Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: Reaper's Property by Joanna Wylde

Title: Reaper's Property
Author: Joanna Wylde
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Publication Date: January 9, 2013

First, let me say I love me a bad ass biker. Wanna know how much? Well, Biker Chick by JoDee Messina is on regular rotation on my mp3 player, especially in the summer. Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley is one of my favorite books as is Undeniable by Madeline Sheehan (my review of that can be found on HERE.).  And Sons of Anarchy is my absolute must see TV show. (Chibs. I love that man. *sighs*) So if it has
a motorcycle and a hot guy in it, I'm likely going to check it out.

So, in the Kristen Ashley Addict's Support group on Goodreads someone recommended Reaper's Property, and after hearing great things about it I picked up the book. Actually, I first messaged the author because I wanted to buy it on Nook. Joanna Wylde let me know it would be up on Barnes and Noble but she just wasn't sure when.  She directed me to the excerpt on her website to tide me over. I read it. Can I just say, OMG! I was hooked.  And then I had to wait.  So I waited. And waited some more. In total it was about 9 days. NINE WHOLE DAYS! They might have been the longest of my life; that is how much I wanted to read this book! So by the time I hit "purchase" I was quivering with
anticipation But let me tell you, it was all worth the wait!

First, let's start with the blurb from Goodreads:

Marie doesn't need a complication like Horse. The massive, tattooed, badass biker who shows up at her brother’s house one afternoon doesn't agree. He wants Marie on his bike and in his bed. Now.

But Marie just left her abusive jerk of an ex-husband and she’s not looking for a new man. Especially one like Horse—she doesn't know his real name or where he lives, she’s ninety percent certain he’s a criminal and that the “business” he talks with her brother isn't website design. She needs him out of her life, which would be a snap if he’d just stop giving her mind-blowing orgasms.

Horse is part of the Reapers Motorcycle Club, and when he wants something, he takes it. What he wants is Marie, but she’s not interested in becoming “property of”.

Then her brother steals from the club. Marie can save him by giving Horse what he wants—at home, in public, on his bike… If she’s a very, very good girl, she’ll get lots more of those orgasms only he can offer, and he’ll let her brother live.


Horse was hot, alpha, an ass, but god did he love Marie. He, being a hot alpha biker, had no idea how to show this so he seriously messed up on occasion. But I think in the end he made up for it all. As for Marie, she was a bit naive in the beginning. And I did understand her trepidation about being an "old lady" but at one point her indignation at being considered "property" seemed a bit forced. I am in no way condoning a woman being anyone's property. I'd sooner stab someone that ever do that. My issue was more that she didn't listen to what Horse was saying. He was trying to explain the MC culture. He wasn't saying he thought of Marie as his property, it just was the culture and how the guys saw it. But instead of thinking about this from the MC point of view, she flipped the hell out. Not cool Marie. Not cool at all. However, even though it wasn't cool, it fit who Marie was. That might sound confusing, but looking at from my perspective I'd have acted different. But because it's Marie, and because the author set up who she was as a person so well, Marie's reaction wasn't something I can really get annoyed about. It was just...well it was Marie!

The secondary characters were fun to hear about. I loved how the women supported Marie and made her feel welcome. I caught the look between Painter and Em and that certainly piqued my interest. (Will they get an HEA?! Will they? Will they?! *bounces around with a grin*)  Of all of them Serena was the biggest surprise for me. At first I hated her and thought she was a distraction. However, the author proved me wrong and Serena became someone I ended up liking. A lot.  I hope she gets an HEA at some point. Maybe her and Picnic should get together!? That'd be hot. *snickers* Oh and a note on Marie's brother. I think, with regard to him, the author did an excellent job. She had me totally liking him in the beginning, and then, through a series of events...oh did he make me mad! Kudos to Ms. Wylde for the twists and turns she provided. It was such a fun ride!

