December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Difficult as it is to believe, we have reached the final day of 2013! I hope this year brought you further along your path, whether in writing or your life in general.  Even for those who have felt stuck, the shift into the New Year is a wonderful opportunity to seize upon refreshing momentum and get yourself going again!

I don't quite believe in New Year's resolutions, as they seem to imply we've been doing something wrong all year, but I'd love to know what goals you hope to reach in 2014!  Personally, I hope to finish writing my NaNo 2013 novel, finish editing my Muse story, and of course, continue writing and seeking publication.

Here's to a healthy, productive, prolific, and love-filled year!!

December 27, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-3

This is the last Flash! Friday prompt of the year, which is crazy to think about: 5 days until the New Year!

This week's mandatory element is hope, in a story based on the prompt below:

December 23, 2013

Authors Give It Away

It's astounding how intrinsic a part of the online community giveaways are, particularly, though not exclusively, among writers.  Cover reveal? Giveaway.  Blog anniversary? Giveaway.  Book release? Major giveaway.  At any given point in time, hundreds if not thousands of dollars' worth of gift cards, books, e-books, and book-related "swag" is being freely offered.

In the last few months, I've heard of three giveaway "hops" – in which literally hundreds of authors / bloggers participate in a themed giveaway.  These were a Spooky hop leading up to Halloween; a Dystopian hop the first week of November, just because; and a Best of 2013 hop which recently ended.  These of course don't take into account all the independent giveaways scheduled by authors, bloggers, and reviewers.  

December 20, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-2

So that we all remember, the rules require a 150 word story (+/- 10) on the photo prompt below.  This week's story must also incorporate the required element: duty.

To be honest, the addition of a required element seems to really affect my approach to the prompt, and a few different ideas went through my mind this week, including a snowman army, bravely performing their duty.  What does this combination make you think?

December 16, 2013

Guest Post: Karen Lopp

The two questions I have been asked the most since becoming a published author have been about why I chose to write what I write about, and how I edit my books. I was drawn to write Historical Western Romance by a number of factors. I could identify with the spirit of the Old West since I grew up on a farm. While we had a lot more conveniences than people did in the 1800’s, some things never change. The livestock must be fed and watered every day, no matter what the weather or what you had planned. For example, my sister-­in-­law grew up in North Dakota on a dairy farm. When there was a wedding they partied hard, until it was time to go milk the cows; then everyone would go home, change into their work clothes, milk the cows, then change back into their tuxes and go back to partying! It was just something you did, without complaint, without being asked, and not expecting anyone else to come over and help. That type of rugged individualism was epitomized with the pioneers, ranchers, and business owners of the Old West. I applaud the courage and strength it took to make a life in the untamed wilderness.

Reading is also a huge part of why I write and why I write Westerns. I have read every single one of Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour’s books – multiple times! Their descriptions were so accurate that when I took my first trip to New Mexico, it felt like going home, the scenery and sights were so familiar to me. I also found fascinating tidbits of information from researching my family tree, I discovered most of my ancestors migrated West. My roots are out here, so it was a natural choice to write about the West.

December 13, 2013

Flash! Friday: Year Two

It's week 53 for Flash! Friday, which means it's the start of year two, and in addition to a new visual theme, we have some new rules!
  • Going forward, every prompt will stick to the same word count: 150 +/- 10.
  • Each photo prompt will also be accompanied by a new mandatory element that must be included in the story. 
This week's mandatory element is laughter, in a story based on this prompt: 

December 9, 2013

When Life Interferes

As writers, we are pressured, both by ourselves and well-intentioned family members / friends / critique partners / blog posts / articles / etc. to absolutely always, without fail, prioritize our writing.  Though I don't disagree with the intention, as we do in fact have to make time to write if we ever hope to make it in this intense business, the outside world reminded me recently that this isn't always possible – and the remorse I felt was disproportionate to my so-called "crime."

Here's what happened: 

December 2, 2013

After NaNo

Somehow, in the midst of NaNo and the desire to have made it through that crazy, 30-day challenge, we (or at least I) forget that coming out the other side leaves us in December.  Unfortunately, this is just a fact of life – another year is coming to a close.  Still, in these last few weeks of 2013, much can be accomplished.  

Then again, much already has.  Despite my struggle this year, I did manage to reach 50,000 words in my latest book, with about 25 minutes to spare.  In the world of NaNoWriMo, that alone marks me as a "winner," though of course there is a lot of work yet to be done in this book (and I actually still have to edit my previous one).

That being said, I am not yet (maybe not ever?) going to offer any reflections on NaNo's powers, mostly because all I want to do after the craziness of the last month is sleep.  However, much is happening this week!

First, tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, which is an initiative started to encourage people to take time to support community and nonprofit efforts.  While I think lending your support behind any responsible cause is wonderful, I'm taking this opportunity to remind you about Scripting Change, and the easy way to help – buy their book, Seeing Past Sickness! (Click on the cover image in the side bar for a list of places to buy.)  There are 2 of my pieces in this collection, but I do think it is a wonderful, worthwhile cause that could genuinely benefit from your support – which will directly benefit those in need!

Also this week, the Flash! Friday anniversary bash: 5 days to write a flash fiction story, based on the photo prompt, for honest-to-goodness prizes, including publication!  Stories must be 350 words exactly, and I hope to participate myself, but more importantly, encourage you to do the same! Let's see what happens.