Posted in Writing

WIP Marathon 27

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: 65,273 words, 27 chapters + epilogue–first draft complete, about 15% through first revisions.

Current report WC + CC/ SC: 

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: 67,323 words, 27 chapters + epilogue–first revisions done, off to beta, some subsequent revisions done.

WIP Issues This Month: I didn’t start my new project, but I’ve decided I’m going to focus solely on polishing this (and getting ready to query!) before I do anyway.

What I learned this month in writing: It’s weird to read something you wrote years ago and be like, “Yeah, I wrote that one word at a time….”

What distracted me this month while writing: Excuse the rambling of distractions this month… Nobody’s Lady (The Never Veil Book Two) released April 12th, and I’ve been happy to see so many readers enjoyed it. It was both my boyfriend’s and my birthday this month, and we had a nice time celebrating. Something’s been going on in my life that’s kind of extra stressful, but I’m coping. I’ve been busy with work and I finished reading/giving feedback for my best friend from 5th grade’s 150,000-word novel! I also started edits for my best friend/beta’s latest. My Wattpad novel (eventually releasing through Patchwork Press), Fall Far From the Tree, is going to be featured as of May 19th, yay! Also, I’m off to Book Con in Chicago next month! Anyone else going?

 

Amy (1)

Plus, NOBODY’S GODDESS is only 99¢ for a limited time! It’s available on Kindle, Nook and Kobo at that price through the end of May (I think). This is the first time my book has been on sale.

Goal for next month: I want to start querying! I am so excited to query, you don’t even know! 😉 But I know I then have to go *quiet* now and not actually mention if/when I start querying. Plus, I have to finish polishing the book first. I’m not sure I’ll have time to start the new project with everything going on in my life, but maybe…

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Posted in Writing

WIP Marathon 26

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: 52,517 words, 20 chapters

Current report WC + CC/ SC: 

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: 65,273 words, 27 chapters + epilogue–first draft complete, yay! About 15% through first revisions.

WIP Issues This Month: I managed to finish my draft a couple of weeks into March and then… I could not find time to write or edit at all for almost two weeks. I know you’re supposed to let a draft sit anyway, but there were some changes I wanted to make ASAP and I wouldn’t have minded starting on the next project. But taking a break wasn’t terrible.

What I learned this month in writing: I can finish a manuscript again! (Seriously, I haven’t done that since late 2014. I tried in late 2015 and shelved that one and before that I was mostly burnt out.)

What distracted me this month while writing: I was really busy with work. I also had a dozen or so interviews and guest posts to write for my upcoming blog tour. (NOBODY’S LADY is out April 12th!) I went to C2E2 for a day, which was nice, even if it was crowded. Normal stresses, etc.

Also, from March 29th through April 3rd, I’m going to be part of YASH again!

pink

Goal for next month: I want to finish revising my fairy tale prequel and get it off to my beta! I might also start writing my next project, a NA romance I plotted a few months ago. I’ll try not to get distracted by book release fun! 😉 It feels a little different this time around, though, as only the people who really liked the first book would even care about its sequel, you know? I’m still working on trying to get people to read the first one!

Posted in Writing

WIP Marathon 25

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: 36,153 words, 14 1/2 chapters

Current report WC + CC/ SC:

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: 52,517 words, 20 chapters

WIP Issues This Month: I got really busy with work and had a cold, so there were multiple days in which I didn’t work on the manuscript at all. I really wanted to get further than this, but I’m getting close to the end at least.

What I learned this month in writing: (I decided not to do “four” things because I’m learning a lot of the same things each month at this point!) Juggling everything is hard. (But we all already knew that.)

What distracted me this month while writing: My cold, a client manuscript edit, lots of work writing… My boyfriend’s been sick as well (both from my cold and other issues). I got to look over the NOBODY’S LADY proofs, and it should be off to the printer soon! Other stresses….

But also, the NOBODY’S LADY cover reveal! And the blog tour sign-ups/e-ARC info! Click here for more information!

Nobody's Lady

Goal for next month: I would love to finish this manuscript, but I said that last month. I really want to finish it, though!

Posted in News

NOBODY’S LADY Cover Reveal! Blog Tour Sign-Ups!

The NOBODY’S LADY cover is here at last! Designed by KimGDesign, like the first cover in the series, NOBODY’S LADY reflects a less glamorous time in Noll’s life. After the events of the first novel and a disastrous meeting with the lord, Noll wants nothing more than to live a quiet, uneventful life, but her fellow villagers have other plans. Men are learning what freedom is like for the first time, and they’re not happy about how things used to be.

