Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Month-End Update: July 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 WinnerJuly marked the first month with my revised goals and author vision. As you might remember from my June month-end update, I took 2017’s halfway mark to reevaluate my New Year’s resolutions, as well as consider who I am as an author and what I want for my independent publishing business.

These changes, combined with the fact that July was a book launch preparation month, have helped me focus on what’s really important. As silly as it might sound (and as invisible as it might be from the outside), I feel a new sense of purpose and maturity with my business.

However, now that The Tyrant’s Heir (Desertera #3) is all-but ready for publication, I’m also feeling a little lost. Yes, I have a massive to-do list to tackle (as always!), but I’m also standing at a proverbial crossroads. Should I finally start the new series I’ve been daydreaming about for months? Should I dive right back into Desertera and begin the fourth book? Should I take a creative break and focus on marketing for a while?

I’m not sure what I’ll do, but I know I’ll have fun figuring it out! For now, let’s take a look back at July – aka Camp NaNoWrimo #2.

Writing & Publishing

Main goals:
Create five days a week – doing really well
Edit The Tyrant’s Heir (Desertera #3) – done!
Publish The Tyrant’s Heir (Desertera #3) – on track

Technically, I won Camp NaNoWriMo by completing over 31 hours of “author work.” While I wanted to split my time between finalizing The Tyrant’s Heir (Desertera #3) and creating a Desertera short story for my Reader List, I ended up working solely on the book launch. But, it’s all good news. Readers will get the third book on August 8, and my Reader List subscribers will receive their bonus short story in a month or so. Everyone wins!


Main goals:
Make $2,000 from Boxthorn Press – catching up
Create short story for my Reader List – in progress
Blog once per week – on track
Read 52 books this year – catching up!

The “business” side took a backseat to publishing this past month. However, since I wasn’t working on my own writing, I took time to read a few books written by my author friends, and I hope to read more this month. Another big August goal? Officially deciding on my next writing project!

Books Read:
Deceived by Heena Rathore P.
The Gate Guardian’s Daughter by K.T. Munson
A Bhikku’s Tale by David R. Jordan
Cemetery Shift (Cheston Chronicles #1) by Nina del Arce

Book in Progress:
Friend or Foe: A MenoPausal Superhero Short Story Collection by Samantha Bryant
Face the Change (Menopausal Superheroes #3) by Samantha Bryant
Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee


Main Goals:
Work on positivity – great!
Exercise 3x per week – doing a little better
Break a bad habit – on track
Recoup savings post-Yale – I’d say we’re nearly there!

As you might remember, I’m (kind of) in the middle of a cross-country move, and Daniel (the hubby) is adjusting to his new Ph.D. program. Despite these rather drastic changes, my personal goals remain strong. If the last few years of moving and post-university”adulting” have taught me anything, it’s to take life as it comes and appreciate the present moment. Now, if only I could be as wise about exercising …

Goals for August
Publish The Tyrant’s Heir (Desertera #3)
Write Desertera short story for my Reader List
Decide on and begin my next book project

How did my fellow NaNoWriMo campers fare? What are your goals for August? Share in the comments!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Month-End Update: April 2017

Well, I’m back from Camp NaNoWriMo, covered in bug bites and stuffed to the brim with smores. While I didn’t win (darn it!), I did add nearly 40,000 words to my draft of Desertera #3. This puts me well on the way to done, and I should have the manuscript wrapped up over the next week or two.

To be honest, most of April is a blur. Specifically, a blur of Scrivener documents, penciled outlines, and story discussions with my alpha reader. Still, I managed to sneak in a little bit of fun. In preparation of my husband’s graduation from Yale, we’ve started a taste tour of local restaurants and have had many fun double dates and friends’ nights.

It’s definitely been a challenge to balance writing, business, my day job, and my social life, but I’m doing my best. That’s all any of us can do, right? As for May, the first half (and a bit) will be focused on getting Desertera #3 to the editor. Over the second half, I’ll be celebrating my husband’s graduation and spending time all around New England with him and our parents. It should be a lovely (and well deserved) break!

