Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, Reading, Writing

January 2017 Wrap Up

wrap-up-january-2017

Reading

I read a total of 7 books this month. This has been my best month in a while as I stuck pretty well to reading for an hour each night. Plus, I read a few books that I just wasn’t able to put down.

I haven’t posted reviews for all these books since I only do reviews once a week, but you can check out my Reading List as that will be updated as I go along. Here are the books I read this month, links go to reviews posted on this blog:

1. Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
2. When We Go Missing by Kristen Twardowski
3. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
4. The Piper’s Price by Audrey Greathouse
5. The Elite by Kiera Cass
6. The One by Kiera Cass
7. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Writing

I got a lot of writing done. I edited Kris’s novel for her and I’ve been editing my mystery novel. Kris was kind to edit The Lost Girl, so I’ll be getting back to that novel as well.

I also entered three writing contests and thought of two novel (novella?) ideas to finally post on Wattpad. One is a little more in-depth than the other, so I’m sure I’ll be working on the “easier” one first. However, I hope to have both of them up and running this year.

(In case any of you are wondering, the more in-depth story is a continuation of my Short Story Sunday, Three Days. I’ve had a lot of requests to keep going with it, so look forward to that!)

I also started writing content for a video game website, Now Loading. So, if you’re interested in that, feel free to check out some of my articles.

One of my goals for 2017 is to finally get my writing career off the ground and I think I’m headed in the right direction!

Blogging

I’m patting myself on the back because I can’t get over how well I did with blogging this month. I commented and shared on blogs that I follow as well as at least five new blogs every single day. I’ve read a lot of great articles and found a lot of cool new blogs to follow and made some new friends.

Reading and commenting on other blogs was always a struggle for me because I would just forget or I would want to get my own blog written first, but now I think I’m in a good routine and I’m finally giving other bloggers the attention they deserve.

The main theme for this month was all about Characters. We covered a wide range of topics, such as protagonists and antagonists, just to name a few.

I’ve gotten myself into a pretty good routine with planning out my blog posts, too. Every Sunday, my sister and I have been working on our blogs all day, our writing blogs, and Double Jump. It’s been great and fun. As of right now, I have most of February done and almost all of my graphics done for the whole year! Yeah, this is productivity at its finest.

I also started a bookstagram, RachelP_Reads. And while I don’t post very often, I’m trying to rack up a queue of ideas and pictures and find a schedule and routine to keep up with it. Then again, this is mainly just for fun.

Overall

January was such a productive month. If I could do it over again, I would just so I could continue the trend. However, February is a new month and I bet it’ll be just as productive. I think I had a great start to the new year!

Posts to Remember

1. January/February 2017 Writing Contests
2. Creating Characters: What’s Your Favorite Part?
3. How To Write Diverse Characters and Why You Should Include Them

How did January treat you? Did you have a good start to the new year? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 142: Looking Ahead (A Poem)

Short Story Sunday, a poem

They say it’s a Happy New Year,
But what do they really know?
One can’t predict the future,
One can only prepare.

January may be the beginning,
For planning,
To stick to your goals.

February may be the beginning,
For love,
To tell people how you really feel.

March may be the beginning,
For luck,
To always be optimistic.

April may be the beginning,
For happiness,
To dance in the rain.

May may be the beginning,
For carelessness,
To stop and smell the flowers.

June may be the beginning,
For goodbyes,
To say see you later to close friends.

July may be the beginning,
For kindness,
To enjoy the moment.

August may be the beginning,
For self-discipline,
To achieve those goals.

September may be the beginning,
For anticipation,
To start something new.

October may be the beginning,
For courage,
To take things head on.

November may be the beginning,
For appreciation,
To stop taking things for granted.

December may be the beginning,
For the end,
To reflect on your past life.

They say it’s a Happy New Year,
But anything can happen.
One can learn from the past,
One can live life to the fullest.

Words: 195

I hope you enjoyed this poem. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Posted in Life

1,000th Post: Resolutions

1000 Blog Post

Today marks my 1,000th blog post for this blog! Yipee!