Nobody's Lady
Plus, you can read the first chapter (at the end of the post), which picks up IMMEDIATELY where NOBODY’S GODDESS ended! There are SPOILERS for the first book right from the very first page, so be sure to check out NOBODY’S GODDESS first (sample here or here) if you haven’t read it already.

Add NOBODY’S LADY to your Goodreads to-read list and preorder the paperback on Amazon or at The Book Depository. More outlets and an ebook preorder should be available soon.

The Book Tour and ARCs

nl book tour
Chapter by Chapter is once again hosting my Never Veil book tour and is seeking bloggers to post interviews, guest posts or reviews of NOBODY’S LADY from April 11th through the 22nd. This is one way to maybe get your hands on a (digital) ARC! If you haven’t read the first book yet, you can still request to review the sequel, and you may be provided with a digital copy of the first book for review as well. (I don’t choose the hosts, but I hope you are all picked!) Click here to sign up!

Month9Books is also offering digital ARCs to those who want to review but don’t want to participate in the tour or who aren’t selected for the tour. Click here to sign up! There are a lot of other Spring Month9Books title up for grabs there, too.

Chapter One

When I thought I understood real friendship, I was a long-lost queen. When I discovered there was so much more to my life than love and hate, that those around me were just pawns in a game whose rules I’d unwittingly put in place, I discovered I was a long-forgotten goddess. But goddess or not, powerless or powerful, my feet were taking me someplace I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. What did I hope to find? Did I truly believe I could hear him call me—that he’d want to call me? Yes, I did. I wanted to see him again. I wanted to hope, even if I wasn’t sure I was allowed. If I deserved to. I headed down the familiar dirt path beneath the lattice of trees overhead, pausing beside the bush with a partially snapped stem that jutted outward like a broken limb. The one that pointed to the secret cavern.

Only, it’s not much of a secret anymore, is it?

My feet picked themselves up. Glowing pools would never again tempt me.

I reached the black, towering fortress that had for so long shaken and screamed at the power of my glance.

For the first time in this lifetime, I stared up at it, and nothing moved. My legs, unused to such steady footing while in the sight of the lord’s castle, twitched in anticipation of a fall that never came.

There was no need. My feet dragged me forward.

At the grand wooden door, I raised a fist to knock.

But I stopped. I felt like if I touched it, the entire castle might crumble. It had done so once before. Not at my touch exactly. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was responsible for whatever destruction I’d find in this place. But that was presumptuous of me. He was strong-willed, and he wouldn’t crumble at the prospect of freedom. If anything, he’d be triumphant over it.

You can’t stop now. I pulled my sleeves over my wrists and propped both elbows against the door, pushing until it gave way.

The darkness inside the foyer tried to deceive me into thinking night had fallen. The stream of light that trickled from the familiar crack in the garden door called the darkness a liar.

I gripped the small iron handles, the material of my sleeves guarding the cold metal from my touch, and pulled.

My touch had come to the garden before me.

The rose bushes that surrounded the enclosed circular area were torn, ripped, trodden, and plucked. The blooms lay withered, scattered and turned to dust, their once-white petals a sickly shade of yellowish brown, smooth blooms turned coarse and wrinkled.

The fountain at the center no longer trickled with water. Its shallow pool was stagnant, piles of brown festering in mildewing green liquid. Dotted amongst the brown was pallid stone rubble. The tears of the weeping elf child statue, which belonged at the top of the fountain, had ceased at last. But the gash across its face told me the child’s tears had not been staunched by joy. I wondered if Ailill had had it carved to represent the pain I’d inflicted on him as a child. And I wondered if now he could no longer bear to remind himself of what I’d done.

I hadn’t done this. But I felt as if I had. If Ailill had gone on a rampage after he came back to the castle, it was because of what I’d done to him. Everything I touched turned sour. I yanked and pulled, trying to draw my hands further into my sleeves, but there wasn’t enough material to cover them entirely.

“Well, what a surprise.” I gazed into the shadow beside the doorway. How could I have not seen? The stone table was occupied. The place where I’d sat alone for hours, days, and months was littered with crumpled and decaying leaves, branches, and petals, obscuring the scars left by a dagger or knife striking time and time again across its surface. The matching bench that once nestled on the opposite side was toppled over, leaving only dark imprints in the dirt.

“A pity you could not make yourself at home here when you were welcome.”

My breath caught in my throat.

