Fiction Blog, Musings & Bookish Things, Writing & Publishing Articles, Writing Updates

My 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

I love making New Year’s resolutions. If I were to claim two nerdy, organizational hobbies, they would absolutely be making lists and setting goals. There is something so intrinsically satisfying about writing down meaningful objectives and then crossing them off, knowing that your life is incrementally better for it. Needless to say, I’m stoked it’s that time of year again.

In our household, we follow my husband’s New Year’s resolution tradition. His rule is that you make one resolution for every year you have been alive. Last year, I made 22 goals and accomplished 11 of them. While I do have a few regrets about how I managed my time, overall, I am fairly satisfied with what I accomplished. If you’d like a good chuckle (I certainly had one looking back), you can see my 2015 resolutions here.

Anyway, now on to 2016. Like last year, I’ve categorized my goals by the facet of my life to which they belong. However, for a bit of fun, I’ve also added new difficulty levels. E for easy, C for challenging, DD for damn difficult, and LOL for, well…you get the idea.

Here’s to hoping I can hit over half of these 23 bad boys.


1. Write five days a week (C, but based on past experience, LOL)

2. Finish Desertera #2 (E)

3. Publish Desertera #2 (C)

4. Write Desertera #3 (DD)

5. Publish Desertera #3 (DD)

6. Write a book for fun (LOL)

7. Write all nonfiction booklets (E)

8. Publish all nonfiction booklets (E)

9. Publish nonfiction compilation (C)


10. Publish two blog posts per week (C)

11. Read 50 books (C)

12. Make $1,000 from my author business (C, maybe DD)

13. Adhere to my marketing plan (C)

14. Send two email newsletters per month (C)

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


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

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

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

19. Record my three daily gratitudes (C)

20. Visit a new state (E)

21. Go to the 9/11 Memorial in NYC (E)

22. Visit home (summer) (C)

23. Visit home (Christmas) (E)

And that’s all, folks. Feel free to cheer me on in the comments (I need all the encouragement I can get!), or during my monthly updates, which I intend to keep posting. I’d also love to hear YOUR New Year’s resolutions and other goals. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few tips on crafting realistic, attainable New Year’s resolutions.

Most importantly…happy New Year!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

“Special Edition” Mid-Month Check-In: October 2015

Hey, there everyone! I’m going to do something a little different with this mid-month check-in and answer a few burning questions you all have been asking as well as recap The Cogsmith’s Daughter Book Launch Blog Tour, so you can catch up on any posts you missed.

So here we go:

When is the paperback being released?

Fingers crossed – the end of next week (or beginning of the following week). I have finally sorted out the issues with my print-on-demand distributor, and all I have to do is wait for my updated files to be accepted. This should take roughly three business days.

Where can I buy the paperback?

On all the same online retailers as you find the ebook AND on my site. I’ll have a PayPal link in the blog sidebar (pending any more unforeseen technological issues, of course!).

Can I get a signed paperback copy?

YES! I will be selling signed copies directly from my website.

When will the sequel be coming out?

Sometime in 2016. If you want to be the FIRST to hear about it (and read it), you can sign up for my author newsletter HERE.

If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments, shoot me an email, or get in touch via social media.

TCD Blog Tour BannerThe Cogsmith’s Daughter Book Launch Blog Tour Recap

Monday, October 12 | What the Heck is Steampunk Dystopian, Anyway?

In this post, hosted by the wonderful Kate Evans, I explain the basics of both the steampunk and dystopian genres, as well as what attracted me to a “steampunk dystopian” mash up.

Tuesday, October 13 | The Evolution of The Cogsmith’s Daughter: From First Draft to Final Product

Here, I’m hosted by Ula, and I share how I went about writing my first draft as well as some “trivia” about how the final book differs from my first draft.

Wednesday, October 14Desertera: Conception and Construction

Zach asked me how I came up with the idea for Desertera, my novel’s world, as well as how I went about building it. In this post, all is revealed!

Thursday, October 15 | How I “Became” a Writer (and Stumbled Upon the Idea for My Novel)

Charles wanted to know more about my background as a writer and how I came up with the idea for The Cogsmith’s Daughter. This one goes way back, folks.

Friday, October 16 | Author Hall of Fame Introduction

Chris the Story Reading Ape was kind enough to add me to his Author Hall of Fame. As my introduction, I talk about how my sociology background influences the purpose behind my writing.

DON’T FORGET – As part of the blog tour, you can enter my Goodreads giveaway for your chance to win one of three signed copies of The Cogsmith’s Daughter – enter HERE.

Now…on to the normal check-in. I’ll keep it brief!


Writing has taken a backseat to promoting my book launch and my new day job. I’m seriously considering doing NaNoWriMo to force myself back into it (after all, it worked out well last year!), but I’m not sure if I will or not.


Beyond the blog tour, I’ve been trying to lay out specific plans and schedules for a few other projects I have in mind.


All good here. Daniel’s been super supportive during my book launch, despite his own obligations with school. Though, I think we could both use a week off to rest!


Migraines are down, but still existent. Healthy eating is…less existent. I am walking two miles a day, thanks to my new public transport commute, so at least I’m getting some exercise!

All right. I think that does it for me! I hope you all are having a great October, and I wish you all the productivity and accomplishment you deserve!

