our family's holiday and birthday gifts so I want to keep up on that. I also want to try knitting. I want to keep drinking my water, eating healthfully and exercising. Basically, I want to do the things that make me happy. Isn't that true for all of us. When I'm happy I'm a better person and that makes me a better wife and mommy - which in the end is what it's really all about.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Emotion vs. Action

I finished the first draft of my National Novel Writing Month manuscript three days ago. I know a lot of people say to put it away and give yourself a little distance from the story before starting the editing process. This is what I've done in the past and it doesn't work for me. I haven't gone back to anything I've applied this method to. It's only been three days but I'm ready to go over this manuscript and work on the second draft. Here's what has me at an uncertain stall, though: Emotion vs. Action.

I like to set the scene. I want anyone reading my book to feel immersed in the characters, the location and the emotions. As a reader, I like that immersion but I also like to get right into the story and be sucked into that world.

Recently, I received feedback from a submission that said my writing was solid but needed more action. I can't tell you how grateful I was (and am) for some constructive criticism. However, I am now questioning the balance between emotion and action in a story. I was told to "get right to it" and "pack a punch" from the beginning. I understand that I write in a slightly meandering fashion. I also understand that I need to pull the reader in immediately. I know how to write a first sentence, a first page that packs that punch. The thing I'm struggling with is keeping the emotional aspects I enjoy writing and reading while still having that punch. What is the balance? I know it's going to be different in each story and even different by genre but every story has to have both. Without emotion you have flat characters. Without some kind of action you aren't moving your story forward. I get this, I agree with this wholeheartedly; but how do you distinguish the balance?

Do any of you struggle with this? If so, have you figured out a way to deal with it?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Teaser Tuesday's - The Gift by Nora Roberts

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 34 of The Gift by Nora Roberts:

He'd strolled down the Left Bank, up Carnaby Street and along the narrow streets of Venice. After a decade of absence he found the walk down Main Street just as fascinating.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

#Nerdlution Week One

This first week of #nerdlution has been a bit of a struggle for me. I suppose that's probably the case whenever one is attempting to improve their habits, though. I've gone from drinking relatively no water per day to fifty ounces per day. Honestly, each day I've had to force myself to drink the last few ounces. It's the knowing that I've made this public commitment that has me drinking the last little bit. It sounds (and reads) a little weird to struggle with something like drinking water but it's simply not easy for me. I'd rather have a coffee or a hot chocolate than a glass of water. I will say, that at the end of week one (and 350 ounces of water!) I feel healthier. Already my skin is less dry and I had less headaches this week.

The sit-ups are definitely challenging in that I can't do the 100 all at one time. I have to do fifty at a time. The last couple of days have been a little harder than the first few because the muscles being worked hurt when I do the sit-ups. But I know that's a good thing and a sign of things working.

Patience. This is where I thought I'd struggle but I have been much more patient this past week. I haven't been perfectly calm by any means but I've handled things that generally annoy me much better. My husband and children have noticed and they're the ones (along with myself, of course) I'm making this change for.

For me, #nerdlution is a success so far. I'm extremely pleased that I came across it on Twitter and decided to join in. I've been telling my family and friends about it and have a few willing to join in the next round. I've told them to join in now and we'll keep one another accountable. I'll let you know if they do.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Bella Andre

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 70 of Bella Andre's Kissing Under the Mistletoe:

When they'd first met yesterday in Union Square, she'd smiled so easily at him. Now her eyes were guarded.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

#Nerdlution Round 1

As some of you may know, I have become a big fan of Twitter and its vast communities. I've posted before about my love and appreciation of #writeclub. Another that I adore is the #writechain challenge (make writing or editing a daily habit).

This weekend I have discovered #nerdlution. For the post introducing it you can go here and read all about it. The idea of #nerdlution is to pick something that you want to improve in your life and make a goal of doing it for fifty days. This round begins tomorrow, December 2nd and runs through January 20, 2014. I know daily practice and habits work! Since beginning the #writechain challenge, I have written every single day for 81 days straight. I know I will continue with this habit because it's just that important to me. I also exercise 4 - 5 times per week. I also end every single day with a book. However, there are some other things I'd like to make daily habits. So I'm going to use this first round of #nerdlution to create some new, healthy habits:

1. I do not drink enough water. So I commit to drinking 50 ounces of water for 50 days straight.

2. I really need to be a more patient person. I commit to actively learning ways and methods of being more patient and implementing them into my life.

3. I do plenty of cardio (and actually like it) but I need sit-ups in my life. I loathe them but will do 100 per day for 50 days.

I think these are all achievable goals and I'm excited to get started with them tomorrow. I will either blog or tweet my progress each day, perhaps even both.