Monday, November 30, 2015

Accountability Monday

To keep myself on task with everything I have to do outside of my day job, I've started Accountability Monday where I'll share my successes and failures from the past week and my goals for the upcoming one. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.

November is over. Or it will be tomorrow. I can't even think of words because all the words were used during NaNoWriMo. But, I can officially put up my tacky Christmas decorations now. So, YES to that.

How I Did Last Week

  • Write about 10K more on The SNI. Success! I've written over 18K this week.
  • Leave the house by 5.30 during the week. Meh. Kinda sorta happened. Most days.
  • Continue to take the stairs at work. Success!

My Goals for This Week

  • Complete The SNI draft at about 80K
  • Read all the things.
  • Walk up the stairs at work

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Hubby's birthday was this past weekend so I figured I wouldn't get any writing in, but Hubby being Hubby made sure I did.

Something I Love About My WIP

That as Present Alicia, I don't need to worry about how much of a mess this draft is.

Random Factoid of the Week

Apparently Boston has a large population of Australians. Large enough that we need to have 2 Australian meat pie shops.


How's your fall going? Getting lots of stuff done? Share below and then stop by Pam and Quita's blog!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Accountability Monday

To keep myself on task with everything I have to do outside of my day job, I've started Accountability Monday where I'll share my successes and failures from the past week and my goals for the upcoming one. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.

Well, we've entered Week 4 of November. It's a week of all the things at Chez Gregoire: Thanksgiving, continual writing, and a milestone birthday for Hubby. It's also been 4 years since The White One had that horrible surgery because we couldn't figure out what was wrong. (Note: we're still paying off that surgery.. Gladly.)

How I Did Last Week

  • Write about 10K more on The SNI. Success! I've written over 17K this week.
  • Leave the house by 5.30 during the week. Meh. Kinda sorta happened. Most days.
  • Continue to take the stairs at work. Success!

My Goals For This Week

Since last week's goals were attainable and still valid. Let's do a repeat of them, shall we?
  • Write about 10K more on The SNI.
  • Leave the house by 5.30 during the week.
  • Continue to take the stairs at work.

 

 

Biggest Challenge I Faced Last Week

Tiredness. Doing NaNoWriMo is like a month-long tech week and I'm starting to crash. I'll inevitably catch a cold in the next few weeks once I'm done drafting The SNI.

Something I Love About My WIP

I don't know if it's something I love or if it's something I'm trepidatious about. The SNI is beginning to look like a Japanese/Celtic retelling of Romeo and Juliet with monsters. Of course, The SNI's not final yet so this is subject to change, but still.

Random Factoid of the Week

For constipated cats, it's recommended to feed them canned pumpkin.


How's your fall going? Getting lots of stuff done? Share below and then stop by Pam and Quita's blog!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Accountability Monday.

To keep myself on task with everything I have to do outside of my day job, I've started Accountability Monday where I'll share my successes and failures from the past week and my goals for the upcoming one. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.

How I Did Last Week

  • Write between 10,000 and 14,000 words this week. Nailed it. 19K written this week.
  • Write the Week 3 Pep Talk for NaNoBoston, the Boston region for NaNoWriMo  Done!
  • Continue to wake up at 4 and out the door by 5.30 the latest. Meh... a little dicey there.
  • Continue taking the stairs at the day job. Yep. I'm surprised I haven't died from all the stairs yet.

My Goals for This Week

  • Write about 10K more on The SNI.
  • Leave the house by 5.30 during the week.
  • Continue to take the stairs at work.

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

The day job. There, I said it.

Something I Love About My WIP

That I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. My world building is not developed so I'm learning stuff all the time. I'm pretty sure I'll hate myself come revision time, but for now I'm good.

 

Random Factoid of the Week

Not really a fact, but more of an observation. People are immune to the sound of a fire alarm. Sunday I was having a pre-write in burger at Tasty Burger when the fire alarm went off in the restaurant. No one moved. There wasn't a fire thank goodness, but still no one cared that there was strobe lights and loud blaring klaxon-esque horns.

How's your fall going? Getting lots of stuff done? Share below and then stop by Pam and Quita's blog!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Accountability Monday

To keep myself on task with everything I have to do outside of my day job, I've started Accountability Monday where I'll share my successes and failures from the past week and my goals for the upcoming one. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.

So, it's November. It's NaNoWriMo. I'm lucky I know my name right now. I'm about 18,000 words into the SNI and I have a whole lot of work in store for Future Alicia, which you will undoubtedly hear about down the road when I talk about how Past Alicia did no prep work at all.

