Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Month-End Update: October 2016

With a productive October behind me, I can feel the wintry winds of November nipping at my heels. Despite how much I accomplished in October, I don’t really have much to say about it. The month revolved around finishing up my nonfiction prompts series, which I did, with the writing and publication of 100 Horror Writing Prompts (Fiction Ideas Vol. 10). I also had a great reading month and blazed through quite a few titles on my to-be-read list.

As November begins, I feel like a race horse prancing at the starting gate. It’s NaNoWriMo season, and for some reason, I’ve decided I have time to take on the challenge. I’m out of excuses, and I will finally (with much anxiety and cautious excitement) be returning to the world of fiction with Desertera #3. Wish me luck – and feel free to add me as a writing buddy @KateMColby!

Writing & Editing

  • Blog Posts Written 7 and one guest post
  • Fiction Words Written  0
  • # of Days I Wrote Fiction  0
  • Nonfiction Prompts Written 100 prompts (plus work on the prompts anthology)
  • # of Days I Wrote Nonfiction 20
  • Drafts Revised Proofread of 100 Horror Writing Prompts
  • # of Days I Revised  1
  • Outlines Written – 1 (upcoming prompts anthology)
  • Days Without Creation/Production  11


  • Books Begun/In-Progress

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

Author Business Activities

Goals for November

  • Participate in and “win” NaNoWriMo 2016
  • Finish and decide on publication date of the prompts anthology
  • (Beta-)read and review books on TBR list

What did you accomplish in October? What goals are you working towards in November? What is your NaNoWriMo project? Share below!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Mid-Month Check-In: November 2015

2015 is almost over — only a month and a half left. On one hand, this makes me very excited, as I love the “fresh start” mentality that comes along with the new year. However, on the other hand, the older I get, the more the speedy passage of time unnerves me. I think that for every single Mid-Month Check-In, I’ve marveled at how fast the time has flown. I guess that means I’ve been having lots of fun?


grootDespite my hectic schedule and common sense, I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month. For the challenge, I started rewriting the sequel to The Cogsmith’s Daughter, and I’m now about 20,000 words in (meaning I’m behind for NaNo, but ahead of where I was in the draft prior to November). I’ll post more on this later, but this novel is just fighting me every step of the way. With The Cogsmith’s Daughter, all the words just came to me, as if Aya were telling me the story and I were merely dictating, but this one is like squeezing blood from a stone. But hey, “they” say the second novel is always the hardest. So once I’m over this hump, it’ll be smooth sailing, right? RIGHT?!


After last month’s book launch, I’m letting the business side simmer down while I focus on writing. Mostly, I have read a few indie publishing/marketing books and watched a couple free video training series. I have been making plans for marketing as well as a production schedule for 2016, but overall, I’m trying to focus on drafting. It’s much easier to market the first book in a series when there are others to follow it. Or so I’m told.


“Real life” is relatively consistent. Daniel is plugging away at school work, while I spend my days at work work. He’s found a good place for himself in the Yale community and is really thriving here. I’m just trying to be supportive and taking it all one day at a time.


I’m getting decent walking in still, thanks to my environmentally friendly commute. However, I have been feeling the sluggish effects of the professional writer’s life, and I want to start exercising beyond my normal walk. We’ve been eating relatively healthy, and my stress levels haven’t been any higher than normal. I would say that I haven’t had a migraine in the last month, but I won’t say that, because that would jinx it…

Anyway, I think that’s about all I have to report for November. I hope you all have a productive month (and slay NaNoWriMo, if you are participating).

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

Month-End Update: July 2015

Hello, everyone! I’m happy to report that I am back in business after a successful (and extremely draining) move. I’ll write more about the move later. While this month-end update is a week late, I wanted to go ahead and share my progress with all of you. Admittedly, I’m having a bit of difficult time finding a routine for myself in my new life, so I figure the best way to get started is to reflect on my accomplishments from the last month and lay out some goals for August.

Before I dive into the July recap, I just want to extend a huge thank you to all of the authors who contributed guest posts to my blog while I was away. You all are amazing, and I greatly appreciate the inspiration, wit, and helpful information you brought to the blog. If you missed the guest posts, you can read them here.

