Friday, August 31, 2012

It's Going To Be A Good Day...

Well, musically anyways.  And it has to be right? Cause Friday is here, and it's the weekend, so yeah. Long live the weekend! And music, which is the reason for this unscheduled post.   

I was listening to VH1 while making breakfast (which is what I do just about every morning) and their "You Oughta Know" artist came on.  I almost burned what I was cooking because I was listening so intently to this guy's voice. His name is Ed Sheeran and if you haven't heard this guy yet he is so worth a listen.  His official YouTube channel (which is where I was able to embed this video from) has a bunch of his songs there; Small Bump is another good one. But here is the song I heard this morning:

The A Team (Ed Sheeran) 

Also, for those of you who keep tabs on this blog, or see me on twitter, I might have mentioned a time or two (or a million) that I am a big Mumford and Sons fan. Their new album is supposed to be dropping soon (thank god!!!) and their new single, I Will Wait, is beyond awesome.  The video below, from their YouTube channel, is not really a video at all.  But with these guys, who needs the fluff of a video when the audio is enough?! 

I Will Wait (Mumford and Sons)

Hope you enjoy the music, and have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Having Some "Fun."

((ROW80 Update is towards the bottom if you want to skip the music, though seriously, it's good music! Have a listen!))

I've decided that on once a week I am going to try and blog about songs that have me dancing and singing, whether in the car, around the house as I clean, or wherever I happen to be. My tastes range from classic rock to rap to punk to pop to alternative to R&B, and all things in between, so be prepared. These posts could get eclectic! If you look to the far bottom right of the page and click on the keyword 'music' you will get an idea of just what I mean.

So today, the band I am featuring is Fun. And that is Fun, with a period after the N.) I love these guys, however I have no idea what category to put then in, other than freakin' awesome! All I can tell you is that their music makes me want to jump around like a lunatic while singing. I have no idea why this is, but it makes me happy so I just go with it. You've may have already heard the first song, We Are Young. But the second song, Some Nights, is even better (in my opinion) and if you haven't heard it I highly recommend checking it out. I love blasting it in my car on the way to work. Enjoy the music and rock on! \o/

We Are Young by Fun.

Some Nights by Fun.

And now, as the music plays, here's my check-in for ROW80:

Writing Every Day:  Gah! I've missed two days. I need to get back track asap.

Book 1:  On schedule...yippee!

Book 2:  On hold until I finish the revisions for Book 1.

Being Active:  1 workout down, 2 to go before Sunday.

Reading: I've been reading whenever I can to try and get through the books on my Nook.  I've also been participating more on Goodreads with comments in various groups I'm in and with reviews. I love Goodreads.  Just LOVE it!

Social Media:  Continues to be a work in progress, but by combining posts with update info (as I did here, and the last few check ins) I can do both blog posts, whether it's writing, music, books, TV, or whatever, and get my ROW80 update in there too. Two birds, one stone! Yay! :)

Hope everyone is having a great week and good luck to those who are finishing up Camp Nano!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Some Of What I Have Learned

Much of my time in the last week has been spent with my face in the computer screen revising my WIP. It's been a lot of deletions, additions, changes, moving scenes and sections and more, all of which has meant a tighter, and I think better, WIP.  While all this has been happening, I've also been able to reflect a bit on the writing and revision process.  So in addition to my ROW80 update, I thought I'd share some of what I  have learned so far.  Things are going well and I am still on track to have them done this week. But I have found a few things out along the way about my writing and revision process:
  • Outlines, even general ones, (or even just random notes!) are a good, good thing. I started this WIP with a few sentences and the barest of outlines which I think is what made for a slow writing process this time around. Lesson learned! 
  • Writing the first book in a series is hard. Now this isn't a series in which the MCs are the MCs in the next few books. Nope. Book 2 will focus on two other characters, only one of which is mentioned in the first book. (The books will be stand-alone to a degree, but reading the others will allow people to re-visit other MCs).  But, the reason I say writing a series is hard is because the first book has to have some major world building. Or in this case, "small city building", since this story is set in present day and doesn't have anything paranormal or dystopian about it.  But I still had to "build" the environment:  the town, the people, the sense of community. I had to address much of it in this first book. My only worry now is that I did too much of that. I can always take some of that out, if I need to.  
  • When I started this WIP, my MC's name was Charli. I liked that name (still do) but whenever I typed it, I heard my MC grumbling at me about her name.  She was annoyed, and I was annoyed that she was annoyed. So we had a chat and I told her to pick her own damn name then.  She did, and she picked Kyla.  Soon as I wrote it, it was like a lightening bolt struck me. It fits so much better with who she is and just sounds right.  Just don't tell her that. She'll totally gloat. -.-   The lesson I learned here: Listen to the chatterings, grumblings, and whining of my characters. It's their story; I'm just the person meant to type it.  
I'm still reflecting and learning as I write, which I think is a never ending process really, but what have you learned in your journey as a writer?  Share in the comments below if you'd like!
I've also come across some amazing music to correspond with this book and have decided to share a bit of it.  I mentioned last post that I was having problems getting my MC sorted.  I didn't want her to waffle over every decision she had to make and get stuck in her past.  This doesn't mean she isn't stubborn, or lack attitude.  Nope, she's got that in spades and throws it around when she needs to. But she had to stop letting her past dictate her future, and this song helped me sort her out.

