A to Z of Authors

2011bookstoreadApril is the A to Z Challenge … for those who dare.

I don’t dare, LOL.

Instead, I’ll share an A to Z list of authors!

  • Ann Mayburn
  • Angela Brown
  • Ciara Knight
  • Diana Castle
  • Eve Berlin/Eden Bradley
  • Liz Fichera
  • Stacy Green
  • Heather Blackwood
  • Larissa Ione
  • Joely Sue Burkhart
  • Kelly Jamieson
  • Lindsay Buroker
  • Melanie Macek
  • Kait Nolan
  • Olga Bicos
  • Kate Poole
  • Susan Kaye Quinn *
  • Jodi Redford
  • Sloan Parker
  • Tracy Cooper-Posey
  • Ursula Sinclair *
  • Viola Rivard *
  • Angela Wallace
  • Xondra Day
  • Samantha Young *
  • Maria Zannini

* I haven’t actually read these authors…yet.

How many of these authors have you read?

Have you done an A to Z reading challenge?

#ROW80 Round 2 Wrap-up

ROW80LogoIn the spirit of Kait Nolan’s Fix Your Focus post from last Round, I’m not going to beat myself up for a less than stellar Round.

I DID write on my Morning Pages for a total of 7948 words over the course of the Round. That works out to an average of 115 words per day. Definitely plan to strive for my 250 words per day goal next Round.

I DID maintain my posting schedule for the majority of the Round.

I BLEW my reading goal out of the water with a total of 22 books read this Round.

I DID update Goodreads within my goal guidelines.

The Support/Social Media goal was more miss than hit this Round. Definitely going back on the goal list next Round!

The regular exercise goal alluded me. I had some great weeks and some epic fail weeks. Definitely another goal to continue working towards next Round.

I COMPLETED The 30-day Diabetes Cure in April.

I KEPT a FAMILY day each week (hence the word count above was averaged over 69 days, not 80).

I WAS HIRED for a JOB I’m absolutely loving with a company that is ah-mazing.

Beasties #2 and #3 won awards for PERFECT ATTENDANCE which included a $25 gift certificate. Way to go boys!

Beastie #1 is moving on to HIGH SCHOOL. Gasp!

Beastie #2 is moving on to MIDDLE SCHOOL. Double Gasp!

Beasties #3 and #4 are moving on to their next grade level within ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

We had a visit from That Man’s mum and brother.

How did the second quarter of the year go for you?

I’ll see you next Round. You can find and support other ROWers here.

#ROW80 Round 1 Wrap-up

ROW80LogoIn the spirit of Kait Nolan’s Fix Your Focus post, I’m not going to beat myself up for a less than stellar Round.

I DID write on my Morning Pages most of the days of the Round (250 words or a half hour — whichever came first — going over word count more often than not).

I DID write over 6K on a dream idea that might become a story. I’ll have to get back to it and see what develops.

There was even a tiny bit of editing early in the Round.

I DID get about half way through the Deep EDITS lesson packets. I’ve found myself looking for and using the rhetorical devices I’ve learned so far.

I HAVE sent out resumes, more than I can count at this point, and continue to send out resumes. I’ve had a few interviews as well, and one job offer (which I turned down). And while the hunt is frustrating, I’m confident I’ll find something that is a good fit for my skill set and family.

We replaced the family truckster with a new-to-us van.

I DID chaperon #2’s field trip to Red Rock, help at #3’s Valentine’s party and #4’s Easter party, stay up until the wee hours of the morning helping #1 with a paper roller-coaster assignment, and see Craig Ferguson with That Man.

That Man and I received a compliment on the wee beasties while we were out to dinner the other night. Color us stunned. I admit, they were uncharacteristically well behaved. What an awesome thing for that woman to take a moment to say, “Well done.” Parenting is tough, rewarding but tough. It’s too easy to focus on the negative. I will definitely be paying this one forward!

I’m on pace toward my goal of reading 100 books this year.

How’d the first quarter of the year go for you?

You can find and support other ROWers here.

A New Year, a New Round of #ROW80

And it must be time for a new set of goals.

