Category Archives: Dreamie’s Box

Launches, Dockets, and Lingering Projects

Happy little girl

Once upon a time there was a raw writer who dreamed of having a marvelously exciting and successful career. She took advantage of each lesson in the craft that passed her way (assuming she could afford it.) She toiled into the night writing stories, tales that would probably go nowhere.

In the daylight hours, she toiled at whichever job she happened to inhabit at the time. There was the ranch hand, the data entry specialist, receptionist, inventory controller and shipping supervisor, executive secretary and owner of a cleaning service. And all before the age of thirty.

Serious learning erupted later, interrupted by daily reality and financial requirements. Writing dreams found a surface vent only when circumstances forced a severe re-examination of a life destination. The result was a monolithic story book in two volumes. The publishing knowledge, however, didn’t exist for her.

As for all people, circumstances and situations are fluid in life. The writer learned through trial, error and networking with all levels of other writers. She became a researcher of her own future.

Book Cover 03Now, this emerging writer has a few small volumes published. She has articles on different aspects of writing published in several arenas, both online and in print. She also has her first novel nearly ready to launch; and not just any novel but the first in a fantasy series.

This handful of paragraphs describes my journey toward becoming a “real” writer. Along the way, my experiences created characters for later use. Scenery, rich and varied, was laid into a mental photo album to create settings that were vibrant and alive. Not until I looked back, could I see the many lessons and tools I’d squirreled away for my current time at the keyboard.

I believe that each of us carries within us a collage scrapbook of images and characters, scenarios and plots that spring from out past like daisies adorning a fallow field. We each carry the buds of ideas. I believe we each have a tale to tell; one as unique as our fingerprints and just as valuable.

Launches

Wisher's World Vol. 1In the next month, I will have two launches.  Wisher’s World, Vol. 1: Composing an Apprentice will be the first. It’s been a long road. I first outlined the original plotline in 2008. I began serious work on it in 2014. In between, I’d fiddled with story line, characters and little things. I was working on the rough draft of Dreamie’s Box, at the time.

Last year, I began working through Holly Lisle’s How To Write A Series: Master the Art of Sequential Fiction. Suddenly, Wisher’s World had far more potential than I’d ever realized. Only then was the first volume born.

As a result of this course, the original story line and plot has expanded into at least ten volumes. Some are novel length, like Composing an Apprentice, while others are novelette/novella length. All will operate in a sequential world or on lateral timelines. The whole experience is exciting and a great deal of work.

Another chapbook of flash fiction is also slated for release before mid-October. The next Short Tales book is ready for revision now and waiting for a few hours of dedicated work.

The Docket

In the meantime, other work goes on. There are small chapbooks of flash fiction, poetry, and memoirs to go out on Kindle. There are articles and short stories to be published in magazines, journals, and online news feeds. So much to write and, seemingly, so little time.

director-chair-business-cartoons-vectors_GyG7my_OThe daily docket is constantly full of projects coming in, going out and being developed. There are writing courses, marketing courses, webinars to attend to keep up with trends and all manner of new tools to learn and try out.

Lingering Projects

Dreamie Memior Cover (1)As for lingering projects, Dreamie’s Box takes center stage as soon as Wisher’s World is launched. The short memoirs are already out. Now, Dreamie will finally get her complete rewrite and edit so that her tale can go out into the world, full blown and ready to read. Scarred Love is another novel in rough draft now and going through a critique group. Three books—three different genres.

Behind those projects are ten to fifteen more, most of them already written.

I intended to use 2015 to revamp and submit much of my work already on the hard drive. I’ve discovered that it will take at least another year to pull off that miracle. But, I believe in miracles. My docket got expanded indefinitely, until I can clear all the present material from my files.

The only exception is November’s NaNoWriMo Participant-2014-Web-Banner (1)project. It’ll be a master stroke if I can pull it off, but I have to try—more on that later in October.

Until then, I’m winding up as much summer work as possible with Wisher’s World, and two chapbooks and scheduled articles for publication. October is already full. What is my plan of attack, you ask? Why, one bite and bit at a time, I say.

So tell me, what are you ready to launch? What remains on your docket for the rest of the year? And do you have lingering projects for which planning awaits? Tell us all about your work. I know I’m interested. Drop something in the comments and thrill us all with your coming fireworks.

Chapbook Release Today

My new Short Tales chapbook was released today on Kindle.

Now, everyone will get to know some of the pivotal characters in my novel Dreamie’s Box, which will be coming out this autumn. I’ve lived with these characters for a very long time and still came to know them much better through these short memoirs than I ever would have believed possible.