I enjoyed the grittiness of this book. I actually wish we saw more of it. I don't mind the dark side of life (as long as I am just reading about it or watching it on TV.) It's why I like SOA: the grit, the violence, the sex, the's intoxicating and usually so horrifying I can't look away. Makes for good TV. or books. I also liked how the author talked the MC talk and she researched the culture. I really got the sense she knew about what she was writing. She mentioned cuts, the 1%, going to "church", the parties, the ways the members dealt with issues within their ranks, the dirty, kinky and out of control sex, drugs and rock and roll, and other tidbits of MC culture. Another plus? The switching of POVs between Horse and Marie at times. I actually wish there was a bit more of it. It really helped in understanding what was happening, especially when the whole text messaging debacle happened between the two. It sorted out, at least for the reader, that they were both being idiots and needed to communicate better and I don't think this would have been conveyed properly if we didn't hear from both of them. (Though I do wonder, was this ever resolved? I don't remember Horse ever finding out that Marie sent the last message. He read her drunk texts, and then threw his phone. Did he ever know she sent the one saying she was sorry?! I think that question requires a thorough re-read!)

There were a few plot holes however, they weren't distracting. They just left me with questions when I finished. First, Marie had an anonymous email account and I thought this would be implausible given the surveillance the guys had on her. And even if it did get by, why didn't she tell Horse when they made up?  And with Max I would have liked to hear, via Horse's POV, what happened to him. Why did they let Max back? Wouldn't he be one of the 1st suspects when all the bad stuff is going down? And I didn't get why Marie was locked upstairs during the party. Why couldn't she hang with the gang. She'd have been protected it would seem. Oh, and when Horse in the hospital and before the epilogue, there was a chunk missing. I was dying to know what happened with regard to the aftermath of what I'll call the "big bang". (And I don't mean anything dirty here, so get your mind out of the gutter!)  Lastly, at the end, what happened to the dog?! I didn't see anything mentioned in the epilogue, though I could have missed it. Please tell me he is alright! *worries like crazy over Horse's dog*  Again, none of these things make the book any less great. It is likely something that will improve as the author moves forward with her writing. (Note: As a writer, sometimes I too miss plot points in telling a story. The characters are in my head while I'm writing; so I know what happens along the way, even in the background. But sometimes I forget to flesh it out for the reader, who is most definitely not in my head. It happens and it's something that only gets easier to avoid the more a person works on the craft of writing.)

As you can see I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more about the Reapers. I hope we get Picnic's story and Painter's. I hope too that we see Marie and Horse a little bit during those books as well. I give this a 4 out of 5 stars!

If you'd like to purchase the book, here are the links for Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Also, the author was kind enough to do a Q&A session with the Kristen Ashley Addicts Support Group on Goodreads and that thread can be found HERE.. She answers a bunch of questions from readers and gives insight into the research she did and the book itself.  Did I mention she rocks?! If I didn't I should have. Cause she does. Check out that thread and you will see how right I am!

*This book was a self-purchase and I was not in any way compensated for, or even asked, to review this book. All opinions are my own*

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Quick ROW80 Update

Teaching MWF at 8am is kicking my ass. It wouldn't be so bad if it was 830. But something about having to be up and out of the house no later than 7:20am so I can get to class a few minutes before the students is tough to get used to. Ugh!

Anyways, here's the score for ROW80:
  • Finish edits on Finding Home: *happily edits away* One plus about teaching MWF means Tuesday and Thursdays (or at least half of each of those days) are free to get editing in. I cannot ever remember being happy about doing edits. But in this case I've been smiling like a goof every time I work on this. 
  • Set aside several hours of one day to work on collaborative project: I am thinking this might happen later in the week. Perhaps Sunday, though I'd love to get a bunch of writing on this done Friday. It all depends on my work schedule.
  • Read/comment on a min. of 5 blogs: This is goal is just about done though I want to visit some more fellow ROW-ers today to see how they are doing. 
  • Reply to comments on this blog: So far so good!
  • Blog min. of one book review: I have one ready to go for Thursday. I am a bit behind in updating my Goodreads challenge info and have a bunch of books to update and review, but the upside of this means I should be able to keep up with this goal.
  • Check in on Sunday for ROW80: It's not Sunday so...nothing to update.
  • Send out three resumes/applications this week: 1 down, 2 to go.  This week I applied for a teaching position at a college in Nevada. I don't have a lot of hope, but this goal is more about me just being proactive. Instead of sitting around lamenting the hell that is my current job, I want to be active in looking for something else. 
  • Workout 3 times for the week: So far, 1 out of 3. I also worked out Sunday (this counted towards last week's goal), Given both of these were particularly intense workouts my body is screaming at me. Ouch! 
All in all things are going well. I've been trying to stay organized and get things done as they come in. This has definitely helped me in not getting overwhelmed. Now I am off to class to teach students the finer points of plot, how to write a plot summary, and begin a discussion about Hawthorne. Hope everyone has a great day! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Forward Progress: A ROW80 Update