How I Did Last Week

 
Well, last week I had no goals because I had no post. So let's look at goals from a few weeks ago:
  • Send out SFLN to the two agents I promised it to. DONE
  • Complete my plotting and preplanning for The SNI. Meh, I got *some* done. Most of NaNo is being pantsed this year.
  • Stretch goal--> Exercise. I've been taking the stairs at the day job for the last week because we moved from the 5th floor to the 3rd. 3 flights is doable, five is murder.
 
 

Goals for This Week

  • Write between 10,000 and 14,000 words this week.
  • Write the Week 3 Pep Talk for NaNoBoston, the Boston region for NaNoWriMo
  • Continue to wake up at 4 and out the door by 5.30 the latest.
  • Continue taking the stairs at the day job.
 
 

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

 
Writing after a full day at the day job. Just like when I revised SFLN, I'm more productive in the morning. This means getting up way too early to achieve what I want. Now with Daylight Savings Time over and it being November, I no longer see the daystar. I think it's a myth.
 
 

Something I Love About My WIP

 
That it's a messy first draft. And my drafts are messy filled with things that aren't plotted, aren't researched, aren't named. My first drafts have a lot of things like [PUT HERE A REALLY BRILLIANT AND WITTY COMMENT] but given the nature of drafting, my brain can't think on that level. Yeah...
 
 

Random Factoid of the Week

The reason why the majority of the US has a drinking age of 21 is because of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which Congress passed in 1984. Basically it says, "make the drinking age 21 or we're not going to give you all of the funds." (This is highly CliffNoted and for more info you can read the Wikipedia stub or you can go to CNN.

How's your fall going? Getting lots of stuff done? Share below and then stop by Pam and Quita's blog!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dear Blog, Part IX

Dear Blog,

I know. Today's supposed to be Accountability Monday, but it's NaNoWriMo time and I forgot to pre-game the post. I'll be back next week with an update.

My goal for this week is to hit 12,000 words. Cross all the things.

Xoxo,
Alicia

Monday, October 26, 2015

Accountability Monday

To keep myself on task with everything I have to do outside of my day job, I've started Accountability Monday where I'll share my successes and failures from the past week and my goals for the upcoming one. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.

I'm not ready for it to be the end of October, Lurkdom. I'm not prepared. At the day job, our department is relocating on Friday to a different floor and I haven't begun the desk packing process. NaNoWriMo is in a week and I'm not done planning. Hubby's having one of those milestone birthdays in about 33 days and I still haven't planned a single thing for it. 

Actually, it's almost like I'm in a version of tech week for a play. The lighting still isn't 100% solid and half the cast is missing their costumes, but come opening night everything magically is ready.
Credit


How I Did Last Week 


  • Complete query and synopsis. DONE
  • Begin formally outlining The SNI. DONE. I began it.
  • Stretch goal--> Exercise (outside of walking to work). Hahahaha. With the exception of a post-brunch, post-mimosa walk Saturday and a little wandering around Harvard Square yesterday before the NaNoBoston Meet and Greet, no.

My Goal(s) For This Week 


  • Send out SFLN to the two agents I promised it to.
  • Complete my plotting and preplanning for The SNI.
  • Stretch goal--> Exercise.

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week 

Time. Motivation. The day job.

I'm not remotely joking about that. In a few spare minutes at the day job last Monday, I drafted a list of things that need to be done by Halloween. It's a full 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.


Something I Love About My WIP 

The challenge of worldbuilding. When you're writing anything, you need to know the world your characters live in. This is especially true when you write anything that falls within speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, magical realism, etc.) because of things like magic systems or dragons or time travel. I need to know enough about my world to be able to draft yet still leave room for discovery while I'm drafting. Because the surprises are the best part of the drafting stage.

Random Factoid From the Week

The Japanese take their bowing seriously. Not only do kids learn at an early age how to correctly bow, but companies also have trainings on how to bow.

How's your fall going? Getting lots of stuff done? Share below and then stop by Pam and Quita's blog!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Accountability Monday

To keep myself on task with everything I have to do outside of my day job, I've started Accountability Monday where I'll share my successes and failures from the past week and my goals for the upcoming one. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.

It's official. We've reached the end of the nice weather. New England had its first freeze over the weekend, and I am nowhere near ready for winter wear. Call it denial, or laziness, but for the walk to the mailbox Sunday, I wore two sweatshirts instead of locating a jacket. 

The weather is even too cold for The Stripey One. She's taken to burrowing under the covers again.
Staying warm. Or plotting cat things.

How I Did Last Week

Hahahaha. Alicia of Last Week was hilarious in thinking she was going to achieve all the things. Alicia of Last Week didn't realize that all the sleeping and all the TV was important to recover from a full month of revising. Everything could have been achieved *if* I remembered that I had a recent synopsis that just needed updating. Writer fail, indeed.

