Writing Challenge Update

April is over tomorrow, which is totally crazy to me. It’s been a busy month, so I’ve decided to give you guys a writing challenge update. I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo and it was also a Finish month for the 85K90 Writing Challenge.

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Camp NaNoWriMo

I wrote over 50,000 words on my next Wattpad story, Crossroads. However, the story is far from over and I’m going to have a lot of editing to do. Like, a crazy amount of editing. I’ve kept notes and have a better idea of which direction I want the story to go in. In fact, I don’t even know if I’ll “complete” the first draft before I start editing. I have a better understanding of my characters and know what I want them to accomplish.

With that said, I think I’ll spend the next couple of days doing a more thorough outline. In the end, I ended up with over 54,000 words for the novel, so I’m pleased with that. There will be scenes that will get cut out, but most will stay.

It was a successful Camp NaNo session and I even had the chance to throw in a 10K writing day as well, which was great.

85K90 Writing Challenge

This year-long challenge is wrapping up the first portion. “Writing” months were January through March with April as a “Finish” month. April can be used as a break or to catch up if you’ve fallen behind. I counted Crossroads toward the 85K goal, though that still left me with quite a bit left over to write.

I edited a lot during the first few months of the year so I didn’t truly start keeping track of my progress with this challenge until March. Thank goodness Camp NaNo fell on a Finish month so I could kill two birds with one stone.

Aside from Crossroads, I counted any writing I did for Sunday Morning and George Florence & The Perfect Alibi. I also counted any short stories or flash fiction I wrote for my patrons on Patreon. This allowed me to reach the 85K goal just this past weekend. My sister and I went to Barnes & Noble and I banged out the final 4,000-or-so words I had left to reach the finish line.

What’s Next

I’d like to say I have today and tomorrow as a break, but I’m still working. May marks the beginning of the “Edit” months. I’m going to start working on editing the second volume of Sunday Morning, continue revising George Florence & The Perfect Alibi, as well as edit and revise Crossroads.

It’s going to be a busy month, but I have a calendar for the month on what I’ll be working on which days. May, as far as I know, should be a fairly quiet month too. There are no major holidays, no school vacations, or anything of the kind. It should be a smooth month for writing.

Have you participated in any writing challenges? How are you doing with them? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Writing Goals For 2019

A new year comes with new writing goals! Except these goals are more or less the same as last year’s… meaning, these goals are whatever I didn’t finish last year. I got a lot done in 2018, but… you know what? Let’s just get into it. Here are my writing goals for 2019.

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85K Writing Challenge

I’ve talked about this not too long ago. I’ll be participating in the year-long 85K writing challenge. I plan to get a few projects written, edited, and ready for publication. Between this challenge and three sessions of NaNoWriMo, I think I can do it. It’ll certainly keep me busy, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m beyond ready for it.

So, which projects will I be working on throughout the year? That’s the million-dollar question.

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’re certainly familiar with George and Lilah. This dynamic duo have been in my head since 2011 and it’s finally time I kick them out of the nest and they see the world. I still have a lot of edits to go through and I’ve started sending it to my local writer’s group again.

My original plan was to try to self-publish it this year but I’m think it won’t be until 2020 now. I’ve been coming up with plans, deadlines, and a timeline for it all. They will get their chance to see the world soon, I promise. I know it’ll never be perfect, but there’s still some tweaking that needs to be done.

I also need to hire an editor. So, if you’re looking forward to this book and have been enjoying my content for quite a while, please consider joining the journey on my Patreon. It’s an exclusive community where you’ll get inside access to my books, writing process, and a lot more. I’m trying to reach a $500/month goal so I can save for a few months to afford an editor. Every bit helps and I’m looking forward to sharing the process with you all!

Sunday Morning (Vol. 1)

This book was supposed to be self-published in just a few days. Unfortunately, 2018 had to get a few final punches in during November and December and I was unable to work on this book at all. I had to push back the release date, but that’s okay. It’s still going to come out, I’m still going to do it. Slow and steady wins the race, people. I’m super nervous about it but completely excited at the same time.

I’ll be posting more updates on this as the month goes on though. As always, my patrons get a first-look at it all. Also, since I needed to push back the release date I’ve decided to bring back the promo-box!

If you become a patron at the $1 reward tier or higher, then you’ll get an exclusive promotion box mailed to you. Of course, you must be okay with giving me some sort of mailing address so the box can be sent to you. I promise the address will be deleted once the box is sent and that will be the only thing I send you.

This promo-box will include:

  • A signed print copy of the book
  • A bookmark
  • A hand-written thank you post card
  • A surprise

You can head over to my Patreon page to learn more.

