The Sunday Seven: Outlines Galore

Welcome to the Sunday Seven – where I recap the past seven days and lay out my seven writing goals for the upcoming week.

I made it through another crazy week at work. It’s been crazier than usual since the semester started on Tuesday. Our department hosted a big event on Friday that I had to plan, running around like a chicken with its head cut off to get things done on time. But it happened and it went smoothly with a great turnout. So yay. In wedding news, I sent the master guest list to my mother to review. She’s in the process of making notes and axing family that I’m not obligated to invite. Someone’s gotta do it 😉 The restaurant is going to cost us less than we originally thought do to some misunderstanding over outside space that we don’t need. Total bonus.

1) I actually got a lot done on the newsletter, but I’m angry at mailchimp. I’m using a template that was made for me, however, for some reason it’s not allowing me to make small changes to font, size, and the space between white areas and borders. It’s driving me batty and I’m on the verge of starting completely over though that would depress me to no end. There are more elements that work than don’t work, but it looks wonky with mismatched fonts, etc. Unprofessional in my opinion. 2) I’m in the middle of outlining the Louisiana story. I’m putting together a beat sheet outline from Jami Gold, suggested by my BB (best buddy) Caraway Carter. The story is still new, but my characters are really coming together, which is critical for me to finding a groove. 3) I haven’t done much outlining on Starstruck. Maybe I’ll try to get the beat sheet started for that one, too. 4) I did not get to the Bah Humbug WIP this week. 5) I watched two episodes of NCIS: New Orleans to get back in the New Orleans mindset. 6) I’ve been collecting maps and articles about New Orleans, the French Quarter, and gay culture in the Big Easy. Also, I watched a couple videos from the Haunted History tours and caught up on a couple of the popular stories that continue to be told on the tours. 7) I bought three different mystery reference books – Writing Your First Mystery & Plotting Your First Mystery by Mar Preston and How to Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat. Mar Preston’s books were informative, but extremely basic. I picked up a few things, but they both lacked some depth. I’m still going with Killer Fiction, but she’s pretty focused on the differences between suspense and mystery. I get that, but I do think there are more crossovers than she lists that do it well. Heck, most romantic suspense is basically mystery or suspense with a romance at the forefront. It’s all relative if you ask me. Still, I’m learning a lot from her and various sources.

And so…

The Sunday Seven

1) Keep tweaking the newsletter! I’ll beat you mailchimp!

2) Finish outlining the Louisiana story by the end of January – due April 30, 2016

3) Get the beat sheet complete for the Starstruck WIP by the end of January – due May 1, 2016

4) Move forward on Bah Humbug WIP – due May 30, 2016

5) More NCIS: New Orleans!

6) Take a virtual walk around the French Quarter and decide where my MCs will live, where the supporting characters live, the tour route, and where the murders will take place. Get a physical map and mark it up. Also read up on cemetery stuff.

7) Finish Killer Fiction and see if there is anything else that might work for research.

Feel free to leave me a suggestion, motivational comment, or inspirational image 😀

The Sunday Seven: New Beginnings…

Welcome to the Sunday Seven – where I recap the past seven days and lay out my seven writing goals for the upcoming week.

This is a strange week, since today is a holiday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be exact). I decided to post today considering this is a Sunday in every way except in name for me. Lots of things happened this week as well. Good things! We bought our airline tickets to Scotland for the wedding. Yay! The fiancé called the restaurant in Laguna and we’re about to reserve a date. And I finally put the guest list into a spreadsheet. 120 people are on that list on invites. We can only fit 85, but I’m confidant once I talk to my mother, that some of them can be left off and that many of them won’t be making the trip to CA due to being across the country. Also, I’m penning an email to the photographer we’d like to follow us around for the day in Scotland. Things are moving ahead!

Other than that, on a whim for a call, I submitted a proposal and secured a state in Dreamspinner’s States of Love series. You’re looking at the proud author for a story set in Louisiana! I’m a New Orleans junkie, so I can’t wait to show them what I can do with a place steeped in such history and culture! To further whet your appetite, I’ll mention that it will be my first work with strong elements of mystery and suspense. Sound interesting? Also, I made it through my clean eating challenge. I ended up getting a cold toward the end and it threw me off. Still, I did it and now I can eat cheese again. Oh how I missed cheese. Now just to watch calories and carbs, and get some exercise in.

