2013 Goals: January Status Report


1) Complete final draft of Novel #2.

This month, I continued the revision process and I’m on track to achieve my sub-goal of completing revisions within the next 2½ months. In the middle of January, I crossed the halfway mark!  I expected to hit this milestone at the end of January, so this is a major victory on multiple fronts.

Overall, revisions are going really well. Those who have kept up with my Novel #2 Progress posts know my beta reader has given me some great feedback. I am so encouraged to keep plugging along on this project!

Lastly, in conjunction with another sub-goal, I am keeping track of progress via a bar graph on my sidebar. This widget tracks my progress as I work my way through Draft #1. As I work through each section, I keep track of how many words have gone through my radar.

Start Word Count: 27,507
End Word Count: 40,103
Total: 12,596

2) Work on converting Novel #1 into first person.

Novel #2 continues to occupy my attention, so this remains shelved until revisions are complete.

3) Submit 5 pieces of writing.

I love it when an opportunity presents itself in the most unexpected of places. While perusing Facebook I came across a post from Simon’s Cat announcing a poetry competition. I jumped at the chance to enter because it sounded like so much fun, but also because it would hit two of my 2013 goals at once:

  • Submit one series or piece of poetry
  • Submit one item out of my element

Earlier this week, I submitted a poem that my readers voted as their top choice. While this is a small competition, I think its a nice place to start the year.

4) Submit three query letters for Novel #2

I made a few more adjustments to my query letter, but I’m hesitant to do much more until revisions are complete on the manuscript. Then, I can devote my full attention to polishing the query.

5) Continue building author platform

While I was very present on Facebook, I spent the majority of my time exploring Goodreads. I’ve joined two groups, one focused on reading and another focused on writing. The writing group offers multiple opportunities to submit poetry to the Goodreads monthly newsletter, so I’m looking at that as another possible submission outlet. In addition, I’m making it a point to write reviews for the books I read and join in conversations.

Overall, it was a good month for growth in followers:

My Facebook Page has grown from 241 Likes to 262

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 462 to 504

As I revise, my musings often end up on either venue of social media. There’s nothing more entertaining than a writer who’s had waaaaay too much caffeine. See my sidebar to join in the fun!

6)  Read three books on the writing/publishing process.

For Christmas, I got The Writer’s Compass by Nancy Ellen Dodd. It’s nearing the top of my “to read” pile.

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

As always, I can only hope I am a positive presence!

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c.b.w. 2013


Busy Knitting Needles


As soon as I got done knitting socks for everyone in my family, I was free to jump into some fun projects for myself. Since Christmas, I’ve learned a few new skills including how to work short rows and play with slip stitches. All I can say is thank goodness for my favorite how-to book, Knitting 101, and youtube videos I can watch over and over again until I’ve mastered a particular skill.

Project: Lucy Hat (Knitscene Magazine, Winter 2012)

Gotta love that asymmetrical brim!

Gotta love that asymmetrical brim!

I fell in love with this hat the first time I saw the pattern. The style was perfect for my new wool peacoat, so I knew I just had to make it. Of course, that meant learning how to do short rows on circular needles and a woven stitch pattern that involved slipped stitches. From start to finish, this hat was a huge learning experience!

This project also introduced me to fabulous yarn that I know I will use again. Patons Classic Wool Worsted is a sturdy yarn that doesn’t split easily and it comes in a beautiful array of colors.

Project: Four Part Sampler Hat (Red Heart Winter Warmers)

Cute and Warm!

Cute and Warm!

Confession time: This hat is actually my second attempt at the pattern. I royally messed up the first one and it’s best left on a shelf where no one can see it! Part of the problem was my very tiny head. The pattern was simply too big, so I had to make some adjustments to the pattern along with using a different, thicker yarn, (Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice, Grey Marble).

The learning curve with this hat had to do with figuring out how to work a pattern “as established” in the midst of decreasing rows. In addition, I learned how to work another variation of a slip stitch.

When it was all said and done, I ended up with a super cute hat!

Project: Textured Scarf (Knit Simple Magazine, Winter 2012)

Textured Scarf

My new favorite scarf!

My recent sick days at home allowed me to finish this scarf in record time! I love knitting textures that are geometric and rustic, so this pattern was absolutely perfect for me. The best part is how easy it was to create the 3-D effect! All it takes are some strategically placed knit and purl stitches. Nothing fancy required!

Aside from the texture, my favorite part of this project is the yarn. I bought it two months ago because I loved the color, (Lion Brand Wool-Ease, Blue Mist).  Aside from blue, there are tones of purple and yellow mixed into the fibers. The result is a rich blue with a lot of depth – perfect for textured knitting patterns!

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Currently, I’m working on an afghan with really chunky yarn and a texture rich pattern, (Triangles & Squares Afghan, Knit Simple Magazine, Winter 2012). I changed the pattern by using more than one color of yarn, so I can make stripes that alternate between muted tones of blue, green, brown, and cream.  So far, I love, love, love the rustic feel of this project! I’ll share pictures when it’s done!

