March Round up and Plan for April 2014

Wow, March is over? Where did that go?

Let’s have a look and see how March went:

– I posted every scheduled day (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday).
– I joined the Romance Weekly blog hop.
– I started my third novella! Albeit a week late…
– Finished editing my second novella, The Queen’s Jester, and posted the first snippet of my writing on the blog.
– I had a reading frenzy (for me, anyways) and finished 4 books
.

It was a busy month, felt a bit frantic at times! Hopefully April will bring with it the real start of Spring 🙂

And speaking of April, I better try and set some goals for the month:

3rd April-
Finish first draft of third novella.

4th-6th- Edit manuscript and send to proof-readers.

7th-19th-
Research publishing on Amazon and other e-retailers/Produce covers for all 3 books/Write blurbs/Get an author page set up on Amazon, Goodreads, etc/Get advice on publishing.

18th-21st- Enjoy Easter 😀

22nd- 24th- Finish edits and format books.

30th April– April E-Book Review

End of April- PUBLISH MY BOOKS!

An exciting month, yes, this is the month I am actually going to publish my novellas… hopefully. If everything goes smoothly. Exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time!

I’m not sure on the exact date yet of release, but I will set one and let everyone know just in case anyone is interested!

Have you got any goals for April? Did you meet your goals for March? Do you think we will eventually get Spring?

Progress Report:

Word Count: 3416 (44,481 total word count).

Status of Third Manuscript: Writing first draft.

How you doin’? *eyebrow wiggle*

Attraction. We all feel it towards another. Mine is usually most keenly felt towards most of the cast of The Hobbit, and Bryan Greenberg because, well, they’re hot 😀

But more to the point, I’m thinking of that first moment of attraction, when characters meet and there is that first flush of liking the other due to physical looks.

I’m not a fan of instant-love, but I do like to be realistic, and let’s be honest, when someone is sexy, they’re sexy. You’re gonna notice!

But writing romance has made me realise the different levels and types of attraction that we can feel. I mean on the one hand there is the slight attraction, where you like the other person but not hugely but it’s nice to look at them or be around them. Then, there is the other end of the scale, where your body reacts without permission and you find yourself giggling manically at every word and blushing profusely if they even glance in your direction!

Having characters attracted to each other is great, but I do like the relationships in my books to feel real to the character. One female lead might react one way to finding a man (or woman) attractive, where as another one of my leads might act in a completely different way.

For example, my character in my current novella is in a bit of an awkward situation; her position means she can’t outwardly show that she likes the love interest, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel it. On first meeting, she can’t help but be drawn to this guy who is attractive and unlike any other man she’s met. In a real life situation, I’m figuring that her strong attraction and her want to show it is exactly what would happen, especially if she’s looking for a distraction from events that have already occurred.

It is a historical piece I am writing, and that also makes a difference due to social rules, etc. I mean a woman in Regency times would show her attraction in different ways to someone in, say, Medieval times.

So, it’s a careful balancing act of moving the romance forwards whilst also staying true to character, the events and the time it’s set, but showing the attraction between characters can create some great scenes and that just keep me writing until I’m completely drained with the amount of thudding hearts, butterfly-filled stomachs and fluttering of eyelashes 😀

Do you enjoy writing about the first attraction between characters? Do you like the first meeting? How do you get around showing attraction whilst also keeping to character?

Also, thanks to Catherine, Caffeinated and her incredible post and blog, I have managed to add a contact page under my header, should you ever need it. I figured it’s easier than the sidebar.

Progress Report

Word Count: 7228 (33,345 total word count).

Status of Third Manuscript: Writing first draft.

Match E-Book Review: 100% read. Review written.

Is that tip-tip-tapping of a keyboard I hear?

Even after my proud post where I proclaimed how happy I was to fill an entire notebook, I have succumbed to typing.

Instead of handwriting my next novella, I will be using the modern way and typing it out directly, at least for now. This is due to the fact I was a week late into my schedule when I managed to start it, but also I have written over 20,000 words and am barely a third of the way through.

Yeah, this one is a bit bigger than my others.

And although I am mostly meeting my daily word count goal of 2500, it’s not enough. I need to get out more in order to meet my deadline, and typing allows me to do this.

Yet, even though I am typing and talking about the speed of my work, I don’t want this book to be of lower quality just because I am getting it out quicker.

I may type quick, but what use is that to me if people don’t enjoy my stories for the quality of what is written?