The man at the table was clad entirely in black, as I knew he would be. The full-length jacket had been swapped for a jerkin, but I could see the embossing of roses hadn’t been discarded in the exchange. He wore dark leather gloves, the fingers of which were crossed like the wings of a bird in flight. His pale elbows rested on the table amongst the leaves and branches and thorns. He wore the hat I was used to seeing him wear, a dark, pointed top resting on a wide brim. Its black metal band caught a ray of the sunlight almost imperceptibly. But I noticed. I always did.

His face was entirely uncovered. Those large and dark eyes, locked on me, demanded my attention. They were the same eyes of the boy I’d left alone to face my curse—not so long ago from my point of view. He was more frightened then, but there was no mistaking the hurt in those eyes both then and now.

“You are not welcome here, Olivière.”

His words sliced daggers through my stomach.

“I … I thought I heard you call me.”

He cocked his head to the side, his brown eyes moving askance. “You heard me call you?”

“Yes … ” I realized how foolish it sounded. I was a fool to come. Why had I let myself fall for that sound again, for my name whispered on the wind? Why was I so certain it was he who’d said my name?

He smiled, not kindly. “And where, pray tell, have you been lurking? Under a rose bush? Behind the garden door? Or do those rounded female ears possess a far greater sense of hearing than my jagged male ones?”

I brushed the tips of my ears self-consciously. Elric had been so fascinated by them, by what he saw as a mutilation. This lord—Ailill—wasn’t like that. He’d touched them once, as a child. He’d tried to heal them, thinking they were meant to be pointed.

The boy with a heart was the man sitting there before me. Even after all we’d been through, he’d still done me a kindness by healing my mother. “No, I just thought—”

“No, you did not think, or you would not have come.”

I clenched my jaw. My tongue was threatening to spew the vile anger that had gotten us into this mess to begin with.

He sighed and crossed his arms across his chest. “I gave explicit instructions that I not be disturbed.” He leaned back against the wall behind him, his chin jutting outward slightly.

I wiped my sweaty fingertips on my skirt. I wouldn’t let the rest of my hands out from the insides of my sleeves. The sweat had already soaked through them. “I needed to thank you.”

He scoffed. “Thank me for what? For your prolonged captivity, or for not murdering both your mother and your lover when I had the chance?”

So you admit you took Jurij to punish me? You admit they were both in danger in your “care”? Quickly, I had to clench my jaw to keep down the words that threatened to spill over. He’s not who I thought he was. He wouldn’t have harmed them.

I loosened the muscles in my jaw one hair’s breadth at a time.

“For healing me when you were a child. For accepting me into your castle instead of putting me to death for trespassing in it. For … For forgiving me for cursing you, even though you were innocent.” My voice was quiet, but I was determined to make it grow louder. “For saving my mother’s life.”

He waved one hand lazily in the air. “Unfinished projects irk me.”

“But you didn’t have to.”

A shrug. “The magic was nearly entirely spent on the churl anyway.”

“I beg your pardon?”

He leaned forward and placed both palms across the rotted forest remnants on the table. “My apologies,” he said, his lips curled into a sneer. “I simply meant that I wasted years and years and let the magic wither from my body to save a person of no consequence. You may thank me for that if you like. I would rather not be reminded of it.”

How odd it was to see the face I’d imagined come to life. The mocking, the condescending—it was all there. I just hadn’t known the canvas before.

And what a strange and beautiful canvas it was. That creamy peach skin, the brownish tint of his shoulder-length tresses. He was so much paler than any person I had ever seen. Save for the specters.

Despite the paleness, part of me felt I wasn’t wrong to have mistaken one brother for another. Elric had been dark-skinned, but they seemed almost like reflections of the same person; they shared the same brows, the same lips, and even eyes of a similar shape if not color. Perhaps the face before me was a bit gaunter, the nose a bit longer. It was easier to focus on the differences. Thinking of the similarities made me want to punch the face in front of me all the more—and that would undermine everything I had set out to do when I made my way to him. I wanted to see if you were really restored to life. Say it. I wanted to know if you really forgave me. Say it. I wanted to know why I … Why I feel this way about you, why I keep thinking about you, when I used to be unable to stand the sight of you. Say it, Noll! I dug my nails into my palm and shook the thoughts from my head. He’d called my mother a “churl.” I couldn’t just tell him everything I was thinking. “Have you no sense of empathy?”

“What a coincidence that you should mention that. I am sending Ailill to the village with an edict. He can escort

you there.” “Ailill?” But aren’t you him? Could I have been mistaken? Oh, goddess, help me, why do I do this to myself? Why do I think I know everything?