Daughtry's Start of Something Good

I so love this song. I could listen to it every day, and usually do since it's now on my "AM Playlist" that I listen to...well, in the morning!  Anyways, hope you enjoy the song and now here's my ROW80 Check-In:

Writing Every Day:  Check!

Book 1:    I have really gone in and torn things apart which I think has made for a tighter first 2/3 of the story, but I now have to work on the last third and make sure it all flows together and ties up nicely.

Book 2:  Hasn't been touched in a few days. I failed at Camp Nano, but I got more words down than I thought this month. And, if I add together the words I've gotten down in Book 1 and Book 2 I'm closer to 30K words, which I think is pretty darn awesome.

Being Active:  *sighs and shakes head*  There are only so many hours in a day.

Reading:  Read two books and am still struggling to finish another.  I just cannot get into it and it's driving me batty! Maybe I can finish that tonight...or next week.On this front, I also need to stop buy more books and read what I've got on my Nook.  I want to clear the front screen (where a good chunk of the new ones are) before I buy another one. This is going to take some MAJOR willpower on my part.

Social Media:  I've here and there, lurking on twitter, participating in sprints when I can. I'm not a huge presence because I often don't know what to even say, or figure that what I do want to say is something that most people will just think of as drivel, so I tend to stay quiet. This, like my writing, is a work in progress.

Hope everyone is ROW-ing right along and have a great week!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Can See The Light...

At the end of the tunnel that is. Oh my word I've gotten a ton done and I am fidgeting like mad with excitement.  Why you ask? Because somehow, since last Wednesday I've finished the draft of the WIP I've been working on and I've gotten 2/3 of the way through said draft with revisions. Those revisions have included making some major changes to the first third of the book as well making some changes to the main characters actions. She'd been bothering me for a bit, not being clear in what she wanted and being well, weak.  It was annoying me, but finally I had a breakthrough and was able to straighten her out. One thing that always annoys me about main characters (especially female characters) are ones where she can't make up her mind or she stands in her own way (too much).  Sure she has a past that effects who she is, but at some point she has to make a decision.  Well, during my revisions, decisions have been made and they suit her nicely I think.

Anyways, as for the rest of my ROW80 update, here we go:

Writing Every Day: Check!

Book 1:  The draft is done and revisions are under way! Woot!!!!  I am hoping that by next Friday (or maybe Wednesday if all goes well) I will have it sent off to my three betas. I feel sick just thinking about it because people reading what I've written? *starts to freak the F out and collapses onto the floor* Gah! HELP! I can't do it! Don't make me do it! What if they hate it? Or make fun of me? Or snicker?! Oh god what have I done!?!?  *Pulls herself together and crawls back onto the chair.*  The writing is so much easier for me than the part where people actually read the writing I've done. I need to work on this.

Book 2:  I have been working on this whenever time has allowed which hasn't been as much as I'd like. I added up my words yesterday and finally remembered to go to the website to update my novel info. It looks like I wrote 10K words yesterday, but I didn't. I hadn't updated it since it was around 5K or so.  (Adds a post it note on my computer to update daily. Hopefully it doesn't fall off)   I am up to 15,794 since the start of August, and since I started with about 10K words on August 1, I'm halfway there. My goal though was to have 50K new words (in addition to the 10K), which is clearly not going to happen. It's okay though. Words are words and progress is progress. Not going to dwell on not hitting the 50K.

Being Active:  Unlike last week I have not finished this goal. Hopefully I can work some time in the end of this week, but between revisions and work I've had little time for working out.

Reading:  I'm trying to finish a book but I'm struggling. It's good, but I don't know I find myself easily distracted. I think it's the main character-she seems wishy-washy to me and it's driving me batty.  I'll get through it though and move on to the next!