My Passion Planner has proved to be pretty darn great already. It has so many great features besides getting you to focus on your passions and setting goals to reach them. It also asks you to write a focus for the days, weeks, and months, and note the GOOD things that happened each week. Which – I find I often forget. Seeing those positive things written down reminds me that there is meaning in the little things.

Here is a photo of the mind map you complete at the beginning and a week I completed so far:

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1) I finished the post for Clare London’s Birthday blog celebration. Check it out here. 2) I wrote up that story summary for Dreamspinner and got Louisiana, as I mentioned above. 3) My newsletter is coming along. 4) I did not get to the Starstruck WIP this week. 5) I did work on the first draft of Taking Care of Business, but that will get pushed down the line to make way for the Louisiana story. 6) I honestly didn’t even look at the Bah Humbug WIP this week. 7) I’m in the middle of reading Writing Your First Mystery and Plotting Your First Mystery by Mar Preston. I’ll need to brush up on how it’s done. Oh and I saw the movie Daddy’s Home today. I know it seems like a silly, slapstick movie, but it had some of the best storytelling I’ve seen. Seriously, it was a class in plotting, pacing, and character development. Strange to say that about a Will Ferrell / Mark Wahlberg movie, but yeah. Really spot on.

Thus, moving on…

The Sunday Seven

1) F**king Newsletter!

2) Outline Louisiana story – due April 30, 2016

3) Outline Starstruck WIP – due May 1, 2016

4) Move forward on Bah Humbug WIP – due May 30, 2016

5) Free time??? Ha! Watch some NCIS: New Orleans!

6) Research New Orleans, haunted folklore, tours, and cemeteries.

7) Finish the mystery writing books, maybe read some new Josh Lanyon. 🙂

Feel free to leave me a suggestion, motivational comment, or inspirational image 😀

The Sunday Seven: And so it begins…

Welcome to the Sunday Seven – where I recap the past seven days and lay out my seven writing goals for the upcoming week.

Well, my last post was all about New Years and Resolutions. How is everyone doing so far in those realms? Good? Not so good? Mine are coming along…slowly, but surely.

I haven’t gotten as far as I would like with the wedding planning, but then it’s not all me. My fiancé suffers from the same procrastination issues that I do. We have a place to stay locked down in Scotland. And we buy the airline tickets this week. Getting that out of the way will help. Now we need to finalize the reception restaurant and guest list, so I can get the invitations printed and mailed. I started on a 2 week clean-eating challenge to jump start my shaping up and slimming down goal for March. I’m a week in and I won’t lie – it’s tough. I’ll get through it and then I can simply watch calories and get some exercise in – either yoga or walking.

My Passion Planner arrived yesterday afternoon! It’s beautiful and I plan to fill it in today. Is it weird that I get so excited over this kind of thing? Oh, and I bought my first fountain pen. I kinda love it. And I’m already thinking I want another with a heavier tip for a thicker line. This last week..1) I’m still working on my newsletter. It WILL get done by the end of January. 2) I researched and finished outlining a short story that I plan to submit by the end of February (not sure to who yet). 3) Still thinking about Clare London’s blog post. 4) I did some research into current publishers accepting submissions and tried to get a list for myself of what’s out there. 5) I went to CES (Consumer Electronics Show here in Vegas)  and got a couple plot bunnies for upcoming stories. 6) I used Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing to help me outline my short. I really like how it guides you in a simple, yet loose way. 7) I read Dirty Talk by Joey Jameson (an ARC that I reviewed) and Cheeky Hipsters & Jocks by Posy Roberts. Each had their merits.

Now without further ado…

The Sunday Seven

1) Finish Clare London’s blog post by the end of this week.

2) Write up a story summary to submit to Dreamspinner.

3) Newsletter!!!!

4) Start outlining Starstruck WIP – due May 1, 2016.

5) Work on first draft of Taking Care of Business.

Working Title: Taking Care of Business
Phase:Outlining
100%

6) Don’t fall too behind on Bah Humbug – due July 1, 2016 (but want to turn it in much earlier since I don’t want anything hanging over my head during the wedding time!)

7) Read something off my TBR list. Or a writing reference book.

Feel free to leave me a suggestion, motivational comment, or inspirational image 😀

The Sunday Seven: Resolution Edition

Welcome to the Sunday Seven – where I recap the past seven days and lay out my seven writing goals for the upcoming week.

Happy 2016 Everyone! This week instead of the traditional seven writing goals, I’ll give you my seven New Years Resolutions – which are really just goals, but for the entire year.

