Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Forward - 2013 Goals

Happy New Year everyone!  I wish all of you good luck in the coming year!  (Also, today is my 24th birthday - so it is a very happy day!)



Goals for 2013
Writing Goals –

“Nameless/Unless”
* Finish writing “Unless” by February
* First round of revisions
* Send to critique partners
* Another round of revisions
* Query

“Defiance”
* Complete first round of revisions by June
* Send to critique partners
* Decide whether to self-publish or seek an agent

“Project K”
* Write a first draft by October
* First round of revisions

NaNoWriMo – November
* Write a new novel!!

Personal –

* Reread “The Lord of the Rings” – The Two Towers
* Find a literary agent!
* Get a tattoo
* Read at least 40 books


Those are my goals for 2013 - hopefully they will go well!

Happy New Year to everyone!   Happy Birthday to me and Happy Birthday to Lord Voldemort! :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wrapping up 2012

It's almost the end of 2012... the year just kinda sneaks up on you!  It's time to wrap up my overall goals from 2012!  I have my monthly goals, but I also made a list of year goals.  I don't do resolutions, just "things to do" in the new year.  Much easier! 

Goals for 2012
Writing Goals –
“Down in the Creek”
* Hear back from waiting agent/publishing company (May 2012)
* Revise – do a new round of editing (March 2012)
* Consider self-publishing for book
“To Love Without Hope”
* Complete another round of editing before January 23rd
* Modify 300 word pitch, create new excerpt
* Enter in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel (Young Adult Fiction) on January 23rd
* If doesn’t do well in the contest, query a few more agents
* Decide if self-publishing is a good idea
“The Secret”
* Write a second draft, removing non-essential parts and changing the ending
“Nameless”
* Complete first draft by August
NaNoWriMo – November
* Write a new novel!!
Personal –
* Go to New Zealand and see the beautiful land
* Reread “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy - finished Fellowship of the Ring, getting closer!
* See “The Hobbit” Part 1
* Find a literary agent!
* Get a tattoo


"Down in the Creek", "To Love Without Hope", and "The Secret"
I've been working on revising these three and rewriting, but I have finally decided I want to put them on the "shelf" for a while.  I like them and someday I'd like to publish them, if I can fix what is wrong with them.  It's not that that are bad, but the writing is not at a level I would want published if it is to show the quality of my writing for people to read.  They are also YA Christian Fiction and I've decided I want to write YA Fantasy and Urban Fantasy.  It's something I enjoy more.  I will get back to them someday.

"Nameless" and "Unless"
I finished writing Nameless and I'm getting closer to writing the end of Unless.  I decided to make them into one book, though I haven't decided if they will get another title or not.  I am very happy how they are turning out and I'm excited to finish!  I want to be able to publish this someday and I plan on finish writing Unless in the beginning of next year. 

NaNoWriMo Novel - "Defiance"
I enjoyed writing this and it only took twelve days!  It's my first YA Urban Fantasy and though there are many problems with it, I am hopefully going to revise it sometime next year.


I'm very happy with how my goals turned out this year and I think I accomplished quite a bit of writing.  I did write two novels this year. :)  I'm happy with that. 

Come back on Tuesday to see my goals for next year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas!  Enjoy the time with your families, eat too much good food, and love. 

Also, watch "Elf" and laugh your head off.  "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" is also a favorite at our house.  We watch it every year!  "Clark, I don't wanna spend the holidays dead!"

 Every year on Christmas I send a letter to myself.  Maybe that's a little odd, but I use the website "futureme.org" where you can send a letter to yourself at almost any point and they will send the email on that day.  It's very neat.  Usually at Christmas time, I feel a little lost.  I turn 24 years old in a week and I'm still single.  I expected more from my life, but I got my letter this morning.  I wanted to share a little bit of my letter to myself with you:

Dear FutureMe,

Merry Christmas, Krista. Another year is almost past and in a few more days you'll be 24 years old. Don't be depressed about getting another year older. It's not the end of the world, despite what those crazy people with signs think. It really isn't. I can't actually give you a Christmas gift, so I want to give you a few words of advice. From the past to help your future.

Don’t be afraid of failure or disappointment. It comes, just as the rising and setting of the sun. You can’t help it, but you can be strong. You are not worthless because you don’t have a man by your side. You don’t need a husband to define who you are. Maybe, you can get to a point where God will introduce you to your husband, but for right now it’s okay to be single. I’m comfortable with it. There’s no need to dress up for someone or not act like yourself. You’ll find someone that loves you. Someday. He’ll be better than Prince Eric from “The Little Mermaid” or Mr. Darcy. He’ll be your husband. Well, our husband. That sounds a little strange, but it makes sense.