Sunday Morning (Vol. 2)

Yes, there will be more. Since the first book is just about done, I’ll be starting work on the second book to be released at the beginning of 2020. I’ll definitely be utilizing the 85K challenge to get this book in order throughout the year.

Secret Project

Yeah, I know. I work on secret projects a lot. My patrons don’t even know what this is yet. This is something I’ve thought of doing for a while but never thought I could pursue it for some reason. With some of the things that happened in 2018, some changes coming to this blog in 2019, I realized that this is something I can do. And I’m going to pursue it.

I’ll be using the 85K challenge to its full ability for this project as well. This project is in the pre-planning stages and I’m not even sure how it’s all going to come together yet. With that said, I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to announce it, but I’m sure it’ll be sometime in 2019… otherwise I wouldn’t be mentioning it now.

Submissions & Contests

One goal I make for myself every year and don’t always follow is submitting my work to magazines, other websites, and contests. I’d like to submit a poem, flash fiction, or whatever at least once a month. Twice a month will be ideal, but with everything else I have planned and going on, we’ll see how it goes. As long as I submit something once a month, I’ll be good.

I have a lot of pieces sitting in my writing folder on my computer and none of them are doing anything. Surely there’s a couple that’s worthy of winning a contests or being published in a magazine, right? I just need to take the time to scour the Internet for the right fit for those pieces.

Wish me luck!

That’s All… I Think.

I believe I’ve covered everything. It’s a lot, right? I know, I’m wondering how I’m going to do it at all. Honestly, if I get just two of projects done, I’ll be happy. I know it’s a lot, but I’m ready for the challenge and I’m eager to get started. I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish in 2019.

Oh, Wait. Two More Things.

…But I’m not going to mention them just yet! Just be on the lookout early March for one of them.

What are some of your writing goals for 2019? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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My Writing Schedule For April 2018 [Camp NaNoWriMo]

Camp NaNoWriMo is well on its way, being the fifth day of April already. This month is going to go fast just like the ones before it… except it’ll be faster because we all have a deadline.

With all my projects I’ve tried to make this month go a little easier for me by mapping out the month ahead of time and assigning projects to be worked on certain days. So far, it seems to be helping.

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George Florence

I’ll be editing the first book of my mystery series every Saturday and Sunday. If I want to finish the book by that time, which totals 7 days (I’m not including a Saturday and Sunday because of my vacation), I have to edit about 34 pages a day. That’s not bad at all.

I’ll be editing and rewriting this novel through the summer so whatever I get done now will be great, but I’m not in a rush to complete the draft. That’s why I decided to only work on it on the weekends, which is when family events happen, I work on both blogs, and I’ll just need to recoup from the week of my other projects.

Short Story Sunday 2018

I have about 27 flash fiction pieces to write for the rest of the Sundays in 2018 for this blog. I plan on writing at least 2 stories a day, Monday – Friday, minus the 11th and the 19th (the day before I leave for vacation and the day after I get back… I’m not going to want to do anything when I get home). That equals to 28 stories and, depending on how many words are each one (my word goal is about 3,000 words a day) I’ll end up writing more than 2 stories each day. So I may finish this well before the end of the month.

Perplexed

My goal with this is just to write one short story at about 10,000 words. I’m giving myself a week, Monday – Friday, to do it. Meaning I’ll have to write about 2,000 words a day. I’ll also be working on my Short Story Sunday, which means I’ll only need to write about 1,000 words for that. It’ll all work out.

Take Over

There’s no “work” to be done on this one. It’s all set to go and will go live on Wattpad on April 23. So the only thing I’ll have to do is remember to update the latest chapter Monday – Friday.

Brave

This will be my next Wattpad story after Take Over is finished. For this week and the last full week of the month, I’ll be outlining it. I’m not counting it toward Camp, but I want to begin writing the story in May. I’m not really “outlining” the chapters either, which is different than what I usually do.

I’m basically making a character list, writing out the basic plot so I understand it myself, and world-build a bit since there are towns and villages within a couple kingdoms and dragons. Lots and lots of dragons. I’ve tried writing this kind of fantasy before but this is my first time going in for the long haul. I’m excited for it and hope it turns out well.

So that’s that. I’ll be going on vacation the 11th through the 18th. I planned my days and calculated the words for each project and day around my vacation. I should be able to reach my 80,000-word goal by the end of the month as well as finish up a couple of projects.

So far so good and I’m excited!

How are you going to balance Camp with everything else? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Who’s Ready For Camp NaNoWriMo?

