ROW80 Update #ROW80

Good morning!

I’ve been working hard (kind of). I’ve actually been resting a lot too. I had surgery last week, and recovery has been slow. Here’s my mid-week update on what I’ve been doing.

For marketing, I’m learning about Amazon Ads, I’m looking at blog tours and a release event for De-Termination which is coming up QUICK! I got my pre-order links today.

I participated in a podcast of sorts! Chanel Ivy has a podcast where she reads the sexy parts of books, so I sent her over an excerpt from De-Termination for the month of October, a spooky scene with Faye & Molly pushing each other’s buttons and trying to entice the other to their own ways.

If you want to take a listen, go here! It was an interesting and fun experience.

I have been writing…slowly…Sun, Sea, and Gwyn. I’m almost done with chapter 3 as of this morning. I don’t know why this piece is so slow going compared to my normal writing, but it is. I’ve also been distracted with edits and market, so that might be why.

I started editing Broken & Wear (Missing Persons 2) yesterday. I’m 3 chapters in out of 21. Onward and forward.

Oh! Oh! I did get the first round of covers for Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone 1) and I’m in love! Can’t wait to share it when I get the final version.

See you all Sunday!

ttfn

TO DO

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2) – a constant WIP
  2. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  3. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3)
  4. Write Sun, Sea, and Gwyn
  5. Write Love Burns: Take Two
  6. Write Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  7. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  8. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)
  9. Edit Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1)
  10. FOR EXTRA — if I need it — write Love Burns: 3 Together, Agent Morgan Stone #3 or Missing Persons #4. And edit edit edit everything in sight!

DONE

  1. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)

De-Termination (Quarter Life 2) #amwriting #backlist #newrelease #comingsoon

SO! I realized this morning that I had announced over on my Facebook but I forgot to announce here. Ooops!

De-Termination (Quarter life 2) will release on December 1st!

This is huge, you guys. Seriously. This book was originally supposed to release in 2016, but life got in my way, and instead of writing it, I didn’t. I finally wrote it this summer, and since a lot of the back work was already done (cover, blurb, etc) because it’s been planned for 4 years, my publisher and I agreed to release it December 1st rather than wait until 2021.

What this means for everyone else.

Unbound (Quarter Life 1) is currently on sale (ebook only) for $2.99. If you get it and read it, please leave a review! They are so helpful in many ways, AND it lets me know what you think. I don’t even care if you hated it, leave me a review. =P

De-Termination releases December 1st, so ARC copies will be going around shortly and a blog tour set up, and a release event. If you are an author or blogger and interested in any of those, let me know.

NOW for the fun part!

I have decided every Tuesday from here on out, I will be doing a live reading from Unbound every week until De-Termination releases. I’ll be reading one chapter a week over on my Facebook page. It’ll net us 7-8 chapters I believe. Chapter 1 is already up.

This is a huge celebration for me. I’ve been out of the writing game for 4-5 years, and it feels so good to be back in it! Let’s celebrate in a huge way!

Faye’s been Molly’s lover and agent for her creature-hunting friends for a year, but she’s still unsettled and unwilling to fully-explore her Tainted Side. She is sent on a mission and disappears in South America.

Molly, a powerful witch, searches for Faye ruthlessly, leading to conflict with her team. Meanwhile, she’s brought Amelia in to help, and Amelia has her sights on seducing Molly as things fall apart.

There may no longer be such a thing as home sweet home.

Trigger warning: Rape, torture

Outlining and Kids #ROW80 #Goals

It is 7 am. …

I routinely wake up between 5-5:30 every morning and do some writing work. My kids wake up, generally 7-8 every morning, especially on Sundays. Right now, it is 7 am and both my toddlers are running amok in my bedroom as I ATTEMPT to outline this novel. It’s been this way for close to an hour now.

Yo…this parenting and working game is not for the weak-hearted OR the easily distracted.

This weekend I officiated a wedding and once again attempted to install a fan in my living room (long story), so my Friday work time was cut significantly short. I did manage to finish my final edits on De-Termination a whole 3-5 days earlier than planned. I sent those back to the publisher.

I am currently PANICKING about what I’m going to be writing for NaNoWriMo. I had originally planned to write 3 novels during that month (Love Burns: Take 2, Young & Old: Missing Persons 3, and Agent Morgan Stone 3), but I have literally NONE of them outlined. So I’m panicking.

This morning, I’m attempting to outline…not a novel in that list of three. haha! It is a romance. I tend to write romances for NaNo. No idea why, but I do. This piece I’m outlining is my first F/M/F romance and it’s boggling my brain. I’ll update Wednesday since I should be outlining things this week along with writing Sun, Sea, and Gwyn. Hopefully I’ll have more answers by Wednesday.

TO DO

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2) – a constant WIP
  2. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  3. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3)
  4. Write Sun, Sea, and Gwyn
  5. Write Love Burns: Take Two
  6. Write Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  7. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  8. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)
  9. Edit Her Cold Heart (Agent Morgan Stone #1)
  10. FOR EXTRA — if I need it — write Love Burns: 3 Together, Agent Morgan Stone #3 or Missing Persons #4. And edit edit edit everything in sight!

DONE

  1. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)

#ROW80 and Writing Goals

I used to participate actively in ROW80, ages ago, as I did with WIPpet Wednesdays. I always love supporting other aspiring and published authors. We all need to encourage one another.

I’ve fallen behind on my blogging, which is not abnormal. I’m so focused on writing and getting some new material out there right now that that’s been my focus. I also tend to miss Sunday check-ins because well, I work Sundays in an insane way.

I’ll keep this quick.

Goals for ROW80 Round 4 are as follows (I think because I left my calendar at home, doh!)

  1. Marketing for De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)
  2. Write Race War (Agent Morgan Stone #2)
  3. Write Young & Old (Missing Persons #3)
  4. Write Sun, Sea, and Gwyn
  5. Write Love Burns: Take Two
  6. Write Beware (Quarter Life #4)
  7. FINAL EDITS De-Termination (Quarter Life #2)
  8. Edit Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2)
  9. Edit Release (Quarter Life #3)
  10. Edit Her Cold Heart (Agent Morgan Stone #1)
  11. FOR EXTRA — if I need it — write Love Burns: 3 Together, Agent Morgan Stone #3 or Missing Persons #4. And edit edit edit everything in sight!