I ask that you take a chance, check it out, and write a review when you finish. You won’t regret it.

Dreamie Memior Cover (1)http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011ZJVGBG

 

At Home—Reading for the Writer

Book and knowledge concept

These last two weeks were interesting in a number of ways. I rediscovered reading for pleasure—something I’d put on the back burner for too long. Every writer needs to read. If I think about it, someone always wants to know what a writer reads.

When I wasn’t working on stories for submission and a chapbook that will be released this weekend, I read. And before you ask, the books that come home with me are by authors I enjoy or who’ve been recommended by those I trust. The subjects and plotlines are varied.

Home from the Sea Mercedes Lackey 51lQj4cRM8L._AA160_For example: all four books of The Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts, Hangman’s Root by Susan Wittig Albert, Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey, Grammar Girl Editing Checklist (a very short read but worthwhile,) the Hay House World Summit ebook, How to Overcome Procrastination by Paul Newton, Market and Promote Your Book Checklist & Worksheet by Katie Davis, and several other short instructional pieces.

A mix of subjects and genres never hurts a mind’s flexibility. Between reading sessions, a few movies kept my interest—ones I’d never watched before, like Truly, Madly, Deeply. I really liked that one and not just because Alan Rickman was the male lead. I liked the quirkiness of the plot and the thinking that went into it.

You might ask when writing found a space on such a reception-only mindset. Well, I’ve slowed social media down to a crawl to concentrate on writing and all that goes with it. My time is being used more effectively. I hope. Playtime is being built-in again as well. Long days mean working into the night—a practice not unfamiliar to me.

Dreamie Memior Cover (1)My new Short Tales chapbook—Memoirs from Dreamie’s Box is finalized and will be available no later than Sunday. My novella, Wisher’s World, Vol. 1,Composing an Apprentice, is now through the beta reader phase. Now begins the final edit before it goes to the formatter. Its release is slated for the autumn.

There are also three short stories (7500+ words each) in revision for submission to magazines, a slew of poetry in revision for either a collection for competition or a release on Kindle. So you see—it has not been an idyll.

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist the pun. I leave you to return to those pesky words that fill stories. I’ll be back in a few days with an excerpt from Wisher’s World. By the way, that series will go a full eight to ten volumes before it’s finished. The terrific thing is that I’m still discovering secrets about my characters that I would never have suspected before this last rewrite. Secrets that will deepen and intensify the overall story. That’s exciting.

Sailing

Sailing

While I dive into chapters and formatting, why don’t you all take this weekend to play, enjoy, and relish your ability to participate in life. Have a great time. It will never come around again, you know.

 

 

 

At Home with Goals Pressure and Accomplishment

Work In Progress Sign Held By Construction Worker

You make goals for yourself. It doesn’t matter whether they’re for a week, a month, or the year. You’ve made them and you’re determined to see them through.

Terrific! Now what?

Well, if your life is anything like mine, those goals hang like giant water balloons, just waiting for the pin-prick of inattention to drown you. Aspiration doesn’t get a job done. Goals don’t get the job done either.

Only hard work completes the project and sets it up for success.

I should be talking, right? My past year has been one of broken goals and drowned intentions. Life has a way of doing that to a person.

One reason why I don’t let this truth doesn’t get me down is that stubbornness painted a large stripe down my spine at birth. Being a realist has advantages. It may lead to more pessimism at times, but it also allows for idealism to blossom among the weeds.

5b6-052714-akpFebruary’s writing/revision challenge was a success. All the revision goals were completed and then some on Dreamie’s Box. A few new twists were added along the way, and the overall story was strengthened by the group experience of the write-in.

Now, I’ve got to deal with those twists. A new character addition always makes for changes. The hint of a new, previously unplanned murder can shift many scenes and relationships, not to mention all those tiny continuity issues that must be tracked down. In all, pleasure has come with the new work. Everything will be completed soon and ready for the copywriter and then the shopping experience.

On the sidelines for a long time has been the coursework that keeps giving me jabs from the bench. I actually have two courses, a year-long workshop, and a short, do-anytime workshop which clutter my calendar. I also have three separate projects for these courses. I’ve decided to get sneaking about those projects, too.

004-stock-photo-oMarch promises to be the beginning of a long push. For those who’ve witnessed my recent burn-out, don’t begin the lecture. I’ve got things set up so that I only work on courses/projects for one to two hours a day, five days a week. The life lesson was learned well. After looking at what I wanted to accomplish and how many days a week I was willing to work, a workable/doable schedule was created.

