Monday, March 20, 2017

Ten Years of Blogging | Lovely Whatsoevers Turns Three!


Today, Lovely Whatsoevers turns three! *throws confetti*

It’s a little hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for a decade! I wanted to do something a little different and fun to celebrate, so I went on a treasure hunt.

Some treasure is only found in the Comic Sans archives
of one’s old blogs...

I did not expect to find my very first blog post, however. So behold! An internet snapshot of thirteen-year-old Jameson:

Mar. 20, 2007
Hi & Welcome To My Blog!
Hi and welcome to [my blog]! I guess since this is my first entry I should tell a little bit about the things I like. I like reading, writing in my journal, watching tv and hangin' out with my friends. I'm also a huge fan of POTC & LOTR too. I guess you could tell that though by looking at the name of my blog, my icon(can you guess who my fave character is?) and the POTC:AWE trailer I've posted. I think POTC:AWE is gonna be awesome judging by the trailer. Well, hope you enjoyed reading my first entry and hope you enjoy the POTC trailer if you're a fan.  Later! ~Baby Girl

(Note: The background of my blog was a picture of the Black Pearl, my profile icon was Will Turner, and I was, obviously, at the height of my Pirates of the Caribbean obsession. I also wasn’t allowed to use my real name on the internet at the time, so I used one of my nicknames instead.)

So, yeah. I think there’s been some improvement in my blogging skills over the years. :)

I’ve made some really great friends through blogging, and had a fun way of chronicling life as a way to connect with others. It’s interesting to look back and see just how much my own blogging style has shifted over time, as well as the changes in blogging itself! Things are rather different than they were in 2007…

But I’m not only waxing nostalgic here today—I’m also having a little giveaway!

My apologies for the weird colors in the photo.
The journals really are green and orange! :)

Giveaway Info:
 Begins today and ends at midnight March 27th. 
Winner will be announced via Rafflecopter and notified by email by the 28th.
US only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Blogger Recognition Tag


This tag comes from Kate at Story and Dark Chocolate!

Rules:
Thank the blogger who nominated you.
Tell a little bit about how you started blogging.
Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
Nominate 15 other bloggers.


Blogging Beginnings:

In March 2007, my mom asked me if I would like to start a blog as an extra-credit thing project for school. It sounded like a cool idea, so I started a blog that was mostly themed around movies. As I got older and learned my way around the blogosphere, it became a place where I talked about life, faith, writing, reading, and all kinds of things. It was also place where I made some great friends.

And then in 2010, I started a separate writing blog on Blogger. I ended up preferring the way Blogger worked compared to my other blog host, so I decided to create a new blog for “life stuff.” I maintained the life and writing blogs for a while, but it was getting difficult to balance both, so I decided to start over one more time, this time with Lovely Whatsoevers.

Tip #1:

Blogging should be fun—if it feels like a chore or a thing to be checked off the list, consider stepping back from it. If it’s not something you enjoy, then you shouldn’t force yourself to do it. Sometimes that means taking a short break to recharge and figure out what you want to do with your blog.

Tip #2:

Be kind.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the disagreement and problems in the blogosphere. But it’s also easy to be nice to each other. :)


What are your best blogging tips? (And feel free to take this tag for your blog!)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Blogging Community Tag


This tag comes from Heather! I’m actually adapting this tag a little bit, because so many of my favorite blogs incorporate all of the categories and it was just too difficult to choose just one for each category! If you’d like to see the original list of questions, you can find them here.

Rules:
Answer the 7 questions
Tag others (as much as you want)
Provide link back to the creator of the tag (optional)
Include the above picture in your post



Christine writes so many inspiring things and leaves such lovely comments on everyone’s blogs. Also, her book photography is stunning.

Shay’s blog features lots of writing-themed posts, and her comments are always so full of encouragement! She also live-tweets her kitchen adventures, which are great fun to read.

Sarah’s blog features book reviews, writing tips and resources, and fun posts about life. (And her blog design is so cute!)