My Goal(s) For This Week


  • Complete query and synopsis
  • Begin formally outlining The SNI
  • Stretch goal--> Exercise (outside of walking to work)


Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Motivation, depression (yes, still), and The Doubt Monster. The latter is a product of the former, but it's still very real. These days I pretty much question every single choice. Which socks? Which radio station? Which pen? All of it is hard. Lurkdom, decisions are hard.

Something I Love About My WIP

The little one-liners that my characters have. With the readthrough I did this weekend for the synopsis, I came across a few where I was like "wow, that was clever."

Random Factoid From the Week

Mutsu apples can last several months. Like, the ones I picked last weekend can last until February and still be fresh.

How's your fall going? Getting lots of stuff done? Share below and then stop by Pam and Quita's blog!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Accountability Monday

To keep myself on task with everything I have to do outside of my day job, I've started Accountability Monday where I'll share my successes and failures from the past week and my goals for the upcoming one. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.

Hubby and I celebrated 8 years of marriage this past week. In honor of that, we apple picked this weekend. 

This is what 8 years of marriage looks like


How I Did Last Week

I completed revisions of SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT. 

My Goals for This Week

  • Incorporate the revisions into Scrivener 
  • Update query letter and synopsis
  • Stretch goal--> SNI plotting 
  • Stretch goal--> Exercise, because it has to happen at some point 

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Burnout. It makes revising hard.

Something I Love About My WIP

That I'm done.

Random Factoid From The Week

Nothing to report this week. I was too focused on getting this revision complete to get distracted by shiny (oh so shiny) things. 

How's your fall going? Getting lots of stuff done? Share below and then stop by Pam and Quita's blog!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Accountability Monday

To keep myself on task with everything I have o do outside of my day job, I've started Accountability Monday where I'll share my successes and failures from the past week and my goals for the upcoming one. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.

We're in October. For real. I'm not sure how this happened, and quite honestly I'm not a fan. I saw egg nog in the grocery store Sunday. EGG NOG.

Also, it's been cold the last few days. Like, the heat came up cold. So, like any good New Englander, I bought fleece sheets. This is both awesome and horrible because now I fight with the cats as to who actually gets the bed.

The White One can't face the fact it's October.


How I Did Last Week

If possible, worse than the week before. I ended up doing some SNI research Saturday, not Monday. And I'm lucky if I averaged 90 minutes a day revising SFLN. And that exercise thing. Hahahahahaha. I should just scratch that off the goal list indefinitely.

My Goal(s) For This Week


  • To get to Chapter 20 in SFLN. 
  • Exercise. Any of it.
  • One hour SNI research.
  • Stretch goal-->Complete SFLN revisions. 


Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Motivation and it's cousin Depression. They go hand in hand, but when my brain keeps saying "EVERYTHING IS FUTILE" it makes plowing through something really, really hard.

Something I Love About My WIP

This past week there's nothing I love about it at all. I am fully entrenched in the "I hate you" phase of revision.

Random Factoid From the Week

There is a thing called lumberjack lore. While researching for the SNI, I came across a few fun things that are classified as such. I mean, it makes sense, but I just thought it fell under "folklore." Lumberjack lore has some really messed up critters. Apparently there's a walking casket and there's something involving an axe. Here's an article from Wired in 2014 about some critters from lumberjack lore.


How's your fall going? Getting lots of stuff done? Share below and then stop by Pam and Quita's blog!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Accountability Monday: ARGH! Edition

To keep myself on task with everything I have to do outside of my day job, I've started Accountability Monday where I'll share my successes and failures from the past week and my goals for the upcoming one. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.


How I Did Last Week

Ha ha ha. Past Alicia is hilariously deluded with her expectations because those goals? None achieved.

I only got 15 revision hours complete out of my proposed 56 maximum. This revision is much harder than it looks. (That alone is a separate blog topic.) Also my goal of up to 6 hours of revision a day was way too optimistic. I work full time in a job that uses the same side of the brain used when revising. Even though I know this I'm angry at myself for not meeting or exceeding my goal.

Progress is happening though, Lurkdom. If you remember last week, I was on page 48 with almost 300 comments that needed addressing. But now? I'm closing in on page 100! And look at all this change! Looking at it this way, it's not that bad.
So much revision
Oh and that exercise thing? Yeah, that didn't happen either. Hubby is more than willing to enable my crazy revision schedule to the point where he won't prompt us to exercise. This is in part because he's still working on managing his illness and part he doesn't want to exercise either. Though, thanks to poor planning, I did manage an hour walk before the day job on Friday.

My Goal(s) For This Week 

Because of my glorious failure this past week, I'm going for conservative and specific:

  • 2 hours of revision a day.
  • 2 hours of exercise total.
  • Stretch goal-->1 hour of SNI research (Monday only)


Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week 

Depression. It's getting harder to focus. To find motivation, especially now that the days are shorter.