Writing & Publishing

Main goals:
Create five days a week – back on track!
Write Desertera #3 – almost done!

Thanks to the pressure of Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve made fantastic progress on my manuscript of Desertera #3. My main goal this month will be finishing it up and completing the necessary content edits before it goes to the professional editor in the middle of the month. Because I’ve been editing as I write, this process should be pretty easy!


Main goals:
Make $2,000 from Boxthorn Press – catching up
Blog twice per week – slightly behind
Maintain social media schedule – slightly behind
Read 52 books this year – slightly behind

As tends to be my pattern, I struggled with balancing my writing and other business activities. However, I did blog at least once a week, and I did participate in two separate marketing events. Given my editing deadline and upcoming personal commitments, I anticipate more unevenness this month. Luckily, I should have plenty of time to get caught up in this area over the summer.

Books Read:

Book in Progress: Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee


Main Goals:
Work on positivity – great!
Exercise 3x per week – better than zero
Break a bad habit – on track
Make post-Yale plan – pretty much done

Even with all the craziness and uncertainty coming up, I’ve stayed in positive spirits and haven’t fallen back into bad habits. Most excitingly, my husband and I have made our plan for after his graduation from Yale, and while we still have a few minor details to iron out, we’re in good shape for our short- and mid-term future. We’ve also planned two fun mini-vacations for the end of the month, so watch my Instagram for photos!

Goals for May
Send Desertera #3 to my editor
Enjoy our post-graduation mini-vacations
Keep refining my balance between writing and other responsibilities

How did my fellow NaNoWriMo campers fare? Any exciting plans for May? Share in the comments!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Month-End Update: March 2017

March has put me in a difficult position for my monthly update. I have two steadfast rules for my website: I try to be completely honest and transparent, and I try to be positive and encouraging. Balancing the two will be tough for this post, so please forgive me if it’s a bit of a downer.

This month, my grandpa passed away after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. This came only two and a half months after another family death, a horrible, unexpected tragedy that occurred two days after Christmas. While my grandpa’s death wasn’t unexpected (his health had been declining rapidly over the past year), it was still difficult to watch my family go through it from 2,000 miles away (I was home at Christmas). I already feel a great deal of guilt about living so far away from home (even temporarily) and this experience brought all that negativity to the forefront. Fortunately, I was able to say goodbye over the phone and travel home to attend the celebration of life.

Why am I telling you this? Because I learned a few valuable lessons this month that might help you, too.

First, there’s a difference between procrastination and needing time off writing. Even with all this heartache, I still felt guilty about abandoning my writing while grieving. It took a very loving, and appropriately stern, talk from my husband to help me realize that sometimes it’s important to give yourself a break. If you need that permission, here it is: sometimes other aspects of life trump writing; get through them so you can get back to your craft.

Second, I realized how thankful I am to be alive and in my life. My grandpa went into hospice care on my 25th birthday, and the collision of these events forced me to take a hard look at my situation. All I could come up with was gratitude — for my health, for the end of his suffering, and for the fact that, out of all the grandpas in the world, he was mine. The lesson? When tragedy comes to you, focus on the good.

Last, story is powerful. At my grandpa’s celebration of life, several friends and family members shared stories about him and what he had meant to them. Not only did this pay tribute to him, but it proved just how significant storytelling is. As writers, even of fiction, we bring real-life experiences and pieces of real people into our work. We give escape. We offer connection. We grant immortality. I have never been so proud to be a storyteller as I was that night.

All that being said, it won’t be a surprise that March was an unproductive month. Therefore, I’ll keep the rest of the update short and sweet. As always, I would love your comments, but please don’t feel obligated to mention my loss. I didn’t share for pity or compassion, only to share those writing lessons.