On Wednesday I re-focused my goals just a bit to fit into an added goal to my plan for 2013. You can see that post HERE if you'd like.  As it stands, since making this slight change, I've been pretty happy with my progress since then.

The biggest change, in terms of writing, was to stop  my weekly word count goal. Instead, I am focusing on one of my novels at a time. As I noted in the goal post for Round 1, one of my goals was to prioritize my WIPs since I have so many half-finished or near done. I kept jumping from WIP to WIP and not really finishing any. This had to stop. So, this week, I dove into edits of Finding Home. Before Wednesday, I had been doing these a scene at a time and it was slow going since I wasn't consistent with the time I was putting in. But now that this is my focus, I made a large dent in the edits.

And since I am mentioning edits, I have to give a shout out to my friend Elli, who has made the whole editing  process hilarious. So while many see edits as a tedious process, she has made it a blast with her comments. Not to mention she is most excellent at it. Also on the plus side, she hasn't made me cry. Yet. :D
  • Send out three resumes/applications this week-I sent out 1. But I took a bunch of time to update my resume and get transcripts together. So...progress! 
  • Continue edits and revisions of Finding Home and Wanted: Progress is being made as noted above.  
  • Read/comment on a min. of 5 blogs: I only hit a couple this week, so I will make up for it this week. 
  • Reply to comments on this blog: Done.
  • Blog a min. of one book review: Done! I reviewed Come Away With Me by Kristen Proby. It is a contemporary romance and I hope to read the second in the series later this week should time allow. My complete review can be found HERE.
  • Workout 3 times for the week: To quote Meatloaf, "2 out of 3 ain't bad!"
  • Check in on Sunday for ROW80: Done
As for next week, I am adding another goal. I am going to take a day (or several hours of a day anyways) to focus on a collaborative novel I've been slacking on. And seriously, I am giving permission to my co-author to smack the hell out of me for it. So from this point forward, one day per week will be focused on this project. I have a lot of catching up to do, so if I can set aside every week for it I think I can make up ground.

So, next week my goals are:
  • Finish edits on Finding Home
  • Set asideseveral hours of a day to work on collaborative project
  • Read/comment on a min. of 5 blogs
  • Reply to comments on this blog
  • Blog min. of one book review
  • Check in on Sunday for ROW80
  • Send out three resumes/applications this week
  • Workout 3 times for the week
That's it for me. It's been a busy, yet productive week and I hope this week continues that trend. How are you doing? Are you hitting your goals? Have a great week and good luck!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Book Review: Come Away With Me by Kristen Proby

It's been several days since I read this book and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. The premise is good. I liked the characters to some degree. But there was something missing that stops me from rating this higher than a 3.5 out of 5. [Note: I don't give away any major twists but there may be a minor spoiler here or there. You have been warned.]  

First, here is the info from Goodreads:

Title: Come Away With Me
Author: Kristen Proby
Publication Date: November 7, 2012
*Warning: Contains profanity, explicit sex, and a super sexy couple!

Being confronted on the beach by a sexy stranger wasn't part of Natalie Conner's plans for a peaceful morning taking photos. And why on earth would he think she's taking pictures of him, anyway? Who is he? One thing’s for sure, he’s hot, and incredibly romantic, feeding Natalie’s wounded soul.

