Updates, writing

Catching Up – 11/27/18​

I’m still not doing a good job of updating this site on a regular basis, but I’m hopeful that as I get further along with my work in progress story, I’ll have more to talk about.

I spent some time updating the website with information on my new work in progress. While Colder Weather took place in Iowa and had a Winter theme, my new novel – code name TBH – takes place in Florida and will have a Summer theme.  You can check out TBH’s page here, and I have the beginnings of a playlist built here. I currently have seven chapters written into the skeleton version of the novel, and I’m looking forward to fleshing it out more once the first pass is completed.

I’m also excited to announce that I’ve been invited to join the Kindred Ink Collective.  I’m looking forward to being a part of this wonderful group and supporting authors Shannon Taylor Hodnett and Julia J Simpson as they work toward getting their second novels printed as well.

Besides writing, I’ve really gotten into photography.  I purchased my first DSLR camera – a Nikon D5600 – and I’ve been exploring the different settings, with mixed results.  I’ve learned that if the photo is important, use one of the auto settings for now, but I’m also having a good time figuring out all the manual settings that are available on my camera.  You can find my photography here if you’re interested.  All photos are taken with my Nikon D5600, iPhone 7plus/iPhoneXs, or credited if not mine.

That’s about it for now.  Thanks for reading. 💖



Writing Update – July 7, 2018

Hello!  I’ve meant to sit down and type up an update (as well as other blog posts) for quite a while now.  I had initially planned to do several posts about my experience in independently publishing my first novel, but time just seems to get away from me.

While I was editing Colder Weather, I started looking forward to what my next book would be and had two choices.  Story 1 was a little harder to figure out all the logistics, and then Story 2 popped up.  In theory, this was going to be the easier of the two, so I decided to shelf Story 1 and work on Story 2.

Both Story 1 and Story 2 are going to take place in summery, island type settings, so when we decided to spend a few days in Sanibel, I knew that it would be the perfect place to gather some details for either one.  By the time we were heading home, Story 2 was really starting to build in my brain.

There usually are two types of writers in the world.  Planners and Pansters.  I’m a Panster.  I write everything without knowing what’s going to happen next or only having a vague idea of how it will end.  It’s always worked for me, but I really wanted to try being a Planner.  Or at least a Planster (half planner/half panster) if I could.  I wanted to build the world my characters would live in, create character analyses, know where the story was going and how it was going to end.  While this was all good in theory, I found myself struggling with getting it done.  I signed up for some free resources on Well-Storied and for the first few days, wrote what I could, and found life getting in the way of my planning.

I’d over-extended myself.  I was asked to review a short book.  To write an article for an online magazine.  (And I’ve loved every minute of being able to step outside of my comfort zone and try these things.)  I volunteered to beta read a novel for someone I don’t know, while also beta reading for two of my dear friends.  Sometimes I would get on the laptop, do the things I needed to do for others, then just stare at my own stuff, wondering why I wasn’t writing.  As I finished the things above, I went back to world building and fleshed out something rather spectacular (hopefully) for Story 2, but I couldn’t sit and work on my character analysis like I wanted.  It was frustrating.

But then Story 1 poked its head out of the sand and gave me some significant information.  I filed them away in my brain, intent on working on Story 2, but Story 1 wasn’t having it.  More details came in, got filed, and still no writing was accomplished.  Finally, I decided I would just write the little fluff piece of backstory that was running amuck in my brain and that really set some things in motion.  Story 1 was not the plan.  But as my friend Julia told me, “the plan is whatever you make it”  and this freed me up to really allow myself to just let whatever happened, happen.

In the course of two days, several pieces have come together and I wrote the beginning chapter on my phone because it wouldn’t leave me alone when I was trying to sleep.  So apparently I’m just always going to be a Panster.  I don’t know how this story is going to end, but it wants to be written.  It is not satisfied to wait until Story 2 gets done.  It’s not even satisfied to wait until I work on all those blog posts I wanted to do.

