Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How to Make a Writing Calendar

Last year, I decided to bring some organization to my writing routine to see how it worked out. So in February, I grabbed some paper and pens and started making a writing calendar. While I moved things around throughout the year to better accommodate my schedule, I was able to stay on track with most of my goals. I’m doing the same thing in 2017 and thought I’d share my method.

(Disclaimer: My first 2017 calendar had some things marked wrong—plus looked pretty messy—so this is actually my second version. Much neater and with things in their proper order.)


Step One: Make the calendar outline.

I make a list of the months (usually in a 3x4 layout) on paper.

I also make a note—at the bottom of the page or on a separate scrap of paper—of any writing events I plan to participate in during the year (like Camp NaNo and NaNoWriMo). If I know the dates, I note those as well. 

Step Two: Choosing Projects

If there are any major writing projects I want to complete, I make a note of them as well. While not all may be written as planned, I like having an idea of what could be ready to be written. This year, my biggest writing project will be making TAD2 ready for betareading. Most of my writing calendar is structured around this WIP.

In some cases, I know I want to revise or work on a new WIP, but I’m not sure yet which projects. In this case, I’ll just mark Revision or New WIP. This way, I can narrow my list of potential projects to a category and make it easier to choose.

Step Three: Breaks

I also include writing breaks on my calendar. During breaks, I may work on short stories or plot notes, but I try not to work on any huge projects. 

And that’s my method for making writing calendars!

It’s a flexible process too. If it takes longer to complete a project than planned, I can move things around to accommodate the overlap. Or, if I thought I’d be working on a revision but that project isn’t as ready as I thought, I can switch to a new WIP and move the revision to its place. To quote Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s more like guidelines than actual rules. :)

Do you make a writing calendar? Tell me about your process!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Assassin's Daughter Launch Day + Giveaway

Launch day is finally here! 

And I have a few surprises to announce:

Surprise #1: The paperback edition of The Assassin’s Daughter is available today.
Surprise #2: The ebook editions are on sale for .99 this week.
Surprise #3: I'm giving away two signed paperbacks!

And the winners are...
Devorah Bynes
Michelle C.   

Congratulations! I’ll be emailing you soon. :)

And thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!   

About The Assassin’s Daughter

For most of her life, Katira has trained to take on the role of assassin. While it’s far from the life she would have chosen, the law known as the Inheritance Proclamation dictates that she must follow in her father’s profession. At seventeen, she’ll be expected to use her training on a real assignment any day.

When new information about an old fugitive brings questions about Kat’s past to light, she must make a choice: Prove her loyalties to the Tederan Order and their laws, or become a fugitive to search after answers she may never find.

Friday, February 10, 2017

2017 Valentine Blog Party: Perfect Date

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us! And in the spirit of all things romantic and writerly, I’ve got a little something different for the blog today.

A few of my Twitter writing buddies and I are having a Valentine’s Day party! One day, we were discussing our characters, which led to the question of which of the fictional fellows would be the best Valentines. And thus, today’s theme:


So are you ready to meet the two book boys who could just be the perfect Valentine date?

The Sometimes-Troublemaker


(The Assassin’s Daughter)

How does he look? Eyes, hair, any tattoos or scars. What’s his style?
Black hair, sometimes messy. Gray eyes. A few little scars—mostly cuts and scrapes. Tall.

Ed dresses pretty well, usually in his uniform—sometimes with a white shirt, but his favorite is the maroon one. And you’d have a hard time finding him not carrying at least one weapon.

What kind of music? What kind of food?
Ed loves music, especially violin. And just about any kind of food.

What’s his family like?
Well, he remembers his mother being very kind, but she died when he was little. Aside from Kat and Bayor, he’s not close to anyone these days.

Why he would be a great date?
Despite his sometimes-brooding tendencies and the habit of getting into the occasional fight, Ed is actually rather sweet. He’s attentive and loves trying to make a girl smile.

Things he values?
His knives and his bow. The outdoors. Freedom. Food.

What he would do for a first date?
First, Ed would treat his date to a good meal. After, he’d take her dancing and maybe for a walk under the stars.

Looking for long term relationship or just a quick date?
Well, that all depends on the girl…

We’ve had our pros, what are the cons?
Did I mention he’s got a little habit of getting into fights?