Luke Williams just wants the world to give him a break, so seeing yet another camera aimed at his face has him ready to pounce on the beauty behind the lens. When he finds out she has no idea who he is, he's intrigued and more than a little tempted by her. Natalie has a body made for sex, a sassy mouth and Luke can’t get enough of her, but he’s not ready to tell her who he really his.

Natalie is a no nonsense girl who doesn't do well with lies and secrets. What will happen to this new relationship when she discovers what Luke’s hiding?

Alright, so now let's dig into what I thought about the book. First, we have the characters, Natalie and Luke. Luke was hot. I really liked Luke. He'd had a hard time dealing with his fame and had basically given up his acting career because of the insanity of the fans and the paparazzi. He was working instead as a producer, working behind the scenes. Natalie was a photographer who lived with her best friend and sold nature photos. She also took photos for couples in sexy positions and various stages of undress. She was also loaded because her parents had been killed and, being her dad was a rich lawyer, they left her all their money.

Okay, if there is one thing that bugs me more than billionaire heroes, it's couples who are both loaded and can spend cash without thought or concern. I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm so not loaded and I cringe whenever I see a character blowing cash on ridiculous items. Whatever the case, it made it hard for me to connect and identify with the characters. But this is subjective, so though is a problem for me, it likely won't be the case for everyone. 

Now, let's talk about Luke's sister. I despised her. She was a bitch. However, when Nat first meets his family and she goes off on the sister, that bugged me. I get it. The woman had it coming, but come on. it's the first time you're meeting his folks. Just walk away. Don't call her out. It isn't your place. It's Luke's. Or his parents or other sibling. This just got under my skin but not so much so that it made me dislike the book. I got over it. The fact that the two mend fences eventually also didn't quite gel for me. Though I could be a much less forgiving person. *shrugs*

I did like the relationship between Nat and Luke. It was sweet and way hot. And Luke was so romantic. He had a huge heart and you just knew, from the beginning, that he was so totally in complete and utter love with Natalie. It was adorable. And his birthday gift to her?! I mean come on, it doesn't get more romantic than that! 

This wouldn't be a romance without the "misunderstandings" and this book didn't disappoint. One thing I did like was that they didn't last a long time. It wasn't like half the book went by with them apart because of them. (Those kind of misunderstanding tick me off!)  On the flip-side though, Natalie, when she freaked out, she freaked out. Her reactions were a bit overly dramatic for my taste and I had a hard time taking her seriously. At least in regard to the first major misunderstanding when she finds out who he is.

As for the second, when Luke was in L.A., I gotta admit that I would have flipped the freak out too but I would have hoped to be more in control than that. I think she went a bit overboard with the way she freaked out. But by then I was used to her dramatics so I went with it. It's like when you have that one friend who just is so over the top about certain things but you still love her, ya know? That was Natalie for me.

As for the twist, I don't think the book needed it, but that's just me.  (I won't say what it is, but let's just say it was a shocker.)   I already bought the second book in the series, Fight With Me, because I really want to see what happens with Natalie's friend and hopefully we see more of Luke. *sighs* He was just delectable. The author has a lovely writing style and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Think this might be a book you want to try?  Here are the links to Barnes and Noble  and Amazon.  
[Note: When I purchased these books I got each book for $0.99 and as of the date of this post, they still are. This may change, or not. I honestly have no idea. Bottom line is, the price is more than reasonable and worth it, in my opinion.] 

*This book was a self-purchase and I was not in any way compensated for, or even asked, to review this book. All opinions are my own* 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Getting Myself Sorted

I missed Sunday's ROW80 check-in. Something I had promised myself I wouldn't do. I might miss a Wednesday but I wanted to hit every Sunday update. Hell I just said that last Wednesday, and what happens? Sunday comes and BOOM...I miss it. *headdesks*

Then I was going to post my update Monday. But Monday was a bad day for a variety of reasons and all I really wanted to do was curl up on the couch and read. So, for most of the day, that's what I did. I had the day off after all, so I took advantage. But, I also did a lot of thinking and made some decisions.

