2013 Goals: March Status Report

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It was a big month for the first goal I set for 2013. After five months of intense work, revisions are complete on Novel #2! Maybe now the rest of my goals will get some attention!

Special Note: My blog schedule will change during the month of April. Please see notes on Goal #5 for more details!

1) Complete final draft of Novel #2.

Start Word Count: 55,440
End Word Count: 75,808
Total: 20,368

As of three days, ago revisions on Novel #2 are complete! WOO-HOO! I am doubly proud of the fact that I set a personal best word count total for a month’s worth of work. Novel #2 is now in the hands of my beta reader and so far, the response has been great!

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

I’ve decided to let Novel #1 sit until the summer when I have more time to devote to a total re-write. Part of me still wonders if I should jump into this or just let it go. My muse still pulls me towards Novel #2 and it’s sequel, so it’s become a game of wait and see.

3) Submit 5 pieces of writing.

With revisions complete on Novel #2, I’ll have a lot more time to write entries and research submission opportunities. I plan on using that time!

4) Submit three query letters for Novel #2

Once my beta reader finishes reading Draft 2, I’m going to make a few adjustments and then jump back into my query letter. After spending so much time on revisions, I’m hoping the same gumption will benefit my query draft.

5) Continue building author platform

 Stay tuned to my blog during the month of April for the A to Z Challenge. I will be featuring posts with photography and writing devoted to travel in a series titled, A to Z Abroad.  Essentially, I will be sharing pictures from my global travels and pairing them with historical trivia and creative writing. These posts will start tomorrow, so stay tuned!

As for social media, a busy few weeks at work and a nasty sinus infection meant I didn’t spend as much time as I would have like online. Thank you to my new Facebook followers for giving my numbers a little jump. As for Twitter, I lost a few along the way, but I hope to make up for that in April.

My Facebook Page has grown from 276 Likes to 284

On Twitter, my followers went from 523 to 528

Thanks so much to all my followers. Your support and encouragement means so much!

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

I’m still (happily) lost in YA urban fantasy. Currently, I am glued to Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Princess. If anything, I am reading like a writer and learning from the best!

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

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

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Happy Easter!! Enjoy those chocolate bunnies and hardboiled eggs!

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c.b.w. 2013

Novel #2 Progress: All Done!

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I’m a little early with this update, but I am beyond excited to report that after five months of relentless work, revisions on Novel #2 are complete!

Word Count Progress:

Draft #1 Word Count:

  • Start Word Count: 67,994
  • End Word Count: 75,808
  • Total: 7,814

Draft #2 Revised Word Count:

  • Start Word Count: 70,551
  • End Word Count: 79,002
  • Total: 8,451

Writing Process Notes:

  • A week off from my day job certainly did the trick. With nothing else to worry about during the day, I had the freedom and the time to write!
  • I ended up finishing three days ahead of schedule, which goes to show how much determination and motivation can really push a writer to keep going.

Novel Tidbit:

The Title:

Back in January, I stated that I would reveal the title of Novel #2 when I finished revisions. I’m keeping that promise, but with a twist. Ever since the beginning, I’ve had a working title, but I’ve never been dead set on keeping it in place. So, instead of one title, I’m offering up four! One is my working title and the other three are on my brainstorm list. Which title jumps out at you?

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Thanks so much to my readers for  giving me so much support and encouragement. Your comments and advice have all meant so much as I continue this journey!

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c.b.w. 2013

Seedlings, Perennials, and Fruit! Oh My!

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As temperatures continue to climb into the 80s, my garden is growing so fast I can barely keep up. Most of my seedlings have graduated from seed tray to ground, while my garden has expanded to include blueberry and raspberry bushes along with plum and orange trees. With all this yummy food around, I have one very happy and mischievous garden bunny!

Within a week, my seedlings went from babies . . .

No peas, yet, little bunny!

. . . to overgrown youngsters. My seed starter tray could barely contain them, so “graduation day” came sooner than I expected.

Whoa! Those peas sure grew fast!

So far, we’ve got a great start for cucumbers, peas, zucchini, cantaloupe, tomatoes, sunflowers, and green peppers. Here’s hoping for another fantastic crop of tasty vegetables!