Social Media:  More lurking this week and not much else to report. I joined in the wordsprint Monday to work on revisions, and yesterday I lurked in the background while I revised. I was so into the WIP I didn't even realize the sprint had started til about 45 minutes into it.  O.O Tomorrow, I will pay closer attention to the clock so I can cheer the sprinters on!

That's it for me, time to put my nose back to the grindstone.  I hope everyone is having a productive week and happy writing!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Veronica Mars, Longmire and a ROW80 Update

(Note: Scroll down for my ROW80 Update if you'd rather not read about Veronica Mars and how that relates to an issue I have with Longmire)

Veronica Mars is seriously one of my favorite TV shows of all time. That show (or rather the creator/writer) knew how weave an overarching plot that went throughout the entire season, mixed with a different mystery each week. He left clues and revealed a little bit more about the overarching mystery of who killed Lily Kane in each episode, creating twists and turns that made me at least want to watch the next one to see what was going to happen.  As I re-watched VM this weekend, I found myself comparing this to the show I've been watching on A&E this summer, Longmire. I like this show, and holy hell is Branch hot or what?! I want to hate him, but he is too delicious to hate--redeem him, please!!!  However, the flashbacks of what happened to the Sheriff's wife, how the hell that relates to Denver, and why his friend tracked him to Denver, is starting to annoy me. I don't think enough information was given in the beginning for me to be intrigued enough to make this appointment TV (it usually sits on my DVR for a couple days before I watch it).  It's been like trying to figure out a puzzle but you don't have the cover of the box to know what it eventually would look like. In VM, the viewer knew that Lily was killed, that there was a mess of an investigation, a cover-up, and that some poor sap took the fall.  But you didn't know the why, or the how, or the who, and there were red herrings throughout the season to throw Veronica and the viewer off the trail. But in the end, we knew that Veronica was going to find out who killed Lily. With Longmire, I gotta say, from the beginning I had no freaking clue what the hell was happening.  For some reason, when the show started, I thought that his wife died from some illness or something, not what has now been alluded to (and I won't say it here in case anyone has episodes to catch up on!).  I have no idea what it is we are supposed to be finding out (though last week I got a bit more info, but think this would have been better served if it was earlier in the show.)  I get it, writers want to throw little hints here and there to keep viewers coming back, but don't make them so small the viewer can't even find the damn thing, or needs a notebook while watching each episode and then has to study those notes to figure it out. I just can't seem to piece this together and I don't know if it's me not paying attention, or if it's the intention of the writers to keep everything so vague. Whatever it is, it's annoying me. Hopefully some less vague answers will be coming soon!

But anyways, enough of me ranting, here's my update:

Writing:  My goal of writing every day has been a success. Even if it is just a little, I get something down. On average it's been about 500 words a day, and I am happy with this.  

Book 1 (re: Charli's story):   I've been doing okay here. I am slowly moving into the revision phase where I am editing and filling in some scenes that need a bit of tightening.  The end is nigh, I hope. 

Book 2 (re: Emma's story): This is my Camp Nano WIP and yeah, haven't touched it much because of my work on Book 1 (I've gotten another 2K or so words down, but have yet to update my progress on the website.) However, my plan is to focus on this over the weekend since I should be just about done with the writing for my other WIP.

Being Active:  I've already hit my goal for the week! Woot!! I am back to doing my yoga and strength training. I wish I could just not have lulls in this activity, because seriously, when I am doing my yoga every day, my back feels so much better. 

Reading: Done! I read Defying the Odds by Kele Moon (the link is to the Goodreads page) which was good. It was sweet and a quick read, just what the doctor ordered on the rainy, dreary evening that was yesterday.  For my GR challenge, I have read 59 out of 75 books for the year and am ahead by like, 13 books! Yay! 

Social Media:  Lurking on twitter, blogging once a week-done! However, I would like to strive to blog once per week on a non-ROW80 related topic. I have every intention of doing so but always forget to post on Friday. I even have a few that are done and ready to go, but the schedule thing on blogger never works so yeah, like I said, I forget. I also am having trouble checking in on Sundays because I've been crazy busy on the weekends. Hopefully this week I can do better! 

That's it for me, now I'm off to get some work done and hopefully be back in time for the #row80 sprint at 2 EST! Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Trying to Stay on Track

The procrastination monster is trying to distract me from my goals and I find myself bending to his will.  I cannot let this happen because if I do I will be so down for the count there will be no getting back up. Or at least, it will take a good deal of strength to do so and I don't know if I have it. I need to just sit my ass in my chair and get crap done.  This is of course, easier to say than to actually do, but perhaps by putting it out there, I will be more accountable and,just do it.