Guys. Camp NaNoWriMo begins in 4 days. Didn’t we just go through this in November? How long ago was November, anyway? Didn’t we just celebrate the New Year? How is it already April? I don’t understand.

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I’m excited about Camp though. I get a lot done during the months, but I’ve started so many projects that it’s usually editing or blogging. April, July, and November are the three months of the year that I get a good amount of actual writing done.

I’ve been looking forward to this since December though I’ll be honest I had completely forgotten about it until the beginning of March.

I was planning my April out and then realized it was Camp. I overbooked myself and then I realized I’m going on vacation smack in the middle of the month.

So. This should be interesting.

I have most of my stuff prepped. I have a little more planning I want to do. Not outlining, necessarily, but I want to plan out my days. Since I’m going on vacation I only have 19 days to write. My goal is bigger than 50,000 words too… I may have made a mistake, but I’m willing to take the challenge!

Plus, Camp begins on April 1, duh, but that’s also Easter Sunday. I celebrate Easter. I have church in the morning and then the family is coming to my house in the afternoon. My cousin’s birthday is on the sixth. It’s her sweet-16 and while we’re going to Disney I don’t know if we’ll be doing anything for her birthday.

She’s also getting confirmed on April 8. So that’s going to be another party. Then I’m going on vacation a couple days later. Then April is going to be practically over.

My word goal this year is 80,000 words. I’ll be working on multiple projects, there will be a post on that in a few days. It’s certainly going to be interesting.

I think I’m ready. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Are you ready?

Are you all set for Camp NaNo? What’s your goal and what will you be working on? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Pack Your Bags: It’s Camp NaNoWriMo Time

Alright, guys, Camp NaNoWriMo begins in four days. Four. That’s it. That’s all the time we have left to prepare.

So, are you ready?

Official Stuff

  • Do you have your novel created on the Camp website?
  • Do you have a set goal in mind whether it’s words or pages or hours?
  • Are you in a cabin (if you want to be in one)?
  • Have you explored the website’s resources just for fun?
  • Have you spread the word that you’re participating?

For Your Novel

  • If you’re a planner, do you have your outline prepped?
  • If you’re a pantser, do you have a basic gist of the plot and what you hope the story will accomplish?
  • Is your laptop charged? Do you have a handy supply of paper and pens?
  • Do you have a basic idea about your main characters?

For You

  • Have you told friends and family you won’t see them for a month?
  • Do you have a large supply of coffee/tea that will last the month?
  • What about chocolate, candy, and other snacks?
  • Do you have a blanket and pillow by your desk just in case?
  • Have you created a special music playlist to keep you focused?

There’s a lot of things you can do to prepare for Camp. Or, you can just not prepare at all and see how the month goes. That’s always fun.

What do you do to prep for Camp? Are you ready? Let me know in the comments below!

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Short Story Sunday #68

SSS Job Dedication

            “Anytime is good for me. Just let me know.”

Andrea nodded her head writing something down on her notepad. Then she backed out of her boss’s office and closed the door behind her. She sighed shaking her head when she knew he couldn’t hear or see her anymore. She sat back down at her desk and took some Asprin out of the top drawer.

“Is he being annoying again today?” Andrea’s friend appeared and sat down on top of her desk.

“No, just vague,” Andrea sighed.

“What does he want this time?” her friend wondered.

“He wants me to set up a meeting with some big guy at another big company, Lily. Then he told me to set up the meeting for whatever time works for me.” Andrea rolled her eyes.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Lily raised a suspicious eyebrow.

“I assume that was his way of telling me that I need to be here for the meeting.” Andrea groaned and buried her face on her desk.

“Why? What’s the meeting about?” Lily wondered.

“I have no idea. He didn’t tell me. He just told me who to set it up with and everything else was up to me. So I have to call that guy right now.” Andrea lifted his head up and picked up the phone.

“Good luck,” Lily muttered and walked away.

“Yes, I’d like to make an appointment on behalf of Mr. Charles Fink.” Andrea spoke with the secretary. She nodded her head jotting down some dates and times on her notepad. The woman on the other line kept talking so Andrea soon began to doodle. Then she paused with wide eyes.

“Oh… okay, that works out perfectly. Thank you.” Andrea hung up the phone and froze.

“I can tell by the look on your face that it’s nothing good.” Lily walked over from her desk and back up to Andrea again.

“That meeting is with a lawyer.” Andrea stared at Lily. “He’s trying to divorce his wife.”

Lily rolled her eyes. “If anything, she should be divorcing him on account he’s always bringing his work home with him. Now he’s bringing his home life to work with him? Sheesh…”

“And I have to be there for that meeting. Why? I’m just his secretary.” Andrea shrugged her shoulders.