This is a big year for me – I’m getting married! And with that comes a lot that needs to be done. I need to slim down and shape up for the wedding dress, for which measurements will be taken at the end of March. I need to save money for wherever I can to help out with costs. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m getting married in Scotland in June with a reception for friends and family in Laguna Beach in July). Thus, airline tickets, the dress, lodging, the restaurant, food, drink, and the like…require quite a budget. I need to get to the doctor, dentist, and whoever else can help me with my overall health before the trip. And as always, I need to make sure I’m on track with my writing, so my career plan doesn’t go to shit while I’m busy with wedding stuff.

I’m waiting for the Passion Planner I purchased a few days ago to ship so I can put everything down in writing. Until then..1) I didn’t get to draft my January newsletter, but I did gather some great articles on layout. I’ll work on it this week. 2) I’ll be elaborating on my writing projects in my resolutions. *See resolutions below. 3) I did not get to draft Clare London’s blog post yet. 4) My writing resolutions are below. 5) The Bah Humbug WIP got some more deep scene work over the week, especially after I read Write Your Novel From the Middle by James Scott Bell. 6) Is porn considered research? I heard a “yes” 🙂 Thank god. 7) I read a nice bunch of books, which seems to energize and inspire me to write. I finished Heidi Cullinan’s Winter Wonderland as well as Eli Easton’s How to Howl at the Moon and How to Walk Like a Man. All were a-ma-zing! And like I mentioned earlier, I read Bell’s book to get some feedback on my Bah Humbug WIP.

And last but not least…

My 2016 Writing Resolutions

1) Finish at least 2 novel-length manuscripts (50k or more) – more detail to come in next week’s post.

2) Submit to Dreamspinner for their Bah Humbug and Starstruck calls.

3) Submit to calls that pop up for short stories to stay relevant. Check out this plugin for my WIPs.

Working Title: Taking Care of Business
Phase:Outlining
100%

4) Work on Rainbow Romance Writer’s projects.

5) Read 100 books (Reading Challenge on Goodreads)

6) Hire someone to update website and help with marketing.

7) Keep on track with my newsletter at least four times a year.

Did you make any writing resolutions this year? I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to leave me a suggestion, motivational comment, or inspirational image 😀

The Sunday Seven: Here Comes the New Year

Welcome to the Sunday Seven – where I recap the past seven days and lay out my seven writing goals for the upcoming week.

Christmas has come and gone.I managed to make it through the holiday with very little depression or anxiety, which I’m thankful for. Spent some quality time with my family. Received some lovely presents. And ate like there was no tomorrow. I’m feeling good. Hopeful. That’s a sweet sign as we approach the New Year. I start planning projects and taking stock of what I can do to make the new year better and brighter than the last. But I’m also glad to have a therapist to work with me to make the coming year a more joyful time.

Back to work tomorrow, but I managed to accomplish a few things today to get me in the mood for next week’s post regarding New Year’s Resolutions. 1) My January newsletter will feature ALL the books I have out at this time, the appearances I have planned in the next three months, and my current WIPs. 2) My Bah Humbug WIP is still buzzing. I hope to ride that wave until the holiday spark runs dry. 3) I didn’t get a planner for Christmas, but I’m glad because I’m pretty particular with daily planners. With gift money I settled on this one – The Passion Planner – which I’m really excited about. It doesn’t ship until January though. I’m hoping this will keep me organized and energized about my writing goals. 4) For the upcoming blog post for Clare London, I’ll probably discuss the 2015 Top Ten Gay Romance anthology from JMS Books, in which my story, The Courage to Heal, had the honor of being a part of. I’ll add another fun little tidbit as well. A giveaway? 5) I didn’t get to any Victorian movies, or books for that matter. 6) I read Heidi Cullinan’s Sleigh Ride, part of the Minnesota Christmas series, and loved it. Now I have to finish out the series with Winter Wonderland. Yay! 7) Was definitely present in mind and spirit for Christmas. I’m proud of myself!

And now on to…

The Sunday Seven

1) Write up a draft of my January newsletter.

2) Elaborate on writing projects for the year.

3) Draft post for Clare London’s Birthday Blog.

4) New Year’s Resolutions!

5) Keep going on Bah Humbug WIP.

6) Research – Reading other novels has been my research lately.

7) Read – I’m still going with holidays reads while I still can!

Happy New Year!!

Feel free to leave me a suggestion, motivational comment, or inspirational image 😀