Don’t think that you haven’t done anything with your life. You are an author, despite not being in a bookstore. You’ll get there. You’ve written FIVE novels at this point in your life. FIVE! That’s quite an accomplishment. I’m hoping that in November for NaNoWriMo that you wrote a SIXTH novel, the sequel to “Nameless”. You are a wonderful writer and I’m not just saying that because I’m you. Again, confusing but it makes sense. You’ve wanted to be a writer since you were a little girl. Partly because of the stories that Stephanie would leave in the shared bathroom, but also because you loved to read. We love reading and writing. It’s our purpose in life.

 ----

Anyway, have a Merry Christmas, whether you are with family or not. And have a happy 24th birthday in a few days!
Love,
ME (or you)



Merry Christmas to all of you! :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Don't be a Grinch, Give


 'Tis the season to give lots of gifts and wrap lots of presents, run around crazy to three different stores for the fancy car with lights your child has to have, attend two different Christmas concerts with off-tune carols, bake an insane amount of food and eat most of that insane amount of food, and so many other different things!  It's exhausting!

I feel a little like Cindy Lou in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" as she is trying to discover the meaning of Christmas.  Such a small child understanding that Christmas isn't about how many gifts you buy, the decorations, or the food.  It's about family and love.

Christmas is also about giving.  Jesus' birth gave us hope and his death gives us eternity and forgiveness.  He came to serve the poor, the lost, the widows and orphans.

I know I try not to be a preachy person, but this season gets to me and what gets to me more is babies.  Yes, I spent 40 hours a week with twelve needy infants, but I love them and I can't imagine them going without what they need.  It honestly brings tears to my eyes, thinking about any one of those happy little faces without food or medicine and crying for someone to care enough to help them.  If I had a million dollars, I'd give it all to them.

Compassion International
I want to ask for a favor this Christmas season - considering giving and/or sponsoring a child in need.  I sponsor a little nine-year-old girl named Nicole.  I love knowing I am keeping her healthy and feed, making sure she has clothes to wear and is learning at school.  I also love reading her letters and building a relationship with Nicole!

There are other ways to give!  Compassion International has a Christmas Gift Catalog where you can pick what you want to give to those in need.  (This is the one I did!) One can give $55 and pay for a baby's medical care for a year!  Or there are smaller ones like giving food and nutrition to a mother and baby for $14.  There are so many options!  Or donate to a child in your own neighborhood!  Give shoes or Toys to Tots! 

I hope all of you have a giving heart this Christmas and all year.

I also want to give you a gift for giving!  If you give to anyone in need (any time of the year) - this is my gift for you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To sum up:  Don't be a Grinch, consider giving this Christmas.  I think you'll find the true meaning of Christmas somewhere in there. :)   (Also, it is tax-deductible to give.) 

Monday, December 10, 2012

"U Got the Look" - just a little late!

The lovely, Laura - over at "My Baffling Brain" - tagged me in the "U Got the Look" thingy back on November 8th and I completely forgot about it.  How about some e-cookies to repay you?  Sorry it took so long!  To take part in this I have to go to my current manuscript and find the word "look" and post the surrounding paragraphs, and then tag 5 other writers.  I am currently working on "Unless", which is the second part of my novel "Nameless" - yes they have two different titles, I haven't picked which one will be the overarching title yet. (smacks forehead)

Anyway - I am going to share the first "look" in my novel, Unless.  Ironically, the word is in the very first paragraph of it, so I'm sharing the first three paragraphs --



The body hanging from the noose was too small; the boy was only four years old.  Princess Dalia bit her lip to keep from crying out at the sight of the dead child.  He wasn’t even a healer.  If she made a sound, Dalia knew her father would punish her.  King Alined couldn’t see the hatred in her eyes and the LOOK upon her face, which was concealed by the veil.  Dalia knew he was angry enough she wore the grey silk dress.  The seamstress had made it for her before she left and King Alined forbade her from wearing it because of the color.  Grey would always be associated with healers.


“Definitely deserved,” one of the members of Court whispered to another.


Dalia wanted to scream and take her anger out upon the inconsiderate man, but she didn’t make a sound.  The executioner removed the body of the boy from the rope and tossed him to the side like the leftover food from the kitchens.  The child meant nothing to anyone.  But Dalia cared.  Every part of her was screaming for the pain to stop.  Speaking up now would mean certain death and she wouldn’t be able to help them.

--

Yep, it's a little gruesome.  Sorry - it's actually a scene which I also write from Edom's POV in the first part and it ties it together more.  Hope you liked it!  Now to tag a few victims err... others!

Allison at Geek Banter

If you've already done it, sorry!  If not, go ahead and do it! :)

Tomorrow I will be posting my thanks in the "Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest" - so make sure to come see it then! :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG - How do I fix it?

