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: 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: Holiday Rush

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

The holidays are upon us and I’ve done nothing about it so far. Oh wait, I did buy Holiday cards. My goal is to get them out before the New Year. 😛 Wish me luck!

This last week has been a strange one. I’m in some sort of funk, or maybe it’s something else. Enough to worry me, I even made an appointment with a counselor and my doctor to make sure all is well. I don’t like how I’m feeling, but I’m not to proud to ask for help. Hopefully, the professionals can assist or guide me to a better place. I’ll keep you updated on that front.

My writing hasn’t suffered too much despite my mood. I seem to have bursts of energy and creativity that prevent my productivity from dropping off completely.  1) I updated my website with the basics. It still needs help, design-wise, but that may have to wait until next year. 2) I finished up NaNo with about 19K on my Dreamspun Desires WIP. I’m pleased for now. 3) I didn’t get to work on Ezra, but I’ll carry him over to this week. 4) I gathered ideas for my Starstruck WIP, yet nothing has stuck. 5) I am excited to say I have a nearly complete outline for my Bah Humbug WIP. That one came to me in a rush and I scrambled to lay it out. Maybe one more chapter and it’s ready to write! 6) I didn’t do any Victorian research, however, I did research for the Bah Humbug WIP, since my main character is a paraplegic. 7) I read three novellas! All holiday related – Humbug by Joanna Chambers, Cabin Nights by Ashley John, and The Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn. Each of them were delightful.

And now…

The Sunday Seven

1) Work on a newsletter plan. I think I’ve sent out one newsletter. And I have subscribers!! I’m pathetic and need to show my readers some love.

2) More words on my Dreamspun Desires submission. I won’t make it to 50k by the end of this year, but I can make a dent in it and get a more solid ending.

3) Character work on Ezra from my first novel in the Victorian Gothic Paranormal series. I’ll concentrate on goal, motivation, and conflict.

4) Get an idea to stick for the Starstruck WIP (12k) due May 1, 2016.

5) Solidify outline for Bah Humbug WIP (18k) due July 1, 2016. Reading all these holiday stories has jumpstarted the idea mill and got me moving in the right direction. Woohoo!

6) Research – crack open the Victorian books or watch something from the period. Still open to suggestions…

7) Read – I have three more holiday reads ready to go!

Have a wonderful week!

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

The Sunday Seven

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

Seven has always been one of my lucky numbers and there just happens to be seven colors in the rainbow so I’m taking that as a good omen and running with it.

This last week has been a bust with writing due to the Thanksgiving holiday. With only three days at the EDJ, I had to cram five days of work into those three and it left me with very little time and energy when I got home. In addition, the fiancé and I had to pack on Wednesday evening since we flew out Thursday morning to California to spend three days with my family. I brought my Kindle and ended up reading two novellas! I’m so proud! (Eli Easton’s Midwinter Night’s Dream and Jay Northcote’s What Happens at Christmas – both are absolutely lovely holiday reads! I highly recommend them.) It felt amazing to read again after being slammed with NaNoWriMo. It was also nice to see everyone back in CA and give thanks for all the food and friendship, but I’m glad to have today to relax and get my shit together.

So without any further ado.

The Sunday Seven

1) Update my author website. It’s been sorely neglected these past few months (don’t hate me) and needs to reflect my newest release, my upcoming appearances, and any other news (or in my case – olds).

2) More words on my NaNo story. Even though I won’t be winning NaNo this year, I’ll have 20k of a story I plan to submit to Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun Desires line. I want to finish the first draft at 50k by the end of this year.

3) Character work on Ezra from my first novel in the Victorian Gothic Paranormal series. He has to be one of the most complicated, yet delicious characters I’ve ever created. I can’t wait for you to meet him.

4) Gather ideas for Starstruck short story submission (12k) due May 1, 2016. I have a few plot bunnies hopping around in my head for this one, but I have to keep it short and I’m not sure some of these ideas are short worthy. We’ll see.

5) Gather ideas for Bah Humbug short story submission (18k) due July 1, 2016. It’s so hard for me to write holiday stories in the spring and summer but maybe if I get a jump on ideas now, I’ll be ahead of the game.

6) Research – crack open the Victorian books or watch something from the period. I love reading books about the daily life of historical people. And I’m always ready for a Victorian movie or show. Any suggestions??

7) Read – I’ll choose something from my evergrowing TBR pile. More holiday reads please!

Have a wonderful week!

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