Seriously, 1,000 blog posts… That’s a lot. And, when I think about it, if I had started posting daily when I originally started this blog, I would have reached 1,000 posts a while ago. But I didn’t start posting daily until 2015 and now here we are.

I started this blog in May 2012, but I had no idea what I was doing and I didn’t really find my “niche” until 2014. I made some slight changes to the blog and then my resolution for 2015 was to really keep up with it. So, I guess you could say I didn’t get serious about blogging until 2015.

A lot has happened since May 2012. A lot has happened since the beginning of 2015. A lot has happened since the beginning of 2016. I can’t believe I’ve been running this blog for so long and now I’m writing the 1,000th post with a newsletter, author and publisher book review requests, guest bloggers, etc. And there’s so much more coming in 2017.

It’s amazing what can happen as time goes by.

I make resolutions every year. Some are more serious than others, some I really work hard towards and some I don’t.

I remember at the end of 2015 I wrote a list of everything I wanted to accomplish in 2016. Well, accomplish most of those things. There were some things I wrote down knowing I wouldn’t be able to do it in 2016, but wrote it down anyway just so I wouldn’t forget.

I plan on doing the same thing this year. I definitely have to start branching out more.

But the other day I realized that my resolutions have been the same for the past three years. Four, if you include 2016 going into 2017.

My doctor’s appointment got rescheduled and when I thought about making my following appointment afterward, I realized that the receptionist wasn’t asking, “How about this day?” She was asking, “Where do you see yourself one year from now?”

And I’ve been in the exact same spot for the past couple of years.

Having the same resolutions isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if it’s something that takes time. A year is a long time, but nothing happens overnight. And time loves to play tag and boy, does it run fast!

However, while I’ve been trying to think of different ways to improve my blog, and find a new schedule for my writing, among other things that happen in life, I realized that the way I attempt to accomplish my resolutions hasn’t changed, either.

Each year, I’ve been making the same resolutions and trying to accomplish them in the same exact way, if only with small changes here and there. Before I know it, the New Year is upon us and then I think, “What did I actually do this year?”

Well, I do a lot, I’ll tell you that much.

So, for this year I’m not going to change any of my resolutions. I’m going to change the way I accomplish them. I already have a plan of action (well, half of a plan so far), so we’ll see how it goes.

Sorry to be so secretive, but I’m only going to share my accomplishments. My resolutions are kept to myself because some have to do with writing and some don’t.

Plus, a lot can happen between now and a year from now.

How well do you do with your resolutions? Do you make different ones each year? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Writing

Are You Still Writing?

NaNoWriMo ended about a week ago. In some ways, I feel like it never even happened. The month went by way too quickly and I reached 50,000 words a little over halfway through the month. So, I wasn’t writing for the full 30 days.

I always say that November is a busy month and it is… But then December comes and I realize that November was actually a piece of cake compared to the end of the year.

Not only is it busy, but we’re all exhausted from the previous month making us even more tired.

So, my question is, what are you doing this month?

I started thinking about this because of Kris’s post the other day.

I always try to treat December as an “editing” month. I don’t want to write anything new after NaNo because that would just be overkill. I’m already tired and cross-eyed from too many words and bright computer screens.

But I don’t necessarily want to edit my NaNo project, either. I find another novel to work on. Or, like this month, I’m editing Kris’s novel for her.

I think editing a novel after NaNo is the way to go, especially if it’s someone else’s work because your brain gets to rest more than it would if you were editing your own work. You don’t have to think as hard.

So, I haven’t written anything since the 19th of November and I’ve barely even editing Kris’s novel for her. I plan to start it this weekend, but time is scarce this month.

What else is going on in December? Well, there are so many family and friend events due to the holidays. I have to spend Christmas with everyone in my life, which means my weekends are all booked up with Christmas get-togethers and the like.

I have to finish my Christmas shopping and do other things to prep for the holiday.

Then there’s the blog. I have so many cool new features coming in 2017 that blogging has taken up a lot of my time this month. Not to mention I now have my newsletter so that’s another extra thing.

I hope to have all my December posts done by the 15th so I can get a head start on next year and really get focused on 2017.