It's time for another installation of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, which posts on the first Wednesday of every month.  Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Today I want to talk about rewriting a novel.  I honestly suck at it.  I really hate rewriting/editing a novel.  Revision and I don't exactly get along.  A first draft is supposed to be rough and I like writing them, but I have trouble cutting those excess scenes and finding those plot holes to fill in.  I just don't "get" it.

Since NaNo is finished, I am stuck with the task of revising a novel, though I have three others which needed edited too.  I just can't find a way which works.

I do have a critique partner and she's amazing, but I'm just still not good at revising.

Anyone have some advice on how to edit in a way that doesn't make you want to pull out all of your hair and eat 5 lbs of chocolate every time you look at it?  Help, please!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Goals and a few cruise pics!

Whew!  I am home from vacation and back to writing!  It took 16 hours of traveling to get home yesterday and no, we went by plane.  But we spent a long time waiting in the airport, waiting for a taxi, and on and on.  Vacation is nice, but I am really glad to be home.
Palm trees!

Aly and I eat on the ship

Half Moon Cay - perfect beach!

Grand Turk - right before it rained

Yep, it was warm and beautiful.  I did read six books while I was on the boat.  Some may call that a waste of vacation, but to me it was completely relaxing.

Anyway, here's an update on my goals from November:
* Write to 50,000 words on my NaNoWriMo novel "Defiance"
I did it!  I wrote my NaNo novel in twelve days - which is an all-time record for me!  I've never finished a novel so quick, but I'm sure revisions will take much long.  But I finished!

* Enjoy my cruise
Yes, done. :)  It was a little long - nine days of vacation, but I spent a lot of time reading and it was very relaxing.  I'll write a different post about my trip and share some highlights. :) I did miss my babies from work, my computer, showering in a shower that didn't move, and writing! 


Goals for December:
* Write 10,000 words on my novel "Unless"
I missed writing on this while I was on my cruise and I definitely found some inspiration in the middle of nowhere on the ocean!  My current word count is 37,182. 

* Work on some plot revisions for "Nameless" from my critique partner

* Read "Holiday Fling" by Victoria H. Smith
Very excited to read her book!  Just in time for Christmas!

* Finish making two blankets for my co-workers' daughters before Christmas


What are your goals for December?  How did your November goals go?  Congrats to all who finished NaNo and to all who began!  Starting the novel is just another part of the adventure. :)  Treat yourself to some Christmas cookies, pull out "The Santa Clause" and relax! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

McGee from NCIS
I'm saying "Happy Thanksgiving" a little early, because I am flying out early on Thursday, headed for vacation for a week and a half - spent on beaches and relaxing, doing some reading.  I can't wait! 

No Turkey for me, just some reading and relaxing
I hope you all enjoy your family time and too much turkey and pumpkin pie!  If you can't stand your relatives, enjoy some funnies!  He does several and they are all hilarious!!  I recommend this one, "The Hunger Games" and "Twilight" ones.  I don't like Twilight and his trailers are so funny!


If you are working on your NaNo novel - keep writing!  You can finish it!  :) 

Some tips:
*Is your MC's best friend still alive?  Consider writing a wordy and moving death scene.
* Remember Godwin's law.  Have you referenced Hitler yet?  (I used this one!)
* I will not use contractions.  Do not use contractions.
* Does your hero have any friends still living?
* Have you made a reference to the traveling shovel of death yet?
* In the name of all that is pure and good, DON'T read your novel so far.

Good luck and have a great Thanksgiving!  I will be back on December 1st and do my best to catch up on everyone's blogs and leave some nice comments!   :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

If I Let You Go - A Review

Another lovely read from one of my blogging friends, Kyra Lennon

Title: If I Let You Go
Author: Kyra Lennon
Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services
Publication Date: October 5, 2012


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Plot: First, here is the summary of "If I Let You Go" from Amazon - Madison Connor is about to lose it. Her job, that is. For three years, she’s taken care of Dominic Hartley’s five year old daughter, Tilly, but her world is flipped on its head when Dominic tells her his latest promotion is taking him to New York. With Tilly having a meltdown over the move, Madison and Dominic get into a fight that changes the entire nature of their relationship, causing Madison to ask herself a big question. Can she let him go?

Madison has been caring for Tilly for three years and Tilly is about to be ripped from her fingers.  She's grown to love the little girl as her own.  Dominic thinks he knows what is right for his daughter, but he hasn't been listening since he's been obsessed with his career.  He's about to find out what it means to finally raise his daughter.  If he doesn't change his mind, it isn't going to be pleasant.

Romantic Element: The relationship between Madison and Dominic is steamy and intense.  It's not cookie-cuter where a nanny has been in love with her employer for years.  She hasn't.  Madison even has steamy relations with Neil, the mysterious character I wanted to know a bit more about.  I love that the two of them have real fights!  They are passionate and Madison is not afraid to voice her opinions!  She's a strong character and I really enjoyed reading about her.