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: September 2015

I can’t believe September is already half over. I’ve spent the last six weeks (seven weeks, if we’re counting my pre-move time off in Kansas) being a full-time author. While a few of those weeks were unproductive (thanks to the move), the last four have been incredibly productive. I’m happy to report that there are several exciting announcements coming up, and I cannot wait to give you a taste of what I’ve been working on in this post!

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


I’ve managed to write about four and a half new chapters in Desertera #2. Admittedly, I have a bit of sophomoric insecurity this time around, so I’ll be sending chapters to my alpha reader as I go so she can help me stay on track. When I wrote The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) (whose cover I revealed yesterday!), I finished the first draft in 30 days during NaNoWriMo 2014. I didn’t have time to be insecure. This time around, I have much more time to fret while writing, so I’m trying to push through it as best I can.

BP Business Card - Back - No BleedBUSINESS

This is the most exciting part of the news! As many of you will have seen yesterday, I have the ebook cover for The Cogsmith’s Daughter ready to go. As of this writing, I am still waiting on the final paperback cover, but I expect it any day now. Likewise, the novel’s editing and formatting are both done! You can even add it to your “to-read” list on Goodreads! Of course, no novel is ever perfect, so I expect a few typos will emerge when my keen-eyed newsletter subscribers receive their advance review copies this week (assuming they jump right into the book, that is) or when I do my last-minute oh-crap-this-is-releasing-soon third/fourth proofread.

On a purely “business” note, I have established new author photos (one for social media and one for my book covers), which I think fit my genre and brand much better than my old photo. Also, my logo designer, Brenda, saw my business card poll and leaped to my rescue with a gorgeous, professional business card design, which you can see above and below this paragraph. Needless to say, she is the best, and you should all click on her name and bombard her with orders.

Last, I aBP Business Card - Front - No Bleedm working on arranging blog tour to promote The Cogsmith’s Daughter during its upcoming launch. I will probably send out more details later, but if you are immediately interested in hosting me on your blog, feel free to shoot me an email to If you’d like to suggest your own post ideas, I’m game — but I do have a list of my own in case you don’t!


Things are going well in the “real life” department. Daniel is rocking his classes and slowly but surely conquering Greek. Thomas is being a bad ass, as per usual. I’ve started a new job as a copywriter for a wine marketing agency…so even if Boxthorn Press is a catastrophic failure, I can at least say that I am officially a “professional writer!” Other than that, we’re just monitoring our budget and trying to spend quality time together whenever our crazy schedules allow.


As I am just coming out of temporary unemployment, I am not quite yet re-insured and have become somewhat of a hypochondriac. Despite the fact that I am eating healthy (…who needs exercise when you get your veggies?), I am a bit stressed about health. I’m hoping to join the Yale gym with Daniel and get back to exercising soon. In the meantime, though, I am happy to report that my migraines have been minimal and my outlook (other than the mild hypochondria) positive.

And that does it for my September mid-month check-in. Remember, if you’re interested in helping out with my blog tour, shoot me an email. Also, make sure you stay around this corner of the interwebs for more exciting news to come!

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: August 2015

Even though I just did my July 2015 recap a little over a week ago, I wanted to go ahead and stick with my tradition of holding myself accountable. Since the first week of August I did basically nothing other than lift boxes, unpack, and organize my life, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

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

My new author nook!
My new author nook!


Unfortunately for all of you wonderful people, my writing so far has been focused on a project that I cannot go into more detail about at this time. However, I’ve managed to crank out a chapter and a half in the last week(ish) of August, which I’m happy with considering all my moving nonsense. I need to get back to Desertera #2, but I’ve just been so excited with this new venture that I haven’t gotten around to it.

I’m also finding myself inspired to write poetry for the first time since university. It feels a little strange to be back in that mindset, but I’m enjoying the inspiration. I’m not sure if I will publish any of it (for a while or at all), mainly because poetry doesn’t sell very well for indie authors, but if nothing else, it is a fun exercise just for me!


So far this month I’m just twiddling my thumbs and waiting for my line editor to get back to me with her comments on my revisions. When this process is over, I’ll put out a vlog or write a post about the experience. In the meantime, I’ve been watching a free video training series by Joanna Penn about managing an author entrepreneur business. I highly recommend it.

Other than that, I’ve been trying to get back to my book review list. I’ve decided that I won’t be offering formal reviews anymore, as it is way too time consuming and I need to focus on my own writing. However, I may still write book reviews if I really enjoy a book, or if I admire the author and want to give him/her a helping hand.


Daniel and I are officially moved into our  apartment in New Haven! We’ve been exploring the city, trying new restaurants, and getting to know his colleagues. Our feline son, Thomas, loves his new abode and is already a lazy house cat.

Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University
Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University


In a surprising twist, my health and wellness goals are going smashingly this month. Between moving in, sight-seeing, and city life, I’ve done a decent amount of exercising. I’m also trying to eat a bit healthier, though I do still indulge in a treat once a day. I had a minor migraine (ironically after the stress of moving passed), but other than that, I’m staying positive and feeling pretty well. Fingers crossed it continues!

And that about does it for my August so far. I have strong hopes that I will have much more exciting news over the next few months, so stay tuned!

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: 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!).


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.


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.


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!


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!