ROW80Logo2012 went out with a whimper for me. Even with fabulous posts like Shan Jeniah’s Relax. Revel. Appreciate. Repeat and Joely’s Fake It Until You Make It (that spoke to me on many levels), I lost steam somewhere along the way and no amount of kicking my own arse (a challenge in and of itself, let me tell you) got me going again.

Perhaps, simply NOT taking part in ROW80 was the culprit.

I did get bogged down in the social media and the blog reading/commenting to the point of NOT writing. And did that muscle atrophied fast! Add EDJ on top of family commitments… Sigh.

It’s a new week. A new month. A new year. A new start.

In the mindset of the KISS principle, my goal this week is:

  • Write 250 words (or edit for an hour) every day

Call it my test mile, if you will.

Additionally, my goal for this Round is:

In the mindset of the Flylady, my overarching plan is to add more goals each week…baby steps and the rebuilding of habits.

Do you have a new goal or resolution for 2013?

When Characters Cross the Line

I want to pitch that book across the room. Not the best practice these days with over half my reading being done on an eReader, LOL. However, it does result in my not finishing the book more often than not. It also makes me less likely to buy that author again.

Is it subject?

An established author, one I trust to see me to the end of the journey, can and has escorted me across many a line I thought firmly drawn. I’m looking at you Joely and Sloan :D

For example, I generally have zero tolerance for cheating spouses. Yet, Elena Aiken has a character do just that in Drawing Free. Did I agree with the character’s decision? No. Did I understand it? Yes. I know a little harmless flirting has uplifted my self-confidence, made me walk a little taller, feel a little sexier. I suspect most of us can relate to that.

On the other hand, another author, a first time read for me, has lost me. Her hero gets amnesia and ends up having an affair. I’m not even sure I can call it an affair, LOL. Anyway, amnesia…I should be able to forgive him, right?

Does that mean gender makes a difference?

Well, I do like my heroes to be perfect, or perfectly flawed with the ability to become more with the heroine’s love. But, no, I don’t think the sex of the character has much to do with it, as long as the character STAYS in character.

Back to the amnesic hero, if the ‘affair’ happened off the page, I probably would have forgiven him. I mean, he didn’t remember much beyond his name, didn’t know he had a wife waiting for him, or that the villain of the story was making her life miserable as only a great bad guy can do.

As it was, it felt like the author tried to fit some erotica into a mainstream historical romance. Those scenes were not needed to move the story forward. We have the heroine’s POV. Readers felt the tension build the longer the hero was missing, feared dead.

So is it craft?

Kait Nolan has a wonderful scene questionnaire. Type A that she is (hey, she admits this), she completes it before writing a word. Me, I like to use it for revisions/edits. In it she says every scene must do three things.

Which of the following does the scene accomplish?

____ (G) Dramatically illustrate a character’s progress toward the goal or provide an experience which changes a character’s goal.

____ (M) Provide a character with an experience that strengthens his motivation or changes his motivation.

____ (C) Bring a character into conflict with opposing forces.

It can, of course accomplish all three, but minimally must accomplish at least one. This point gives me the broad goal of the scene.

What are the three reasons for the scene?

Now one of my three reasons for the scene can be answering the GMC *** question above. But I must have at least 3 total reasons for the scene to be included and make the cut. Why three? Well, if I remember correctly, I think Dixon says something about it in her book, but mostly it’s because I think of something having three points as being stable. If I can come up with three reasons, then more than likely I won’t have to axe the scene later.

I think she has a point about three points being stable. It’s no wonder three-legged stools have been around forever. (And the image analogies using them…wow.)

But I digress.

Do you have a hard limit where characters are concerned? What do you do when characters cross the line?