Flowers, chocolate, or promises he doesn’t intend to keep?
Ed is definitely the boy who’d bring his date’s favorite candy.

The Accidental Heart-stealer

Merritt Kingston

(The Pursuit of Merriment and A Happy Mess)

How does he look? Eyes, hair, any tattoos or scars. What’s his style?
Blond hair, keeps it neat. Blue eyes. No tattoos or scars. Average height.

Merritt can usually be found in jeans and comfy t-shirt, but for a date he would dress up a bit with his favorite button-down shirt and a nice tie.

What kind of music? What kind of food?
Merritt’s taste in music is pretty eclectic, but old country is a favorite. And he’s not picky about food.

Unless coffee counts as a food. Then that’s definitely a favorite.

What’s his family like?
His little brother, Nash, is an energetic kid with a love for trains and occasionally trying to embarrass Merritt. But he’s a great kid and Merritt would do anything for him.

And he doesn’t like to talk about his parents.

Why he would be a great date?
Merritt’s a very attentive guy who would want to make sure his date is having a good time and would behave like a total gentleman.

Things he values?
First, Nash. And then coffee and their house.

What he would do for a first date?
He’d pick up his date and bring along flowers—her favorite if he knows them—and would go out for a nice dinner.

Looking for long term relationship or just a quick date?
Merritt’s definitely a long-term relationship guy.

We’ve had our pros, what are the cons?
He takes his responsibilities very seriously, and sometimes he gets distracted in all that worry.

Flowers, chocolate, or promises he doesn’t intend to keep?
Merritt’s not the kind of guy to make a promise he doesn’t intend to keep, so he’d bring flowers or chocolate—depending on which is his date’s favorite.

Ready to meet the other dates?

Which fictional boys do you think would be the perfect Valentine’s Day Date?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Assassin’s Daughter Cover Reveal + Sneak Peek!

Hello everyone!

As the title indicates, it’s cover reveal day for The Assassin’s Daughter!

I’ve talked about this book on LW for years and now it’s begun its publication journey. So before we get to the cover reveal, I just want to say thank you for clicking over here and reading about this book and its journey through the years!

And now for the cover!

* * * * * * * * * *

For most of her life, Katira has trained to take on the role of assassin. While it’s far from the life she would have chosen, the law known as the Inheritance Proclamation dictates that she must follow in her father’s profession. At seventeen, she’ll be expected to use her training on a real assignment any day.

When new information about an old fugitive brings questions about Kat’s past to light, she must make a choice: Prove her loyalties to the Tederan Order and their laws, or become a fugitive to search after answers she may never find.

Release Date: February 14th, 2017!
(Ebook editions will be available first, with the paperbacks available shortly after.)

And along with the cover reveal—a preview of the first chapter:

  Kat closed her eyes and listened for the sound of leaves crunching in the stillness. A good assassin keeps their senses alert, Bayor always liked to say. To do the opposite is a sure sign of poor training or lack of skill.
  Kat bit back a laugh at the mental image of Bayor giving the oft-repeated advice. While she couldn’t count the number of times she’d heard the words over the years, she could imagine the various tones and inflections he used when saying them.
  Rough bark from the tree behind her scraped against her cloak. Again, she thought of the bad choice of wearing the violet thing out here. The dead leaves and bare tree branches offered no true cover now.
  She released a slow breath, wincing at the too-loud noise in the relative stillness of the woods. Years ago she had learned the patterns of its noises and silence, knew when something was amiss, whether it was the sound of breathing or the snap of a twig or—
  Leaves crunching.
  Kat focused on the noise, waited for the repetition she knew would follow when her target’s other foot hit the ground. He was close, making more noise than she could have hoped for. Either he was getting thoughtless as the years passed or he was as tired as she was, and just as eager for a hot meal and a calm evening.
  The steps continued, moving away from the tree.
  Kat slowly leaned forward, pressing herself flat against the forest floor. With her bow gripped in her right hand, she used her elbows to crawl to the ragged brush pile and fallen log eight feet away. The improved vantage point would present a clear view of her target if his path remained the same as she anticipated it would be.
  Something moved through the deadfall behind her.
  Kat stilled, bit her lip, and turned to look over her shoulder. A squirrel skittered across the leaves and bounded up the tree trunk she’d leaned against a moment earlier.
  She crouched behind the log and peered through the brush, down the slope where her target’s steps had ceased. Despite her attempts, she still couldn’t see him.
  The cold air crept through her clothes and sent shivers across her skin. Her knuckles cramped from their hold on the bow. Maybe it was better to climb down the slope and just confront him face-to-face. Sunset was approaching and she didn’t want to be chasing someone in the dark.
  She closed her eyes again and focused on the noise. A bird chirped somewhere in the distance. A breeze crackled through branches, ripping away the few leaves still clinging to them. She held her breath and heard her heart beating.
  Leaves crunched and crackled again. A different footfall than the one she’d been tracking for so long.
  Slowly, she lowered her right knee to the ground to support herself. Reached for the knife at her right side and tried to ignore the sting of the cold metal against her palm.
  The noise ceased.
  Kat closed her eyes, drew a deep breath—
  A palm clasped over her mouth.