He waved his hand, and one of the specters appeared beside me from the foyer.

The specters. There were about a hundred of them in the castle. Pale as snow in skin and hair with red, burning eyes. Mute servants who seemed to anticipate the lord’s every command. Only now I knew who they really were.

Oh. “You call him by your own name?” I asked.

He raised an eyebrow. “I call them all by my name. They are me, remember?”

His icy stare sent another invisible dagger through my stomach. “Yes, but—”

“A shame you never cared to ask my name when you were my guest,” he said. “I have a feeling things might have turned out much differently—for all of us.”

“You knew what would happen! Why didn’t you warn me?” I had to squeeze my fists and teeth together to stop myself from screaming. This wasn’t going at all like I had hoped. But what had I hoped? What could I have possibly expected? I thought I’d be forgiven. I thought that Ailill and I might start over, that we could be friends, perhaps even … What a fool I’ve been.

Ailill turned slightly, his attention suddenly absorbed in a single white petal that remained on a half-trodden bush beside him. “I was not entirely in control of my emotions,” he said, “as you may well know.”

“I tried to give you a way out!” My jaw wouldn’t stay shut.

Ailill laughed and reached over to pluck the petal from its thorns. “Remind me exactly when that was? Perhaps between condemning me to an eternal life of solitude and wretchedness and providing yourself with a way to feel less guilty about the whole affair? And then you just popped right back to the present, I suppose, skipping over those endless years in a matter of moments.” He crushed the petal in his hand.

“A way to let myself feel less guilty?” He wasn’t entirely wrong. But it wasn’t as if he had done nothing wrong.

Ailill bolted upright, slamming the fist that gripped the petal against the twigs and grass on the table. “Your last words to me were entirely for your own benefit, as well you know!”

If, after your own Returning, you can find it in your heart to forgive me, the last of the men whose blood runs with his own power will free all men bound by my curse.

“How is wishing to break the curse on the village for my benefit?”

“Perhaps because the curse was your doing? Perhaps because you only wanted the curse broken to free your lover from it in the first place?”

“Stop calling Jurij my ‘lover.’ He’s not—”

“And you did free him with those words. You knew I would forgive you.”

“How could I have known? I didn’t think it possible you’d forgive me, not after all we’ve been through.”

“You knew because you knew I wanted to be free myself. That I would do anything—even forgive you for half a moment—to earn that freedom.” His voice grew quieter. “You never wanted anything from me, not really. I was just a pawn in your game, a way to free the other men in your village, a way to punish the men from mine.”

I fought back what I couldn’t believe was threatening to spring to my eyes. No tears, not in front of him.

“The men of the old village deserved everything they got,” I spat at last, knowing full well that wasn’t the whole story.

Ailill scoffed and put both hands on his hips, his arms akimbo. Oh, how I tired of that pose. The crushed petal remained on the table. Its bright white added a bit of life to the decay.

“There were plenty of young boys not yet corrupted,” he said. “And some that might have never been.” He took a deep breath. “But, of course, you are not entirely to blame. I blame myself every day for ever taking a childish interest in you. That should not have counted as love.”

I swallowed. Of course. Before the curse of the village had broken, a woman had absolute power over the one man who loved or yearned for her. When I visited the past through the pool in the secret cavern, I discovered a horde of lusty men who knew nothing of love but were overcome with desire. Since so many had lusted for any female who walked before them, and I had carried the power from my own version of the village with me, it had been child’s play to control the men. But why had that power extended to Ailill? He had only been a boy then, broken, near silent—and kindhearted. He couldn’t have regarded me with more than a simple crush on an older sisterly figure, but it had been enough.

“But you did forgive me.” Why couldn’t I stop the words from flowing?

Ailill shook his head and let a weary smile spread across his features. “Forgive you? I could never forgive you. No more than I could forgive myself for daring to think, if just for a moment, that I … ” He stopped.

I shook my head. “The curse wouldn’t have been broken. The men in the village wouldn’t now be walking around without masks. Nor you without your veil. If you hadn’t forgiven me.”

Ailill tilted his head slightly. His dark eyes searched mine, perhaps for some answer he thought could be found there. “I would still need the veil even now?” he asked, his voice quiet. “Are you certain?”