*** Kait references: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon, one of my recommended reads.

Sunday Summary & #ROW80

  1. The Writing: My Margie Lawson Writer’s Academy class ended this week. I still have a few assignments to do that I haven’t been able to get my head around or just ran out of time. I have all the lessons and got some great feedback on some WIP related assignments which will definitely help with revisions/edits of one story. I think I better bake up some brownies and crack open that bottle of chocolate wine for the muse… Hope she’ll share :D
  2. Have your characters ever surprised you? Check out Joely Sue Burkhart’s guest post about some of the surprises her characters hit her with during the writing of Yours to Take. Psst…there’s a giveaway.
  3. SynTAROTis posed an interesting question this week: Can a skeptic use Tarot cards for introspection? Of course, the site’s tagline is ‘the skeptic’s tarot’ so obviously she does. What I liked about the post was I could see applying the process to writing.
  4. The Reading: I just finished The Last Good Man by Kathleen Eagle. Fabulous. Savannah was completely relatable in her struggle to heal from depression to hope and finding her HEA. This story touched a cord with me. I’ve lost a grandmother and an aunt to breast cancer but, thankfully, I also have three aunts and a cousin who’ve beaten the beast.
  5. Roni Loren had a fascinating post about the hard truths readers are facing in today’s new world of books. As writers, there are more options for getting our work out there to readers. Kait Nolan mentioned last year, eBooks are the new pulp fiction (not the movie, LOL) in which authors are — or should be — learning on the job. Then Maria Zannini posted about the free book paradox. As readers, that means our job of selecting books is tougher. How do you select what you read?
  6. The Blogging: Ha! Built the queue back up this week. Whew! What a relief. That counts as writing, right? I think I hit my comment goal but the three-day weekend and more mice babies born Friday threw my tracking for a loop. Can’t imagine why :snicker:
  7. The Social Media: I ‘think’ I did pretty well here. I had a Twitter conversation with @neostateofmind (aka Angela Brown) and some fun with Jenny Hansen on Facebook. And I even updated Goodreads, LOL.
  8. The Health: Dog walking pretty much sucked this week. I need to get new shoes that’s all there is to it. I can’t deal with the blisters on top of the blisters on top of the blisters. Sugar and caffeine reduction is on track and I’m feeling really good about my progress. The water intake went well 5 of the last 7 days though I failed to reach my 8 glasses per day goal. As we’re in the triple digits, and not likely to dip below that for the next 3 to 4 months, I really need to get a handle on this.
  9. Once again the fabulous August McLaughlin covered healthy eating with her 5 Steps Toward Healthy Sweets Success post. She even shared a delicious flourless cake recipe!
  10. Maria Zannini also had an excellent post on pet first aid. I have a pretty well stocked general first aid cabinet in my house due to the wee beasties, which carries over nicely to the fur babies, thanks to my mum being a nurse and teaching its importance at an early age. Are you ready for an emergency?
  11. To support the awesomeness that is ROW80 you can go HERE

#ROW80 Round 1 Wrap-up

That’s a wrap for Round 1. How did I do?

My Goals for this Round were:

  1. Rewrite/Revise SFR novella
    • Jan. 2 through Feb. 3: 7000 words per week – Win, though I went a bit beyond the original Feb. 3rd date.
    • Feb. 20 through Mar. 2: Revise based on reader feedback – Yep, though I’m still working on it :)
  2. Write two blog posts per week plus a Sunday ROW80 update – Win, with the added benefit of getting into the habit of blogging in advance.
  3. Blog commenting:
    • Comment on a minimum of three blogs per day – Win, though I had a few failures I mostly met this goal.
    • Comment on at least two new blogs per week – Win, I think I only missed this once or twice.
  4. Social Media:
    • Update Twitter and Facebook at least three times per week (not counting blog posts) – Fail, I had a few successes but it was mostly a fail.
    • Retweet at least twice per week – Calling this a win, I got a slow start, had some fails, but I’m finishing strong with this one.
  5. Health:
    • Drink an extra glass of water per day (I’m really bad about this during the winter months, even here in the desert.) – Calling this a win, but still need to work on this.
    • Walk dog three times per week (I broke a toe and need to work back up to seven days a week.) – Fail, definitely more misses than hits on this one.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about this round. Each round teaches me something, points me to new tools, and introduces me to fabulous writers.

What Is ROW80?

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Kait Nolan, created a flexible, supportive challenge for meeting your writing goals. The people involved are wonderful and are the best cheerleaders you could ever hope to have.

Thank you Kait for ROW80! To my friends, both new and old, thanks so much for your support. I’ll see y’all next month for Round 2. To learn more, or better yet jump on board the next round, visit the ROW80 blog.

Sunday Summary & #ROW80

  1. Congrats to Kait Nolan! Her YA Red was the only indie title nominated for DABWAHA.

    A great showing Kait!