More sneak peeks are available at these wonderful blogs!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Year | January 2017

January has been an incredibly busy month, but when I sat down to start writing this post, I admit I had a difficult time remembering exactly what it was I’ve been up to. 

So, yeah. Apparently I was Rick Grimes this month.

* We got our first real snow of the season.
A grand total of 7.5 inches. And the rest of the month has been like spring.

* I wrote a sequel to The Pursuit of Merriment.
I confess, I didn’t think anyone was going to really care about these characters. I’ve happily been proven wrong. So if you like The Pursuit of Merriment, there is now a sequel short available on Wattpad as well, titled A Happy Mess.

* Preparing for The Assassin’s Daughter launch!
Everything is moving along rather well, and so far, on schedule! I’m also freaking out just a little bit. I have an awesome launch team helping with the cover reveal, so keep an eye out for that on February 2nd!

* I failed at my reading goals.
I set the goal of reading five books in January. I’ve finished two and about a third of another. I’m planning to read a lot in February to make up for it.

* I participated in #WIPjoy again!
Out of all the hashtag games and chats on Twitter, I think this one is my favorite. This time, I once again featured The Assassin’s Daughter, for what is almost certainly the last time.

* Prepping some new blog post ideas!
If there’s a prize for worst blogger of January 2017, I guess I’ve already won that. But I started a new blogging journal this month and have several posts in the works for February, so the blogging routine should normalize soon. Also, my blogaversary is in March (ten years of blogging!), so I’m hoping to have some fun things lined up for that, as well as some blogging-themed blog posts. Is there anything specific you might like to see in those posts?

So that was my first month of 2017! Tell me about yours!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lessons From My Works-In-Progress #4: The Assassin's Daughter

Each month, I’ll be featuring a different WIP. All projects featured have at least one completed draft and are of novella or novel length.

After a break for the holidays and then a slight delay, this month’s installment is finally here! This is the WIP I talk about most often on the blog (and pretty much anywhere else), and it’s also been through more drafts than anything else I’ve written so far. Let’s take a look at some of its history!

  • The Assassin’s Daughter
Seven drafts completed.

The Assassin’s Daughter started out as a single scene: A character being chased. I had no idea why until the scene was drafted, and then I set the scene aside as nothing more than a scribble. I had NaNo 2010 to plan for, after all. But after completing my NaNo novel, I came back to the scene and decided to figure out the history behind what was happening in it. Why was Kat being chased? What was the reason behind the ultimatum she was given by the character chasing her? The scene turned into a 30K first draft over the next few months, and has been one of my main projects ever since.

The first draft of The Assassin’s Daughter.

What I Learned:
  • How to mix first- and third-person POV, and then how to completely rewrite all of it into third-person during revisions. 
  • How to write a series outline. By the time I had drafted a few chapters of The Assassin's Daughter, it became a series idea (initially two books, then three).
  • How to create a major revisions progress (and my color-coded editing method).

Meet the Characters:
  • Seventeen.
  • Assassin’s apprentice
  • Wishful.
  • Spends a good deal of time wondering what life would be like if certain events had never occurred.