December is about planning for the future and making goals. I’ve been thinking of what I want to accomplish in 2017 and I’m trying to set myself up for it now.

Despite the holidays, despite everything else, December is always the busiest month because I’m always looking ahead. A new year means new beginnings, new challenges, new goals.

So, no. I haven’t been writing. I haven’t written anything for almost a month now.

I’ve been writing blog posts and writing lists of things I need to do and things I want to accomplish next year.

The new year is a little over three weeks away. Crazy, right? I have no idea where 2016 went. I can’t wait to write my goals posts for the end of this year and beginning of next year… I wonder just how much I accomplished in 2016?

Either way, I hope 2017 is bigger and better.

Are you still writing? Do you treat this month as any other month or as a prep month for the next year? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Writing

How is 2016?

How Are you 2016

We’re a week into the new year. It’s kind of crazy that this time last week was New Year’s Eve. It’s even crazier to think that two weeks ago was Christmas Eve. Time sure flies and it’s all a blur.

I’ve been doing well with a schedule I came up for myself. I’ve been slowly editing George Florence Monday through Wednesday. I edited a lot on Saturday because I went to Barnes and Noble.

I haven’t been there in a long time because of life and holidays and such. I can finally get back into my routine of going there every Saturday.

Sunday I worked on something with Kris that will be opening next month. I don’t know how many of you will actually be interested in it, but Kris and I are having fun with it and hopes it’s successful.

Today and tomorrow I’ll be working on blog posts. I had one ready to go for today. It was a new feature outside of my blog, but it was for my blog. Something happened so it looks like I won’t be doing it for a while.

Hence this random update-type post. I didn’t really have a back-up plan for what to write today.

Of course, I have plenty of drafts in my posts folder on here, but none of them looked appealing to me this morning. One of the drafts is from April 2014. Seriously.

It’s a post I still want to write and post on here, but it’s not really relevant anymore. I want to wait until Kris and I do that certain activity again and kind of freshen my memory on what we did. Yes, that one is writing related.

So I guess that’s all I have for today. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thursday!

How are your New Year’s resolutions going so far?

Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, Book Reviews, Writing

January 2016 Goals

January Goals

Reading:

1. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
2. Once Upon A Time by Kevin Tong
3. Top 8 by Katie Finn
4. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
5. Tigerlily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

These books are subject to change. I make no promises that I may go to a bookstore and buy a new book.

Writing:

1. Edit George Florence — I’m hoping to edit the full draft this month.
2. Short pieces — I’ll be on the lookout for contests and magazines in need of submissions.

Blogging:

1. Continue to post daily
2. Write February posts

I’m starting this year off right getting straight down to business.

What are your goals for January?

 

Posted in Author/Site Information, Life, Writing

Hello, 2016!

Hello 2016

Another year has come and gone. I have no idea where the time went, but I’m going to try to keep track of it this year!

Did I complete my resolutions from 2015?

I pledged to read 52 books on the Goodreads Challenge and ended with reading over 52 books. I didn’t read one book a week like I was supposed to, but I still managed to hit my goal… I hit it early, too. So my resolution to read more is checked off!

I wanted to have George Florence completely edited and ready to be queried by now. I worked on the novel throughout the whole year, but it’s still not ready. One reason for this is because I completely rewrote the novel with a new POV last summer. So I kind of started from scratch. So that resolution gets a half check.

I also wanted to start eating healthier… I’m not even going to mention whether that gets a check or not. I’m sure you know the answer.

What are my resolutions for 2016?

I made a list back in November of new things I wanted to do and try in 2016. I’m not going to post that list here because it’s in my journal and private, but if I do them I’ll be sure to write about them on here. So one resolution is to check off some items from that list.

Reading: I want to read 52 books again, one book a week. I am hoping to surpass last year’s goal though. I would like to read 60 books, but I’m not making promises. I’ll be happy if I hit 52 again.

Writing: I want to completely edit George Florence and prepare it to be queried. Now that I have my writers’ group, it shouldn’t be too hard. Hopefully.

I also want to edit a novel I wrote for Camp NaNo a while back (the title may sound familiar to some of you) called Take Over. Once that’s edited I may post it on Wattpad or even try to self-publish it. I haven’t decided yet.