I thought a lot about where I am in my life, what I'm doing and what my options are. I've said over and over again, I need to get out of this job I am in. People think I'm crazy when I say that but my job is awful. As in, it sucks the souls right out of me and every day I get more and more numb to the world around me. And my colleagues are the same-we're all shells of our former selves, walking around on automatic as we try to get through the day. [Note: not trying to get sympathy here, this is the just the way it is, for me. I know other people have equally crappy jobs; I've just reached my breaking point.]  The majority of the time the entire process leaves me feeling hollow, unable to sleep and walking around in a daze. This is not a healthy environment. Not for me. I can recognize this now and I need to get out, sooner rather than later. I am not even going to go into the specifics of the other drama in my life, my family, who thinks it's okay to use me as a middle person in their childish arguments and fights. *rolls eyes* But, needless to say, that is another reason for me to get the hell out of dodge and start living for me.

But I can't just drop everything and walk away tomorrow. To do this I need a plan. Sure, I have my 2013 plan (which is HERE), but I need to start refocusing my ROW80 goals to speed up this plan and I also need to add to that plan: to actively find other, and different, work.  This is something I've thought about for awhile, two years at least. I've looked into new jobs and moving during this time, but was never too serious about it. It was easier to bury my head in the sand and become distracted with other things. But I've come to realize that my life is flying by and all I can do is stare at it as it passes. I am not living; I'm just existing. I need to fix this and I think a new environment and a new start is the way to go.

It's time to step up and put a laser focus on what needs to get done.  Between the soul sucking day job, my part time teaching gig, looking for a new job, and writing, I need to prioritize. So here are my new ROW80 goals for this week:

  • Send out three resumes/applications this week
  • Continue edits and revisions of Finding Home and Wanted.  I am going to stick to these WIPs. No more procrastination and blaming it on these hippity-hoppity plot bunnies. They are getting a sedative until I'm done. I will still jot down notes if they come to me, but I am not going to touch them otherwise, until these two books are D.O.N.E. This might be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life but I am determined. 
  • Read/comment on a min. of 5 blogs
  • Reply to comments on this blog
  • Blog min. of one book review
  • Workout 3 times for the week
  • Check in on Sunday for ROW80
I took out my goal of writing 3K words a week and it likely won't be back for awhile. I know I can get the words down, easily. But now is not the time for that. I need to move forward, and not remain in stasis which, by continuing to write on new WIPs and not finishing the two that are 98% done, I am doing.

Only three weeks in and I'm rebooting my goals a bit, but I feel a whole lot better about things.  I hope everyone is doing well as we progress through the first round of ROW80. Are you having to re-focus your goals yet or are things smooth sailing so far?  Oh, and before I go, what do y'all think about the new color theme on the blog? I went with soft grey background with the black font, cause the white background just seemed too bright and hurt my eyes when I tried to read it. But my eyes suck so, what it okay for me might not be okay for you guys. Let me know what you think or if I need to readjust the colors for easier reading. Thanks! :D  Hope everyone has a great week and happy writing!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Review: Virgin River (Virgin River, #1) by Robyn Carr

[Note: this is being re-blogged from my Goodreads review via the blog this review feature. I tend to write most of my reviews there but I know not everyone is on Goodreads, or might miss it in the crazy, crowded update feed that is GR.  Anyways, hope you enjoy the review and happy reading!]

Virgin River (Virgin River, #1)Virgin River by Robyn Carr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So I am reading this series for a reading challenge on Goodreads. This series keeps popping up on my recs list. I also heard really good things about it for the last year so it'a about time I finally dug in. (Note: when I bought this book, the first 4 were available on Barnes and Nobles as a set for just over 7 dollars. I thought it was a good deal, so I snapped it up and am SO glad I did.)

Anyways, back to the book. The reviews and recs were right. I was not disappointed. I finished this in an evening and when I had to put it down for a conference call I was pissed. I did NOT want to stop reading. I mean, it was just getting good!!!

Don't worry, I pulled myself together, finished the call at about 1130pm (it started at 9. Longest hour and a half of my life!) and then dove back in until I finished it. The lack of sleep was well worth it.

This book has a slow, but steamy build and really showed growth of the heroine from beginning to end. It was not some quick resolution to the issue she was escaping to Virgin River to deal with. It worked itself out as the main characters got to know each other. It wasn't insta-love; instead they built a foundation and became close friends which slowly morphed into more.