I’ve got some really big plans for 2021 and hopefully onward from here on out. De-Termination releases December 1, so that’s going to take a lot of my focus upfront.

Another round of #WIPpetWednesday #amwriting #thriller

I can’t think of the word thriller without Michael Jackson’s voice running through my head! Yesterday during therapy, my spouse mentioned that I had written a scary weird ass novel to our therapist. She was all “What!?” I was all, “I wrote a thriller.” Cue Michael Jackson.

Anyway! I am here to share another excerpt from this book, Stone’s Mistake. I did finish writing it, and the lovely and insane editing process begins tomorrow.

Yesterday, I went through my calendar for the rest of the year in what I have planned to write. I changed my mind. SHOCKER! haha. I ditched my short stories. They’re just not happening. As much as I want them to be written, every time I sit down to work on them, nothing happens. So back to the closet they go for awhile.

I rearranged my schedule, added two new romance novels to the list (sequels to Love Burns) that have been rocking it around in my brain these past few weeks.

So here’s a brief outline of what I am working on and what I will be working on.

September:
Broken & Weary: Missing Persons #2
Release: Quarter Life #3

October:
Release: Quarter Life #3
Special Agent Stone #2

November: AND NANOWRIMO!!
Love Burns Take Two (not the actual name)
Blind & Seen: Missing Persons #3

December:
Beware: Quarter Life #4 (tentative title)
Love Burns Take Three (not the actual name)

This gives me a WHOLE lot to do, but I’m pretty sure I can do it. I slowed down writing my Grace novels. I was planning on writing two chapters a day, but I realized how unrealistic that was, so now I’m aiming for one chapter a day. Grace is long winded in her chapters. haha

Without further ado, however, my WIPpet for September 9th, 2020.

This is from Stone’s Mistake: Agent Stone #1. 10 paragraphs for today’s excerpt from chapter 8. Math is as follows. 9 (for the month) + (2/2) = 10!

Little introduction. Morgan really likes Fiona. Fiona is kind of clueless. Morgan is BAD at dating. Morgan has just returned from a stint in Kansas were she worked on a human trafficking case. Fiona has been waiting for her to get back so they could meet up at a crime scene and discuss Fiona’s case. Fiona is Chicago PD homicide detective and Morgan works for the FBI.

Morgan’s heart rose to her throat again. She coughed to try and clear it, sputtering as she tried to find words. Business she could talk, but she wanted so much more than business with Fiona. Wexford took a step closer, her hand on Morgan’s arm.

“You okay?”

“Uh, yeah. Just a frog. It’s been a long week.”

“Where’d you go? You said you were driving back yesterday.”

“Had an operation to do.”

Wexford’s eyes widened. “Were you in Kansas? Was that your case?”

Morgan’s eyebrow lifted. She didn’t answer as Fiona stepped even closer. Her heart thudded hard, and her breath stopped up in her lungs once again. She didn’t know what possessed her, but leaning to her side, she pressed her mouth to Fiona’s.

The kiss didn’t last long. Morgan jumped back, her eyes wide and fear settling in the pit of her stomach. Looking wildly to her car, Morgan begged for a phone call, a distraction, something, anything.

“That was…I don’t…Uh…” Morgan bit her lip. “I don’t know why I did that. I should…I should go.”

Booking it for her car, Morgan escaped and didn’t wait for a response from Wexford. She didn’t want to hear or see the reaction she might have had. Putting her car in drive, Morgan headed back to the bureau, ready to dig in to some old case files and see if she could find another one that matched the two here.

Updates and updates #amwriting

I realize I haven’t been over here in almost two weeks, and I promise you there will be a WIPpet Wednesday tomorrow (scheduling the post today =p). We took a small trip to Keystone, CO last week to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary which was Sunday. It was a blast, except kids came with us and one is deathly afraid of heights, apparently, so we had to change up our plans a bit on what we were doing.

Tis life.

I wanted to stop by the blog and give you some updates as to what I’m working on and not working on and what I’ve accomplished so far this year.

In November of 2019 for NaNoWriMo, I did start a novel. I did not finish it, nor did I finish NaNo. But I did get something like 35,000 words in. For some reason, every time I hit about 35,000 words in any novel when writing, I slow down and have to really work hard to push through to the end, so it’s no surprise that I didn’t finish this one then.

But I did finish it. In July. It’s called About Time and features an ER doctor and a Hospital Chaplain. It’s a contemporary romance, and they literally cannot find the right time to just freakin’ get together.

I also started a second romance novel earlier this year (feb/mar) that I finished in June which is titled Love Burns. This is a contemporary romance, may/december, let me fill you with all the tropes book. Celebrity chef meets nanny and they cannot resist each other no matter how hard they try. Massive conflicts of interest and so forth.

After finishing up those two (which have been subbed to publishers and I’m impatiently waiting to hear back about them), I worked on De-Termination (Quarter Life 2). This book. You guys, this book…It has been weighing on my since my hiatus started. I always said when I got back to writing, this would be the first one on my list, and it was. And you guys…

I fell in love with Faye.

I did not like her so much in Unbound. I didn’t understand her. She was weird and lied a lot and just snaps her fingers and changes her mind, but this book, her and I got to know each other a whole lot better. De-Termination is with the publisher and will hopefully be out sometime in 2021, but I have no dates for anything and definitely more edits to do.

Then I worked on a new book in July/August. I wrote a short story eons ago called A Blizzard’s Blow which is in an anthology (Young Love, Old Hearts, find it on Amazon). I have had this idea for ages to take that piece and turn it into a novel, an FBI agent trying to find this serial killer (sorry SPOILER). So I did, and it kind of turned into a series and it kind of connects to Grace Halling. It’s awesome. I’m in the process of doing first round edits right now.

That least to WHAT AM I WORKING ON TODAY!

This was the great debate of the last week. Because of vacation, I took off from writing to spend time with family. Next on my list/schedule was to work on the next Grace book, but heavens, it was scary thinking about writing her again. No idea why. I debated between Grace, Release (Quarter Life 3), and a sequel to my Love Burns romance.