I want to continue working short stories and enter more contests and submit to more magazines. It would be nice if I could submit something at least once a month. I make no promises on that, either.

What’s up for the blog in 2016?

Blogging is more or less the same with some slight changes here and there.

–Sunday: Still Short Story Sunday
–Wednesday: Still Inspiration Station
–Friday: Still Time to Write
–Saturday: Still Book Reviews (book reviews may occasionally happen on Tuesdays as well)
—-I also put up a new policy on reviews. You can learn more on my Book Review Policy page.
–One Tuesday and one Thursday a month: Guest Bloggers will make an appearance. There are still slots open if you want to check out my Be a Guest Blogger page to learn more.

Once every other month there will be a Grammar Check instead of an Inspiration Station. Also, once every other month (the months without the Grammar Check) will have the Bookshelf series at the end of the month where I compile a list of themed books.

I will also continue to post my monthly goals at the beginning of each month, my monthly wrap-up at the end of each month, and a list of monthly writing contests.

I’m going to continue to post every day (if that didn’t seem obvious enough). Like I said, the daily posts are still the same for the most part with some slight changes and add-ons here and there.

I hope you enjoy these changes and new features!

I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2016!

What are your resolutions?

Posted in Life, Writing

Goodbye, 2015!

Goodbye 2015

I can’t believe that tomorrow is 2016. I have no idea where the year went.

I think I had a successful 2015. I had originally hoped this year would be the year I would have something at least ready for publication, but it didn’t work out that way. I’ve been productive so I’m still one step closer.

Maybe 2016 will be my year.

Let’s recap 2015…

January

–I worked on the second draft of Detective Florence which is now titled George Florence and completely rewritten
–I found a local writers’ group which I’m still attending
–Most popular post: Writers Group Wanted (of course, as I just stated, I found one!)

February

–I continued to work on my George Florence series by editing the second book and outlining the third.
–Most popular post: The Write Idea

March

–I continued to outline the third George Florence book titled, Anonymous Tip
–I prepped for Camp NaNoWriMo for April
–Most popular post: Camp NaNo: What To Write?

April

–It was Camp NaNo
–I wrote 2k words a day on Anonymous Tip
–Most popular post: Four Types of Writers

May

–I attempted to write one short story a day (I don’t think I actually did, though)
–I didn’t work on my novel to take a break after Camp NaNo
–Most popular post: Critiquing Tips

June

–I started my rewrite of Detective Florence” changing it to George Florence
–I outlined Hunter for Camp NaNo
–It was Mystery Month
–Most popular post: June/July Writing Contests

July

–I wrote Hunter for Camp NaNo
–I wrote a little bit of George Florence as well
–I started Inspiration Station every Wednesday
–I started Time To Write every Friday
–Most popular post: July/August Writing Contests

August

–I continued to write George Florence 
–I discussed all about beginnings, middles, ends, and prologues/epilogues
–Most popular post: August/September Writing Contests

September

–I edited George Florence
–I started outlining To The Fullest
–Most popular post: Setepmber/October Writing Contests

October

–I continued to outline To The Fullest then changed my mind
–I started outlining Second Chances instead
–I prepped for NaNoWriMo
–Most popular post: October/November Writing Contests

November

–I wrote 2k words a day on Second Chances for NaNo
–I won NaNo
–Most popular post: November/December Writing Contests

December

–I attempted to write one short story a day (didn’t happen, but still hit my goal)
–I discussed about organizing and preparing for the new year
–I made writing, reading, and blogging goals for the new year for myself
–I worked hard on lots of changes and add-ons for my blog for the new year
–Most popular post: NaNoWriMo 2015 Vs. 2014

Apparently, I need to keep up making the list of writing contests. You guys really like those posts.

I’m surprised to see that I consistently worked on George Florence throughout the year. I plan the do the same next year with hopes that it will be ready to start querying by the end of 2016.

But I’ll talk more about my 2016 goals next year… or tomorrow.

I hope your 2015 was just as fabulous as mine.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Posted in Book Reviews, Writing

What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada

What Do You Do With An Idea
Photo taken from Amazon.