Removing the veil before the curse was broken would have required the Returning, a ritual in which I freely and earnestly bestowed my heart and affection to him. It would have never happened, not with the man I knew at the time to be mine. So yes, he would still need the veil to survive the gaze of women. I was sure of it. He’d been arrogant, erratic, and even cruel. Perhaps not so much as Elric, Ailill’s even more volatile older brother, the one who wound up with a mob of angry, murderous women in his castle and a gouge through his heart. But even so.

It was my turn to cross my arms and sneer. “I said you could break the curse after your own Returning, and I specified that you didn’t need my affection to have a Returning. All you needed to do was crawl out of whatever abyss I’d sent you to.” I shifted uncomfortably in place. “And I suppose I should be grateful—for my mother’s sake—that you did.”

Ailill waved a hand at the specter beside me and brushed aside a pile of clippings on the table to reveal a hand-written letter. It was yellowed and a tad soggy. “Yes, well, the endless droning that made up your curse gets a bit foggy in my mind—assuming it even made sense in your mind to begin with. I am afraid I lack the ability to retain exact memories of an event that took place a hundred lifetimes ago when I was but a scarred child terrified of the monster before him.” He looked up to face me as the specter retrieved the letter from his extended hand. “But I suppose it was not all that long ago for the monster, was it?” He turned again to the table, shuffling brush about aimlessly. “Take her with you to the market,” he said.

The specter made to grab my arm as he passed. I slipped out of his reach only to back into another specter who had appeared quick as lightning from the foyer. He grabbed one arm, and the first specter seized the other.

“Let go of me!” I shouted as they began to drag me away.

The specters didn’t pause, as they once would have.

“Stop!” called Ailill from behind me. The specters did as they were told.

Ailill spoke. “I forgot to inform you that my retainers lost all desire to follow your orders when I did.” He waved his fingers in the air. “Carry on.”

I struggled against the grip the specters had on my arms. Again. He has me under his thumb again. “I can walk by myself!” I screamed as my toes slid awkwardly against the dark foyer floor. “I don’t need to go to the market!”

A black carriage awaited us outside the castle doorway. A third specter opened the carriage door, and my captors heaved me up into the seat like a sack of grain. The one with the letter slid in and took the seat across from me. He stared vacantly at the top of the seat behind me.

I leaned forward, whipping my hand out to stop the carriage door as one of the specters moved to close it. I didn’t care what I touched in the castle anymore. Let the whole thing crumble.

A black-gloved hand covered mine. I jumped back. Ailill stuck his head inside the carriage. His face stopped right before mine, the brim of his hat practically shading me under it. The sight of his face so close to mine, unveiled and painted with disdain, caused a thunderous racing of my heart. It was as if I’d just run the length of the entire village.

“You kept your hair short,” he said. He reached his free hand toward it, then pulled back.

I’d once let the bushy mess of black hair grow as long as it wanted, but once I cropped it closely to my scalp, I found it easier to deal with. “There hasn’t been enough time for it to grow, anyway. Not for me.”

He snorted. “Of course. But it makes me remember you as you were, long ago. When you cursed me and every man whether he deserved it or not.” He leaned back a bit, putting more space between our faces. “I think you will be most interested in going with my servants to the market,” he said. “But there will be no need to thank me in person afterward. I would rather not see you again.” His eyes drifted upwards, thoughtfully. “In fact, remind the villagers that I am closed to all audiences. My servants will be out there to see that my edict is obeyed.”

Before I could speak, he leaned back and let my hand fall from his. He reached around the door to close it.

“Wait—”

And slammed it in my face.

Posted in Writing

WIP Marathon 24

Has it really been two years since we started these monthly updates for the WIP Marathon group?

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: 10,704 words, 4 chapters

NOBODY’S LADY: 70,746 words, 28 chapters (waiting to get final edits)

Current report WC + CC/ SC:

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: 36,153 words, 14 1/2 chapters

NOBODY’S LADY: 70,881 words, 28 chapters (revisions turned in)

WIP Issues This Month: I was doing really well with the new WIP toward the beginning of the month. I managed to write at least 1000 words a day for a while. Then I got caught up with a lot of work and kind of hit a “meh” part of my manuscript and I stopped working on it every single day, or only wrote a few hundred words a day. I had revisions to do as well. Still, I wish I could write faster. I know it’s not a race (no deadline for this), but I hate drafting. I love everything else about writing (revising, marketing, even querying) much more.

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. You can run out of steam on a book even when you don’t think you will at first.

2. Pushing through and working on the manuscript anyway is painful, but every writing session takes you closer to the end.

3. After stepping away from a manuscript for a long time (NOBODY’S LADY), some of it can seem brand new when you read it.