I also loved the cast of secondary characters. Jack was so good with Ricky who he took care of like a son. Preacher was freakin fantastic, and Doc...what a cute old guy! Adorable! There were others I want to mention, like her friends in the next town over and Jack's Marine Corps buddies were swoon-worthy, but I'd end up going on forever. (I cannot wait to hear about Mike. He was only in the book a tiny bit but I love me a cop hero. Just sayin!)

The element of suspense was well done and plausible. We met the baddie earlier and it made sense what happened. All I can say is that the Marines taught Jack well, thank god. The only problem I did have in the book was at a pivotal part, where Mel finds out something that knocks her for a loop, she reacts in a way I did NOT like. Not at all. I was seriously mad at Mel when she did what she did and, even though unintentional, hurt Jack. I get why it happened, and I can understand it to some degree. But still...And she...ugh!!! I wanted to throttle her! I know it was shocking and you'd been through a lot. I get, WE get it. But COME ON MEL! Get a clue! IT'S JACK!!! *sighs* I had to put the book down for a few minutes and take a breath, like Jack had to do.

And like Jack, I didn't give up on Mel. (Even though I really wanted to. That's how annoyed I was.) This feeling passed when I read her apology. I knew that it was meant to be sincere and she explained herself, so like Jack I was able to forgive her too. But I think I fell so hard for Jack I was ready to beat down the biatch on his behalf. (Sorry, but no matter how much everyone talked so highly of her husband, he didn't hold a candle to Jack. His life was his work. No matter how great he was, that always came before Mel and that is not cool. Not ever.) And, well, if you haven't guess, I'm a bit protective of my heroes. *shrugs*

The steam factor was classy, tasteful and sweet. Basically it was hot but not over the top. I cannot wait to read the second book about Preacher. I might have to dig into it tonight. Yes, that is how much I want to go back to Virgin River.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Trying To Keep Steady

This week has crawled by and I haven't touched the novel I need to finish edits on since Saturday. Work has been a bear but I hope to get to those on Friday and complete them over the weekend. I am so close to finishing this final run through. It's both exciting and nerve-wreaking at the same time but I will be happy when I can let that one go. As for my weekly goals, here is my update so far:
  • Writing: I've hit about 2500 words. Only 500 more to go and this goal will be done for the week.
  • Review minimum 1 book per week here or on Goodreads: Done via GR. I actually did two. The first is a romantic suspense, Under His Protection by Karen Erickson and the review can be found HERE. The second review is for Nona Raines' One Good Man. That review is HERE.  I don't give away a lot of synopsis in my reviews. Mainly because the books I've read already have a ton of reviews, so why be repetitive? So I keep it to what I thought and that's it. Unless a book blows me away and I have a lot to say about it, I keep it simple.
  • Finish Syllabus for classes: Uh....well. I'm halfway there. Kind of. If I can finish this by Friday I can email it to the Center chair and upload it to Blackboard.Classes officially begin a week from today. I'm o excited though I doubt my students are! :D 
  • Respond to min. of 5 blogs: I plan on making the rounds today and tomorrow to see how everyone is doing
  • Respond to this blog comments: In progress
  • Finish freelance writing/editing project: This is done. I submitted it to the client and am just waiting to hear if I need to make any final changes before he takes it over. 
  • Workout 3 times per week: Um, this would be a big, fat fail at the moment. 0 for 3. *sighs*
So that's my update. Quick, dirty and about half way to being completed when all is said and done. I still have time to get the rest of it done. I just need to buckle down and focus! Hope everyone is having a great week and happy writing!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Slowdown: A ROW80 Update

I like Sundays when I can just lounge around, read at my leisure, write if I want to and just relax before the crazy arrives on Monday morning. Unfortunately that will not be the kind of Sunday I have today. Because of this, today's update will be short and sweet.

