Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Mid-Month Check-In: July 2015

Hello fellow writers, readers, and Camp NaNoWriMo campers! I hope your July is going swimmingly. Mine is flying by, as this entire year has seemed to do, and I can hardly believe that Daniel and I are only about two weeks away from our move to New Haven. I have a lot on my plate, both professionally and personally, and it’s been a bit overwhelming. I like to think that I’m handling it all with grace and keeping a decent balance, but then again, I’m pretty biased and can’t be trusted. I’ll let you all judge for yourselves!

For a quick refresher on all the goals I’m working on this year, check out my 2015 resolutions (half of which I should probably just throw out the window at this point!).

WRITING

grootAs tends to be my fate, my original July Camp NaNoWriMo plan was derailed from the beginning. However, instead of abandoning the event all together, I decided to change my goal. This month, my primary goal is performing the line edit revisions for The Cogsmith’s DaughterThe manuscript is sitting at about 92,000 words, and as of this writing, I’m about 47,000 into the manuscript. So only a little behind.

My secondary Camp NaNoWriMo goal is to write roughly 8,000 words on the sequel to The Cogsmith’s Daughter, which puts me at an even 100,000 words. It’s a bit ambitious, I’ll admit. Therefore, I’m allowing myself to chop this secondary goal before “winning” begins if I think I won’t be able to handle anything beyond the line edits.

With all of this work and the great migration, I’m allowing myself to take some focus off of the blog. Therefore, for the last week of July and first of August, I’m handing my blog over to some of my favorite writers and readers for guest posts. If you’re interested, you can read my “ad” HERE.

BUSINESS

The business side of my indie publishing career is currently rather quiet. After all, I’ve got a LOT of editing to do. However, I have taken two very exciting steps.

First, I calculated my break-even point for Boxthorn Press. I did this by adding my total business investment (general business expenses AND book production costs) as well as deciding on the prices of my books and figuring the expected royalties I will receive from each retailer. I now know the exact number of copies I need to sell on each retailer to break even. Obviously, my actual sales will be a combination of retailers, but I at least know which ones will create the greatest profit and the general number of books I need to sell.

Second, I drafted my marketing plan. Essentially, this consisted of brainstorming every way I could market my book and then determining which ones are worth my time, how to perform them, and the expected return on investment. I’ve decided to go for a long-term approach, implementing a few strategies a week to (hopefully) steadily build up the book.

MARITAL

Daniel, Thomas, and I are about two weeks away from our big move. We’ve got all our ducks in a row, it’s just a matter of conquering the packing and other to-do list items. We’re also trying to be as social as possible and spend as much time with friends and family as we can before we move. I’m very proud of us for how well we’re handling all the details and for being so strategic with our finances. It’s going to be a challenging adventure, but I know we’ve got this!

exerciseHEALTH/WELLNESS

As in previous months, my health and wellness goals are about 50/50. I’m doing better about eating healthy and actively trying to keep a positive mindset amidst all the change. However, I have not been exercising enough (this month’s excuse is the rain and the heat), and I had a killer migraine this week. Daniel and I are hoping to be better about exercise when we move and have access to Yale’s gym. Then again, we’ll also have Netflix, so…

Okay, I better get back to the editing grind. Have a lovely rest of July, everyone! I can’t wait to share with you all the inspiring guest posts I have lined up and all the exciting news from the move!

For more updates, sneak peaks at The Cogsmith’s Daughter as I revise it, and to be considered as a beta reader for book two, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE.


How are your new year’s resolutions going? Have you been keeping up with your own writing goals? Share your progress and/or commiserate as needed!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Mid-Month Check-In: June 2015

I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that it is June. This is ridiculous. The first half of this month has flown by, and I feel like I have not done hardly anything productive. However, it’s been nice to slow down the pace for a while and catch my breath. Hopefully, I can kick it back into high gear for the second half of the month and make some solid progress while I wait for my edits to come back.

For a quick refresher on all the goals I’m working on this year, check out my 2015 resolutions.

WRITING

I have submitted my revised manuscript of The Cogsmith’s Daughter to my line editor. I should have the initial line edits back in two to three weeks. After that, my line editor and I will bounce the changes back and forth until we reach consensus on all revisions. If this process goes as smoothly as my content edit/revisions, I expect to be a very productive and happy author!

fortune
I’m taking this fortune as a good sign!

As to new writing, I have begun working on an outline and story beats for Desertera #2. I know where I want the book to begin and end, it’s just a matter of filling in the middle. I’m hoping to have this draft done by NaNoWriMo (November), so I can start a new project then.

I’m noticing that my blog has taken a hit as my priorities change. I’m still trying to reach my goal of three posts a week, but I’m also realizing that I need to start shifting my attention to preparing for impending release of The Cogsmith’s Daughter. It’s interesting to see how my juggling acts have changed over the last ten months.

BUSINESS

Much to my relief, I was able to secure the perfect business logo and officially introduce Boxthorn Press to all of you. Now that this is done, my main business goals revolve around creating a production, distribution, and marketing plan for the release of The Cogsmith’s Daughter.