4. Reading your work a year and a half after you initially wrote it is a strange experience.

What distracted me this month while writing: It’s been cold, so I’ve mostly stayed home this month. I’ve been busy and stressed with work and life, but I do have some news to share. The short story that I wrote back in April (I reported the word count on these updates) can finally be announced! It’s going to appear in a charity anthology later this year. I was also allowed to reveal the blurb for NOBODY’S LADY and you can pre-order the paperback. (The e-book will be available but isn’t up for pre-order yet.) My cover reveal is scheduled for February 26th, and you can sign up here if you want to participate!

Goal for next month: I might have NOBODY’S LADY proofs to look over and then it’s probably ready to go to the printer! *-* Meanwhile, I want to keep working on my YA FAIRY TALE. I’d love to finish it in February, but I’ll try not to set the goal only to be disappointed.

Posted in Writing

Announcing My New Short Story in a Charity Anthology

My new forthcoming short story, JOSIE’S COAT, will appear in Month9Books’ charity anthology, IN THE BEGINNING, out October 25, 2016. Some of the anthology proceeds will be donated to WriteGirl, a Los Angeles-based non-profit agency that empowers young women writers through mentorships, workshops and classes. The anthology consists of YA speculative fiction retellings of Bible stories. I was a huge fan of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as a middle schooler, so that was the story that sparked my imagination:

Author Amy McNulty’s story, Josie’s Coat, reimagines the tale of Jacob’s favorite son Joseph, his dreams, and his famous coat (Genesis 37). Josie, a dream-worker, is great at her job and her coworkers’ cruel jealousy leads to her enslavement and the loss of her dream-worker job—but even that can’t stop her terrifying visions of what’s to come.

The “dream-worker” part was also influenced by an idea I’ve had when I’m tired from a day of working: How I wish I could get my work done while I slept and save my working hours for something fun! This is what happens in Josie’s world, but only a select few can benefit from this arrangement.

Add IN THE BEGINNING to your to-read list on Goodreads!

Posted in Writing

WIP Marathon 23: End of Year

I already did an end-of-the-year and goals-for-next-year writing update here, if you’re interested.

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

YA SUSPENSE:  53,965 words,  16 1/2 chapters

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: Not even thought of yet

NA CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: Thought of, but not outlined at all yet

Current report WC + CC/ SC:

YA SUSPENSE:  58,546 words,  17 1/2 chapters  — SHELVED

YA FANTASY FAIRY TALE RETELLING/PREQUEL: Outlined completely; 10,704 words,  4 chapters

NA CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: Outlined completely

WIP Issues This Month: Coming off NaNoWriMo “failing” (even with 25,000 words) and just not feeling the love at all for my YA SUSPENSE, I struggled in early December. I wrote every day (until I FINALLY took one day off), but it was often just 100 words. I’d been off-outline for a while with this book, but I just wasn’t loving it at all. But at the same time, it was already my second take at this (having thrown out the vast majority of the 50,000-word draft from 2012!), and I was worried I’d never finish it if I didn’t keep moving forward. (Also, I didn’t finish a single manuscript this year.) Plus, I’d worked on it EVERY DAY since early September, forcing myself to write even on insanely busy, tiring and stressful days.

But I just got.tired.of.it. I knew it might mean I’ll never finish it, or maybe I will come back to it someday. (It’s near the end and I have a vague idea of where it’s going, but it probably needs another 10-20k I’m not up for.) I wondered if I should give it up and work on my next project, which I pictured as the first of four books in a NA contemporary romance series I intended to straight-to-self-pub, but at the same time, I did want some finished YA manuscript to try to get an agent with again. (Coming up on two years without one soon!) Then I got a shiny new idea–finally a fairy tale retelling like I’ve always wanted to do that I think hasn’t been done before. (The fairy tale has been, but not this aspect of it–it’s more of a prequel with some of the same elements. Also, it’s not even one of the more popular fairy tales among YA retellings.)

So I got my love for writing back by telling myself it was okay to give up on the YA suspense. I outlined the new idea for a week while I tried to keep going with the YA suspense and finally decided to turn my attention to the new idea instead. And I’ve written a lot more per day so far, so I’m hopeful… I just hate being back at square one with a manuscript practically. ;-; Oh, but I also outlined the entire first book in the NA contemporary romance series in my downtime when on this writer’s high, so I feel like this had been a good decision for me.