I ended up, finally, on Grace. Broken & Weary: Missing Persons 2 is what I began writing yesterday. I spent the morning outlining the book, spent the afternoon writing chapter one and the evening attempting to write chapter two. I got tired so stopped about halfway through it.

Grace is…my not-so-secret girlfriend! I love her to death, and this book just brings me right back into her drama.

My spouse always asks me why I write so many series? I don’t know, but I do know that I fall in love with my characters daily and over and over again. What else can I do but write their stories?

Religion in lesfic #brokentaboos #amwriting #shortstory

I write lesfic, and I write religion, and the two do not often mix. There are some places that this works, but most likely, whatever I write with a women loving women bent and religion is not going to take off.

I know this, but still I write it. Why? Because lesbians are Christians and Christians are lesbians. I tend to stick in the Christianity realm (versus other faiths) because that is my area of expertise. There are a whole slew of LGBT et al folk in the Christian faith. The loudmouths like to let us believe otherwise, but it’s not true.

I’ve got a romance novel that’s sitting finished on my laptop. I finished it in July. And here it sits. I did submit it to one publisher, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be rejected because one of my main characters, my lesbian character, is a chaplain at a hospital. Now, to note, she may be a chaplain, but this is ironically one of the least religious books I have ever written. I think she prays twice in it.

My Spirit of Grace series and anything to do with Grace and Amya is religious. Grace is named for the grace of God. Can’t get much more connected than that. I’ve had people tell me the book series is preachy, but well, I’m a preacher during the day, so I disagree. If they want preachy, I can give them preachy. =P

But why is it that these two subjects can’t seem to go well together and sell. I can’t sell it on the Christian market because well, lesbians and women loving women and sex (sometimes). I can’t sell it on the lesfic market because apparently all Christians are assholes and don’t like the gays (not true).

I’m left with the conundrum. Do I keep writing it? Do I stop? Where do I put it out for others to read? And who the hell wants to read it other than me?

I’ve been literally working on a short story serial called Kansas Beatitudes for four years now. You should know where this is going. The Beatitudes are scripture. There are eight of them. For each Beatitude, I am planning on writing a short little romance story around the central theme. I’ve already written two. But the first Beatitude is Poor in Spirit, and I’m struggling beyond compare with it.

Two reasons: poor in Spirit is far more religious centered than mourning or being meek. Secondly, I really want it to be an open relationship, F/F/F, with a pastor as one of the F’s in there. So what happens if and when I write it? Hmmm? Because I can’t imagine a publisher who would be willing to publish it. Yes, there is self-pubbing, but the questions about marketing and production are the same. Who will read it? Who on earth is the market? Is the market big enough to warrant the story and the time and the effort? Do I write it anyway because it’s not about sales but about story itself?

It would be easy enough to change the story. To write something different. But I tend to go where the muse and the little green men in my computer tell me to go and write.

Why is this taboo so taboo? People come in all shapes and sizes and religions and faiths and colors. Why is it that religion and the LGBT et al combined is so hard to sell and so repulsed by every side of the reading spectrum?

I recently finished reading Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Shameless, and I’ve got to say, we need a sexual reformation in the church, but we also need a religious reformation in the world. I live in a world where I almost have to 100% keep everything separate from each other. I can’t talk about my lesfic writing in church; I can’t talk about my church in my lesfic writing.

Sex and religion have so often been at odds with each other. It’s time we stop fearing both. It’s time we open the table for discussion. It’s time we shut up and listen, truly listen, to what is being said and what is being felt.

If you haven’t read Nadia’s book. It’s worth it. Trust me. So worth it!

Partners in Fighting Crime #WIPpetWednesday #Snippet #WIP #Excerpt

I’ve been working on this novel for a week or so now. I thought it was crime/mystery at first. I realized the other day, it most definitely is not. It is a psychological thriller through and through. I even looked up a definition of it and sent it to my spouse going this, this, this, this, this, this…ALL OF THIS…is exactly what this novel is. haha.

So…I guess I’m writing a psychological thriller with a crime/mystery bent. This novel is about an FBI Special Agent Morgan Stone (yes, she is sister to Chaplain Amya Stone, Grace’s infamous girlfriend). Yes, Amya does show up in this novel, and Grace too, albeit briefly.

This novel is about my agent trying to catch a serial killer. That’s the basic of it. Morgan has been with the same partner at work for near a decade, so she knows him amazingly well. This is just a little snippet into their working and personal relationship. From chapter 3 of Stone’s Mistake. This is completely unedited as I never edit while writing a novel because well I won’t finish it if I do. So bear with me on that.

26 paragraphs from Chapter 3 of Stone’s Mistake. 26 is for the day of the month! That’s your WIPpet.

Sighing, Morgan glanced up as Pax jerked his chair back and plopped his briefcase heavily on the desktop. She shot him a questioning gaze before leaning up to focus on her obviously angry partner. “What happened?”

“Mel. Mel is what happened.” He huffed out a breath and sat next to her, grumbling something she couldn’t hear.

“Care to elaborate?”

Pax and his wife had been married fourteen years, and it still wasn’t unusual for him to show up miffed about a fight they’d had just before he’d left for the office. Morgan, in some ways, reveled in his life. Married, boy-girl twins, stability, a home. It was everything she didn’t have and only some things she wanted.

She’d known Pax since before he married Mel, had been the best man at his wedding even, so she knew the ins and outs of their issues. When he shot her a look, Morgan chuckled. “Forget to take out the trash?”

“One flipping day, that’s all I wanted.”

“Wanted for what?” Morgan turned back to her computer screen, deciding she wouldn’t waste all her energy on placating him in his foils.

Pax grunted. “I wanted to go golfing.”

“Since when do you golf?” She furrowed her brow, shook her head, and pursed her lips. “And who the hell do you golf with?”

“None of your business.”

“Wait. Hold on. You don’t golf. What did you really want to do?”

“It doesn’t matter,” he muttered, powering on his computer and clenching his jaw.

Morgan turned her lips to the side as she debated whether or not to pursue the topic. Giving in, she pushed slightly back from her desk and turned to face him fully. “No. What did you really want to go do?”

“I was trying to set up a renewal of our vows.”

“Oh…” Morgan pulled a face. “Really?”