When I handwrite, I usually type up what I wrote the next day to help refresh me on what I wrote but also I edit as I go; I add more detail, find better ways of explaining things, fix sentence structure, check facts, etc, as I type it up. So when I complete my first draft, it has actually undergone one edit already.

So, in order to keep this up, I am planning on typing out my scenes and then the next day, reading over them and editing them, to mimic the process of what I’d normally do to my handwritten stuff. That way, I know that I am still going to be putting down a better first draft then what I normally can when typing.

I mean, obviously, the draft goes through a zillion edits before it’s finished anyway, so I shouldn‘t really worry. But, doing it this way with editing my typed stuff the next day, I can still keep that process whilst also getting out a bigger word count (hopefully) and still meeting my deadline!

Have you ever realised your book is going to be longer than planned? Do you manage to keep to your deadlines?

Progress Report

Word Count: 3098 (26,117 total word count).

Status of Third Manuscript: Writing first draft.

March E-Book Review: 100% read.

One down…

I filled an entire notebook. It was a pretty chunky one too.

notebook

Now I know many of you are probably glancing to your piles of filled notebooks from over the years and thinking, ‘um, ok?’, but to me this is kind of a big deal.

I love stationary, new notebooks, pens etc. So I tend to start new notebooks a lot, never actually finishing them. To fill one completely was rather a nice accomplishment for me. Not just the fact I stuck with one notebook all the way to the end, but also flicking back through it and seeing how much I wrote (it contains practically all of my hand-written first drafts of my first and second novellas) and all the ideas, research and dialogue that I’ve gathered in it. It’s all a bit of a crazy mess, but I can understand it at least… most of the time!

I have to keep the notebook near me, as it does contain lots of reference and things I need for my current novella, and once I finish that it has lots about self-publishing I’ve gathered over a few months, and even starts to the plan for my fourth novella. So, even though I’ve finished it, it’s still going to be carried around everywhere I go 😀

Even though it’s a good thing and I feel really happy about it, it’s kind of a bad thing too.

This notebook had the perfect paper for me to write on.

I just haven’t found another notebook with paper so nice. My pen and that notebook paper just flowed so nicely. And I can’t exactly wander into my local stationary shop, opening notebooks and trying out my pen on their stock (as much as I wish I could 😀 ).

For now I am using a notebook I had to hand, with not so nice paper, but it means I can still write! I wasn’t actually prepared for finishing my notebook, apparently I just thought it would go on forever, so hadn’t planned and bought a new notebook ready.

Even with the loss of my nice paper, I still feel a real sense of accomplishment at filling my notebook and seeing how much I’ve written. It reminded me that I should take pride in the small things like this, it’s not just the big things I should feel great about, why shouldn’t I be happy at the littler things I do?

So, don’t forget to take a step back sometimes, and be proud of even the small things you accomplish 🙂

What small (or big) things have you accomplished lately? Do you have a favourite notebook? Do you keep a notebook at all?

Progress Report

Word Count: 2905 (20,749 total).

Status of Third Manuscript: Writing first draft.

March E-Book: 100% read. Writing review.

Worry much?

So, lately, I’ve been having a bit of a freak out due to the fact I’ve read many articles saying that the only way to make a career as a self-published author is to write series of books, which I don’t.

Now, I try not to let things like this affect me, and so far I’d done pretty well. I like to forge my own path into this career, and learn as I go. But for some reason this got to me recently, maybe it was just the sheer amount of articles that have been around on the subject.

I panicked a bit and suddenly wondered if my books would fail because they’re stand-alones. Then, I started freaking out they wouldn’t sell at all because people wouldn’t like the stories. Then it just became everything I worried about!

It was a bad time for a little while 😀

And that freaking had a huge affect on my writing. Yesterday I was writing my newest novella, and I just couldn’t do it. The writing felt flat, things weren’t going right and it was just all going wrong. And I thought it was because of the story, but I realised it wasn’t.

I was worrying so much about what might happen in my future career of writing and what I was ‘supposed’ to be doing, that I was struggling with writing in the present!

I write stand-alone books, I like them, so I write them. Yes, I have an idea for a series of books later on, but it’s not what I will concentrate on at the moment. For now, I write what I love and write the stories that I have a passion to get onto paper, and I hope that passion comes through and shows through my work.

Series of books are great, and I enjoy reading them, but that doesn’t mean I have to write them just to make a career in self-publishing. Part of the draw to self-publishing for me was the fact I can control my own future, and produce the stories I love and hope people will want to read.

Worrying about what is the ‘best’ way to get ahead is not helping me now. And I don’t want to turn myself into a statistic. I am an individual writer, and what works for others won’t always work for me.

