Monthly and Quarterly Goals

So I’m trying something new. I’m going to try a writing schedule filled with goals; daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. This is pretty new to me, I prefer to write by the pants, but let’s face it, that’s not working out for me at all. So now I’m going to have a schedule. I’m still trying to get a feel for just how much I can accomplish between my daughter and my job (I do need to feed us). The first week I did this, I piled on way too much. Lesson learned. I got almost none of it done because I underestimated the amount of time the first task alone was going to take me. So for the first few months, I expect a lot of failed tasks.

I also plan on posting them here at least monthly. Accountability. Should work. Hopefully. But here goes!

Okay. I’m starting off with my quarterly goals. Because I’ve only recently decided to do this, I obviously had to wait until the beginning of April to start this one. So technically I’m starting in the second quarter of the year.

Goals for the Second Quarter of 2016:

  • Instagram challenge. To be honest, I have never even seen what an Instagram challenge looks like, so I’m not really confident in this one. But I would at least like to figure out what they are (I heard about them in a passing conversation).
  • Finish new rough draft. Okay. This one may seem slightly confusing because I was already about halfway through my rough draft the last time I posted. However, I was having a LOT of issues with the direction of my story. I felt like it lacked in a lot of things and I was having a hard time saying what I wanted to say. So, out of desperation, I looked at my entire outline again. And I discovered it was shit. Well, almost shit. It at the very least didn’t have enough oomph. I found plot holes, lack of character depth, and in a lot of it, too much unnecessary action that was a little misleading. So I rewrote it, almost. I only have to finish outlining the last four chapters. That alone shouldn’t take too long, the last eight or so chapters aren’t really changing all that much, I’m just adding more detail. This new outline is about three times longer than the old outline already. But I’m not changing too much about the story. There are three chapters that I’ve already written that I’ll need to completely trash and rewrite, but the rest of it could probably just be rewritten to work for what I now need. And most of what I haven’t written yet is all action, and that alone is exciting. I have faith that I can accomplish this task. It might be at the last minute, but I think I can do this one.
  • Research Bookbub promotion. I also heard about this one in a passing conversation, but I have already been exposed to Bookbub in general, so this one shouldn’t be too hard to do. I did a little research on this already today, and so far it sounds like something I will be doing, but not until the book is already launched so I have time.
  • Research editors. I started doing this about a week ago. And so far I’ve found that there are a lot of editors out there, but not a lot of them specialize in horror. I could pick a general fiction editor, but I think I would much prefer someone who does horror and maybe a couple other related genres. And I’m having a hard time finding someone I like – and I haven’t even looked at any prices yet (getting kind of nervous). –Psst. If you are or know someone who is a freelance editor that does editing for horror novels, please let me know in the comments section with links. I would greatly appreciate it.

Okay, so far all of my goals are writing goals. But I do have some personal goals as well. Might as well group them all in one so I’ll feel motivated to get them done as well.

  • Pay off all my debt. This may be too personal for some, but I feel more motivated to get my finances in order when I talk about them with people, for whatever reason. And I’ve already mostly gotten this done. Yay me! I have one account in collections left that I need to settle, but it’s my big one. It accounts for half of my total debt. And it makes me nervous. But now that I’ve gotten all of the other ones paid off, I feel excited to be one account away from being debt free. I haven’t been debt free since I started college way back when I was 18. I turn 27 next month. That’s a long time to be in debt have that much money stress pushed onto me. I got sick of it. So back in November, when my lease was up on my apartment, I moved back in with my parents. It sucked. It still sucks. But I couldn’t afford where I was living anymore. It was bad enough that if my lease hadn’t ended when it did, I probably would have had to borrow rent money from my parents. Not fun. So I moved back in with the intention of saving up my awesome earnings from work (Christmas time is my favorite time when it comes to my checks, they’re usually about $500 more per check) while I looked for a far more affordable option. I found one at the end of December. It had income limits, a washer and dryer in every unit, and it was affordable. I met the income requirements, I actually almost made too much. But when they processed my application, they wanted me to have a cosigner. What? I almost make too much money to live here and you want a cosigner? Well, that didn’t happen. The only people I would ever ask to cosign with me are my parents, and they are buying a house and couldn’t do that. So when that fell through, we came up with the idea of just buying a house. I would be paying just as much as if I rented, if not less, but it would be mine. Only problem is I had a substantial amount of debt. I have always intended to pay it off, honestly, but as an introvert, I didn’t want to call any of them. Talk to people? Me? Hell to the no. I wanted them to magically know my new address, assume I would want to pay the debt off (preferably at a discount), and send me a nicely written bill. Apparently, it doesn’t work like that. Boo. My dad is much more comfortable with that stuff and helped me through it.So this is where I am now. One more account and I’ll be debt free. Can I get a woot woot! ……woot woot.
  • Get a mortgage and a house. Or at least a house picked out. I know that technically this step takes time, but time is kind of working against me right now. My credit score is actually pretty good considering what’s on my report, but it’s not quite enough. However, I have found a government backed program that I qualify for that will help me; I just have to show proof that I’ve paid the accounts that I have paid because they haven’t fallen off yet. The reason time is running against me is because also next month, my daughter turns five. Which means in September, she’ll be starting school. I have never intended on pulling her from any school she starts and I don’t like the idea of enrolling her in the current school district we live in only to transfer her somewhere else after a few months. I feel like I need to get a mortgage and find a house soon. Like really soon. It’s a little stressful actually.