Without further ado, here is how my July went:


  • Blog Posts Written — 6
  • Fiction Words Written — 1,920
  • # of Days I Wrote Fiction — 1
  • Outlines Written — Planning out a new project


  • Drafts Revised — Finished line edit revision of The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1)
  • # of Days I Revised — 14
  • Misc. Editing — N/A


  • Books Reviewed
    • N/A

Author Business Activities

  • Completed the first line edit revision for The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1)
  • Attended the Self-Publishing Success Summit
  • Began drafting for a new project
  • Solicited guest posts for during my absence
  • Refined and organized marketing plans for impending book launch

Goals for August

  • Return to writing Desertera #2
  • Continue working on another new project
  • Completely finish the line editing/revision stage of The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) – depending on line editor’s schedule
  • Send TCD off to the proofreader – depending on line editor’s schedule
  • Begin cover design process

What have you accomplished this month? What are your goals for August? For the rest of the year?

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Month-End Update: June 2015

After a bit of a “lazy” May, I am happy to report that June was much more satisfying and productive. I spent most of my time revising and working on intellectual development. I think I am finally at the point where I can say I have my publication and author business plan down (at least 90%, because nothing is ever certain in indie publishing). July will be heavy with drafting and revisions and personal life issues. I intend to write a significant portion of Desertera #2, get through the line editing of The Cogsmith’s Daughter, and make all the preparations I’ve procrastinated for my and Daniel’s August 1st move. You’ll have to forgive me if it is rather quiet around here next month!

Now, before I give myself a migraine, let’s just focus on what went down in June:


  • Blog Posts Written — 15
  • Fiction Words Written — 4,369
  • # of Days I Wrote Fiction — 5
  • Outlines Written — 1 (Desertera #2)


  • Drafts Revised — Finished content revision of The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1)
  • # of Days I Revised — 8
  • Misc. Editing — N/A


Author Business Activities

  • Finished the content revision for The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1)
    • You can learn more about my experience with content editing in this video.
  • Submitted The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) for line editing
  • Boxthorn Press logo complete
  • Began vlogging on my blog and my YouTube channel
  • Began writing Desertera #2
  • Webinar: How to Find Your Readers with Dan Blank and Joanna Penn
  • Webinar: Predictable Book Sales with Tim Grahl and Joseph Michael
  • Webinar: How to Become an Author with Kary Oberbrunner and Joseph Michael
  • Webinar: Book Launch Timelines with Tim Grahl
  • Misc. writing and marketing videos by Joanna Penn and Joseph Michael
  • Drafted marketing and distribution plans (including royalty rates and break-even figures)

Goals for July

  • Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo (continue first draft of Desertera #2)
  • Complete line edit revisions of The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1)
  • Recruit guest posts for during my and Daniel’s moving week (more info to come!)

What have you accomplished this month? What are your goals for July? For the rest of the year?

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Camp NaNoWriMo: July 2015

campingCamp NaNoWriMo sneaked up on me this time around. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have remembered at all if one of my April cabin mates had not emailed me about putting together another cabin for July. Luckily, she did, and I have signed up for the challenge.

For July, I am setting a much lower (though still challenging) word count goal of 30,000 words (as opposed to 75,000 in April). I’ve found that I can write 1,000 words a day pretty comfortably, but it will still be a stretch given our Independence Day weekend vacation plans and the fact that Daniel and I are moving on August 1st. I will be continuing the first draft of the sequel to The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1), creatively-titled Desertera #2 at this stage. Of course, I cannot tell you anything about it without ruining most (if not all) of The Cogsmith’s Daughter.

Now, as you may or may not remember (hopefully not), my Camp NaNoWriMo in April was not very successful. Based on this experience, I wanted to share my top five lessons from April so that you all do not repeat my mistakes.

1) Be realistic with your goal. Take into consideration the scope of your project and the non-writing demands in your life. You can always raise/lower your goal during the first two weeks of the event.

2) Be active in your cabin. Having a group of writers around to support you is a great resource. Cheer them on, and let them do the same for you. Share successes and failures, and use theirs to encourage yourself.

3) Don’t worry about other projects. I “lost” Camp NaNoWriMo in April, because I abandoned my draft upon getting the content revision feedback for The Cogsmith’s Daughter. However, I didn’t really start revisions until May anyway. If you can help it, stay focused on your Camp project for the entire month. Unless you have a huge deadline (in which case you probably shouldn’t be doing Camp anyway), other projects can wait.

4) Try new writing techniques. Camp NaNoWriMo is the perfect time to experiment. In April, I found that I actually could write in small chunks of time and that I did not have to end each writing session with the end of a scene/chapter. Breaking these old habits has helped me immensely in my everyday writing.

5) Don’t take it too seriously. The whole point of Camp NaNoWriMo is to have fun. If you go stressing yourself out over your goals, that is even worse than losing or not participating at all.

baby groot worldNow, before I end this scatter-brained post, I need a little help from you all. During April’s Camp, I had Baby Groot as my writing mascot. The question is: should I keep Baby Groot or introduce a new mascot? Vote below!