Overall:  The story did need a little more depth - I wanted to know a bit more about Dominic and his past.  The reader doesn't get a lot of background on Madison either and I'm not exactly sure how old she was.  The whole book was written very well!  The characters were fairly well-rounded and it was a book I couldn't put down!  I started it and found myself staying up until early in the morning to finish!  Also, I enjoyed Tilly's character - she's a spunky little girl and she knows what she wants.  Very typical of a five-year-old!

If I Let You Go is an entertaining story with passion, romance, and temper-tantrums on all sides.  I would recommend this to others as a short and sweet, contemporary romance!


Monday, November 12, 2012

12 days of craziness!


 Whew!  I am finished!  50,158 words and I am finished with my NaNoWriMo novel, Defiance.  I can finally get some good sleep tonight!  I've been staying up later to get more writing done and giving up sleep in exchange.  I've also been slacking on my exercising. 


Here's the final update of my progression:

NaNoWriMo Word Count - "Defiance"
Day Seven:  34,111
Day Eight: 36,202
Day Nine:  38,275
Day Ten:  41,414
Day Eleven:  46,284
Day Twelve:  50,158

I am done!  I would like to thank Cheryl for doing some #1k1hr sprints with me on Saturday!  It seriously helped!  I am not really sure I like the ending of the story, but that's okay.  There are several things I'd change, but I don't have to worry about that for a while since I am going to put it away until after the new year!
How I feel about my book ending
I am in shock.  I have written SIX novels!!  Wow, now that is an accomplishment!  I think I deserve some chocolate or something for that. :)

Here's a little excerpt from "Defiance":



How I imagine Anise to look

But there was another hiding behind the boys.  She was small, a little girl only five or six years old.  Her blond hair was pulled back and strands were braided.  Her eyes were grey, but not frightened.  They seemed curious.  A smile pulled at her red lips. 

“Who is this?” I asked, keeping my voice soft.

“Her name is Anise,” Liam said.  “She was the last one I freed.  Anise is a very special little girl, aren’t you, 
sweetheart?”

Anise smiled at Liam’s nickname and praise.  “Yes.”  Her voice was soft and musical, pure and untainted.

“What is your gift, Anise?” Declan inquired.

“I’m an illusionist.  I can make things appear to be there, but they really aren’t.  But they never let me use my gifts.  The men feared me because of the images I could show them.”

“Why did you show them those images?” I said, frowning.

Anise’s voice was sad.  “I just wanted them to feel sad because I was alone, but they still never let me go home.  I don’t even know what happened to my mommy.  We were at the mall when they took me.”

Liam must have noticed my confused expression.  “Illusionists are usually born to non-magical parents, ironically.  Her mother probably suspected, but she couldn’t tell anyone without Anise being taken away.  Apparently the Center stole her from a playground.  Her mother probably doesn’t even know where she went.”

“That’s horrible.  I’m so sorry, Anise.  If we get out of these, we will try to find your mommy.”

Anise smiled and I felt like my heart was melting from the sweetness of the little girl.  She lifted her hands and a ball of light appeared in her hands.  It quickly turned into blue, green, and yellow flames, and appeared to be burning in a round circle.  It was beautiful and terrifying at the same time.  Anise put her hands down and it disappeared.

“I like to make pictures,” she said.

“Would you like to help us?” I said, getting down on my knees in front of the little girl.  “We want to get out of here and save the rest of our friends.”

Anise nodded.  She was so full of trust and youth.  I didn’t want to taint her innocence, but we really didn’t have a choice in the matter.  Declan and I agreed to take her with us to confront Seth.  She would stay in the background and distract the Enforcers until Liam could release Effie to help knock out the rest of the men.  Then we would only have Trent and Seth to deal with.  Only, yeah I wish it wasn’t a big deal. 

“Good luck,” Liam said.  “I won’t leave without you this time.  I’m saving Mira and all of us are getting out of here, together.”

“I really hope this plan works out better than our last plan,” Declan laughed.  “The last one truly sucked.  I don’t think we could have done any worse.”

I frowned, turning back at him.  “We could have done worse; we could all be dead.  But instead, we are trapped here again and about to take on Trent and Seth.  Other than that, this place is quite charming.”

“I agree.  I think if we repaint the walls and erase the fact that this place has killed a good number of people like Hitler, we could maybe consider making this our summer home?”

It all seemed fairly well, but I had to ask the question.  “Who’s Hitler?”
 
Declan smacked his forehead with the palm of his head.  “I definitely think Godwin’s law applies in this situation.”




Hope you enjoyed the little sneak-peak!  Good luck to all of you still working on your NaNo novels!  You can do it - just keep writing! :)