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. Shelving a manuscript might sometimes be the best thing. (I’m just hoping I don’t get to 58k with this new one and think the same thing…)

2. It’s hard to tell the difference between the “this really should be shelved” and the “this is just you struggling and you really should finish it” feelings.

3. Writing is just… always hard!

4. Ideas hit you during the strangest most unexpected moments.

What distracted me this month while writing: I haven’t gone on any day trips this month, but I’ve been busy with work. (And Christmas! Yay!) Oh, and of course I saw Star Wars and felt like a kid again, and I’ve seen a few other movies.

Oh, fellow WIP Marathoner Suzanne van Rooyen and I have our books I HEART Robot and NOBODY’S GODDESS up for a Month9Books Readers Choice Award until December 31st! Throw either of us some love and vote or comment?

Goal for next month: I’m hoping I’ll finally get the edits for the second round (perhaps final instead of expected three rounds?) of NOBODY’S LADY revisions for real in January. There was a hiccup and I expected them back in October and each month since, but… I think now they’re for sure on their way. I’d love to get a lot more done in the YA fairy tale retelling. I don’t think I’ll want or need to start the NA until I finish the YA. I could start outlining the other books in that series, but I’ll probably wait until I’m focusing on that manuscript.

 

Posted in Writing

Writing Goals for 2016

Weapenry and Patchwork Press are getting ready to make 2016 our best writing year yet, and we want all of you to dream big with us. This week, authors are coming together to start thinking about the coming year and all of the books we’re getting ready to write. If we dream big and write all year round, we can easily make this our best year yet!

What is your favorite writing/publishing memory from 2015?

Seeing my YA romantic fantasy debut, Nobody’s Goddess, go on sale and hearing from readers who enjoyed it. I know it’s out there in a few bookstores and libraries as well, but the first time I saw it “in the wild” was just recently at a branch of my local library. That was a cool moment.

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Also, my first signing was at BookCon! I felt awkward, but I had a lot of fun thanks to my boyfriend and my bestie/beta reader, Melissa Giorgio.

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What story are you most looking forward to working on in 2016?

I want to finish the YA suspense I started in September. It’s my second time tackling this concept, and I completely revised a few major things about an old, shelved draft. It’s been tough for me to feel passionate about this project, but I’m determined to see it all the way through.

Are you the type of person who makes New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not?

Usually not, no. I don’t like the feeling of defeat that comes along with not meeting my goals.

What area(s) of your writing/publishing process are you going to work on improving in 2016? (dialogue, marketing, output, pacing, formatting, etc.)

Not repeating the same gestures over and over even in the drafting stage. (“She crossed her arms,” “I bit my lip” type of things.) It takes a lot of work to fix that in revising, and it’d be nice if I just didn’t rely on the same descriptions while drafting!

How would you describe a successful publishing year in 2016? What goals are you working toward?

I hope more and more people discover Nobody’s Goddess so Nobody’s Lady (out April 12) is successful as well. I hope to get my Wattpad-first Patchwork Press title, Fall Far from the Tree, featured on Wattpad so more people discover it, and I’ll finish publishing all of it on Wattpad in 2016. I’m hoping I can then release the e-book and paperback versions in late 2016, although it may be 2017.

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If you had to guess, what do you think your biggest challenge will be when it comes to publishing and writing next year?

I need to get this YA suspense to a place where I’m satisfied with it and then start querying agents again.

How far ahead do you plan your writing schedule? Do you prefer to prepare or to see where your muses take you?

I don’t really schedule my writing. Now that I’m finished drafting my contracted work (THE NEVER VEIL SERIES), I just have to worry about revisions for those books whenever they’re ready for me to work on them. Besides that, I can write what I please!

Tell us about something non book related that you’re currently looking forward to for 2016.

Going to NYC again (as I do at least once a year to visit my boyfriend’s family) and attending C2E2 and BookCon in Chicago… Although I guess that’s book-related.

If you could offer up one piece of advice to other authors and writers for 2016, what would it be?

Don’t give up! It’s really easy to give up and ignore your little successes in the face of larger failures. But every little success counts!

What about you? What goals (bookish and otherwise) are you planning to work toward in 2016? Let us know in the comments! Weapenry will be giving away ebook packs of both Refilling Your Inkwell by Kellie Sheridan, and Surviving First Drafts by Erica Crouch to three randomly selected commenters across the posts going up this week. Be sure to either include your email address or to Tweet at us @patchwork_press along with your goals so we can get in touch if you win!