Something I Love About My WIP

Right now I'm in the stage of revision where I hate everything about this project. (Especially the part where it insists on getting revised in the morning.) Because of my utter hate, I'll just default back to the mimes. The inanity of them helps and because I love them so hard, I'm striving for them not to be seen only a plot device. It's fun and simultaneously hard to come up with an entire backstory for a mime troupe.

Random Factoid From the Week

No factoids this week due to revision cave. Though bestie D and I may have stumbled upon the best way to handle clothes shopping: cocktails first and your body image flies right out the window.

How's your fall going? Getting lots of stuff done? Share below and then stop by Pam and Quita's blog!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Things I Love: The Happiest Cat in the World

If you've been reading this for a while, you know I have a thing about cats. If you've been reading recently, you know that I've been dealing with a lot of life crap. Further, if you know me in real life you also know that the life crap is the kind that's hard or impossible to resolve. Which, in turn, has kinda made me a sad, cynical sack.

Credit
To battle this horrible thing called depression, I use Pinterest to find pictures of things to cheer me. This usually involves looking at cats, dogs, and baby animals in general. Then I found The Happiest Cat in the World.

Yeah, he's been around for a while. But I don't care. He's adorable and seeing him just puts a smile on my face. I'm not the only one who can't resist this happy, happy cat. When I showed Hubby, he had the biggest smile he's had in forever.

That alone is important.

See more on Know Your Meme
But, Alicia, you have two cats. What is it about this cat that makes you so happy?

My cats do make me happy, but I know their temperaments. The White One is a sad cat and The Stripey One is standoffish. The only thing I know about this cat is what I glean from pictures. What I love the most is the utter contentment on its face. In almost all of the pictures, this cat looks like it has a smile--even when there are things on the cat.


So, if you're feeling down and need some cheering, click through the links here and see all the happy cat photos:

What kinds of things do you go to when you need cheering?



Monday, September 21, 2015

Accountability Monday

To keep myself on task with everything I have to do outside of my day job, I've started Accountability Monday where I'll share my successes and failures from the past week and my goals for the upcoming one. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.

How I Did Last Week

Much better. On the revision front. I did about 18 hours of revisions this past week, but I still need to step up my game if I want to actually hit my goal of having this done by mid-October. Past Alicia left me so much work to do that it's actually daunting at times. I mean, look at this screen shot from my revision session today.
Each revision item makes the WIP stronger.

This was taken when I was on page 48 and I still have 298 comments that need to be addressed. That's right, queue panic. And lack of sleep.

Alicia, what about that exercise routine you've been talking about?
Shhh... Let's not talk about that now.

My Goal(s) For This Week 


  • Achieve 2-6 hours of revision per day for SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT.
  • Actually start that exercise routine we failed to do last week. 
  • Stretch goal --> Do 1-2 hours of research and planning on The SNI per day. (This will depend on if I do SFLN revisions after the day job or not.)


Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week 

The day job. Revision, as you know, takes a lot of brain power. Unfortunately, it's the same part of my brain I use during the day so any revising I do at night isn't as productive as my morning revision. But And I really don't want waking up at 4.30 AM to become a habit. I like sleeping.

Something I Love About My WIP 

The on-the-spot researching I need to do so I can add a better setting detail. For example, I listened to about 5 minutes of rebel yells today. And that there is more than one way to play Hacky Sack.

Random Factoid From the Week

The Big E, which is a state fair in Western Massachusetts, has a butter sculpture every year. It uses 600 pounds of butter. The theme changes yearly and has to stay in a sealed room.
This is what 600 lbs
of butter looks like

How did you do this week? What did you do this week? Share below. Then, go visit Pam and Quita.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Accountability Monday

We're at mid-September already, Lurkdom. How is this happening? How can we make it stop? Or at least go on pause because I have a lot of stuff to do and haven't done half of it because of life.

Speaking of doing or not doing things, you're here to see how I did last week. I almost forgot. If you're new, welcome to Accountability Monday where I tell you my goals for the week and how I did last week. Anyone can join in. :)

How I Did Last Week 

Simply put, bad. I completed my read through SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT and inserted all of my handwritten notes into the manuscript, but that's it. I kept wanting to nap and read Dark Tower 5 instead.

My Goal(s) For This Week 


  • Achieve 2-3 hours of revision per day for SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT.
  • Actually start that exercise routine we failed to do last week.

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Motivation and anxiety. The day job triggers my anxiety something fierce which makes everything else a major challenge. So things like reading or hours of Pinterest seem like a smarter alternative.

Something I Love About My WIP 

Right now, not much. There is so much work that still needs to be done. Damn you, Past Alicia for not working hard enough!