Here is a breakdown of last weeks goals and the progress I made:
  • Write 3K words a week: Done! 
  • Review class materials: Um, I didn't get around to finishing this, but I at least have all my books and such organized. Next week I will buckle down, make sure I have the first month of classes planned out, and prep the syllabus. 
  • Review 1 book per week: I did this via Goodreads with the link being here HERE.
  • Read/Comment on at least 5 ROW80 posts and/or blogs: Done!
  • Respond to comments on this blog: Done!
  • Workout 3 times during the week: I did 2 actual workouts this week, and then on Thursday, I took down all winter decorations, cleaned/dusted/vacuumed my house til it shone and took down the tree (not necessarily in that order).  This mean a lot of up and down the stairs from the first floor to the second and then up into the attic. Over and over again.  This also meant I hauled that damn tree out of my house and threw it into the back woods, by myself.  By the time all was done  I felt like I ran a marathon. So was it a traditional workout? No, but my heart rate was up big time. So maybe I can count that as a half of a workout? I don't know. Maybe that's cheating. Hopefully next week I can hit a full 3. 
My goals for the week upcoming are:
  • Write 3K words
  • Review a min. of 1 book per week either on Goodreads or my blog
  • Review class materials and prepare syllabus for classes
  • Finish freelance editing project by Tuesday at 6pm
  • Read/comment on a minimum of 5 ROW80 updates and/or blogs
  • Respond to comments made on this blog
  • Workout 3 times this week
How did you fare with your goals? Did your first week of ROW80 go well or are you making adjustments? Have a great week and happy writing! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

So Far, So Good...

Time flies when there are goals to be met and a to-do list that is a mile and a half long! I can't believe Wednesday is already here.  I've been wondering since I posted my initial goals post whether to do updates twice a week, or just on Sundays, since I am often out of the office on Wednesdays. I still am undecided at this point other than to say I will always try to post on Sunday. The Wednesday updates may end up being a bit more scattered, depending on time and whether I can get the schedule thing in blogger to work. (It never has worked. I don't know if I am doing something wrong or what but it is supremely annoying. Anyone else
have this issue?)

My edits of Finding Home are coming along, I've been working steadily on these but it's slow going as I carefully edit and re-read to make sure I don't have gaping plot holes anywhere. (I think I've checked 30 times but I'm freaked out I will miss something.) I'm considering posting the first chapter (or part of it) somewhere on my blog but I haven't fully decided yet. A sort of sneak peek if you will as I get closer to the finish line. I'm not great with letting people read what I write, but I thought maybe by putting a short snippet out there for ROWers, fellow bloggers, other blog followers, etc to read, comment, give feedback, and well, just for me to get used to the idea that people might read it, would ease me into putting my novel out there. What do you think? Good idea or no? Any thoughts you might have are appreciated!

As for the goals I set for the week I've had a really productive couple of days. Here is a quick run down:
  • Writing: the goal is 3K a week. I've written 3500+ this week on various WIP(s) and I gotta say, I'm impressed with what I've come up with (and this doesn't happen often since I usually think everything I write sucks! LOL).  Anyways, I hit my goal and I'm movin' on baby! 
  • Review class materials for the upcoming semester: Haven't started this yet but I did pull out my binder full of Intro to Lit lesson plans. I am going to hopefully get to this over the weekend. 
  • Review one book per week (minimum) via this blog or Goodreads. I did this with a book by Lexi Blake (one of my new faves!) and my review is HERE. I read an awesome series over the weekend as well and am hoping to do a review of that on the blog when I get around to it. 
  • Comment on a min. of 5 ROW80 posts:  Done!
  • Reply to comments on this blog: In progress. 
  • Workout 3 times this week: My friend got engaged on Sunday night. I'm in her wedding which is likely going to be the first weekend in November. I have GOT to step this up. At least now I have a motivating factor to get me to my goal! So far, I've completed one full length workout (Monday) and a shorter one Tuesday morning (to stretch out my aching muscles caused by Monday's workout.)  I'd like to get another 2 full length workouts in before the week is out. *keeps fingers crossed*
How is everyone else doing? Wishing you well and have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

And We Begin At The Beginning

It's that time of year again. New Year's Resolutions, Goals, Plans...and ROW80 Round 1. 2012 was a "meh" sort of year. I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it either. I wish it was better, but I know it could have been worse. I also know, after the medicore of 2012, I want to have a way better 2013. I'm determined. And here's one of the reasons why:

I'm going to be 35 this year.