“Because you’re my best supporter right now; I really appreciate it.” Mr. Fink came out of his office and winked at Andrea before walking away.

Lily snorted. “What a…”

“Don’t even go there.” Andrea muttered.

Short Story Sunday #67

SSS Nature Walk

            “Let’s go for a walk.” She said taking her son by the hand. The four-year-old looked up at his mother with a frown. He glanced down at his action figures as she dragged him over to the front door.

“It’s a beautiful spring day, Nathan. Your toys will still be here when we get back.” His mother explained in a smooth tone.

“Okay,” Nathan sighed.

They stepped out the front door and headed down the driveway to walk around the block. Most of their neighbors were out and about; mowing the lawn, grilling, or simply sitting on their porch soaking up the sun.

Nathan brought his hands up to his ears.

“What’s wrong?” his mother asked.

“Too loud!” he shouted.

His mother smirked. “Mr. Davis is just mowing his lawn. The sound is getting softer now.” She observed as they walked further away. “What can you hear now?”

Nathan hesitated at first, but finally brought his hands away from his ears. He stopped walking so he could focus on listening.

“Birds!” he shouted with a smile. He pointed to a tree in the neighbor’s yard where two robins worked together building a nest. “And… a car?”

His mother looked behind them and pushed Nathan closer to the side of the road as a car drove by them. She smiled at him and nodded. Nathan beamed.

They walked further down the road before Nathan stopped again.

“Look at the flowers!” he pointed to another neighbor’s garden.

His mother nodded impressed. “Yes, the garden is growing nicely, isn’t it?”

“There’s blue and purple and red and yellow!” Nathan exclaimed.

“There sure are a lot of beautiful flowers.” She smiled at him.

Before they knew it, their house was coming into view. Nathan frowned and began to drag his feet along the side of the road. His mother stopped and looked at him.

“What’s wrong?”

“We’re almost home.”

“That we are.” She agreed.

“But what if we missed something on our walk?” Nathan stared at his mother with big, sad eyes.

She chuckled. “Well, Nathan we can always go around again.”

Nathan’s face lit up with joy. Then he began to drag his mother around the block.

Short Story Sunday #66

SSS Morning Routine

            My alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning. Instinctively, I turned it off and rolled over in my bed. I closed my eyes for what seemed like a minute, but when I opened them again a half hour had gone by.

Upon realizing I should get up and start the day, I staggered out of bed with a blanket tangled around my leg. I hopped on one foot across the floor trying to get the blanket off. Finally when I unwrapped it, I tossed it back onto my bed. Should I bother making it? Nah.

I stood in front of my dresser and got changed into the outfit I picked out for myself the night before. I brushed my hair, unplugged my phone from the charger, and exited my bedroom. I went downstairs into the kitchen.

Everyone else was still asleep, as they usually were—even the cat was passed out on the couch. I snickered knowing that wasn’t going to last long.

I turned on the coffee maker and turned around. The cat was suddenly sitting on the floor behind me. I smiled happy to get back into my routine this morning, even though I was about a half hour later than usual.

The cat meowed as he walked closer to me. I picked him up and placed him on my hip stroking the back of his head. We swayed from side to side as I waited for the coffee maker to heat up.

I pushed the button to brew causing the cat to jump at the sudden spitting sound. It scared him every morning. Yet, he stayed in my arms and watched me as I one-handedly poured cream into my coffee, put it back in the refrigerator, and brought him and the coffee mug back upstairs.

I entered my den putting the coffee down on my desk. Then I placed the cat down on the couch on the other side of the room where he curled right back up and fell asleep.

I sat down at my desk turning on my computer. As I waited for it to boot up, I took a sip of my coffee watching the cat breath steadily as he drifted into a quick deep sleep.

Every morning was the same. He would wait for me to come make my coffee and then get a free ride upstairs only to sleep on a different couch. We were in a rut, but it was calm and relaxing for both of us.

I looked away from the cat when my computer screen came on. Then I began to work.

Short Story Sunday #65

SSS Good Book

            Diane turned the page of her latest novel with wide eyes and her lips moving quickly, but with no sound. Her eyes darted across the page from left to the right eagerly wanting to turn the page again. She slouched down in her lounge chair, propping her feet up on the chair next to her.

Her husband, Josh, sat on the opposite side of the table with his laptop in front of him. He eyed Diane trying not to laugh.

“You’re making funny faces again.” He observed.