Random Factoid From the Week

At 13 pounds, a full grown dachshund is SMALLER than The White One and one pound heavier than The Stripey One.
Image from Pinterest

So, Pam and Quita are doing the 777 Challenge today. Go check out what they're doing!

Are you working on any goals or major things this fall? Want support/encouragement/accountability? Let me know.

Friday, September 11, 2015

7x7x7 Challenge

The fantastic Erin Funk tagged me in the 7-7-7- challenge. How does it work? Post the 7th line on the 7th page of your WIP, followed by the next 7 lines. Then, tag 7 other writers to take part in the challenge too.

This challenge was deceptively hard.Good thing I had several projects to look through. The scene below is taken from PHOENIX RISING. During this scene, my character is in jail. (Not for the first time either.)

Over the din of conversation, Walker picked up the clang of a steel door in the distance. The only time it opened was when a guard brought food in, but it was too early for that. And if it weren’t, it would be only one pair of feet with a cart. Walker clearly heard two pairs. One of which had a definite limp that he knew all too well. Rage overtook Walker’s fear as his master’s mocking laugh echoed against the walls. 
“I’m serious, Ianos. You should consider it as an alternative to… you know.” 
Walker barely registered the officer that stopped in front of the cell; he was too focused on the man next to him. A fucking week.

Since I've been out of the blogging game for a wicked long time, I'm only truly tagging Pam and Quita (more on that below). In terms of the other 6, consider you all tagged, Lurkdom.

You know how I'm going to continue my accountability on Mondays? So is Pam and Quita. The three of us will also blog on Fridays. Since blogging has become a challenge because of life, we're working on a team mentality to keep consistent. If you're interested in joining us, let me know. :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Accountability Mondays: Fall Edition

Credit
Happy Labor Day to those in the US. This is one of my favorite holidays because I can thrift store shop for 50% off. On a weekday. Don't judge. But you're not here to listen to me fangirl about thrift stores. You're here for other things.

Fact: I was a very prolific blogger. Further fact: Unemployment and subsequent employment threw all of that out of the window. Because of this summer's Ready. Set. WRITE! I managed to blog more than I have in years. And because of this, I'm going to continue with the blogging.

Starting today! My new blog schedule will be Mondays and Wednesdays*. Mondays will be similar to what I've done over the summer by sharing goals and achievements. The other day will be a wild card.

For Accountability Mondays, I'll use the following headers:

  • How I Did Last Week
  • My Goal(s) for This Week
  • Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week
  • Something I Love About My WIP
  • Random Factoid of the Week

Since I consider it fall as soon as September graces the calendar, I have new goals for the season. There much smaller than the summer's goal. If I learned one thing from RSW, too many goals can force burnout.

This fall, my goals are:

  • Complete a new round of revisions for SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT now that I got beta feedback. 
  • Complete research on The SNI and complete a first draft.
  • Maintain exercise routine.
  • Stretch goal--> Begin revisions on the boy band book. Oh, and find a title for it.

And my goals for this week are:

  • Read through SFLN and make tons of notes for improvement.
  • Spend 5-10 hours revising.
  • Ease into new exercise routine with Hubby by some hardcore walking.


Feel like you need to do something like this? Join in. The more, the merrier!

*This may change into Fridays. I'm still on the fence about the second day.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Wrap Up: Ready. Set. WRITE!

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer accountability series that is hosted by Jaime MorrowKaty UppermanAlison MilerErin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij. We set goals for the summer and check in weekly. 

This is it. The final check in. Queue up the opening chords to The Final Countdown. (If you have no idea what this is, click here.) I managed to knock off everything on my summer goal list plus plot out a the sequel to PHOENIX RISING. Because of RSW, I seriously accomplished so much. So a big thank you to Jaime, Katy, Alison, Erin, and Elodie. You guys helped me get so much done.

My summer in a nutshell was research and work on three different projects. I can only hope that I'll continue to be this productive come the fall. (Which you'll be able to find out every Monday where I continue with accountability posts. Unofficially, I'm taking this week off.)


How I Did Last Week

  • Complete the beta I started last week. DONE
  • Figure out a blog schedule to maintain. DONE. Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Start working on a doable exercise routine. DONE. Hubs and I will start next week.
  • Walk 5 days. Maybe 4. DONE. 4 days.
  • Stretch goal--> Continue thinking about revision plan for the boy band book. DONE
  • Additional stretch goal --> Do some research for The SNI. DONE

Manicure and Manuscript

Because we all worked so hard on RSW, we deserve a manicure as a reward. Disclaimer: I'm not very good at these. I'm pretty much a slap the nail polish on and call it a day type person. So it was a little hard to do something different. And because I dealt with 3 different WIPs, it was hard to figure out which one to do.  I decided on the boy band book because it's plagued my waking thoughts recently. Since Colt's in a boy band (and ends up in another band) I went with music notes.