So here’s to Story 1, flying along by the seat of its pants, ready and eager to be told.  I hope it’s a good one.

Thanks for reading! 💖


Writing Update 4/13/18

It’s been an eventful week.

Every spare moment has been spent working on my novel. A few weeks ago, I decided to use some editing software to assist with cleaning up each chapter during the second round of editing. After trying some free apps, as well as one that I paid for, that didn’t do what I thought it would, I finally decided to pull the trigger and purchase Grammarly. They have a free version, but the paid version was so much more robust, and it’s been worth it so far. I pasted each chapter into Grammarly, then once the edits were complete, added them to Pressbooks. While this might seem like overkill to some, I liked the way Grammarly pointed out overused words, passive voice, and punctuation. I didn’t always take the suggestions it recommended, but toward the end, I was getting into a good flow, and I think this made my novel better. I started seeing my own issues. Things that might not bother anyone else, but seemed off to me. Currently, all the chapters are in Pressbooks, and I have a good idea of what the page count might be at this point. I’m going through a final round of editing, and then my critique partner, Julia, will go through it for one last read.

My other exciting news is that I have a book cover now. That was an exciting process to go through, and I’ll probably do a separate post on it near or after the book is released.

Speaking of when it’s going to be released, I think at this point, realistically, it will be in early to mid-May .

I’ve had a request to review my experience with Pressbooks, and I think I’m also going to do Grammarly, and Createspace as well after the book is published. It will be from my perspective as a new writer.

If there is anything else you would like to see here or questions you have, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks for reading! 💖


Writing Update – 4/5/18

My novel is moving forward at a brisk pace now. The first round of editing is complete, and as part of round two of cleaning everything up, I’m also posting chapters into Pressbooks as I go.

While some parts of Pressbooks are confusing and even frustrating, it is fun too. I’ve changed the font of the book several times until I found one that I’ve settled on using. I also found a lovely little page divider on Etsy that is perfect for the book’s theme. So far ten chapters have been added to Pressbooks, and I’m able to export the book to a . pdf file after each one so I can see how it will look in print.

I’m hopeful that in the next few weeks, I’ll have all the chapters uploaded and will start proofing that final version. Once that’s complete, my critique partner will look it over one more time, and then I’ll be ready to move onto the next step, which will get my novel one step closer to a publishing date.

Thanks for reading!💖


Writing Update – 3/17/2018

I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished my first pass through my novel.  It was rather satisfying to see the words The End at the bottom of my document.  While several chapters are still out to my critique partner – including at least one that needs a rewrite – I’m still excited that this hurdle has been overcome.

When I first decided to publish this novel, I knew I was coming into it blindly, but didn’t realize all the ups and downs that I’d be encountering.  The first one was realizing that some chapters didn’t fit or weren’t good enough to be read by anyone other than my wonderful critique partner.  When it came to the first chapter that needed a complete overhaul, I didn’t think I could do it and I stared anxiously at my screen, feeling rather helpless.  Once I got over my fear, I turned on some music, and just started writing.  Whole paragraphs were changed, moved, or replaced, and the end result?  A better chapter.  One I didn’t know existed.  And one I didn’t think I had the ability to create.

When two more chapters were combined into one I wasn’t as scared this time. I had the evidence to prove that it could be done.  Then a missing scene had to be added into the middle of another chapter.  The end result was something that created depth to the story and interlinked some major and minor plots into place.

So what’s next?  Another round of reviewing and editing.  I’ve highlighted several sections that I want to spend more time looking over.  I’ve also found that I use certain words and descriptions a lot and I want to clean them up as well.  In late March I’ll work with a designer to come up with a cover for this baby and I think that process will make all of this seem more real to me.

I don’t have a timeframe yet for when the book will be published.  I don’t want to set a deadline that is unrealistic when I’ve never been through this process before.  I’m luckier than most first time authors.  My awesome critique partner, Julia J Simpson went through this for the first time last year with her novel Ashes Swept and she’s been a godsend in helping me with everything.  I really couldn’t do it without her.

Thanks for reading!💖