Posted in Writing

WIP Marathon 22

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

YA SUSPENSE: 30,155 words, 10 chapters

Current report WC + CC/ SC:

YA SUSPENSE:  53,965 words,  16 1/2 chapters

WIP Issues This Month: This is the first year I’ve tried NaNoWriMo that I lost. So even though I got more words done this month than I did the previous couple of months, I’ve been bummed about that. I’m losing the drive to finish this story. AGAIN. (This is my second attempt at it, with some major changes, and last time I petered out at about 50,000 words, too. Only last time I was stuck in the narrative and this time, I’m just bummed about it.)

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. Sometimes even NaNoWriMo fails me. 😦

2. Even when I have an idea of where I’m going, it’s possible to lose interest in writing it.

3. Finding not one, but 2-3 similarities to a popular YA book in your WIP also helps make you less enthused about finishing it.

4. It’s hard to go from 100-500 words a day to 1700. (I managed for like 3 days and then just couldn’t do it anymore.)

What distracted me this month while writing: I went to Chicago (again ^^) one day early this month, but mostly I’ve been really busy with work. The time I do spend writing just isn’t that productive, either. But I have continued to work on it every single day, even if it’s only a few hundred words.

NOBODY’S LADY got an official release date: April 12, 2016, a few months earlier than expected!

I revealed the cover to my YA fantasy that’s going to someday be published with Patchwork Press! …And I started serializing it on Wattpad! It’s going to be a Wattpad-first novel with eventual ebook and paperback release in late 2016 or 2017. Click on the image to start reading today! 😀 Btw, this was my first WIP Marathon manuscript from back in 2013! *-*

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And I made a trailer for NOBODY’S GODDESS! That was actually a really fun distraction. I always wanted a trailer, even though I know they’re not the most effective marketing tools. I didn’t have the budget for one, so I made it myself. I had so much fun, I want to make one for FFFTT, but I really shouldn’t waste the time when I’m so busy. (See, I always want to do marketing stuff instead of draft when I’m unhappy with a draft’s progress!)

Goal for next month: I’m hoping I’ll finally get the edits for the second round of NOBODY’S LADY revisions this month. So I have to do that if so. Also, just to keep going with this YA suspense and not be tempted to move on to shiny new ideas. I have a feeling if I give up now, I won’t finish it at all. It’s not unsalvageable or anything, I just am not feeling the love….

 

Posted in Writing

WIP Marathon 21

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

YA SUSPENSE: 15,706 words, 6 chapters

Current report WC + CC/ SC:

YA SUSPENSE: 30,155 words, 10 chapters

WIP Issues This Month: Writing even when I don’t feel like it. (But I’ve kept my promise to myself and have written in the WIP every single day since I started in early September… Only most days I only write 100-200 words!)

Four things I learned this month in writing: 1. Tiny, short writing sessions still add up!

2. Tiny writing sessions aren’t that bad. I’ve always done better when I write more words per day, but writing just a few words is better than no words.

3. I can feel lukewarm about a manuscript while writing it. (I usually like it more than this… I mean, I DO like this one, but…)

4. Publishing is complicated

What distracted me this month while writing: I went to NYC for my NINTH time with my boyfriend! (+ Twice as a very young kid.) See my Instagram for pics from the Hunger Games exhibit (it was amazing *-*) and a book signing I went to. I also spent a day in Chicago earlier in the month. (We seem to go at least once a month now, don’t we?) Work, stress, etc. I’ve kept busy.

I also announced a new book I’m going to be releasing at some point…. FALL FAR FROM THE TREE! I’d appreciate it if you added it to your Goodreads page.

I started up a newsletter! Please sign up here! (First newsletter goes out tomorrow, so don’t miss out!) You get access to a deleted scene from an earlier shelved version of NOBODY’S GODDESS for signing up.

Wattpad “featured” my short story YA collection, DROWNED SILENCE, and it went from like 70 reads to over 14,000 in just a few weeks! Plus, the first story in the collection is Halloween-themed, so it’s the perfect read for today!

Goal for next month: I’m participating in NaNoWriMo for my third year! Add me if you haven’t already. (I think most of you have.)

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I’m only sort of feeling it this time, though. But my goal is to add 50,000 words to the YA suspense (I’m not doing that other idea I mentioned last time)–but also not to be upset with myself if I don’t meet that goal.

I’m supposed to get the second round of edits for NOBODY’S LADY in November as well! So I’ll have to get that done if so.

I’m not sure where I am on edits for FALL FAR FROM THE TREE because some complications have arisen with publishing it…