“Shush!” Diane said sharply. Her eyes did not leave the page and only paused for a split second to the turn the page once more.

A breeze blew by and Diane slapped her hand on the table to keep her bookmark from flying away as she continued to read.

Josh closed his laptop and leaned his elbows on it. He smirked at his wife. “I take it I picked out a good book to give you for your birthday?”

Shush!” she said more harshly.

Josh rubbed his lips together trying to hold in his laughter.

A robin swooped down from their roof and landed on top of the umbrella that shielded them and most of the deck. Josh stood up from the table and looked up at the bird. He smiled. Spring was officially here.

“Diane, look! It’s a robin and she’s looking pretty plump.”

Daine growled.

Josh lifted an eyebrow at his wife. He hadn’t seen her get this excited over a book in a long time.

Finally, he walked off the back deck and reached the hose.

“Diane, I’m not afraid to use this. I’ve done it before.” Josh smirked. Whenever Diane was in the middle of the good book, it was difficult for Josh to get her attention. He sprayed a mist over her one time and it freaked her out so whenever he got the hose, Diane would immediately look up at him.

This time, she blatantly ignored him.

“One, two…” Josh counted in whispers as he slowly turned on the water. “Three…”

He put the nozzle on mist on the hose and sprayed Daine laughing. The robin flew away in frenzy, but Diane didn’t bat an eyelash. She only turned to the next page in her book.

Josh chuckled to himself thinking that he would be funny. He set the nozzle on an actual spray to get Diane wet enough, but not soaked—he kept in mind his laptop was right there.

“One, two…” Josh counted once more.

Diane slammed her book closed and grinned widely at her husband. “I finished!”

“Three…!”

The hose turned on and Diane squealed.

Short Story Sunday #64

SSS Spying

            Daniel put his car in park and leaned back in the driver’s seat. He gazed out the window across the quiet street and bit his bottom lip. Should he leave? He thought about it. It wasn’t right for him to be there, but he was being pulled there by a greater force.

He reached forward and took the keys out of the ignition. He would sit there and pretend that he belonged there just like everyone else.

Daniel twisted his neck to the left and right. There was no one else around yet. He glanced at his wrist watch and groaned. He was fifteen minutes too early. Why couldn’t he have been that early before? Why couldn’t he be that early all the time? Then there was a chance he wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.

He made drumming sounds by patting his hands on his thighs and bopped his head from one side to the other side. He started whistling a fancy tune he came up with right on the spot before stopping abruptly with his lips still pursed together. His shoulders slumped and he cleared his throat almost as if he was embarrassed someone was watching.

What time was it again? He looked at his watch. Oh… ten more minutes.

Daniel looked around his car and scrunched up his face in disgust. He hadn’t realized what a mess his car was until now. He wasn’t about to get out and start cleaning, though. He would have to wait until he got home because he didn’t have anything left to do now.

He was going to finally have time to clean his car because work was one less thing he needed to worry about. Sure, he wouldn’t be getting a paycheck each week, but at least he could spend those work hours working on home projects that he’s always wanted to get done. Everyone was always telling him to look on the bright side of things… the counted, didn’t it?

Using his right hand, Daniel brushed off a few papers and food crumbs from the passenger seat. No one was getting in his car, but if people walked by he wanted them to see a clean car at first glance. So, on the floor it went.

He then noticed a brown paper bag sitting beside him. He picked it up and grunted at its weight. Without opening it, Daniel knew what was inside. He shook the bag and listened as liquid swished around on the inside.

He shook his head putting the bag back down on the seat. He wasn’t supposed to have that in his car. He must have missed that one when he was cleaning out his stash. He looked out the window trying to get his mind off of it. He was going to have to remember to pour it down the drain when he got home.

Other cars were beginning to park around him now. The rush was coming and time was running out. Daniel sat up straight in his seat and turned the car back on. He wanted to be able to make a quick getaway just in case. He hoped no one saw him; that no one would recognize him.

A bell rang and Daniel stiffened. Children began to pour out of the school building and his eyes frantically searched for his two daughters. As he scanned his surroundings, he came across a tall woman standing outside her car. She smiled and waved to two young girls, who were quite happy to see her. One ran and jumped into her arms as the older one lagged behind carrying both backpacks.

Daniel smiled at the sight.

The two girls and their mother got into the car. With the crossing guard’s thumbs-up, the minivan pulled off from the curb and drove away.

Daniel frowned once the van was out of sight. He hadn’t seen his daughters or his ex-wife since the court date. He didn’t know when he was going to get the chance to see them again.

Without thinking, Daniel took a swig of the paper bag next to him and then drove out of the school zone.