And for April? I’ll be diving headfirst into Camp NaNoWriMo to get my draft of Desertera #3 back on track. With a few other promotions lined up, it’s going to be a very busy month, but I’m looking forward to it. At least in Desertera, the only problems belong to my characters!

Writing & Publishing

Main goals:
Create five days a week – behind
Write Desertera #3 – behind

Time to get caught up!


Main goals:
Make $2,000 from Boxthorn Press – catching up
Blog twice per week – on track
Maintain social media schedule – slightly behind
Read 52 books this year – catching up

In positive news, my husband went home to visit friends and family in Australia, and delivered several signed paperbacks. To my surprise, they bought up all the copies of The Courtesan’s Avenger I had left–so I actually had a decent month from a financial perspective. The blog stayed on track, thanks to my scheduling ahead and a few announcements and guest posts. I let social media fall to the wayside, but I did do a little extra reading to distract myself from everything, so that was good!

Books Read:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10, Volume 1 by Christos Gage — 5 stars (maybe my favorite Buffy comic yet!)
Angel & Faith: Season 10, Volume 1 by Victor Gischler — 4 stars
Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England by Elizabeth Reis — 5 stars
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood — 5 stars (totally lives up to the hype!)
Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft by Paul S. Boyer — 4 stars

Book in Progress: None right now!

Next Up: Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee


Main Goals:
Work on positivity – surprisingly, still good!
Exercise 3x per week – um…
Break a bad habit – on track
Make post-Yale plan – coming along well

As I shared in my lessons above, I’ve made an effort to stay positive, and it’s really paying off. My husband and I are also making great progress with our plans for after he graduates from Yale … though at the expense of the gym!

Goals for April
Continue drafting Desertera #3
Participate in the Brains to Books Cyber Convention this weekend (April 7, 8, 9) — (Sci-Fi fans – join the Facebook group here!)
Keep refining my balance between writing and other responsibilities

How did March treat you? Will you be heading off to Camp NaNoWriMo this April? Share in the comments!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Month-End Update: July 2016

Wow. As I recap July, I feel like these mere 31 days were two months instead of one. For the first 20 days, Daniel was in Australia visiting his family. I eased my loneliness by working my ass off, putting in extra hours to write, revise, and do all the little things that come with being an authorpreneur. And then I got on a plane to Australia to join Daniel…

…and promptly did zero author work for the final 11 days of the month. A much-needed rest that has left me feeling a bit disoriented as I head into August (aka the final march toward the publication of Desertera #2!). Here are my notes on what I accomplished in July and my goals for the coming month:


  • Blog Posts Written 7 (and two reblogs)
  • Fiction Words Written  0
  • # of Days I Wrote Fiction  0
  • Nonfiction Prompts Written 100 prompts (plus front/back matter material)
  • # of Days I Wrote Nonfiction 8
  • Outlines Written –  1 (100 Science Fiction Writing Prompts)
  • Days Without Writing and/or Editing 13 (thank you, Australia!)


  • Drafts Revised Line Edit of Desertera #2
  • # of Days I Revised  10


*Remember, I review every book I read on my Goodreads page.

Author Business Activities

Goals for August

This month is all about getting Desertera #2 ready for publication in September!

  • Finish line editing and proofreading
  • Finish cover design process
  • Format for ebook and paperback
  • Set up preorder on online retailers

I also plan to write and publish 100 Science Fiction Writing Prompts (Fiction Ideas Vol. 8).

What did you accomplish in July? If you participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, did you meet your goal? What are your plans for August? Share below!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

SPECIAL Month-End Update: June 2016

To mark the halfway point of 2016, I’ve got a special month-end update today. In the first part, I’ll do the usual June recap. Some highlights? Desertera #2 is finally with the line editor, and 100 Action & Adventure Writing Prompts (Fiction Ideas Vol. 6) is published AND FREE through tomorrow.