And the excerpt...
Here's a really rough excerpt from the boy band book. This scene is from Colt's POV. Because of some bad choices early on in the novel, he's been forced to move back to his hometown--a place he hasn't seen in 5 years--and make amends with the friends he left behind.

I print out the file Kevin sent with the terrible cheesy songs he expects us to sing on our next album. If there is a next album. And bring them to school next morning.
Maddie sits on the front stairs of the high school, book and notebook in her lap, pen in between her lips. For a second I picture something else in place of that pen until I shove that into the late night compartment of my brain.
“Hey, thanks for meeting me so early,” I say as I climb the steps and sit next to her.
“It’s no problem. I was coming in early anyway.” She tucks her notebook into the textbook to mark it’s place and put both back inside her book bag. “What’s up?”
“I need your opinion about some lyrics.”
Maddie’s eyes widen in surprise. “I didn’t know you wrote lyrics.”
“I don’t. That’s the problem. Someone else always does it for me.”
I pull my backpack onto my lap and pull out the sheets of paper from my email. Maddie leans close to peer at what I’m grabbing and the flowery scent of her perfume hits me. I ignore the way my body jerks in reaction to her and talk my way through what I’m about to show.
“Kevin—our manager—sent us a bunch of different songs acceptable for our next album. We’re supposed to pick our favorite ten songs and go from there.”
Maddie accepts the pages from me, our fingers brush against the others as she does. I want them to stay that way so I can have that small amount of contact besides her arm and leg pressed against mine. As she reads, I explain why I want her opinion. All because of my conversation with the green haired mohawk kid in detention.
Maddie giggles as she reads through the lyrics. “Colt, these are horrible. I think I wrote better poetry in ninth grade English.”
“It’s lyrics, Maddie, not poetry.”
“It’s a form of poetry.”
She moves her lips as she reads, no sound coming out. Fascinated, I watch as she absorbs everything in front of her. This is why she does so good in school I bet. And if she takes something as stupid as potential Back 2 Front lyrics this seriously how would she be with something less academic and more physical? Not that I should think about that.
She hands the lyrics back to me. “All of these are classics examples why I can’t stand your music. There’s no meat to any of these songs.”
“Yeah, but songs like this give me enough money that once I’m old enough, I can do whatever I want.”
“And what is that?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Maybe you should figure that out.” 
She leans her head against her arms as they rest on top on her legs. This does nothing for me to keep my thoughts in the friend zone. Not when she’s drawing attention to her legs and how her leggings cling to her calves and thighs. A lock of her hair swings lose and I wrap my finger around it.
“What would you do with the money?” I ask.
“If I had the money I’d save it for college.” Her eyes flick between my fingers and my face.
“Other than school, what would you use it for?”
“Maybe to go somewhere exotic. Someplace I wouldn’t be able to go see otherwise. But I don’t have that money, you do,” she says.
“To be honest, most of the money is tied up in shit that I don’t even understand. Part of it is for my sister's doctor bills and college fund. The rest Mom has someone manage for me.”
I sigh. I don’t know what part of my life someone else doesn’t control. Or how or when it got this bad.
“So these crap songs draw bank. Is that what you want to be known for, though?”
No it’s not. I’ve known that for last few months. Reading these lyrics cements that. I press my lips to her temple and get up to go. “Thanks, Maddie.”




Monday, August 24, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 12

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer accountability series that is hosted by Jaime MorrowKaty UppermanAlison MilerErin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij. We set goals for the summer and check in weekly. 

Welp, summer is winding down. (Still no beach in sight). And the first local apples have hit the grocery store. Which is fantastic, because I love apples. However, it's just one calendar page closer to Snowmageddon Part 3. I know, I know. We're far, far away from dealing with that. I will continue to enjoy August. (And hopefully get a beach day in)

Some of my recent weekly goals have been a bit challenging because of the day job. Some stuff I can do when it's quiet, like figure out a revision plan or do some light research. Anything that requires intense concentration -- betaing, revising, drafting -- can't be done due to the nature of working in a call center*. But, we all have our crosses to bear.

How I Did Last Week


  • Do my final pass on the beta from last week. DONE!
  • Begin betaing another friend's manuscript. DONE! Well, done as in I began it. I'm in round 2 of reading throuh it.
  • Walk every day.  Fail. 5 out of 7. It's been too damn humid.
  • Fold and put away laundry. DONE! This is what I'm most proud of this week.
  • Stretch goal--> Continue thinking about revision plan for the boy band book. DONE! 
  • Additional stretch goal --> Do some research for The SNI. DONE!

My Goal(s) For This Week


  • Complete the beta I started last week.
  • Figure out a blog schedule to maintain.
  • Start working on a doable exercise routine**.
  • Walk 5 days. Maybe 4.
  • Stretch goal--> Continue thinking about revision plan for the boy band book. 
  • Additional stretch goal --> Do some research for The SNI. 