“Yes.” He glared.

She laughed softly. “Didn’t figure your for the sentimental type.”

“It’s a surprise, for our fifteenth. Thought it might be nice.”

“You thought it would get you out of some hot water for something you did, or you thought it’d win you some bonus points for the future when you screw up.”

The look he gave her told her the latter was correct. She laughed again, shaking her head. If he was going this deep in his planning, he was going to have to lie better than trying to go play golf when the man had never swung a club in his life.

“Pax, you’re gonna have to learn to lie better.”

“I can’t lie to Mel, you know that.”

“You’re going to have to if you want this to be a surprise.”

“Can’t you—”

“Absolutely not. This is your own fresh hell you welcomed into your brain. You do it. I am not the best friend who plans vow renewals. You’re lucky enough I dressed up for your wedding and showed up for it.”

He grimaced. Ending the conversation, Morgan turned back to her computer and continued searching for Reilly’s real name and face. She was another hour deep into search when her phone in her pocket buzzed. Frowning at it, she knocked her head to Pax to see if he was paying attention or not. When he wasn’t, she slipped away from their desks and down the hall to a quiet and empty conference room.

I am Infertile #infertility #pregnancyloss #trauma #birthtrauma

There’s a lot weighing on my mind right now, so forgive me if this is jumbled. August is a particularly rough month in our house, and the closer we get to the end of the month, the worse it is.

It goes all the way back to 2017, when I became pregnant in late February with my second child. Some of you may be doing the math, going what child? And the answer is exactly.

I found out I was pregnant the beginning of March and by mid-April I was 100% certain something was wrong. I had a molar pregnancy. More on that perhaps in another post. I lost that pregnancy and spent the next nine months of my life on a first name basis with everyone in my OBGYNs office.

September, however, before my follow up was over, I had two lines on a pregnancy test pop up. I was pregnant with child number three. It lasted not even a week before the line got lighter and faded. Chemical pregnancy.

December 1, 2017 I was cleared from the molar drama to officially try to conceive again. Throughout my entire molar pregnancy ordeal there was always the question of whether or not I could get pregnant again, if the molar was completely gone, if I would be able to carry another baby to term, and if the molar would come back.

So on December 17th, when I got the positive pregnancy test, I was ecstatic but also equally nervous. I waited a whole week to tell my spouse. Gave him the best Christmas gift ever when he opened the box on Christmas morning to a framed photo telling him his present was on back order until September.

My pregnancy was damn near perfect. And on August 31, 2018 at 9:25 in the morning on a Friday, I had my first contraction. Drove myself to the hospital and gave birth to a tiny but feisty baby girl twenty minutes after walking into labor and delivery at 11:54 am.

And then it all went to shit. I bled out. Completely plus some. They sliced my belly open from my belly button to my crotch. They ripped out my uterus, attempted to rip out my cervix, but I found out a few weeks ago they missed some, they pumped me full of drugs, blood, shocked me back when my heart stopped, and sewed me together to put me into ICU for a night.

I am infertile. It took me over a year to use that word. It didn’t click in my brain that I was infertile until we were at an adoption seminar and one of the requirements for that agency is you have to be infertile. It was a shock to my system, like someone had dumped a bucket of ice water over my head.

Two years later, on the eve of celebrating my rainbow child–my last child, I am wallowing in that same bucket of ice water. I am infertile. Now, I am a ridiculously strong woman, and I pride myself in never being vulnerable. It’s stupid, but I do. It’s also not a good place to live.

I never thought my infertility would lead to me losing friends. I never thought my infertility would be so foreign to someone else’s infertility. I never realized before that there’s really two kinds of infertility. Those who want and have a possibility, however slim. And those who have no chance in hell.

I’m in that second category. I will never feel a baby in my belly again, never have the kicks that while annoying are also sanity saving. People look at my two beautiful children who look so much like me it’s insane and ask when we’re having another. When I answer with never, they get shocked. They expect an explanation. They expect me to open up to them and spill my guts, like I did on that surgeon’s table two years ago.

And I can’t. I can’t even begin to explain to them how I’m infertile, that no matter how hard I pray or how hard they pray or whatever miracle cure they’ve heard about on the news that it just won’t happen. That I’m a thirty-one year old woman without all the working parts. How sometimes, as much as I loathed my uterus in my youth, its loss is devastating to my own definition of womanhood and what it means to be female. How I feel not wholly woman any more. How this word that has been chained to me is not a true definition of what or who I am.

So as I sit in my office, not working because let’s face it there is no work getting done this week and maybe even next, wondering where I fit into this world. Wondering how we can have a better definition of infertility, a better understanding that it’s okay to be vulnerable, that vulnerability makes us stronger. Wondering how I can speak life into other woman who are experiencing this same mess of emotions but have no where to turn because we have never been invited to talk about our own brand of infertility.

I’m inviting you now. Share your story, with me  with someone else,  but talk about it. Talk about the pain that comes with being in this club. Talk about the realities that our womanhood is so insanely and stupidly tied to the not-quite working or present organs in our bodies. Why is it that no matter how progressive we may be that we keep thinking about our sexuality, our identity based on what body parts we do and do not have? Why this crap of trauma come with so many layers to it that each year we just keep finding more and more?

I know I’m not alone. I know there are others out there who feel like I do. But I haven’t met you yet. I feel alone. I haven’t found a place where people like us talk about this, freely and openly. We are women, whether we are fertile or infertile. We are women. We are strong, and we are vulnerable. We all have limits. And no matter the trauma we have faced, no matter the disruption to our lives that has happened, we are keeping on keeping on. Because sometimes, that’s the only thing we can do.

Let’s talk about outlining #amwriting #outlining #plottervpantser

Let’s talk about outlining for a minute or two. I have been seeing on Facebook a lot of conversation about having inspiration and being able to find inspiration and how some people just don’t get the juices to write very often.

I’m a firm believer that thinking like that is putting limits on yourself. Whether or not you plot or pants your stories and novels, you have to take the time to write. You have to make it a priority. If you don’t, well, it’ll never be a priority and it’ll never happen on a regular basis.

