Update

Today’s post is a short one. Got some writing in yesterday, and I hope to finish up this chapter tonight. This should put me right where I want to be, about halfway through this first novel. My plot is where I expected it to be, word count and chapters are where I predicted they would be at this point… I am a happy girl. 🙂

I updated my little word count widget on the blog. It’s pretty satisfying watching that little bar move closer to the finish line. I recommend one of these for those of you who are like me and enjoy visuals more than numbers.

Alright, I promised it would be short!

SJ

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Cover Me Excited!

First, let me sincerely apologize for the terrible wordplay in the title of this post. My brain is still struggling to get back to normal. On the bright side, I just got a happy little reminder of why I don’t really drink anymore. It can be fun, and I can handle it… but the older I get, the longer it takes me to recover and I am at the point in my life that it just rarely seems worth it.

I will say, in this particular circumstance… My sister’s party was totally worth it. She really goes all out for Halloween and it was great to see some of my creative contributions on display as well. Drank some beers, saw some family and old friends, played Cards Against Humanity… twas a great night! 🙂

Anywho, due to the party and the after effects, I haven’t written in a couple of days. The break had me bummed out, even though I had already planned to possibly take a day or two off following the party. I did have a long discussion with my SO about my plot, what I’ve done so far, what I plan to do for the rest of this book… character motivations and all that. I like to bounce ideas off of him and I wanted to be sure there isn’t some glaring plot hole that I failed to notice. I was relieved he gave me very positive feedback, and I already have a few parts I’m eager to improve. That’s always my goal when it comes to talking through my book stuff… nothing is ever perfect, expecially not this early on in the process. Positivity for encouragement, criticism for improvement. Works for me.

AND THEN, my “break days” got even better!

I heard back from a friend who did the cover for my SO’s novel (I am a fan of his artwork and we reached out to see if he might be interested in doing something for mine). AND HE IS GOING TO DO IT!

I am so thrilled! Although, I have to admit, I felt like a bit of an ass when he asked what I had in mind and I couldn’t articulate anything of substance. (Hungo brain, get your shit together!! *shakes fist angrily*)

Hopefully, my mind will be back to normal tomorrow. I can’t wait to lock down an idea and then see what he does with it. It’s going to be great!

SJ

Skull Cake Fun!

Today began the countdown to my sister’s annual Halloween party. I decided to have a go at a 3D skull cake, despite my ineptitude when it comes to baking. 

This is what the box shows: 

  
And this is my end result:

  
Not too bad if you ask me! 

I used 2 boxes of regular cake mix (really far too much, I think one box would’ve done the job just fine). 

Here’s a photo of it busting out of the mold, I also had a small side cake I made with excess batter. 

  
So yeah, two boxes was probably a bit over the top. Oh well, more scrap snacks for me! 😉

I used powdered sugar and decorating gel for the finishing touches. I did color some frosting to kind of try to seal the two halves together, though I don’t think it was necessary. Also, my poor coloring skills and half-assed icing job made it look more like a fun little Easter bonnet instead of my intended rotting brain.

  
It’s okay, you can laugh. I know I did!

Thankfully the “blood” and “dust” was enough to hide most of that tragedy. All in all a fun experience, it looks pretty impressive, and the pan did all the work. 

I rate it 10/10, would bake again. 

Here’s an Amazon link to the pan I used, in case you’re curious!

In other news: 
No update on word count yet, but the night is still young! I’m going to try to get something written tonight, I’ve got a date with a particularly mischievous elf that I’m excited to get started on. 

🙂

S.J.

3 AM Brag

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I didn’t think I would get any writing done today, but I ended up finishing the chapter I was working on! (Word count is now at: 46,063) Just another reminder that you should alway try to write, even when you aren’t feeling creative. Sometimes you’ll surprise yourself!

One more chapter to go before I am at the halfway point! I’ve been working on this for months (Put together the basics of the world and the outline for the first book in June), but I did take some time away from it. My goal is to keep up the momentum and get this rough first draft done before the end of the year. No telling what will happen with holidays on the horizon. Even so, I think it’s a very doable goal. Maybe I’ll even get some proofreading done before 2016, too. A GIRL CAN DREAM!

Alright, I’m off.

S.J.

Halloween Crafts & Observations About the Writing Community

Alright so, I have to admit I do not have any progress on my book worth bragging about. At least, nothing tangible at the moment. Don’t get me wrong – I spend plenty of time each day spacing out as I think over my plot and characters and how they will react to certain situations (My friends and family would confirm… I space out A LOT)… BUT I haven’t actually written anything new since my last update. Shame on me, I know!