So those are my quarterly goals. All in honesty, that selfie should have been a goal. I hate taking pictures of myself. Don’t even really like the word selfie and hashtags are painful. Here’s to hoping I accomplish all of them. Now for my monthly goals for April!

  • Rewrite outline. Should be done tonight. Yay!
  • Rewrite chapters 1-9 and the prologue. Right now, I have a prologue. In my new rough draft, my prologue will become chapter 1 because it’s only a page shorter than my current average chapter length. Even if this ends up changing so that it’s shorter than the rest, I’ll keep it as chapter 1. Which means all the other chapters will be pushed back by one. It will still only be nine chapters though because I completely cut out one of the old chapters because it is no longer applicable.
  • Do character maps for my main characters – Ryan, Chloe (oh hey, I renamed Lizzie), and Lily. I’m ashamed. I never did these to begin with even though I had them all thought out in my head. I will never make this mistake again.
  • Do mini character maps for secondary characters – Tony, Erick, Hannah, and Gideon. These characters have more substance than background characters, but don’t need to be as fleshed out as my main characters.

And that’s it! This week I only planned on finishing my outline. But because I’ll probably have that done by one tonight, I should be able to do at least one character map too. I would like to have all the main character maps done by the end of this week, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that. Today is my last day off and I’ll be working 10+ hours for the next four days. In a warehouse. That’s exhausting.

Blogging will also be partly of my weekly goals. I haven’t picked a day yet, but I have a feeling it will be Tuesdays. I have a fixed work schedule and my days off are Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. They’ve reopened voluntary overtime right now and I plan on work half-shifts on Sundays so that day is out of the question (I tend to sleep all of Sundays anyway). My daughter has school on Mondays so I guess I could technically do it when she’s learning stuff then, but I’ve been using that time to work on my writing and researching marketing techniques and whatnot anyways and I would really like to keep doing that. So Tuesdays will most likely be my day. I could always schedule posts, but I’m not so sure about that one. We’ll see.

I guess that’s all I’ve got right now. See you next week!

My short stories are still on sale at Amazon! Check them out!

New Cover Photo

I have a new cover for “Come Find Me“! I’m pretty excited about it. A new cover, a new preorder, and the rolling ball gains momentum. Good things are happening. In case you’ve never checked out my short story “Come Find Me” before, here’s the old cover:

come find me

And here’s the new cover:

26965c08-152f-42fd-ac47-ca915699d164

Better, yes? i love it. It looks….. less…… homemade. Or more professional. Whatever you want to call it. I did kind of cheat with the new cover because I created it using Amazon’s cover creator and then just saved the image. But it’s alright. As long as it looks enticing.

Have a good day!

Find “Come Find Me” at B&N, iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo, and Amazon.

Preorder “He Loves Me Not” at B&N, iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo, and Amazon.

Hi! (Part One)

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve been on here. Too long. Far too long.

I am sorry.

On to new stuff! So while Bugs is still in progress, and The Elemental Sisters haven’t really gone anywhere (still trying to figure out the details), I have started a short story about domestic abuse and I’m on the second draft.

Annnnnd…… it’s up for a preorder! It’s set to publish on October 3rd of this year. I chose that date for three reasons. Two of the reasons are based on statistics for competition and reader visibility, and the third reason (though it’s the main reason) is because October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. I’ll talk about my book in a little bit and where you can find it, but I want to focus on abuse for a moment first. Continue reading

The Elemental Sisters

The Beginning

The beginning of the Earth has been conjectured and argued about by many people over the course of history. How it was formed, how we were formed, all remain a mystery. Science has facts about what happened in the very early times of life here, and religion has many different followers who believe in something far greater than they are.