I set a schedule to write almost every day. I’ve done this from pretty much the beginning on my writing career. Currently, I write Monday-Thursday from 3pm to 5pm. Which is not a whole lot of time. I write all day Fridays. I rarely write on Saturday and Sunday as those are dedicated family days; however, if I’m close to finishing a novel. You bet your ass I’m writing on my off days.

I used to wake up every morning at 5am and I would write for 3 hours straight. That was it. Three hours a day, seven days a week was about 21 hours. My goal at that time was to finish three novels a year for publication, and I often achieved that.

Second to my dedicated writing time is outlining. There are hundred million different ways to outline, and you have to find what works for you. I’ve found–for me–that my outlines need to be simple and not overly detailed. If I put too much detail into them, I have zero desire to actually write it because I feel like I’ve written it already.

My current set up is to write 2-3 chapters of a novel and then I’ll finish outlining. Usually I already have some sense of where the story is going to go by that point. I set out each chapter, figure out roughly how many scenes I want in each one, and then I do simple bullet points for each scene. The one I’m writing today looks like this.

1. Morgan goes to St. Louis to look at the crime scene and see the body. She notes the 5 stab marks and the fact that the scene is bloodier and more violent than the last. Killer is escalating. Finds Samantha’s iPad, where they are able to run searches. Find searches for all the murders Morgan is aware of as well as information about Seattle.

2. Morgan spends a lot of time in the office, running the credit cards and anything else she can think of. She searches flight manifests for names. Pax keeps her updated on the trafficking case.

Now, none of what’s in that outline may make sense to anyone other than me, but it makes sense to me, which is what matters. Two simple scenes that will fill one whole chapter approximately 2000-3000 words, so 1500 ish per scene.

That simple. But I have this whole novel (all 33 chapters of it) outlined like this. I just finished outlining Release (Quarter Life #3) yesterday, which has 39 chapters and again, bullet point 1-3 sentence scenes.

I find this gives me enough freedom to mess up my outline but enough to go off so when I’m not feeling it that day, I know where to start. You can outline by character too. If you have one main character or even two, you can literally just outline their development. Start where they are, move into what happens to create conflict and what the character learns from it, then how they use what they’ve learned and up to a pinnacle plot point that then resolves all the pent up issues your character no doubt has.

I tend to write plot driven stories rather than character driven stories, hence the second method I’ve shared of outline is not very useful to me. The most important thing is that you find what works for you. Play around with it. Try something new. I didn’t outline in the beginning. It took me several books to find my method.

Be willing to learn something new, every day, and be willing to invite inspiration to come have a play date. If you don’t send the invitation, inspiration isn’t going to know when and where to show up.

A late #WIPpet but a WIPpet

I’m late today! It’s been an awful couple of days and anticipated coming week for me. Super stressful. I haven’t even written the last two days; it’s been that bad.

Anyway, I have started a new book, titled Stone’s Mistake. It may or may not turn into a series. Today I’m cutting to the chase. You get 8 chapters from chapter 2, which is the beginning of an MC’s point of view. This is completely unedited, so bear with me! =P

Morgan hit the button on the coffee pot to set the dark liquid brewing. It took a few minutes, but the scent wafted over to her, and she shuddered. She needed that dark brew at her lips immediately. Tapping her short fingernails against the counter, she stared down the coffee pot and willed it to brew faster.

Her day was going to be a busy and boring one, and while she didn’t relish going into the office in the middle of a snow storm that was supposed to hit them midday, she knew she had no other choice. There was paperwork to be done, research to be looked into, and conspiracies to test. Swallowing, Morgan glanced back down at the coffee, glad to see there was finally enough in the pot for one cup. She’d need at least three to get her brain spinning gears fast enough to work.

She grabbed her favorite mug her mother had given her with The Golden Girls on the side of it and jerked the pot back. The hiss of coffee falling directly onto the warmer underneath didn’t phase her as she poured her cup and set the pot back. One teaspoon of sugar later, and she was leaning against the counter, sipping the coffee and groaning as it’s dark roast hit the front of her tongue. It was heavenly.

It was going to be a hellaciously long couple weeks at work. She was due to leave the Chicago office and head south into Kansas on Friday and wasn’t planning on being back for at least seven to ten days. Clenching her jaw, Morgan looked around the tiny apartment she was so pleased to call home for less than half the year and sneered. She should probably clean up before she left, that way when she returned she’d have time to relax.

Snorting as the thought ran through her head, she rolled her eyes. Who was she kidding? She didn’t relax. The next sip of coffee hit the back of her throat, and Morgan felt the dregs of sleep pushing from her brain and clearing her thoughts. Perhaps she could get a cat. That could be good company for when she was actually at the apartment, and while she was gone, the cat could easily take care of itself.

Morgan hummed and shook her head. No, what she needed was a date. It was nearing on a year since she’d gone on her last tried and true date, which had been an utter disaster. Getting called in to help with a homicidal maniac in the middle of a first date wasn’t exactly the best way to begin a relationship. She shook her head. Dating apps had failed her, going to the bar had failed her. She was left with little else to make connections for her except friends, which she was severely limited on.

Her coffee mug was halfway empty before she slipped from leaning against the counter and headed for her small bedroom off the side of her living area. The bedsheets were strewn apart after she’d forced herself to exit the warmth. She had clothes all over the floor that she had yet to pick up and wash, but it didn’t matter. She wouldn’t have time until the weekend anyway, which she wouldn’t be home for.

Clucking her tongue, Morgan set her coffee down on her night stand and tugged off her loose shirt and pajama bottoms, shucking them to the floor right by her bedside. That way when she returned in the wee hours of the night, she wouldn’t have to stumble around to find them. With a fresh pair of undies, the bra she’d worn the last week, Morgan dressed.

A bittersweet turn #WIPpetWednesday #WIP #AmWriting

We’re back to it! This may be the fastest I have ever written, but De-Termination is rapidly coming to an end for me. I have three chapters left to write today and the novel is done. I’m already at 101,000 words, which I’ve written in less than three weeks.

But alas, today is WIPpet Wednesday, which means I’m sharing a chunk from De-Termination since that is my current WIP. I’m about to hit some serious editing hell with all these books I keep finishing and avoiding editing, so bear with me in a few months when I want to drown in the vodka. If you want to beta read something for me, send me a message! I need all the help I can get.