I have my own personal goals, though, for those days that I get caught up doing stuff like this:

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I chose this stencil because pumkinception.

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My S.I.L. and I went HAM on making creepy apothecary jars. (Inspired by this tutorial.)

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These are candy coated Oreos that my mom and I made into fun little monsters! My sister brought them to work (the ones I didn’t eat, that is…)

We’re a crafty bunch! ANYHOW…

On those days where I feel my creativity reservoir has been drained, or that I am just too tired to write a coherent sentence… I try to research or learn one new thing about the writing process, or publishing process, or basically anything related to being an author. I figure, more information and knowledge about this stuff can only be a good thing, right? And trust me… There is a LOT to learn.

This brings me to the second part of this title. Being a new kid on the block, I have to just give a quick shout out to the writing community. I’ve joined several Facebook groups containing both self published and traditionally published authors and I have to say, these people are fantastic. It’s refreshing to be part of a community that is so welcoming of newcomers and happy to give advice and constructive criticism when requested. I highly recommend that any newbie authors like myself join a couple of FB groups for authors (you can find them by searching groups containing keywords related to your genre, or just browse general “author” groups.) Even if you just lurk and never make a single post or comment, you will have access to a wealth of information and advice from people who are at various stages of the writing process. It’s also SUCH A RELIEF to see someone ask a question that perhaps you were too shy to ask for fear that the answer was obvious.

I understand, being an unpublished newbie I am probably not in a position to be giving advice, but I’m going to give it anyway. Just a little tidbit that has helped my understanding of this side of the literary world, and at times has given me the confidence boost I needed to get back on that keyboard. Also, this is a “Thank You” to those experienced authors out there taking the time to help and advise the fresh meat. You are awesome!!

TTFN!

S.J.

Under Construction and a Little About Me

Finally! I got this thing up and running! This page is under construction, and I hope to update frequently with my progress and just any cool things I happen to stumble across during this adventure into the world of an author.

(Fair warning:  I can’t make any big promises for the month of October. My family is a bit nuts when it comes to Halloween).

I guess I can share a bit about myself. That’s what people do on these things, right? Right.

I live in Florida, and it is every bit as crazy and wonderful as you might think. I’ve always loved reading and writing, perhaps to an obsessive degree. I can still remember my mom’s frustration when she would take me to the library to check out a pile of books and I would burn through all of them within a day or so. My 4th grade teacher told me I would be an author someday, at the time I didn’t understand what was so special about my writing and I figured she was just being nice. Maybe she was just being nice, but I’m still going to use it as motivational fuel. At one point, “hanging out with friends” involved me sitting at my gigantic 90’s era computer, typing out stories with my friends as the main characters. They’d check in, read the stories, then run along their way so I could write some more. I absolutely loved it.

So, why then at 29 years old am I just now actually serious about completing my first book? There are a variety of reasons that I put writing on the back-burner, I am sure many of you will relate to that sort of thing. Doubt, fear, and just… real life gets in the way. I opted for more practical career choices because, well, bills need to be paid, y’all. But I never stopped writing. I just never really committed to it. I have probably 100 different beginnings to books written, tucked away on misplaced floppy disks and flash drives and broken down computers. (Thankfully, I’ve finally learned to back up my work somewhere that it is impossible to misplace.)

Anyway, after all this time talking about it and daydreaming about it, I finally committed to finishing a novel (with some encouragement from my family and my S.O… Part of me thinks they were just tired of hearing me say things like, “If I ever write my book…” and “I could write something like this.” LOL)

Of course I face the same old ugly insecurities and fears that I’ve always had, but I have finally reached the point where I have a great story that I want to tell, and I need to finish this thing for me. I’m not going to say that what other people think doesn’t matter to me… because, it does… to a degree. I want others to enjoy it, and when I receive that inevitable criticism… yeah, it is gonna sting a bit. But, I’ve reached a point in my life where I can handle that sort of thing without falling to pieces. I’ve been disappointed, heartbroken, insulted and offended. It’s not the end of the world and I always bounce back. My skin has thickened up nicely and I am prepared for whatever obstacles I have to overcome to see this thing through.
Well, this “quick little intro post” has certainly grown quite wordy. I should probably wrap it up, eh?
I’ll finish with where I am at with my book. As of today, I am 44,413 words into the first draft of what will probably be a 100k word fantasy novel. Obviously the word count will change with edits, etc… but I am well on my way and getting to some really fun interactions in my plot so the words are flowing easy right now. I hope you all will have as much fun reading this as I am having writing it!
To conclude this blog post…

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Here’s a link to this neat dragon pumpkin. These are insanely cool!

Thanks for reading!!

S.J.