So, basically, the summary of this is not to worry about what others say you should be doing, but to do what you love and what works for you. Freaking out over it definitely does not help you get ahead! 😀

Have you ever worried over something so much it has affected your writing?

Progress Report

Word Count: 5987 (12,098 total)

Status of Third Manuscript: Writing first draft.

March E-book Review: 37% read.

Romance Weekly

RW Banner

Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favourite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

So, here is my second time participating in the Romance Weekly blog hop. Hope your guys enjoy! 😀

1.Who us your favourite author other than yourself in your genre and why?

That’s a difficult question, as I enjoy so many, and write ‘romance‘ as a genre including historical, paranormal, etc.

Probably Mary Balogh, I loved her Mistress series, with it’s all the individual characters each getting their own book and love story. First time I’d ever read a series of books and I couldn’t put them down!

2.What is your favourite book by them and why?

The Secret Mistress was my favourite. I loved the characters, the heroine and hero were so different and I like that the heroine was not ashamed of being a girly-girl. She liked being feminine, and that might her strong in her own right, that was refreshing.

3.What about their style inspires your writing?

The way she describes the dresses. I know it sounds silly 😀 But her descriptions had me in awe at times, the way she could accurately describe a flamboyant dress so well that I could picture it in my head exactly and really want a gown just like it!

So there you go, another blog hop set of questions 😀 Check out J.J. Devine and see who her favourite is 🙂

Who is your favourite author and why? I am always looking for new writers to read!



Progress Report

Word Count: 6111.

Status of Third Manuscript: First draft.

March E-Book Review: 27% read.

We’re Blog Hopping!

So, I’ve been asked to participate in a blog hop by the lovely Elsie Elmore. I had no idea what a blog hop was, but had seen them around, so I have to say a BIG thank you to Elsie for being so patient with me and answering my questions on it 😀

The blog hop is about the creative process and, as most regular readers will know, I take a great interest in this and love to find out how other writers work.

1) What are you working on?

I am currently working on a historical romance piece. It’s a bit different to the other stories I’ve attempted to write before because I am setting it in a real location and time, rather then using a fantasy setting or paranormal setting to base my story in where I can get away with a lot more! 😀

2) How does your work differ from others in its genre?

That’s an interesting question. My writing tends to be quite condensed and concentrated, I focus on what I need to in order to get the story flowing along at a good pace. I’m not very good at bulking out my work by adding anything that seems even a little unnecessary. I think this is why the novella format suits me very well. So my romances tend to be heavily romance focused, but with a sub-plot that brings it all together.

3) Why do you write what you do?

Because I love romance. Who doesn’t? 😀 I enjoy reading about people coming together against all odds, or two people finding themselves under amazing circumstances. I enjoy the relationships and how they grow, and all the passion and sweetness that goes with it. The characters are what make a story great, and I think romance is one of the best and most interesting ways that show off characters, as it includes so much honest and intense interaction.

4) How does your writing process work?

I tend to start with a small idea which will usually quickly grow until I am frantically writing it down so as I don’t forget it! I keep all my ideas in a notebook and when I choose one, I usually write a very short summary of how I want it to be, just the beginning, middle and end. Then I work it up to a bit bigger of a summary, including characters. Then again I work it up to an even more detailed summary, adding scenes I definitely want, how the characters will evolve etc. Finally I work it up into a scene by scene plan so as I know everything that is going to happen.

My writing process is slightly odd in that I don’t write the scenes in order, I write them as I feel like. That’s why I need such a strict plan of scenes, so as when I randomly write about something happening in the middle of my story, I know exactly what’s happened before and what is yet to come and it all links up perfectly.

So there you have it. A glimpse into the way I work 😀 I hope you enjoyed it!

Check out the other author joining the hop:

chris-2
Chris grew up in Independence, MO. He attended college at Truman State University where he pursued his loves of theater, music, and the written word. Now, he makes his home in Kansas City, MO with his wife Christy and their four cats.

Aside from writing feverishly, he is an avid supporter of the Kansas City burlesque, performance, and arts communities. He is an occasional emcee, outspoken supporter of LGBTQ equality, pogonophile, and King of the Nerds. No, you didn’t vote for him; that’s why he’s king, not president.”

Links:
Website/blog: http://arnonechristopher.wix.com/chrismarnone
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-M-Arnone/212362302170417?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisMArnone
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6971044.Chris_M_Arnone
Tumblr: http://chrismarnone.tumblr.com/

Overcoming Fear with Passion!

I have to admit something.

