Saturday, November 29, 2014

...It is Done!...

After months of prepping and writing, I am proud to finally announce that I have finished my first official rough draft of my NaNoWriMo project. Here's the final, official breakdown...

Title: "Reilly", now officially Whatever It Takes
Current Word Count: 78,582

What's Next?
First of all, I'm going to take a break. Ideally, I'd like to step away from the story for an entire month or so, but I'm hoping to use my holiday time off at the end of December to do another read-through and make intense revisions. Scenes will be added and removed. Settings developed. Research done. The list goes on.

The good news is that I already have my first draft written and my main characters fleshed out, and those are the biggest, most stressful and time consuming steps in the process. So, I'll be stepping away from Whatever It Takes for a few weeks while my mind re-saturates with creativity and I don't feel so drained of inspiration. 

Then, after my revisions and final solo read-through, I'll send the manuscript out to my betas for feedback, then its onto the editor while I rework my cover, then it's publication time... All while working on the final Ending Series book. So, I'm crossing my fingers that I can juggle everything and execute Before The Dawn and Whatever It Takes with quality and enthusiasm. 

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

...Being Grateful...

While I strive to take the time to stop and remind myself how grateful I am and why, life takes over. I get busy, the time passing so quickly that I can't figure out where it's actually gone, but I miss it all the same.

Where does time go? In a puff, it's gone. It just disappears, leaving behind a haze of should'ves, could'ves and would'ves. BUT wonderful memories are interspersed among hindsight and those pesky second guesses that are permanently etched in the crinkles of time as well. That--remembering those things that would otherwise be fleeting smiles or belly laughs long forgotten--is what Thanksgiving is about: consciously taking the time to wave away the haze in order to gain some clarity.

Even though I don't say it enough, I am grateful for so many things. I could never name them all, but here are a few...


                                                                           My friends...

                                                                 ----My family---

                     ---Entertainment - TV - Music - Movies for I'd be uninspired without them---


 What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

...Authorship-ism-ology exploration continued: Characters...

****PLEASE NOTE: This is an old post. I no longer post on this blog. For more information, to visit my new blog, or to contact me, visit HERE****

OK all, we're two weeks into November, and so far...I'm doing alright with my NaNoWriMo challenge to write 50K in 30 days. There are many aspects of pre-planning your story (including outlining and brainstorming, which I discussed in one of my last posts) that have helped me get this far. But this post is about my character development

While plot and setting are important, characters are what drive the story--they are the voice(s) behind the telling. So, naturally I want to understand them as best I can before I dive into writing the world from their perspectives. 

  • If I can think like them, that means readers should be able to as well. 
  • The last thing I want is for Reilly and Sam to be muddled in any way, so that's why I've dug a bit deeper into what they look like, what their hobbies and favorite places are, asked myself what their fears and passions might be, and what it is that drives their actions.
Finding the right Characters.
One aspect of story building that I usually enjoy is finding a physical representation to reference for my character inspiration. This is both fun and frustrating because it's not often easy to find that perfect muse or reference. But, when I do find it, it truly helps everything else fall into place.

People have asked me why, if I'm a good writer, do I need a picture for inspiration, especially if the character is so clear in my mind? 

Great question, and for me, it's like this... 

  1. I'm not a great writer. I'm a novice, and I can only achieve so much with my imagination and writing ability so early in my writing career. I'll take all the help I can get creating characters that don't really exists. Would a poet be able to write poetry without having lived through what they write, at least in some small way? My characters are IN MY MIND, so it's easy to overlook certain traits and behaviors about them that my mind glazes over. A physical reminder helps me keep the descriptions and actions dynamic.
  2. I'm no expert. I don't know what it feels like to lose my father, and I wouldn't be able to write about my character's reaction without doing the research or talking to those who have lived through something so traumatic. Physical research and appreciation isn't any different. All aspects of a character deserve due diligence if they're going to be authentic.
  3. No such thing as a brand new character. No characters--looks or character traits--are completely made up. There's generally a living person who brings their image to life, a television character or college roommate, a teacher or the girl next door that contributes to the person in your head. Writers use what they know, and I'm a visual person.

Generally, I'm an indecisive, easily distracted, and unorganized person. So, there are steps I'm learning to take and tools I'm exploring to help me stay focused, visualize the scenes, and get to know my characters with a bit more ease.


While most people use Pinterest to pin recipes and craft ideas, I use it to organize and visualize my story ideas through pictures I can reference while writing.
Some of my Pinterst Boards - Story ideas and inspiration

I can also collage the photos I've collected on my Pinterest boards to compile visual tools like these...

Story Boards and Introductions:

Sam's Story Board
Meet Samantha Jenner, a simple girl living in a overly complicated world. Once sweet and endearing to the few people she holds dear, everything changes after a horrible accident. Her innocence turns jaded, her timidness solidified to distrust and the need for control. Sam's a care giver and has nearly perfected the art of lying--to others and to herself. Though naivety has shredded her heart, loss has shown her that vulnerability is the most dangerous emotion. 

On any given day, Sam enjoys the outdoors and camping with her friends. When she's not mucking out stalls, riding her old gray mare, Shasta, or taking care of the only family she has left, Sam does all she can to keep busy...she'll do whatever it takes, as long as she's not alone with her thoughts for too long. Loneliness welcomes thoughts, and thoughts conjure guilt and sadness, two emotions that have helped mold her into the dark shadow of herself she's become.

Reilly's Story Board
Meet Josh Reilly, a heart breaker to some, best friend to others, and an arrogant bastard to the one woman he wishes would just give him a damn chance. This military man is no stranger to hard word, taking chances, and living life to the fullest whenever possible. Despite what some may argue, Reilly prides himself on his loyalty--even when it gets him into trouble and nearly ruins his life. But life decisions, good and bad, have taught him that he has to work for what he wants, no matter how daunting the task, if he ever wants to find true happiness.

For fun, Reilly likes to play baseball with the guys, live a little dangerously, and work with his hands (wink). A perfect date would be drinking a beer by the bonfire down at the lake, listening to old rock'n roll, and sharing embarrassing childhood stories.

~Coming soon: Outlining a Series~

If you'd like to follow my writing process, you can find me here:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

...National Novel Writing Month has begun!!!!....

Okay, all! It's that time of year when all moments are filled with thoughtful distractions--wishes for writing and the impending 50K word count writing challenge! Participating in NaNoWriMo while having a job, friends, and family (especially during the busy holiday season) can be difficult. 

This is only my second year participating, but last year wasn't all fun and games. It's a lot to take on. Here's my project for this year, and how I try to stay focused...

My NaNoWriMo breakdown:

My project:

Working Title - Reilly, book one of my currently titled series, "Whatever It Takes"
Genre - New Adult - Contemporary Romance
Goal - Completed first (very rough) draft by Nov 30
Current WC - 40K with an approximate 50K more to go
Challenges - Writing even when I'm not feeling inspired to do so

The staples:

Libation for long, brain-fart stinted nights

Cozy Leg Warmers for cold days

Lady Gray Tea and my Balsam-scented candle
I generally only eat once around 11:00 or so...I make it a good one

What I use and how I do:

I couldn't stay organized without Scrivener

Or my story notebook, which contains sketches, notes, outlines, ideas, etc....


A few artists and the songs that help me stay in my story "zone" this year...

What keeps my creative juices flowing:

  1. HOT showers
  2. Wine...bubbles and more wine
  3. Observing - being out in public
  4. SLEEP

Oh yeah, it's official...