One Phrase That Sums Up What I Wrote/Revised

In progress. Everything I've worked on this past week has been to get ready for the next step, so this is apt.

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Ugh. Myself. The day job leaves me depressed and full of self-loathing pretty much every day. Have you ever tried to work on anything while under that kind of emotional blanket? It's HARD.

Something I Love About My WIP

Researching all the Japanese stuff for The SNI. It reminds me a bit of 5th grade for International Day, I did a presentation on Japan. Except this time I'm not learning about the economy or political structure.



* It's a glamorous life. Try not to be jealous.
** Pretty sure this will be a list that won't do anything until this depression goes away.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 11

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer accountability series that is hosted by Jaime MorrowKaty UppermanAlison MilerErin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij. We set goals for the summer and check in weekly.

So these goals things. When I'm not actually doing something creative (like brainstorming The SNI) and focusing on more other side of the brain (like revising), everything crashes to an almost stop. No joke. Plus, this weekend I was at ComiConn at Mohegan Sun because Hubby was doing that joke thing. He killed it. Hopefully, this means he'll get serious about his comedy again.

Also, I get bored at casinos. And claustrophobic on exhibition floors. The things you learn about yourself at the most random times, right?

How I Did Last Week


  • Complete the beta I started last week. I completed 2 rounds of it, but sometimes a third is in order. THAT hasn't happened.
  • Walk every day. 6 out of 7.
  • Complete reading final workshop of PLANNING YOUR NOVEL. DONE. 
  • Stretch goal-->Think about the Assassin Project and the boy band books and formulate a rough revision plan. DONE. This is basically a whole bunch of questions that need answering, but now I know what needs to be done.


My Goal(s) For This Week 


  • Do my final pass on the beta from last week.
  • Begin betaing another friend's manuscript.
  • Walk every day.
  • Fold and put away laundry.
  • Stretch goal--> Continue thinking about revision plan for the boy band book.
  • Additional stretch goal --> Do some research for The SNI.


One Phrase That Sums Up What I Revised 

So. Much. Research.

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week 

Motivation. The heat and humid of August saps most of my energy, which makes it hard to do much of anything. I mean, hell, I've put a goal of fold laundry for a reason. And it's only a small load!

Something I Love About My WIP

I recently read through the first draft of the boy band book and I love my boy MC's voice. I'm pretty excited to get back into that story.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 10

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer accountability series that is hosted by Jaime MorrowKaty UppermanAlison MilerErin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij. We set goals for the summer and check in weekly.

Whelp, We're fully entrenched in August. I'm not sure how this happened. And now that I hauled through one of the major, major goals for the summer, I'm a little bit lost as to what needs to be done next. I still think there's something wrong with this WIP, but I can't articulate the problem. Like, people love dialogue heavy things, amiright?

How I Did Last Week 


  • Continue SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT revisions. DONE. Now I just need to send it to betas. 
  • Get up at 5 AM Tuesday-Friday so I can walk to work before it gets way too hot. ACHIEVED, sort of. I woke up at 5 every day, but only walked 4 days because I carpooled with a coworker.
  • Walk every day. Nope. I only managed 5 days.
  • Beta a friend's manuscript. In progress. My revisions took too long so this isn't complete.
  • Stretch goal-->Get at least halfway through final workshop of PLANNING YOUR NOVEL. DONE. This is a massive workshop and I'm not as prepared to do the exercises in it for The SNI but I'm reading.

My Goal(s) For This Week 


  • Complete the beta I started last week. 
  • Walk every day.
  • Complete reading final workshop of PLANNING YOUR NOVEL.
  • Stretch goal-->Think about the Assassin Project and the Boy Band books and formulate a rough revision plan.

Favorite Line From My Story 

"It's a low-rent clown. I hate clowns."

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week 

The revision itself. SFLN is terrifyingly short for a contemporary YA and for some reason this book doesn't like the concepts "exposition" and "narration" at all. This was a hard won revision round. Hopefully my beta readers won't hate me when we're done.

Something I Love About My WIP

How the mimes have taken on a life of their own. In the WIP and in real life. In the WIP, they have multiplied like rabbits so now there is a mime horde. Bestie Danielle and I randomly incorporate mimes in our conversation. She even commented that a show her son watched dealt with a mime. Then there are all the YouTube videos I found on miming, and of course there's this mime meme.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 9

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer accountability series that is hosted by Jaime MorrowKaty UppermanAlison MilerErin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij. We set goals for the summer and check in weekly.