Nichole writes about writing and life with humor, seriousness, and encouragement.

Heather writes about fiction in a super fun and creative way, with thoughtful discussions about characters and storytelling.

Savannah’s blog features her writing journey and tips, including a neat series about crafting characters.
 
Jaime’s blog features her writing adventures as well as a ton of cool book reviews (and her bookish photos are so pretty!).


These are just a few favorite blogs I follow, though there are so many others too. :)

What are your favorite blogs?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Look At My Blogging Journal


With the third blogaversary of LW coming up (also marking ten years of blogging for me—what!?), I’ve got a few blogging-themed posts for this month. First up: A look at my blogging journals!

Blogging Journal #1:

I’d heard about blogging journals over the years, but didn’t keep one. Then for Christmas 2014, one of my brothers gave me a bunch of writing supplies. Among them was a hardcover journal featuring the Avengers. Because it was a slimmer journal and fit perfectly in my purse, I decided to use it as my first blogging journal. 


Usually, I scribbled post ideas on the next available blank page and referenced it when I was drafting the blog post on my computer. Sometimes, I also included notes for scheduling or images, or even blog design. 


And when all the pages were filled, I decided to start a new one!

Blogging Journal #2:

I wanted something similar in size to the Marvel journal, and found this pink one at Walmart for under $5. I also love the yellowed pages.


 

I decided to organize this one a little more than my first blogging journal. I’ve sort of been incorporating some bullet journal ideas for it. The front page features general blog info. Around the start of each month, I make a page for blog stats. (I track followers and pageviews.)


Then, I add the recurring post section. This is where I list the month’s Lessons post theme and reminders for snippets and a monthly recap. Beside these, I list the intended publication date for them (if these change, I just mark the new date there as well).


In the ideas section, I keep a list of—drumroll—post ideas. For example, this month is my blogaversary so I wanted to do some blogging-themed posts (like this one). I also list any tags or linkups I want to participate in that month.

In the pages after the stats page, I make more notes about the posts: questions for the tags and linkups, post drafts, or even any images I need to create or include for each post.

While I don’t always follow the schedule I put in my blogging journal, it provides a space to keep my blog info and post ideas so that I can come back to them and (hopefully) improve.

Do you keep a blogging journal? Tell me about your process!


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Second | February 2017

February has been…something. It’s difficult to believe we’re already starting the third month of this year, but it also feels like 2017 is taking its time. Less blink-and-it’s-gone than how much of 2016 felt. Populated by sunny days and some weird emotional turns, it has, overall, been a pleasant month. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
 
* Published The Assassin’s Daughter.
It still feels very strange to have a book out in the world. Sort of terrifying but also freeing?
All the info can be found here


* Started a new  story for The Pursuit of Merriment.
“I’m taking February as a writing break,” I said.
“No, we’re taking over instead,” the plot bunnies replied.


I don’t know what it is about the TPOM characters but they throw together a storyline and plot pretty quickly. But writing them is really fun so I’m not complaining. (Also: #BoyfriendMerritt.)

I’m currently somewhere in the fifth chapter, which is approximately the halfway point. I’m looking at posting the first chapter on Wattpad in March (if things work out), so if you’re a TPOM reader, keep an eye out. Lots of fluff happening in this one.

* Spent a day in Cades Cove.
February decided to be a spring month this year, so my grandmother, aunt, sister, and I grabbed some snacks and spent the day in the Cove. It was a much-needed break from routine. 


* Joined Goodreads.
I’m still learning my way around it. If you’ve got any tips, feel free to share. (And you can find me here.) Speaking of reading, I finished eight books this month!


Tell me about your February! Favorite moments? What are you looking forward to in March?


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.)

Onward!


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:


THE PERFECT DATE


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



The Sometimes-Troublemaker

Edellion

(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.
  Well.
  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!

Titles:
  • The Assassin’s Daughter
Stats:
Seven drafts completed.

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

Edellion:
  • 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?