The forming of the world is known to none. It formed as an agreement between two very different, yet similar beings. I will not relate the small details of the conversation, or how they even arrived to begin. I will not relate to you where they came from, what they look like (if anything), or even if they are male or female. These points are not important. I will tell you that the decision was not reached lightly or quickly. Creating an entire new world is an exhausting piece of work that takes deep thought, patience, creativity, and time.

It is not the work of this story to tell you about how the world became. Instead, it is the work of this story to tell you about one of the first people who dwelt here, and her four daughters; Necia, Wahmenitu, Zephyra, and Adamina.

The four sisters were as close as sisters can be. They loved each other for their flaws as well as their goodness. Each one was vastly different from each other in looks and personality; but none of them seemed to mind one bit. They all played an important role in various points in the world; they all had personal goals they wanted to achieve. Their mother, the Mother of Nature of the Earth, ruled over the four. There were things that needed to be done, every job assigned to one daughter or herself. It was her personal job to oversee everything that grew and breathed life. Every tree, every rock, every bird, and every bee was her responsibility. She loved her job, almost as much as she loved her daughters.

Peace reigned through the world. There was love and light everywhere.

Until darkness crept from the shadows, smiting the light and filling the hearts of many.

 

Something New

So I finally finished the Divergent series (by Veronica Roth, if you didn’t know). And I bawled. I have a hate/love relationship with books that have amazing endings that I never wanted. If you don’t know what I mean, read all three. They’re amazing books with great writing. I felt a deflated when I read the author bio on the back cover flap and found out she’s a little younger than me. Oh, well, I’m not dead yet.

So about a year ago, maybe longer when I was searching for the best way to self publish, I ran across a site called Tablo. If you just Google Tablo, you’ll get some tv cable thing that I’ve never heard of, so to save you time and your sanity, click the link. It allows authors to publish complete books to Amazon and the iBooks store. But it also allows you to publish your book chapter by chapter and readers can leave comments and hit their version of a like button. I thought it was kind of cool on the reader side, so tonight, I decided to try it on the author side.

I have kinda sorta been mulling a fantasy idea and decided to try it out by using Tablo. I’m excited to see how it turns out. The fantasy idea is about mother nature and the elements (fire, water, wind, and earth) are her daughters and, to make it all interesting, there’s a villain who sets out to destroy everything and they have to save the world. If you’re interested to read it on Tablo, the link is here. Otherwise, I may post a new chapter on my blog every time I post one there.

Beep Beep Boop Boop

I feel like I completely wasted my three days off. I slept the entire day Sunday, literally. I came home, fell asleep, woke up at lunch time, tried to make my daughter mac and cheese but fell back asleep on accident (and now lucky that the house didn’t burn down), gave her a sandwich instead and told her she’ll have to deal for now, fell back asleep, Continue reading

Updates….Again

So sorry I have been away. I don’t have a bunch of valid excuses, but I do have a couple. I finally moved into my own place! My name is on a lease and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been two (?) weeks and I’m still not completely unpacked, but hey, it’s my place. Also, during the move, my daughter and my boyfriend’s nephew were arguing (surprise, surprise) and he pushed her and she fell on my laptop. The screen is shattered and bleeding black ink. Now that I’m past the feelings normally associated with such a tragic thing, I find the look kind of interesting. It has a fantastic spider crack from one side that spreads to the rest of the screen and the ink expands everyday. So those are my only valid excuses. No my computer is still not fixed, but my boyfriend, who understands that I have everything that I’ve written in the last six months on my computer, has connected the laptop to our television screen. So now I am able to use my computer with a different screen and I am really happy to find that there are no hard drive errors. I’m not sure what I would do if there was. I’ve only had the thing for six months and it’s already broken. I might have to wait until after the holidays are over, but my screen will eventually get fixed. In the meantime, I am super excited to use an extremely large screen to do all my stuff on. Call me a nerd, but my Sims 4 game has never been more fun to play.

On to other things, I’ve been feeling mournful for the past month or two. Without even realizing it, my brain has made a decision about Bugs. I have been roadblocked for so long with it that I’m afraid I’ve lost my connection with the whole story. I hope I’m wrong and I am still going to keep it around so that I can hopefully get back to it. It’s quite depressing. I feel like I’ve lost a loved one. But if I can’t continue, I can’t continue. Some time apart should do some good. Hopefully.