This chunk comes from chapter 36 of De-Termination. I’m not going to give a whole lot of context because…well…spoilers. I do, however, want to mention things between our love interests, Faye & Molly, have been less than romantic and far more on the bittersweet side. They both just keep missing the mark when it comes to the other.

So here we have it. 12 paragraphs for the 12th of August. Voila! Bear with me as this is completely unedited, but it’s 11:15pm and someone needs sleep.

She’d stopped by Joel’s office first, but the room lights were off and it was quiet inside. Sighing heavily, she went in search of Ben to see if he’d gleaned anything from his research. When she found the work room empty and void of light as well, she leaned against the wall.

It was late. They could have gone to bed. She needed answers right away, at least she’d convinced herself of that after leaving Amelia’s room. Walking precisely and decidedly back to the elevator, Molly headed for Ben’s room. She knocked on his door three times before turning the handle and opening it. Once again she was greeted with an empty room.

“Bloody hell.” Her heart jumped. She had one last resort before she would try to confirm her suspicions.

Joel’s room was also barren of her team. Letting out a huff, Molly headed from the residential floor straight for her office on the topmost floor. Flicking the lights on as she entered, she sat down at her desk. She had reports from Ben in her email, but she bypassed them since none of the subjects read urgent. If he’d found something, he would have made sure she’d known about it.

It took her thirty minutes to find video footage of Ben in his work room, packing up a bag. Biting her lip, she followed him on the camera to his room and then back to the garage where Joel interrupted him leaving. Joel disappeared and came back with a bag of his own. They set off.

“Fuck,” Molly muttered.

Reaching up, she brushed her fingers against her temple and the migraine settling into the center of her head. She rubbed at her tense muscles in her neck, checking their phones to see where they might have gone. When she finally got the tracking to work, she had to do a double take.

They were over the pacific ocean. Licking her lips, Molly pulled up the flight manifest for her private jet. They were set to arrive in Paraguay in four hours. Slamming her hand onto her desk, she shot out of her chair and leaned over the computer. “What the hell?”

Everyone was ignoring her orders. First Amelia refused to look for Faye, then these two up and went on their own mission without even discussing it with her? All because of one stubborn and impulsive vampire who insisted on leaving without permission and getting herself into a whole lot of damn trouble.

Her house was falling apart. Sinking back into her chair, Molly closed her eyes and shook her head. What was happening? Ever since Faye had arrived, nothing had been even-keeled or balanced. Her life was slowly falling into ruins at the hands of a vampire who didn’t even want to be a vampire. Cursing again, Molly stood up straight from her desk and headed for the parapet. The cold air shocked some sense into her and the anger from her chest. Leaning against the stone wall, she closed her eyes, focusing on Faye.

Faye had been a wrench in her life, something unexpected that had taken her on a beautiful turn. Faye was the first time since Marcellus that she felt she could truly be with someone, someone who understood what it felt like to be so alone in a world that moved constantly around her while she stood still in the center frozen in time. Biting her lip, Molly shook her head, tears freely falling.

What was she going to do without her?

If you want more from WIPpet Wednesday, join me live over on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/adrianjsmithbooks tonight somewhere around 8:30pm Mountain Time for a live reading of my WIPpet. It will most likely be a different excerpt just to keep it entertaining!

There’s Something Peculiar About #Trauma

I’m currently writing a novel that has a lot of trauma for one of my main characters happening within it, not only that, but it is very clear she has experienced similar trauma before. There’s something peculiar about trauma for sure. Trauma changes us. It changes the way we think and the way we behave.

I had this novel planned before my long absence from writing. I outlined it in 2016. In fact, it’s based off a fanfiction I wrote in early 2012 and throughout the rest of that year. So this piece of work has been on my mind and heart for a long time.

I put my character through the ringer, during this book, in other words.

I can’t help but notice the similarities in my own life now. None of this was the case when I first wrote it or plotted it out now, but as I rewrite and make it more my own, the similarities are stark. Mostly the emotion.

There is an intense amount of grief and mourning that comes with trauma. Sure, there’s the pain and the outrage at what happened. The shock. But the grief comes later. It comes when all of that has calmed down, and there this loss. Loss of stability, loss of innocence, loss of safety that can’t be compared with.

In 2018, I nearly died. Like…they had to shock me to get me back and gave me 11 units of blood total after I had my daughter. That changes a person. It morphs the way I think and feel and look at the world. I look at it from a whole different place.

With Faye, this character I put through the ringer, I’m really resonating with that in her. It’s the first time I’ve written her that it’s been easy to write her. She’s by far the hardest character for me. She’s crazy, she has very little restraint in what she says and does, she isn’t quite sure on ethics and morals, and she came into this world unwanted and completely alone. None of which I can readily relate to.

But this I can. This is something I think a lot of us can relate to. Not only the changes within ourselves but the changes in our relationships. Faye and Molly were in a pretty decent spot when we left them in Unbound but this just throws them for a whole new loop, and it comes into question whether or not they will recover from it. They’re trying. Both of them. But they just seem to be missing the mark a lot of the time.

I really can’t wait for you all to read this story and to actually know what I’m talking about. I don’t want to spoil a bunch of it for you! Faye’s past trauma comes to bite her in the ass just as much as the new trauma, and Molly’s failures and fears as well. It’s a non-stop cycle of oh my god, what now, and we need to do something about this.

Really, can’t wait!

A Mission and a Risk #WIPpetWednesday

And here we are at ANOTHER WIPpet Wednesday. So excited to be here. =P I’m sharing from a book titled De-Termination, which is the second Quarter Life book. I published Unbound in 2015! That seems like so flipping long ago, it’s hard to imagine. I didn’t realize it had been that long.

This book has been lingering–outlined 2/3 of the way–in my files on my computer. I knew that whenever I got back to writing, it would be one of the first I worked on. I finished the outline and have written about 45,000 words of the book (as of writing this blog post for you on Tuesday afternoon). It’s set to be over 100,000 words total when all is said and done.

This scene comes to us from the 16th chapter. Molly (my witchy BFF) is on a rescue with her protege (Joel) and tech guru (Ben) to find Faye. Faye (my vampy lunatic) vanished like ten chapters ago, and Molly’s crew had no idea where she’d gone off to or why she was gone. They obviously figured most of that out and are now out to rescue their newfound friend.