As for reading, I’m finally diving back into my uber long book review list. At this point, I have enough requests to last me through at least October. While I am still accepting some requests, I believe I am going to stop a month or so before The Cogsmith’s Daughter launches. Once it is out in the world, I simply will not have time anymore. (If you’ve been thinking about offering book reviews, or want more insight into my reasoning for quitting, read this post about the pros and cons of offering book reviews.)

MARITAL

1509962_10206002837208669_7242238809390527700_nDaniel and I are still preparing for our big move to New Haven. Only about a month and a half left! Honestly, I’ve been ignoring that to-do list, because it is incredibly overwhelming. However, exciting news — we have secured our apartment, and the best part is — Thomas can come with us! Animal parents will know just how relieved and happy this makes me.

HEALTH/WELLNESS

With how much time I have spent working on my author business, my exercise has plummeted. I still do the weekly class my work offers, but that is about it. Likewise, I’m trying to get back to eating healthier. Migraines are averaging about 1-2 a month, and some of them have been less severe than normal, but I’m still working on eliminating them completely. (Maybe getting off my butt and reducing the ice cream intake would help with that, huh?)

Okay, that’s enough accountability for me today. I hope the rest of you are having a productive and fulfilling June!

For more updates, sneak peaks at The Cogsmith’s Daughter as I revise it, and to be considered as a beta reader for book two, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE.


How are your new year’s resolutions going? Have you been keeping up with your own writing goals? Share your progress and/or commiserate as needed!

Fiction Blog, Writing Samples

For the Love of Coffee (A Mostly-Fictional Short)

Recently, I received an ominous Facebook message from Jonas Lee, a friend and fellow author. It read: Describe that first cup of coffee in blind man’s detail. This is your daily challenge 🙂 Okay, the smiley face ruins some of the menace. Now, I’m not normally one to take on writing challenges. A) I generally stumble upon them at times that are not conducive to writing and then promptly forget about them. B) I am incredibly insecure about putting “unedited” or “free-” (as in free-thought, not $0) writing out there in the world, because I do not want people judging me based on something I just slapped together in a creative frenzy. But coffee? Surely a writer must jump at the chance to muse on coffee! Ha! I hate coffee. In fact, that silky whore and I have a score to settle… The following is a slightly fictionalized, mostly exaggerated account of my daily interactions with coffee.


My husband crawls out of bed at six-thirty a.m. He knows the shifting weight will probably wake me. Even if it does not, he knows his heavy footsteps, shaking the floor like thunder rattles windows, definitely will. But he doesn’t care. He needs her. Now.

As I leave the warmth of our bed and get ready for the day, I hear her begin to stir. A soft gurgle, a steady babble, a short beep. Her mating call. When I tiptoe to the stairs, her scent greets me at the top. It is the only thing I like about her –natural, nutty, a hint of spice. The aroma grows stronger with every step I take, until finally, at the bottom of the stairs, I can feel it tingle my lungs.

My husband is sitting on a stool, having his way with her on the kitchen counter. His lips press around the edge of his mug, letting her slither over his tongue and slide into his gut. At first, the sight repulses me, reminding me of my few tastes of coffee. Water, flat milk, ground plant –mixed together to create something that, contrary to the barista’s smirking insistence, tasted nothing like chocolate.

Upon a second look, I wonder what my husband tastes. The steam has fogged the bottom half of his glasses, but I can see that his eyes are closed, his hands cradling the mug. A moan escapes his lips, guttural, animal. We don’t call coffee his “mistress” for nothing.

Opening his eyes, he notices my presence in the kitchen and smiles, motioning for me to come closer. I obey, holding in air to avoid his sour breath. He kisses me, and when he pulls away, instinct makes me lick my lips. Her taste lingers in his kiss. Bitter.

We say our goodbyes, me rattling off a honey-do list — Call the leasing agent, Make your doctor’s appointment, Write your grandmother — and him reassuring me — I’ve got this, Have a good day, I’ll have dinner waiting for you.

When he wanders back upstairs, refilled mug in hand, I grab a pen and sticky note. I know that I can never replace her. Caffeine is a drug, and I am merely a woman. But I also know that, while she may warm his stomach and awaken his brain, only I can touch his heart. Today, my touch will begin with a smile, sparked by a poem, stuck to the coffee pot.

I want to be your sugar

crystals melted on your tongue

sprinkled in your coffee

black

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Mid-Month Check-In: May 2015

I don’t know about where the rest of you live, but it has been pouring  in Kansas for over a week. I guess Mother Nature missed the memo that April showers are supposed to bring May flowers. Luckily for her, I like the rain. It’s incredibly relaxing to me, and I get so much more done when I’m stuck inside. So far, May has been pretty relaxed on all fronts, which has been nice. I’m just chipping away at all my little goals, one by one!

For a quick refresher on all the goals I’m working on this year, check out my 2015 resolutions.