*shudders*  I don't even like to say it, let alone see it in print. I'm going to be "that" age and yet here I sit, still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. 

Scratch that. I do know what I want to be. I want to be a published author  But instead, I'm a family court attorney who teaches writing and literature classes part time, and does freelance work on the side. While doing all this, I write in my "spare" time. That's a lot of hats to wear and my neck is starting to hurt from it all. 

Because of this, I want to make 2013 a transition year for me. I want to get myself together and get more of my stuff out there. I've got so much written. Much of it done, or nearly done. And starting with Round 1, along with my plan for 2013, now is the time for the next steps to reach that goal. 

In order to accomplish this, I've decided to split my ROW80 goals into two categories and add in a year long plan. The first set listed below is my broader year plan which I hope to inch towards as I go through the ROW80 rounds this year.  The second category will my end of Round 1 goals and/or goals that have a specific deadline.  The last set are shorter, weekly goals that I will try to meet each week and will change depending on how the upcoming week looks. I likely won't mention much about my 2013 plan or the end of round goals in my update posts unless I accomplish something or hit a snag, and instead focus on my weekly goals. But the longer term goals and the plan will be there, lurking in the background, for me to work towards.

So starting with the broadest of goals, here is my plan for 2013. (I may add more later, or as the year moves along!) I got the idea from Juliana Haygart so thank you Juliana for the inspiration!! This should keep me on track--a sort of reminder of what I am working towards in the long term:
  • Send out Finding Home to the three publishers I chose. I already picked them, I just need to finish these edits and I can have this done.  If I don't hear anything back from publishers, self pub it is!
  • By the mid-2013, send out Wanted to publisher(s)
  • Organize my WIPs and get a plan together so I can FINISH them. I have at least 10 WIPs that have quite a bit done (either half finished, or some are done but need major revisions. Others are still somewhere in the first get the idea!).  This doesn't include the numerous outlines I have for WIPs. My first task will be listing the unfinished drafts and outlines in terms of priority, and then focusing on that one WIP until it is ready for edits. Some of these are already approaching 50K words.  I just need to focus, re-read, and then finish them, instead of letting them languish in my WIP long term care facility.
  • Finish the Goodreads Reading Challenge by December 31st, 2013. This year I am shooting for 150 books, double what I read last year. I hope I can do this!
Moving on from my year goals, here are my goals for the end of ROW80 (or those with a specific deadline):
  • Make writing every day a habit. I got out of this habit with the holidays and need to nail this down again.
  • Finish edits on Finding Home by January 22rd. I set this date since it is the day before I start teaching Intro to Lit classes at the local community college. Things will get crazy at that point, and if this is out of the way, I will feel much better about things!
  • Revise Wanted, my NaNo novel.  I haven't looked at this since NaNo ended. I am sure I will have a lot of work to do, but my goal is to have this novel ready for final edits by the end of Round 1.
And lastly, these are this week's specific goals:
  • Write 3000 quality words per week. This was the goal I was working towards before I changed it to do NaNo in November. Whether these words are on one of my other WIPs or written during revisions of Wanted, I won't be all too picky. I just want to hit that number (or get as close as I can) every week. 
  • Review a minimum of one book per week. Either I will review it on Goodreads or review it here on the blog and link to my blog via the GR review. Where I post it will probably depend on how much I have to say about the book itself, but either way I want to get in the habit of writing more reviews. 
  • Comment on a minimum of 5 ROW80 updates. 
  • Respond to all blog comments for the week.
  • Review lessons plans for classes I am teaching this semester and make a list of what I am missing (if anything).
  • Exercise 3 times this week
Looking over these goals and my 2013 plan, I see that I have a lot going on here. But hopefully by breaking it all down as I have, I can stay on track and have a successful ROW80 and a productive 2013! *keeps fingers and toes crossed* Wishing you all luck as we start the ROW80 journey together and see you around the ROW!!