Vegetable forest!

Meanwhile, the front yard has exploded with color from an unexpected source. The wildflower seeds I planted summer included perennials and they actually came up this year! I have everything from snapdragons, various species of daisies, ferns, and other yet to be identified flowers sprouting in my yard.

Purple snapdragons

Yellow daisy

Pictures of the berry bushes and plum tree are on the way, but I do have a great peek at the orange blossoms currently blooming on my new orange tree.

Orange blossom

Just when I thought my garden bunny couldn’t get into any more trouble, he finds the strawberry plant hiding behind the hibiscus.

Hmmm . . . I’ve got a strawberry thief!

A new batch of seeds now occupies the empty spaces in my seed starter tray. Hopefully, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, corn, and sunflowers will be sprouting very soon!

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c.b.w. 2013

Novel #2 Progress: Crunch Time!

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As the end of  March approaches, I feel the pressure of a self-imposed deadline. I promised myself I would finish revisions on Novel #2 by March 31st, which means I will be working like a maniac in the coming week to finish what I started.

Word Count Progress:

Draft #1 Word Count:

  • Start Word Count: 63,373
  • End Word Count: 67,994
  • Total: 4,621

Draft #2 Revised Word Count:

  • Start Word Count: 65,883
  • End Word Count: 70,551
  • Total: 4,668

Writing Process Notes:

  • I am officially two chapters away from completing revisions! As planned, I reached 90% completion last week, which puts me in a great position to finish the second draft during Spring Break.
  • Thanks so much to everyone that contributed to last week’s discussion concerning the use of epilogues. So many great points were made and they are all helping me decide what to do. I am still pondering whether or not to include the epilogue I’ve written, though I am leaning towards keeping it in place. I like how it opens up a new story line and I think it will make readers really excited for the sequel.

Novel Tidbit:

 The Light Side:

One of the first promises I made during this journey was that Ian would not be a vampire or a werwolf. There are a number of reasons why I avoided this trend, (i.e. it’s overdone and the market is flooded), but at the core of my decision is my desire to prove something I profoundly believe. A good urban fantasy/paranormal story doesn’t necessarily need an element of dark evil to hold a reader’s interest.

As a reader, I’ve grown a bit tired of damsels in distress falling in love with dangerous boys. Not that I don’t love a good bad boy story, but it doesn’t hurt to try something a little different without losing the tension created by the conflict between good and evil. The vampire thing was fun (Twilight) and so are devil fighters (Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices), but my muse and I want to see if there’s another way to give a fresh spin to the mortal vs. supernatural world. The trick is making sure the conflict is still there and the stakes remain high.

While Ian’s true identity is shrouded in mystery, I can assure you he is not anything remotely sinister. The entities in his world also are not evil or blackhearted. In fact, the so-called villains in my novel would actually be considered the good guys just about anywhere else.

So, how do I create conflict with characters who are technically on the same side? Easy. I added an element of danger beyond everyone’s control. Ian’s world is held together by ancient creeds and traditions that are considered unbreakable. Even those with a heart of gold are bound to carry out the rules and the punishments associated with iron clad edicts. Throw in a life and death situation for those involved, along with a mystical feud and you’ve got a heck of hook for a story.

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c.b.w. 2013

Ghosts of Leadenhall

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Given new names
old paths remain
Relics keep watch
secrets be safe
As footsteps fall
whispers linger
Cobblestone myths
wait to be told

Leadenhall Market

Leandenhall Market, London
Photo by: c.b.w. 2006

Leadenhall Market has been a London staple since the 14th century, but this street market has undergone countless makeovers. The cobblestones and decorative architectural features, including the roof, were added in the late 19th century. Tourists flock to Leadenhall to gawk at the columns and drool over the ornate decor. It’s easy to get lost in gilded cornices and awe inspiring ceilings. However, if you stop by the market on a Sunday morning when the shops are closed, Leadenhall Market is no longer a tourist destination. Walkways are empty and the air of the past seems to float down and wander through the present.

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c.b.w. 2013