This month I joined Ravelry, so if anyone out there is part of this community let’s try to connect and share projects!

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c.b.w. 2013

Book Review: Gabriel’s Rapture


Gabriel's RaptureGabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The sequel to Gabriel’s Inferno follows the same route of its predecessor in that it is smart, sexy, and heartfelt. Picking up where the first left off, Julianne and Gabriel continue their romantic getaway in Florence, Italy. They remain wrapped in bliss until returning home, where every obstacle imaginable threatens to tear them apart.

One of Gabriel’s ex-lovers is out for revenge, while a lovesick suitor is desperate for Julianne’s affection, (and poses serious competition). However, both of these issues are relatively minor in comparison to the outright violation of the university non-fraternization policy. Gabriel’s plan to remain chaste until the end of the semester was misguided and the college administration is very aware of an inappropriate relationship between a professor and a student.

All of these problems highlight the cracks in an already fragile relationship. Issues of trust, equality, and jealousy create an internal struggle in conjunction with everything going on around them. The connection that Julianne and Gabriel share is put to the ultimate test, which leads to an evolution of sorts for both individuals. Gabriel embarks on a journey to come to terms with his past and transform into the man he wants to be, while Julianne finds the strength she never knew she had.

When these two characters evolve past their demons, the love they have for one another only grows. For all the strife they endure, the last few pages make it all worthwhile. This is a love story from beginning to end that sizzles with sensuality and crackles with wit.

While Reynard’s writing is elegant as ever, Gabriel’s Rapture falls a little short of the first book in the series. It’s clear the author did incredible research on legal procedures, but the scenes that include these details draw on much too long. On the other hand, scenes where more details would have been welcomed whip by with little or no attention, (such as a particularly romantic day between Gabriel and Julianne). Had it not been for this imbalance, the rating would stand at four stars instead of three.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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c.b.w. 2013

Novel #2 Progress: Sick Days


My immune system let me down and I caught one horrific cold last week. I dubbed it “The Inconsiderate Virus” because not only did it knock me down from writing, but it was enough to pull me out of my day job for two days (I never, ever call in sick to work!). While I lost more than a few writing days, my muse was not one to stay down for very long. I still managed to get a little work done on Novel #2.

Word Count Progress:

Draft #1 Word Count:

  • Start Word Count: 37,696
  • End Word Count: 39,221
  • Total: 1,525

Draft #2 Revised Word Count:

  • Start Word Count: 38,614
  • End Word Count: 40,378
  • Total: 1,764

Writing Process Notes:

  • It’s never wise to try and write when your system is flooded with cold medicine, so I had to leave my draft alone for a few days. There is nothing worse than being stuck at home with loads of time, but no ability to sit down and write. I swear, this is every writer’s nightmare.
  • When I was able to get back into revising, I got a to section that brought back some wonderful memories. I am currently working on the chapters I wrote during my extended stay in London. Memories of rain, my favorite coffee shop, museums, and green parks came flooding back as if it were only yesterday that I tread through my second home. As I look back on those sections, I can definitely see how my experiences in London shaped the overall course of the novel. It was there that I made some big decisions about where the story was going to go and how my characters would evolve.
  • Last week, I mentioned how a visit to the British Museum helped me construct a traveling exhibit for my novel. Here are three sculptures that served as inspiration in more ways than one:

Greek Exhibit at the British Museum
Photo by: c.b.w. 2011

Novel Tidbit:

Point-of-view and Tense:

  • Normally, I find it very natural to write in third-person and past tense. However, when I began writing Novel #2,  I made the decision to write in first-person and present tense. Sometimes I wonder why I made that choice, seeing as there are a number of challenges in writing from one person’s point of view and presenting the story “in the moment.”
  • All I have to do is look to my muse to reaffirm my reasoning for telling the story only from Amanda’s eyes and letting her story play out in the present. From the very first sentence, Amanda’s voice has been the one telling me what to write, so I have no choice but to stick to her vantage point. As for tense, one of the major themes of the novel is the idea of living in the moment and embracing life. This theme ties into Ian’s true identity and each character’s journey to break free of their obstacles. The use of present tense allows me integrate this theme into every page without drilling it into the reader in an annoying way. In a way, the tense tells the story just as much as Amanda and Ian do.

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c.b.w. 2013

Along The Shore


Along these shores,
keepsakes wait

Rescue from waves,
seashells dream

Cold sand dwellers,
stones seek warmth

Trinkets to some,
we hold dear


Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland
Photo by: c.b.w. 2009

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I didn’t get to spend very long in this spot, but the few minutes I had left an impression. A walk along the shoreline in Waterville brings nothing but tranquility. Amid the waves banking the shore and the light wisp of rain overhead, the breeze is always there to greet you with a friendly and warm hello. Here, the real word is far, far away.

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c.b.w. 2013