Doing research for a historical novella made me scared.

This will be the first story I’ve ever set in a real time period and place, and obviously, I want to get it right!

But the nervousness to get it right was hampering my ability to plan my next novella. I realised it last week when I was trying to write out my plan and I just got completely stuck. I was so worried about getting it wrong.

Then yesterday, when the sun was shining for the first time in what felt like years, I just wrote my plan. Just sat down and did it. This story is one I have been wanting to get out for a couple of years and just because it’s set somewhere historical shouldn’t make me freeze up.

I love writing and telling my stories too much for it to stop me.

Yes, there is a lot of research, and yes, I want it to feel real, but I am determined not to let that worry me from getting out this story which I am so passionate to tell!

So, I managed to finish about 90% of my plan yesterday and found some old books I had which were perfect to help me in my research. I was amazed at how much doing research helped with my plan. I found snippets of information which inspired whole new scenes in my story, and some bits of info that made some of my more difficult parts come together easily!

I realised I should never feel scared to write what I want to. If there is a story I want to tell and it’s set somewhere real or historical or even fantasy, as long I research and learn enough, why shouldn’t I tell it? 🙂 I did hit a bit of a brick wall from the fear of getting it ‘wrong’, but once I let that go in favour of wanting to tell my story more, things started to fall into place!

Now I realise I shouldn’t be scared of research but embrace it. Plus, I have been absolutely loving learning about the time period my next novella is set in. I love history in general, and immersing myself into this ancient world has been a fascinating and exciting process!

So, if you are ever worried about a story being set somewhere or in some time that you are unsure about, don’t be! The love of story-telling and writing is worth getting over that fear for, trust me. And you might just surprise yourself 😀

I am planning on writing a post about my research process at some point, maybe it might help someone. But that won’t be until later. Today I am off to edit my second novella, as I have received all my manuscripts back from the proof-readers! (I’m already behind in my plan for March!).

Have you ever been put off writing a story because of setting or because of something you were unsure of? Have you ever gotten over a fear because you love what you want to do more than being worried?

Progress Report

Status of Second Manuscript: Editing.

March E-Book review: Choosing book.

Liebster Award :)

I’ve been nominated for a few awards over the past couple of weeks and am so grateful. I am going to do them over a few posts throughout this month.

I find these blog awards really quite invaluable in the world of blogging. I think it’s a lovely way of letting others know you enjoy their blogs, but also to link to other bloggers and help encourage readers to visit the blogs I find amazing!

Liebster Award

Liebster

Caffe Maggieato was super kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster award! Thank you very much 😀 Check out her blog for more amazing posts!

Rules (Following Caffe Maggieato’s modified ones):

-Each nominee should link back to the person who nominated them.
-Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
-Nominate 5-11 other bloggers for this award who have less than 400 followers.
-Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
-Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them

Questions:

1. Which fictional character do you most identify with and why?

Wow, toughie! There are so many characters I feel I identify with, but I guess Mary Bennett, from Pride and Prejudice. Kinda weird, I know! 😀 But I feel for her, and understand her. She’s just trying to get by in life in a role that suits her, but maybe wants a bit more. She’s not the pretty one, or the fun one, she’s just her and she can’t help that and she doesn’t really have the capacity to change it.

2. In another life, what would you be doing, if not writing?

Gardening, probably. I love gardening, and I did want to start my own business in it, but unfortunately didn’t have the money. I’m kind of glad now though, because I think working at gardening would have made me too tired and burnt out to enjoy my own garden after looking after other people’s! 😀

3. Would you rather have a slow painful death by terminal disease or a quick death by accident?

Definitely quick death by accident.

4. Your books are a big hit. Would you rather see it as a: (pick one only) movie, TV series, computer game, or a Broadway show? Why?

Ooohhh, probably a movie, though I wouldn‘t mind Bioware changing it to a game. My books are not series of books, and suit a more defined story in one go. I also tend to try and see my book playing as a movie in my head as I write, so I’d already know how I wanted it to be!

5. Admit it, you already have a dream cast in mind. Who are they?

Hm, what a great question, lots of fun 😀

So for my second novella:

– King Warrick- Bryan Greenberg (Though this guy would be in every one of my movie adaptations somewhere because, well, he’s gorgeous! :D)
– Queen Marie- Bryce Dallas-Howard
– The Jester- Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

6. Any part(s) in your manuscript(s) you’ve been embarrassed to let your family/friends read?

This second novella has some rather steamy moments in it. I wasn’t embarrassed about it because it was nothing explicit, I was just worried it might read a bit awkward as writing that kind of thing isn’t my forte.