  • Seventeen.
  • Kat’s teammate.
  • Disillusioned.
  • Resigned to circumstances, but he is not always pleased with them.
What are some of your favorite lessons from your works-in-progress?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Blogging Question: What blog posts would you like to see in 2017?

A new year has begun, which means new blog posts!

The Lessons series, monthly recaps, tags, and snippet posts will continue in 2017, as well as the usual ramblings about life and writing and whatnot. But I want to know: 

What are some blog posts you might like to see in 2017?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 Goals Recap + 2017 Goals

Happy New Year!

Last year, I posted about my 2016 goals. I thought I would take a look back at how those turned out and also share some of my goals for 2017.

Here’s how 2016’s goals turned out:
Bible-reading (358/366) – I didn’t track this one (I’m working more on that this year), but I think I missed it by one or two days…
Finish two first drafts –  2016 was the year I WROTE ALL THE THINGS. Like, a ton of things. Here are the completed first drafts:
  • Songbirds: Novel. Most of this one was written in 2015, but I finished it in January so I track it as finished in 2016. It’s kind of an unofficial one.
  • Roguess: Novel.
  • Brightest Light: Short story.
  • Tolling Bells: Novel.
  • The Pursuit of Merriment: Novella.
Finish two revisions – Again, so much writing.
  • The Assassin’s Daughter:  Two revisions + some minor editing.
  • Trace: One revision.
  • TAD2: One revision.
  • The Pursuit of Merriment: One revision.
Read 50 books – My total was 68.
Lose 30 pounds – This was a hard one to track, and it fluctuated a lot, but ultimately I’m counting ten pounds lost and maintained. Not what I’d hoped for, but some progress toward my goal.
Cook more often – I cooked a lot more this year. Mostly simple stuff, but definitely more than I used to. And I’m getting better!
Blog twice a month – No month had fewer than three posts! December featured the most with twelve.
Goals completed: 5/7

Here are my 2017 Goals:

Bible-reading (358/365 days): I want to keep trying to meet this goal. I’m tracking it in my planner this time, so we’ll see.
Publish The Assassin’s Daughter: Already in progress.
Write two first drafts: As with last year, this can be longer or shorter works.
Finish two revisions: Same as above.
Read 100 books: It’s been a few years since I did this, and I really want to give it a try again.
Blog twice each month: Additionally, I need to get better at commenting in a prompt manner.
Participate in both Camp NaNo sessions and NaNoWriMo: I don’t know yet what I’ll work on for these, but I’ve got a few ideas.
Journal every day for a week: I don’t know think I’ve ever done this.
Crochet something: I don’t know yet what it will be, but I aim to actually learn how to do this.
Lose 30 pounds: Hopefully, this will go better than last year. I have a better idea of what works for me in regards to this, so I’d really like to be more consistent in pursuing this goal.


Do you have any goals for the new year?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Merry | December 2016

This year has passed so quickly, with ups and downs and days full of adventures. It’s the running thing that 2016 is the worst year ever, and while it had its downsides for me, on the whole I had a pretty good year. It was busy and productive and I got to do things I’ve dreamed of doing for a long time. I won’t be doing a recap of the whole year in this post, just a recap of December. But if you’d like to see some of the big moments from this year, click here.

On to December!
* Announced some of my plans for The Assassin’s Daughter.
I’ll be leaving the form open for a while more, so if you’re interested in helping out with the launch team, just click here. :) More announcements will be happening soon!

* Wrote and published The Pursuit of Merriment.

I’d intended to take a writing break in December because of NaNo...and then after I finished NaNo I got a plot bunny. I chased plotted it in a two-hour road trip home Thanksgiving weekend and spent the next couple of weeks drafting and editing it. All ten chapters are now available on Wattpad, so if you’re looking for a fluffy, holiday read…

* Celebrated Christmas.
It’s probably my favorite holiday, and this year was a bit different than others since my parents hosted Christmas dinner for the first time. It was a busy day, but a very good one. All my siblings were here for Christmas Eve, so we stayed up late and then got up early to open presents and it was really fun. I received some lovely gifts and spent lots of time with people I love. 

* Watched Assassin’s Creed.
I know very little about the game series but I loved this movie. A lot. And I got to see it twice because the theater gave us free passes because of a tech glitch during the first showing, so that was cool. 