WRITING

In April, I officially learned that I can not be poly-manuscript-ist. I have to focus on one story at a time. Therefore, all of my writing time has been devoted to the content revision of The Cogsmith’s Daughter. Thanks to my wonderful content editor and generous beta readers, I have a lot of great feedback, and I really think this revision will take the draft from a 3 star book to 4/5 star book! The next draft is due to my line editor on June 10, so wish me luck!

On the blogging front, I’ve come up with a schedule that I really like — posting every other day. Next, I want to begin diversifying my posts. While I love writing about writing/publishing and passing on the lessons from my journey so far to help other writers, I’m getting a bit bored of it. Plus, I know my readers (whom I hope to start having in late summer/early autumn) don’t necessarily care about these topics. I’m also attempting to move into vlogging, but I’m at a technological stalemate with my devices right now.

BUSINESS

Business productivity has leveled off. The main goal for this month is to obtain a business logo that can be featured on my website, business cards, and of course, books. My first attempt at getting a logo was through Fiverr, and the experience was a disaster. Long story short, the designer attempted to use a copyrighted image in my logo. Currently, I’m following a few leads and checking out designers on Etsy. However, if anyone has an graphic design skills or connections, I’m still open to more options!

As for reading, I’m doing a poor job of getting through my book review list. Again, my apologies. Currently, my limited reading time is taken up by books I must read for my work. While I do enjoy them, I’m missing my fiction time.

MARITAL

I posted on my personal Facebook the other day that “If one more thing in my life were up-in-the-air, it would be a balloon.” And it’s true. Daniel and I are in the process of apartment hunting, job hunting, and doing everything else that goes with moving across the country. However, despite the stress of it all, we are enjoying the research and the new adventure on the horizon. I hope to have some good news on these fronts to share with you all soon!

HEALTH/WELLNESS

I’ve been eating relatively healthy, but with Daniel now working some evenings, we haven’t been exercising as much as normal. Likewise, with the stress of the impending move and revision demands, I have experienced a couple migraines in the past month. However, I am trying to remain optimistic and keep up with my gratitudes.

Okay, that’s all I have for you guys today. May the rest of your May be productive and positive!

For more updates, sneak peaks at The Cogsmith’s Daughter as I revise it, and to be considered as a beta reader for book two, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE.


How are your new year’s resolutions going? Have you been keeping up with your own writing goals? Share your progress and/or commiserate as needed!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Mid-Month Check-In: April 2015

As most of you know, this April my focus in on Camp NaNoWriMo. As I said in my week two update, I am behind on my rather lofty Camp NaNoWriMo goal. However, the first few weeks of April have gotten me back into the routine of writing and have helped me to refocus my priorities as a writer and a woman. For these things, I am grateful.

Now, let me tell you how I’m faring in my 2015 resolutions.

WRITING

Again, my writing goals are a bit behind, but I am finally making them a priority and making steady progress. I missed out on my first goal of writing a new manuscript between January and March. However, there is still hope that I can write most of one during Camp NaNoWriMo and finish it up in May. If I can keep writing about 1,000 words a day, 5 days a week, I should be able to churn out at least a few of my planned manuscripts for this year. Wish me luck!

BUSINESS

My business is doing well! I have established a sole proprietorship (rather than an LLC) and have completed the few steps to making it official. Luckily, there is not too much paperwork involved. My business is named Boxthorn Press, and it will be the imprint under which I publish and (hopefully) do other writing-related business in the future.

My business activities are also going well. The Cogsmith’s Daughter is finally taking direct steps to publication. I have enrolled in IndieReCon 2015 (a free, virtual conference for independent authors). I am consistently sending out two email newsletters a month — sign up HERE to join the club! And, I am staying on track with my blog posts and book review requests. All peachy here!

MARITAL

All of my marriage-related resolutions seem to be coming to fruition at once! As most of you know by now, Daniel will be attending Yale Divinity School in August for his second masters degree. In order to prepare for that, we have begun sorting through what we need to buy and sell/donate, applied for housing, sorted out our finances, and Daniel has even created a GoFundMe to help with school expenses.

Plus, we have finally planned our mini honeymoon, which conveniently coincides with Daniel’s first presentation at a biblical conference. Oh, and did I mention he was published in an academic journal this week? Sorry, but when my husband is this awesome, I have to brag.

HEALTH/WELLNESS

My health and wellness goals are about in the same place as always. I’ve been having about one migraine a month, which is not fun, but is still less-frequent than last year. I’ve also been a bit lax about my junk food intake, so I need to make sure I’m eating healthier now that we’re officially out of holidays for a while. Likewise, I need to start doing a bit less pinning on Pinterest and a little more cooking of healthy meals. In better news, I am keeping up with my goals of gratitude and exercise! Daniel and I do have plans to intensify our workouts now that it is warm outside, but we’re taking baby steps.

Well, that’s where I’m at as of mid-April. I hope this month is going well for all of you and you are taking steps to reach your goals, too!


How are your new year’s resolutions going? Have you been keeping up with your own writing goals? Share your progress and/or commiserate as needed!