This book takes place about one year after Unbound. PS, I’ve already thought out what will happen in book 3, tentatively titled Release, and I might be itching to outline it fully soon, though I’m trying to hold off until I finish this one.

Here’s the WIPpet. 21 sentences for (8 x 5) – 20 = 20 + 1 for good luck!

They walked another kilometer in complete silence, not wanting to alert whoever had taken Faye that they were arriving. Molly kept her wits about her, relying on Joel’s empathic abilities to alert her if anyone was in the vicinity. Through silent communication, they knew they were alone.
She used her hand to direct them as they reached the ravine. Putting one finger over her mouth, she made sure they stayed quiet. Her heart rapped in her chest. She was about to attempt something either very stupid or life saving. Closing her eyes, she cast a protection spell over Ben and Joel, weaving the protection net around their bodies. If they stayed put they would be fine.
Licking her lips, Molly put her hand up so Joel and Ben could see from where they were hidden. She waved and then she focused all her magic. She’d done this spell before, had failed at it before, but she had done it. There was no telling if it would work this time, especially because she had no idea where exactly Faye was.

Listening to her own breathing, Molly calmed her heart. She focused on Faye. Her smile, her scent, her voice, their love. With that brimming and swirling within her, Molly called on the power of force, manipulating it, changing time and space.

This had to work. This had to be it. Molly could taste it. They were close to bringing her home.

Be kind, Rewind! #writingtip

A few years ago, my spouse was starting a new job with a new manager and this said manager kept getting frustrated with my spouse. You see, my spouse has a couple common phrases that he says ALL the time and one of those phrases is “Sure, sure.” So every time this manager would ask him to do something, teach him something, whatever, my spouse would respond with “Sure, sure.”

His phrase used to be “you know?”

The point is we each have phrases we tend to use A LOT, whether we want to or not. We do this in speech, we do this in writing, we do this in texting. If you’re texting (or in messenger) with me, I will type lol ALL THE TIME. It drives myself insane, but the habit is there and I do it.

So the other day, I’m editing away at one of my new pretty little novels that I’ve finally finished working and you know what I found? I found a brand new phrase I’ve been using abundantly along with a few I knew I always used.

What are your go to phrases in writing that you constantly put into your piece and don’t even realize it?

I literally keep a list on notepad in my computer of “words to delete” which are these overused words and phrases I keep typing.

My newest one is “to be honest”.

My list?

– begin/began
– start/started
– quick

Our phrases/words can and will change. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to have someone else read through your piece before it ever gets near publishing. Other people pick up on this stuff, not us. My spouse still doesn’t know he says sure, sure every five seconds of the day.

In editing other peoples works, I’ve put together a list of common words you can easily find to delete/find and rework. Here’s my list for you to start with.

– that
– feel/felt
– says/said
– ask/asked

Start there and then really look for what your personal preferences are in your own work. I guarantee you have them.

A small excerpt for a #WIPpetWednesday

I asked on Facebook this week if anyone was even participating in WIPpet anymore. I have no idea. Those who I knew who were doing it, aren’t anymore. But I miss it so much. I thought I’d share a little from what I have been writing this whole month.

This is from Learning Love which is a May/December romance. This is when Becca, the soon-to-be love interest, means the ex-husband for the first time. It’s part of what made me absolutely fall in love with her character. She’s so strong in ways she doesn’t even know.

13 paragraphs for the year 20 – the month 7 = 13.

As she got closer to the door, Becca could hear a voice shouting through it.

“Kimberly, open up! Come to the fucking door. Seriously, Kimmie. Open the damn door.”

Becca pursed her lips and glanced around to make sure Kimberly wasn’t hiding in the kitchen or on the couch. She hesitantly stepped toward the door and peeked out the small glass window before unlocking it and opening it.

“Who the hell are you?” he shouted with wide eyes before trying to get around her.

Becca planted her feet firmly, refused to open the door any more, and would not move.

“Who the hell are you?” she countered back. “Don’t you think it’s a bit obnoxious to pound on a poor woman’s door until someone comes to answer it. Aren’t there better methods of getting someone’s attention rather than being a beast in a suit?”

She eyed him up and down, deciding right then and there she didn’t like him. He was dressed impeccably, but his demeanor was all man, all power, all superior entitlement.

“I own this house.”

“Bullshit,” Kimberly’s voice echoed down the hall as feet pattered heavily on the floor.

“Daddy!” Michael ran right by Becca and wrapped his arms around the man’s legs tightly, burying his face in his legs. “Why are you here?”

“Yes, why are you here, Bradley?” Kimberly asked angrily.

Becca decided to step to the side, thinking Kimberly had this handled better than she could, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to completely leave.

“Who is she?” He jerked his head in Becca’s direction and spat the question.

I honestly cannot wait for everyone else to read this piece. It might be my favorite since Memoir in the Making. It’s definitely not my norm, but these two characters…I don’t know, but I fell head over heels in love with them both.

Long time no type…?

It has been a long time since I have truly ventured into the world of writing and publishing. I wanted to be sure in my last foray into it that I was going to stick with it. I’m glad to say it’s been about a month now of me writing consistently, well mostly.

I had two unfinished romance novels that I have finished this month. The first is tentatively titled Learning Love and involves lessons in life we all need. The second is titled About Time and is a sweet sassy romance between a doctor and a chaplain.

I’ve also begun looking at some of my series again. I reread Unbound this past weekend…yes, the whole thing in two days. I forgot how freakin’ crazy Faye is! haha Before I dropped off the face of the planet, I had outlined 3/4 of the second book. I already knew everything that was going to happen and Faye has been reminding me that I need to write her.

I’ll be working on De-Termination next. But this is a LONG book, 41 chapters planned already! So it’ll be a bit for it to come to fruition. While I’d intended this book to drop in 2017, it’ll now hopefully be 2021!

Next up? My best friend, Grace. God, Grace needs some attention so badly!