* Worked on my list of 2017 goals.
I’ll be doing a post about those in January, but I think it’s a pretty fun, challenging list. A little different from 2016, but with some of the same ideas.


Tell me about your month! Did you have a good Christmas? What are some of your favorite moments of 2016?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Top Tens: Movies

It was a big year for movies! I watched so many great ones (and a few not-so-great), and today I’m sharing ten of my favorites. As with this year’s favorite books, some of these are movies that were released before 2016, but I watched them for the first time this year.

10.) Tuck Everlasting
I liked the book a bit more, but I enjoyed this adaptation as well.

9.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I was really eager to see how this one fit in with the rest of the series and what stories it would open up. I really liked it!

8.) The Martian
This movie has been everywhere. I’d heard nothing but good things about it, so I wasn’t sure how it would live up to expectations. It was pretty good.

7.) The Young Victoria
I like period movies and had been meaning to watch this one for a while. It’s cute and intriguing and also a visually pretty movie.

6.) Finding Dory
This was such a cute sequel to Finding Nemo. I loved seeing how it fit in with the first movie. Plus, it’s hilarious.

5.) In the Heart of the Sea
I’d read the book on which this movie is based earlier in the year, so it was cool to see how the story was retold for screen. I really liked it.

4.) Assassin’s Creed
I know very little about the game series, but oh my goodness, this movie is good. I loved it.

3.) Doctor Strange
Is he one of my new favorite superheroes? Yes. Yes, he is. This was a fun entry into the MCU and I love that it feels more like a standalone.(And that mid-credits scene!)

2.) Captain America: Civil War
While different than expected, I really enjoyed this one. The impact on the rest of the MCU will be interesting to see.

1.) The Prestige
I loved this one. It’s twisty and confusing and a little bit haunting, but very good.
What were your favorite movies this year?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Top Tens: Books

This was a year full of good books! I had a difficult time narrowing it down to just ten. As always these are books that may have been published before 2016, but I read them for the first time in 2016. (Also, these are just from my print and ebook reads, because I usually forget to keep track of my audiobook reads. Oops.) If you want to see other books I read this year, check out this Pinterest board.

10.) Storming by K.M. Weiland
Dieselpunk is a new genre for me, but I’d read some of K.M. Weiland’s books before and love her writing blog, so I gave this one a try. I really liked it! The characters were interesting, and I loved the historical elements with the blend of scifi. Very cool.

9.) Symphony For the City of the Dead by M. T. Anderson
I read a lot of nonfiction this year, mostly in the form of audiobooks, but this one caught my eye at the library because of its vivid cover. It was an interesting look at Russia during WWII, and I learned quite a few things I didn’t know.

8.) The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
This one was an interesting historical fantasy that I’d heard about through different book blogs and decided to try. Love the cover, and I’m eager to see where the next book takes the story. And that ending.

7.) Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
This was a really good story that has been on my shelf for years that I finally decided to read. It’s a quick read, but intriguing.

6.) The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
My only experience with this one prior to reading it was the Tom Cruise movie of the same name. Which I hated. But I picked this one up because the cover was cool. I was caught up in the story from the first page and curious to see how it would unfold.

5.) Heartless by Marissa Meyer
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I liked Marissa Meyer’s take on Wonderland, with its quirky characters and wild environments. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Lunar Chronicles, I still liked it. (And Jest has one of the coolest character introductions I’ve ever read.)

4.) The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf
I picked this one up at the library without knowing anything about it except what was on the cover. I fell in love with the writing and the structure, and how the formatting was used in the storytelling as well.

3.) Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
I liked this whole series a lot, but the first book is my favorite. I loved the characters and the plot twists, and the whole idea of superpowered people not quite being what everyone expected. It’s an interesting read with tons of sarcasm. And terrible metaphors.

2.) Masque by W. R. Gingell
I got this one because I loved the cover and also because it was pitched as murder mystery-meets-fairy tale retelling. It was so good! I had predicted who the villain was pretty early in the story, but I still enjoyed seeing just how the investigation would wrap up.

1.) Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
This book was such a lovely addition to the TLC series. I loved all the short stories that expanded the universe as well as the characters’ stories. And the wedding was so perfect. This book made me very happy.

What were your favorite books of 2016?