Since it’s November, again, I checked into NaNoWriMo and started a new book. I’m sure I won’t have it done in the month, but I find the site itself is good at just getting me going. It took me almost two hours to halfway finish formulating a plot, but I’m already excited about it. I posted a brief first-draft-like synopsis on my profile page on the site. Tell me what you think:

A young woman (still unnamed) has been living with the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder since she was a young girl following the traumatic, mutilating death of her family. As an adult in her early to mid twenties, she finds she is able to cope with life through psychodynamic therapy, an antianxiety medication called Klonopin, photography, and repeated pieces of information that enable her to get a better grip on one reality.

She struggles through her life, but because of her diligence and insistence that she can be a normal human being, she has been able to avoid mental institutions and is allowed to live on her own.

That is, until everything she had ever thought to be a part of her disorder comes forth and makes her question everything she knows. It begins to stalk her. Gives her nightmares. And suddenly her therapy and medication doesn’t work.

Everything begins to get worse.

History begins to repeat itself.

And it has a name.

And legs.

And a brain of it’s own.

I hope this is somewhat easy for me to flow with. This time around, I’m not setting any expectations for myself about it. Other than finishing it, of course. There will be no deadline or word count. I don’t think I even want to form chapters until the second draft. I feel like doing it this way is better suited for me. I can’t force myself to write, I’m easily distracted, and even in school I had a hard time getting things done in time. And if it was done in time, it was usually finished during a free period before the actual class. Procrastination at it’s best.

Speaking of school. I am hoping to go back to college. I dropped out after three semesters from a community college in New York after I graduated high school. My parents had chosen my major then (business administration, yuck). I really wanted to do something creative like art, photography, or writing. I was told those things wouldn’t get me any good jobs, I’d be broke my entire life, they weren’t translatable, photography is expensive, the chances of me getting published are too rare to even try, nobody buys art anymore, on and on and on….. So I didn’t go for what I wanted. They wouldn’t even concede to a simple Associate in Arts. You know, something that I could start out with before making any final decisions. Oh well. THIS time I’m going for what I want. And I think I want to do a major and minor. Creative writing (obviously) and maybe English Teaching. I love the idea of influencing the future generations to be passionate about reading and writing. I haven’t completely decided yet and so instead of waiting until I figure it out, I’m going to apply to a local community college here and get my Associate in Arts. Then go from there. Get all that basic crap out of the way first before I plot my future. I’m really excited about it all. And nervous. If I can’t get a school loan (I have a nasty feeling most scholarship deadlines have passed, but I’m still going to look), then I won’t be able to go because I can’t afford it. If not, then I guess I’ll be busting my butt to get as many scholarships as possible for next fall. I am going to go. No matter what.

What do you think of my novel idea? Does it sound like it has potential or does it fall flat on your ears?

*Sorry if there are any errors, despite the screen being big, the text is surprisingly small and my eyes are having a hard time focusing on it.

The Dilemma: Books to Movies

Yeah, if everyone could just stop publishing their books for the next two to three years, that’d be great. My to-read lists are so long. I haven’t counted, but I really wouldn’t be surprised if it was close to 1,000 books total if I were to put all of my to-read lists together. So. Many. Books. And I intend to read every single one of them, but that will be hard unless people stop publishing books (even ebooks). Otherwise the only thing that’s going to happen is that my list will get longer and I will die before I ever finish it. Ah, if only I were a wealthy hermit. Continue reading

Character Progress

It’s amazing how little I do on my three days off. It’s almost like I get home from work Saturday morning, and then I just don’t have the energy to do anything else. And it’s staring me in the face in the form of this large pile of clean laundry. I wish I had the space to just hang everything; my life was much simpler when that was an option.

Also because I’ve been working a lot and haven’t had any energy during my time off, I haven’t been writing either. I’ve been thinking about it, trying to figure out what to do for each thing in turn. I was tempted to start one of my fantasy series, but decided against it because I just have so many things started already.

So I decided to focus on my horror short story, The Intruder.

At work last night I attempted to put myself into the mind of the main antagonist. He’s a rapist, murderer, and he’s psycho. So as I’m packing product, I keep trying to think like he would. It’s hard. How do you make yourself fantasy about that sort of thing? Not to mention I was trying hard not to make it obvious that I was doing funny things in my head; I don’t have a very good poker face, unless I’m playing poker.

But I did make a little progress with that character. Nothing I can reveal here without giving away the bad guy, but it is character progress. And character progress is what I’ll be working on for a little while. Maybe getting to know my characters a little better will help respark the creative fire.