Some people might think I’ve been focusing on having two toddlers running around which is why I put a pause on writing, but it is so much more than that. After experiencing an incredibly medically complicated and scary miscarriage in early 2017 and then a near death experience in 2018, I had to focus on my own mental well being. I had to figure my shit out, in other words. I’m still working on it, but I also realize how much I need to be writing to keep my sanity.

Back to the grind, then!

I may be back…I may disappear again…

As my children finally get a little older and as I finally work through some of the trauma from the birth of my second, I am FINALLY getting back into writing a tad bit. It’s been a whirlwind for the past four years of trying to just keep up with basics and function.

In November I attempted NaNoWriMo. I did not finish, but I did manage 35,000 words on a romance novel. Then I didn’t really look at it again because sickness slammed us hard over and over again until pretty much 2-3 weeks ago when now it’s just waves of it. That or we got used to it. Who knows.

I have no abandoned this piece, but I did start writing a second one, and in about 4-5 days, I’ve gotten close to 15,000 words in. I realize how desperately I need this for me. Soooo I’ll be setting some attainable goals, getting back to my authorly social media and blogging and see where this takes us.

We’re looking at potentially moving 400 miles (final interview is next week for a new job), I’ve got two toddlers at home, I’m having surgery on March 4, and waiting to hear back from a neurologist about a potential MS diagnosis or just stress. So there’s that.

This week my goal is to write five days a week (seven if I’m ambitious) and writing does include one sentence or more and future plotting of stories.

I’m working on two novels right now. My NaNoNovel, There is a Time, and this yet unnamed piece. There is a Time I’m stuck in the middle of the 12th chapter, and this new unnamed piece I just completed the 4th chapter. One is plotted, one is….was….plotted. Both are MILFy, both are romances, both are way different than the other.

That’s just a small update of my life and where I’m at. I’ll be back soon, I hope!

 

 

Running with the #WIPpet #WIPpetWednesday

It’s been 4 weeks since I posted. oooops! my bad! I haven’t done any writing this past month, which saddens me. I need to get back on the boat and I’m hoping posting a WIPpet will help. The blog I was running for reviews has shut down officially, so I should have more time to be writing. It’s only been a week, but I’m still recovering and doing some of the final touches on the blog. Hope to have it completed by the end of next month and wash my hands of it.

I’ve spent a very small amount of time this week looking into marketing for my stories. I’ve gotten slack on it this past year, and I’m definitely seeing it in sales. I need new ideas and new ways to go about doing some marketing that won’t take up too much of my already thin time. Most of what I’ve looked at is how to stream-line everything, not specific tactics, which has actually been rather helpful (for my sanity at least).

Back to WIPpet. This is a continuation of the story I was posting on, Mourn (Kansas Beatitude #2). The funeral is officially over, the service anyway, but they’re still at the church. For some reason, I think make-out scenes in a church are HAWT! hahaha

Today I have 25 sentences. 24 for the day and one for good luck because I so freakin’ need it. This is rough, rough first draft, so yes, typos are included.

Ashley sat her down and shut the door, keeping the lights off. She then disappeared and reappeared with Moira’s plate full of food. “You looked insanely overwhelmed out there.”

“Thanks, I was.”

Moira licked her lips as Ashley sat next to her. Moira’s heart raced as their knees touched. With the services out of the way, Moira could only focus on one thing: Ashley. She’d been there for her throughout the whole week. And if Moira was being honest with herself, there had never been anyone except Ashley.

“I have a few minutes.” Ashley interrupted her thoughts. “Do you need anything else?”

Her voice caught in her throat. Moira bit her lip. She’d been handed a golden opportunity. Ashley was leaning in closer, her eyes focused on her, waiting for an answer to her question. Moira left all other thoughts behind and leaned in, taking the moment as it came.

Their lips touched. Ashley made a surprised noise in the back of her throat, but Moira wasn’t going to let go unless Ashley specifically told her to. She threaded her fingers into the back of Ashley’s hair and tightened her grip, making sure Ashley wasn’t going anywhere. It took Ashley a few more seconds to relax, but when she did, Moira put everything she had into the kiss. She scraped her nails against the nape of Ashley’s neck and slid a hand up her thigh, stopping just as it started to curve into her hip.

Ashley gripped Moira’s arm that was reached out behind her neck and dug her fingers into the fabric. Ashley was moaning, and Moira pressed her tongue against Ashley’s lips. Fluttering her eyes open, she stared in the deep blue before closing them again and focusing only on feeling. It was exactly like they were back in high school again, making out in the locker rooms and the bathrooms and in the back of the school behind the bleachers on the field.

Join WIPpet if you want! All are welcome to join. Make a blog post with a snippet from your WIP (Work In Progress). The only hard fast rule is that your WIPpet somehow relate to the date. Then head on over here and link it up. Go to all the other WIPs and check them out, commenting, because we’re all comment whores!

Writing has never felt so good! #ROW80 #amwriting #ROW80Update

My goodness I’ve actually written! It feels so good, you have no idea. Monday I spent a lot of Spider-Man’s nap time writing, and as soon as my spouse got home from work, I pounded on the keys as long as I could. That was at least until my wrist started hurting. Gotta start exercising it again so I can write longer.

I have officially decided what will happen in Poor in Spirit, Kansas Beatitude #1, which is a miracle. It’ll have one main character from the second story in it as a side character to further the connection between them. I’ve also decided the third story will be about a side character in the second story. If that all makes sense to everyone.

Story 1: about unnamed people, Ashley is a side character.
Story 2: about Ashley & Moira, Martha Grace is a side character.
Story 3: about Martha Grace

I’ll have to start thinking about how to connect all the stories together like that, but I anticipate that’ll come with the writing and figuring out in more details what’s going on and who is in each story.

I’ve realized that to keep up with my ROW80 goals I need to be writing about 1500 words a day. So I’ve joined an accountability group on Facebook to help me with that. Thus far, it’s been somewhat helpful. What I really need is someone who will come after me and spank me or yell at me when I don’t write for the day. I’m still waiting on that invention.

Here are my goals:

SHORT STORY TITLES: Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Hunger & Thirst, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

DATES TO FINISH BY: July 14, July 24, Aug 3, Aug 13, Aug 23, Sep 2, Sept 12, Sept 22 (if I counted correctly)

TOTAL WORD COUNT:

Goal                —           Actual
120,000         —           11,288