I went to Barnes and Noble the other day and came across this children’s book, What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada.

I thought it was newly published, but later found out that it came out in February of 2014. So you may have already heard of this lovely story.

Kris and I read through the book together and it melted my heart.

It’s about a child who comes up with an idea and doesn’t know what it is or understands what to do with it.

The child says that he keeps it to himself because he’s afraid of what other people might think. Yet, the idea stays with him and won’t go away.

The idea looks like an egg and it’s the only object on the page that is colored. Everything else is black and white. The idea grows with the child as he gets older constantly following him around.

It isn’t until the child finds some confidence in himself and in the idea that the rest of the illustrations are filled with color showing what a wonderful thing an idea is.

This book has such a powerful message that I believe everyone needs to learn. As a preschool teacher and babysitter of various ages, it’s important to encourage our children to be creative, speak their opinions, and do what they believe is right.

As a writer, it’s important to roll with the ideas we think of and be creative with our thoughts. Writing is a risky business and not everyone may not like your ideas, but there will be people out there who will love your ideas and support you and your ideas.

A new year is going to begin soon. Next year will be all about you. Spread those ideas around, do what makes you happy, do what you believe is right.

Some ideas may not work out, but that’s okay. The worst kind of failure is not trying at all.

Posted in Life, Writing

Prepare For 2016: Writing Style

Writing Style

If you’re like me, you’re probably banking on 2016 to be the year for your writing. You’re hoping to get something published, something accepted for publication, or even just get something query-worthy and start sending it out.

So here’s how to prepare yourself for what’s to come in 2016 because, let’s be honest, we don’t know what 2016 is going to bring.

1. Set a goal.

I haven’t really decided what stage of my writing I want to be in by the end of 2016. I think I want George Florence to be completely edited and start querying it out to agents and/or publishers by the end of December 2016.

I also want to submit short pieces to contests and magazines.

I have a few manuscripts completed that aren’t edited yet so I’m wondering if I should edit those and post them somewhere whether it’s Wattpad or I self-publish it. I have to go through all my options.

2. Figure out what to work on.

Think about what stage you’re on in each of your writing pieces. First draft, second, final? Querying, searching for beta-readers?

Then you get think about your goals. Which pieces can be sent to a contest? Which pieces can be seen by agents?

I would say focus on three pieces max. For me, I’ll be focused on my mystery novel, George Florence, short works for contests and magazines submissions, and I might work on another novel. There’s a particular manuscript that I wrote and fully completed for Camp NaNoWriMo a few years ago. For some reason that novel has been popping back up in my head. I guess I’ve let it sit for too long.

3. Find a daily routine.

I set aside an hour each day to get some work done. It’s tough when you have a full-time job and, in my case, a few part-time jobs on the side as well, so an hour is all you need. Sometimes it’s all you can get.

I spend Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday getting any writing, editing, or outlining done. Thursday, Friday, and Sunday are blog days.

I don’t think you can write seven days a week. You’re going to need to have a break in there somewhere. The same goes for blogging. Sunday is considered a blogging day for me, but I usually don’t do anything on that day.

On Saturdays I try to work for two hours instead of one. Saturdays are my only free day where I don’t have work, so I try to get a little bit more done. Unless I stall and decide to clean the house.

4. Find a monthly routine.

You can have a daily routine or you can have a monthly routine. I like to have both because it keeps things organized.

I try to treat some months as “NaNo” months whether it’s NaNo time or not. My monthly schedule that I hope to start for real in 2016 is as follows:

January — Edit
February — Write
March — Outline and Edit
April — Write (Camp NaNo)
May — Write and Edit
June — Outline and Edit
July — Write (Camp NaNo)
August — Write and Edit
September — Write
October — Outline and Edit
November — Write (NaNo)
December — Write (Short Story Sunday for next year)

At the beginning of each month I’ll figure out which piece I want to work on for that month. Some months will be multitasking. For example, for May I can work on short pieces for contests and edit George Florence at the same time.

2016 is about a week away. There’s so much to prepare for.

How are you preparing yourself for the new year? What are some of your goals?