In the second part, I’ll be catching you (and myself!) up with my New Year’s Resolutions. My biggest accomplishment? *knock on wood* I’ve only had ONE major migraine attack this year! I never thought I’d hit that goal, and I’m incredibly thankful they’ve mostly subsided.

Before you dive into all the bullet points, I want to highlight three exciting July activities.

Brain to Books Generic Posts (1)First, today is Indie Pride Day! Check out this Book Blast hosted by Angela B. Chrysler to find some awesome independent authors and books (myself, included!).

Second, tomorrow I’ll be hosting the Fire & Lies Goodreads takeover. Head over at 3 P.M. Eastern U.S. time to chat science fiction and fantasy and enter to win a FREE ebook copy of The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) – OR Desertera #2, if you’ve already read TCD.

Last, this month I’ll be unveiling the title of Desertera #2. Since I’ve put it off so long, I’ve decided to make an even bigger deal out of it and run a contest! Stay tuned for details (and chances to win advance review or signed copies of Desertera #2)!

June Update


  • Blog Posts Written — 7 (and one reblog)
  • Fiction Words Written — 0
  • # of Days I Wrote Fiction — 0
  • Nonfiction Prompts Written — 100 prompts (plus front/back matter material)
  • # of Days I Wrote Nonfiction — 7
  • Outlines Written — 0
  • Days Without Writing and/or Editing — 13


  • Drafts Revised — Content Edit of Desertera #2 (plus a quick second pass)
  • # of Days I Revised — 10


*Remember, I review every book I read on my Goodreads page.

Author Business Activities

Goals for July

I’ve got a few exciting things planned for July — I’d stay close if I were you!

  • Announce Desertera #2‘s title with a contest!
  • Complete all line editing for Desertera #2 (pending editor’s schedule)
  • Cover design for Desertera #2
  • Write and publish my next creative writing prompts booklet
  • An author interview on Kate Evans’s website
  • Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo
  • Participate in the Indie Pride Day Book Blast (today!)
  • Participate in the Fire & Lies Goodreads takeover (tomorrow!)

New Year’s Resolutions

So far, I’m on track to hit my goal of 50% of my resolutions. As a quick refresher — our family tradition is to make one resolution for each year of your age. Therefore, I try to shoot for the stars and at least hit the moon!

My difficult code: E (easy), C (challenging), DD (damn difficult), LOL (…yeah…)


1. Write five days a week (C, but based on past experience, LOL) – If by “write,” I mean draft OR edit, then I think I’m on track.

2. Finish Desertera #2 (E)

3. Publish Desertera #2 (C) – On track!

4. Write Desertera #3 (DD) – On track!

5. Publish Desertera #3 (DD) – Not happening

6. Write a book for fun (LOL) – I repeat: LOL.

7. Write all nonfiction booklets (E) – On track!

8. Publish all nonfiction booklets (E) – On track!

9. Publish nonfiction compilation (C) – On track!


10. Publish two blog posts per week (C) – On track!

11. Read 50 books (C) – Way ahead!!!

12. Make $1,000 from my author business (C, maybe DD) – Still possible with the upcoming book launch

13. Adhere to my marketing plan (C) – More or less, need to re-evaluate

14. Send two email newsletters per month (C) – Doing it!

15. Update my author website/platform (revise each quarter) (E) – Check!


16. Keep Daniel and myself student loan free (DD) – WOOT!

17. Keep migraines to one per month (or less!) (DD) – DOUBLE WOOT!

18. Exercise for 30 minutes, 3 days a week (LOL) – Hahahaha.

19. Record my three daily gratitudes (C) – Yup!

20. Visit a new state (E) Rhode Island & Massachusetts

21. Go to the 9/11 Memorial in NYC (E) – Hopefully this fall

22. Visit home (summer) (C) – Tickets booked!

23. Visit home (Christmas) (E) – Tickets booked!

Who else has accomplishments to share from June? How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along? What are your plans for the rest of 2016?