  2. How many of you picked up Scrivener after NaNoWriMo last year? Are you using it to the fullest? If not, perhaps Gwen Hernandez’s Scrivener class can help.
  3. The writing: hmm…well, I was struck with a new shiny. I tried just writing the bit that came to me so the idea was captured but not taking over. :snort: Then I spent a D&E writing on it. Trial and error has shown me that D&E is best for new words. I’m far enough from the fantasy piece that I’ll need to do a complete reread before continuing it. So on one hand I’m not surprised. Yet it has distracted me enough that forward progress on the SF piece has stalled. We almost to the end of this round and, while I’m not calling it a change in goals, I think I’m just going to continue “cleaning house” so all my ducks are in a row for the start of the next round.
  4. Janice Hardy is always a great resource. Her The Other Side of the Story blog is a must read for me. Gems from this week: A Journey Through Massive Edits in 10 Easy Steps by guest poster Paul Welch and So Where Were We Again? Salvaging Half-Finished Manuscripts.
  5. The blogging: still holding a week grace of scheduled posts. I think I’m ready for my blogiversary next month, just need to finalize one giveaway. Details coming soon.
  6. Taking a page from Fabio Bueno’s Blog Comments Log and Marcia Richards’ Streamlining Blogs posts, I’ve been cleaning out my Google Reader this week. I listed them. Noted the days each blog posted. Evaluated whether it was an info blog, a friend blog, or just a blog I enjoyed reading. And while it shouldn’t matter, I also noted who was supportive of my blog. Just like a good spring cleaning I feel like a weight has be lifted off my shoulders and my reader is much more manageable.
  7. The social media: I continued to meet my retweet and sharing goals thanks to Triberr and StumbleUpon this week. Even had a bit of a conversation with @Ali__Dent :)
  8. The health: Sigh. I fell off the wagon a bit this week. I think that time change mucked with me more than usual. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it :D
  9. Then I read a post like Elena Aitken’s Your Body ~ A Love/Hate Relationship and I’m reminded how good life is.

Reading in 2011

Once upon a time, Kait Nolan mentioned on her blog something about reading 100 books before attempting to write one. Or something along those lines. I’m a bit on the lazy side as I’m typing this up. Oh heck, let me find the link…Reflections on the Book 100. Anyway, I’ve been stalking following Kait for a few years now and her advice hasn’t steered me wrong yet. Of course she was talking about learning craft while reading. And I wasn’t serious about my writing when I read her first post on the subject. However, I took up the challenge of the 100 books in a year.

I'm nice & warm now!

I even created a lovely spreadsheet :pets Excel: (Here’s an online version if you dare: Book List. I have one sheet for books I’m looking for, one for TBR, and one for read.)

No, beastie girl isn’t part of the whole reading theme here but peeps wanted to see her model the sweater I knitted for her.

How did I do?

Well, as of the typing up of this post…113 for the year.

Some were short stories and novellas. So I made some adjustments. Using 200 as an average page count, 1-70 page books scored a 1/4 point, 71-135 page books scored a 1/2 point, 136-200 page books scored a 3/4 point, thus anything over 200 pages equaled a full point.

How did I do?

76.75

LOL, gotta love those partials, but not too shabby.

How much did you read in 2011? Care to join me for 100 in 2012?

~I’m sure someone out there has an actual challenge for this :)

What’s on Your Keeper Shelf? Part 3: Fiction

In Part 1, I shared my non-fiction shelf. In Part 2, I shared my physical fiction shelf. Today, for Part 3, I’ll share my digital fiction “shelf” on the trusty Nook.

Now, this list is on the short side, just because I haven’t had my Nook all that long, and I haven’t got around to reading everything on it yet.

Without further ado, alphabetically, my digital Top 10 List:

  1. Lisa T Bergren (Her River of Time series anyway.)
  2. Joely Sue Burkhart
  3. Lindsay Buroker
  4. Liz Fichara
  5. Larissa Ione (Actually, this is kind of a cheat because I have one series on the physical shelf and one on the Nook.)
  6. Marjorie M Liu
  7. Kait Nolan
  8. Sloan Parker (Psst, Take Me Home, a friends to lovers story, released today.)
  9. Sasha White
  10. Maria Zannini

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