So my stand-off with the monster at my door starts this morning. I am turning my phone off, logging off twitter and will do absolutely everything  in my power to not go on the internet, check email, look at the news, look at funny pictures on tumblr, giggle at pictures of cats, see what is on TV tonight and/or a bazillion other things that could distract me from doing what I need to, which is WRITE.  I will also keep my Nook in the other room so I don't get lost in a book. Once I post this, I will be off grid and my goal is to stay that way until the sprint at 2pm. (which I hope to join in on)  Going  totally "off the grid" will be a weird, but welcome feeling; something I think will be required on a daily basis (even if just for an hour or two) in order to keep on track this Round.

And speaking of keeping on track, before I go, here is my progress this week:

Writing:  My progress here has been haphazard.   Work has had me crazy busy so I've not been able to write as much as I'd like. I'm hoping I can write today through Sunday and get a lot done. Only time will tell if I can sit my butt in my chair and do just that.

Book 1 (re: Charli's story):  This will be my focus this week as I finish the draft. As I read through it Sunday, I know I will have to change some scenes around but all in all, things are looking up. In the first book of a series it's always hard, at least I think it is, balancing the whole world building (in this case, 'community building') and the central story of the main characters. I will adjust as necessary during the revision stage.

Book 2 (re: Emma's story): I've written about 5K words on this (which is my Camp Nano project; I'm being a Camp rebel by using a novel I'd started before Aug. 1st, but still am hoping to hit 50K words or thereabouts by the end of the month); I'm setting this aside this week though so I can focus on finishing Book 1, then I will come back to Emma.

Being Active:  Better than last week but not yet on target. Still got time to get two more sessions in to meet my 3x per week target.

Reading:  I haven't read anything new, instead going back and re-reading Kristen Ashley's Rock Chic series. I love her books. Like seriously, she writes an awesome alpha male and her heroines are awesome too. But, the main reason I've been doing it is because I am anxiously awaiting her latest release, Breathe, to be released on Barnes and Noble. (She publishes via Smashwords and there is a delay from publishing date to release -sometimes 2-8 weeks according to Kristen's website- on certain platforms. This is good to know since I've been considering using Smashwords as a way to publish my novel once I'm finished.)

Social Media:  I've been lurking around twitter but not talking much given how crazy work has been.  Should be able to do less lurking and participate more today through Friday.

I've still got 5 days this week to get my crap together and reach my goals-we shall see if this pans out, but fingers crossed! Hope everyone is having a great week and happy writing!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ROW-ing In The Heat of Summer

Ugh, I am so sick of these 90 degree days. Seriously, is it fall yet?  Cause I think I might melt into a puddle if it keeps this up! Anyways, enough of me whining about the weather.  I have a quick update for today regarding my ROW80 goals.  The day is is setting up to be a long one so I'm going to dive right in!

Writing:  Check! I've written everyday this week though because of my schedule I haven't been able to participate in the sprints :( Should be there Thursday and Friday though! 

Book 1 (re: Charli's story):  Still on track to have the draft DONE by the 17th. My main focus will be on the last third where I need to add several scenes to tighten things up.  

Book 2 (re: Emma's story):  I was able to jot down more notes on this and  I created a document to list all the places and secondary characters in both the first book in the series and in this one, which is helping a lot to keep everything consistent!  

Being Active:  *hears cricket and quickly moves on*

Reading:  I've read three actually.  Seduction and Snacks  by Tara Sivec is laugh out loud, my drink flying out the nose, holding my gut because it hurts from laughing so hard, hysterically funny. I reviewed it on Goodreads HERE but fair warning-if you take offense to crude language do not read this book. Otherwise, get ready to use the highlighter feature on your e-reader cause holy balls there are some awesome passages I just had to go back and re-read, giggling like a lunatic as I did.  Seriously funny book.  The second book was More Than Meets the Ink by Elle Aycart. It was good, so good that I immediately bought the second book in the series, Heavy Issues.  That book was even better and even made me cry (in a good way and it was not overly sappy! But woah, Cole Bowen? He was hotttt!)  I reviewed Heavy Issues on Goodreads HERE if you want to check it out.

Social Media: Blogging and tweeting--Check!

I was going to do Camp Nano this year, but I chickened out yesterday. With my first WIP already more than 80% done and the second WIP about 25% done,  I didn't want to start another one from scratch. I know myself well enough that doing so would just end with me getting overwhelmed and then I'd just crash and burn. However, I will be rooting on all the Camp Nano participants from the sidelines and I wish everyone good luck in your journeys! Reminder-don't eat too many S'mores-you might get a tummy ache! :)  

Good luck this week and see y'all Sunday!