Because of the revision cave, I wasn't able to pre-game today's post. So, I'm writing this from the confines of the day job desk before I get some revision time in. This, by the way, seems to be the preferred revision method for SFLN. I prefer the bed and The Stripey One. It's so weird how fickle WIPs can be.

How I Did Last Week 

  • Continue SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT revisions. So, so close to finished. As of last night, I have 40 pages left to revise. Then I have some new scenes to write.
  • Get up at 5 AM Tuesday-Friday so I can walk to work before it gets way too hot. Done. And because of that, I've been revising in the morning. My brain is toast in the evening.
  • Walk every day (except today). Erm, well. I walked every work day.
  • Stretch goal-->Get at least halfway through final workshop of PLANNING YOUR NOVEL. Nope. Revision takes precedent, though I have been thinking of the SNI and how it may not be a NaNo novel after all.

My Goal(s) For This Week Continue 

  • SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT revisions. 
  • Get up at 5 AM Tuesday-Friday so I can walk to work before it gets way too hot. 
  • Walk every day. 
  • Beta a friend's manuscript. 
  • Stretch goal-->Get at least halfway through final workshop of PLANNING YOUR NOVEL.  
 

One Word/Phrase That Sums Up What I Revised 

Taking too long.

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week 

The Tower. I stupidly decided to reread The Dark Tower series, completely forgetting how much of a junkie I am for it. Now when I should be revising, I'm thinking about what I just read like a literary Rhea of the Coos. Or I'm on Pinterest looking up fan art.

Something I Love About My WIP 

Even though I'm not there yet, the mimes.

Good luck on hitting those goals this week. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 8

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer accountability series that is hosted by Jaime MorrowKaty UppermanAlison MilerErin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij. We set goals for the summer and check in weekly.

I started the week off with bang, clearing out the small goals so I could focus on the bigger one. Then, I dragged my feet. A lot.

How I Did Last Week 


  • Continue SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT revisions. DONE, but still in progress.
  • Send out 3 queries. DONE 
  • Beta a friend's picture book. DONE 
  • Get up at 5 AM Monday-Friday so I can walk to work before it gets way too hot. DONE. Well, sort of. I was up 5.10 every day. Even Saturday. 
  • Walk every day, even if it's to Dunkin and back. Only 6 days, not bad.
  • Add voice exercises to Scrivener template. DONE 
  • Stretch goal-->Get at least halfway through final workshop of PLANNING YOUR NOVEL. Ha ha. No. Because I was dragging my feet so much on revising SFLN.


My Goal(s) For This Week 


  • Continue SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT revisions.
  • Get up at 5 AM Tuesday-Friday so I can walk to work before it gets way too hot.
  • Walk every day (except today).
  • Stretch goal-->Get at least halfway through final workshop of PLANNING YOUR NOVEL

One Word/Phrase That Sums Up What I Revised 

So much work.

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week 

Overcoming revision fear. Whenever I start revising I almost become paralyzed by the idea that revising could make my WIP worse.

Something I Love About My WIP 

This revision process. Normally I grumble and swear--and  I'm still doing that--but the way I have this revision set up is interesting. Because of the timeline I'm dealing with, I actually have a grid. See?
SFLN Timeline & Revision Grid


How did you do this week?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 7

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer accountability series that is hosted by Jaime MorrowKaty UppermanAlison MilerErin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij. We set goals for the summer and check in weekly.

Week 7. Still no beach. this past week was definitely a challenge week. So let's see how I shaped up, shall we?

How I Did Last Week


  • Work on some business stuff for The Writers' Loft. DONE. For now.
  • Send out 3 more queries. This didn't happen.
  • Get at least halfway through Workshop 9 of PLANNING YOUR NOVEL - completed entire workshop. DONE. I completed the entire workshop.
  • Begin revisions on the last third of SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT. Nope. I had to dial it back and work on the timeline for SFLN first. That, at least, is done.
  • Read. DONE
  • Continue to walk every day, even if it's just to Dunkin and back. Nope. I only managed 4 or 5 days.


My Goal(s) For This Week


  • Continue SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT revisions.
  • Send out 3 queries.
  • Beta a friend's picture book
  • Get up at 5 AM Monday-Friday so I can walk to work before it gets way too hot.
  • Walk every day, even if it's to Dunkin and back.
  • Add voice exercises to Scrivener template.
  • Stretch goal-->Get at least halfway through final workshop of PLANNING YOUR NOVEL.

One Phrase That Sums Up What I Revised

Not quite there yet. I'm identifying some weaknesses in SFLN that I thought I had addressed. Here's hoping I can get these fixed with relative ease.

Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Not accounting for time and life. I had a shortened weekend which threw me off my game all week.This week hopefully will go smoother.

Something I Love About My WIP

I still love how fast of a read SFN is and I hope I can maintain that once I complete this revision.

How did you all do this week?

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