7. Was there ever a book you just couldn’t finish? Why not?

‘Odalisque’ by Fiona Mcintosh. I really tried. There was nothing essentially wrong with it, I guess it just didn’t suit me at all.

8. What is the one thing you would never, ever let your characters do?

Harm animals, I don’t like it, I wouldn’t write it.

9. What do you think is the most underrated book/movie?

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Nicholas Cage. It was a great movie, funny and family-fun, not sure why people didn’t enjoy it more 😀

10. Do you prefer happy endings or tragic ones? Why?

Happy endings. I need them. I can’t struggle through an entire book/movie and be with the characters through ups and downs only for it to end badly. I realise that most of the time, that is reality, that things don’t end well. But I don’t read books or watch movies for reality, I do that to escape to a place where things will turn out right and give me a warm, fuzzy feeling 😀

So, now onto nominees. I hope you find some new blogs to read and enjoy!

Brennan Reid
Shehanne Moore
Daydreaming in Words
Permashift
Darla G. Denton

And my questions for them (if they want to participate) are:

1. Who is your favourite author and why?
2. Do you have a favourite type of character?
3. Is there a part of writing that you struggle with and want to improve?
4. Apart from writing, what are you most passionate about?
5. Favourite colour? 😀
6. Are you currently working on anything? e.g. Novel, novella, short story, poem, etc.
7. Do you remember your favourite childhood book?
8. Have you ever cried over a book? If so, which one?
9. Your favourite song of the moment?
10. Is there anything you do particularly to get inspiration for writing?

Well, there you go! If you fancy answering the questions anyway, please do so either in the comments or on a post of your own and link back 🙂 I always love to learn more about fellow bloggers and writers!

Progress Report

Status of Second Manuscript: 2 our of 3 copies back from proof-readers.

March E-Book Review: Choosing book. I’m thinking a proper romance this time! 😀

Our Leading Ladies

A post over at Inkspelled Faery got me thinking today about my female leads. Granted, I have only written two novellas so far, but over the years I have written many stories with many different leading ladies.

I do my best to fit my characters into the world they live in and develop them in a way that would suit their surroundings. In my second novella my female lead, Marie, is from a privileged family in medieval-themed times. She wanted for nothing, got everything she wanted and has never had to lift a finger in her life to do anything. So, thinking of that, I tried to make her personality reflect this: she is a little proud, knows her own mind and is not afraid of speaking it. But she is also not cruel or overly ‘feisty’ in any way. She can’t fight, she wasn’t allowed to help in politics etc, because that time period didn’t allow it.

In my stories, I do my best to make my characters feel real for the setting. High-status women in medieval times rarely disputed arranged marriages, because they were brought up knowing that was their fate. They may not have liked it, but they knew it would happen. They weren’t taught to fight like men, or act like men. So, my female lead doesn’t act that way. Yet, I hope she is a strong female for the other traits I have given her.

Now, having said all of that, my next novella’s heroine will be a woman of physical strength and skill as well as personal ones. It is going to be a historical story, based in a real setting in a real time period but the character will not be of her time. She never would have existed because women never acted the way she is going to. But it’s a story and the story focuses on having her act this way, after all, stories are for fun 😀

But still, how can I make her read like she existed in this time?

It is going to be a great and fun challenge. This story is one I have had in my head for a couple of years, and was originally going to be a comic. Now though, it is turning into a novella and I am super excited! I have never truly written a warrior-woman before, and never a truly historical story either.

I guess what I was trying to get across in this post was, I like my leading ladies to feel real. Warrior women, princesses, modern business women… no matter who they are I want them to read as though they’ve grown in the environment they’re set in, even if they don’t conform to the norm of that time.

Some women may be able to brandish a weapon better than a man, but that doesn‘t have to be the only way to show her strength or force of character. She doesn’t always have argue or get angry every time things don’t go her way to show that she is strong; adapting to circumstances we can’t control or go against what we wish is another great strength in personality.

And, yes, even the strongest of women sometimes have a damsel-in-distress moment. That doesn’t make them weak, it makes them real. Think of Elizabeth Bennett, a great female lead who is independent and strong, but who accepts the help of Darcy when she needs it without compromising any of her strength or personality!

Do you have a favourite female lead? What is your current female lead you’re writing like? I’d love to her what she’s like 🙂 (If you’re writing one).

Progress Report

Status of Second Manuscript: With proof-readers (1 out of 3 returned).

March E-Book Review: Choosing book.