DSC_0165It can be argued that goals are like nuts or jewelry. You can’t set just one goal. One nutmeat never satisfies the stomach or the taste buds. They’re always taken in multiples.

004-stock-photo-iAnd like jewelry, one goal is never right for every occasion or event. A goal to write an article for The New Yorker can’t be reused on a fantasy short story for Tor Books. They just aren’t the same. You need more than one gem.

Therein lies some of the pressure put on us by our goals. We focus our attention and intention to get something written for a specific purpose—say a competition, magazine, publisher, etc.—and work toward those intents. If something gets in our way, frustration ensues. If we get balked due to over-scheduling, we take it out on ourselves, as if it were a crime.

That’s where real mistakes are made. The more we allow self-punishment, the worse the situation becomes. The solution, though, is very simple—even for an over-achiever like me.

Schedule half as much work or less each day as you’d really like to get done. Do everything on the schedule that day. When you get to the end of your scheduled work day, reward yourself with something you really enjoy.

007-stock-photo-pThe reward can be anything from social media time to reading a book you put aside three months ago and didn’t get back to. Or, perhaps you’d like to take an afternoon for lunch with friends and a bit of window shopping. Then again, maybe you’d like to take a long nap. The specific reward isn’t as important as the gifting to yourself.

That’s been my biggest lesson in the past months. I don’t guilt myself anymore about not getting something done “on time.” The only deadlines I have at the moment are ones for competitions and open calls for submissions. I’m concentrating on those and my studies.

Everything else is gravy.

So, tell me, are your goals dictating your work, your time, and your emotions? Or, have you developed a plan to sidestep the pitfalls and sail through to whatever port you choose with fair skies and calm seas? Let me know in a comment.

 

At Home with Prepping

 

5b6-052714-akp

A while back I talked about what I planned to do this year with regards to writing. Last time around I showed everyone what I’d done with a piece of micro fiction. And there things have stayed.

This time, though, I’m reporting what’s been going on for the past two weeks. I’ve been prepping for a big push. I’ve been pulling out stories, flash fiction, memoir pieces, poetry, etc. for the sake of getting the best revised and submitted.

Some of what’s been brought back to light will go into short chapbooks for release on Kindle. I have some surprises there. Some are stories which will be submitted to journals or publishing houses for anthologies that have deadline dates. And some will be piled into full length efforts for publication.

Castle Fantasy BackdropAlong the way I also did some serious research into setting aspects for one episodic fantasy series, as well as a few things that will deepen the mystery I’m finishing.

As you can see, I’ve not been idle, though I haven’t been around here to keep everyone company. I study my coursework, do a bit of research, and find time for my critique group and my write-in group and the meetings that go along with those. I’m also taking the time to play on the weekends now.

Play is such a vital piece of a healthier lifestyle. That’s what I needed and what I’m working toward. I have plenty of work to Happy Girl Making A Wish And Making Bubbleskeep me occupied, without having to create any more. My focus is now on finishing and shopping the writing I’ve already got underway.

If I keep harping on marketing from time to time, it’s because I’ll be hip-deep in it every week. If I write about editing and what a write can learn by tearing apart a paragraph and rebuilding it, it’s because my time is spent doing that each day. A case in point—I’m doing a full rewrite and edit of my mystery “Dreamie’s Box” at the moment. I should have it finished completely by the end of February so that it can go to the copywriter and then the formatter.

What I’ve found, though, during this editing process, is that a third of what I wrote for the first draft and its progeny is now in the recycle bin. Why? Because anytime you can trash a complete chapter and not miss any of it in the next reading, tells me that it wasn’t necessary in the first place. And that’s what’s happened. So far, I’ve chucked four full chapters and the majority of two others. Even my critique group—who’ve been through the whole process with me—can’t tell what’s missing.

That, my friends, constitutes a major success in my book—literally.

Now you know what’s been keeping me away and up to my eyeballs during the day. Evenings I’m taking for my own, as well as the weekends. Life’s too short to do it any other way. At least for me.

Take the time to evaluate your own situation. Have you given yourself permission to enjoy your life as well as the things with which you fill it? Do you give yourself time and opportunity to laugh with friends and family and care about the time you devote to them? And do you come back to your vocation/avocation with recharged batteries and a positive attitude?

Let me know. Tell me about it. We all have the same opportunities to screw up. Why keep them to yourselves and feel guilty about them. Hang ‘em on the clothesline and air them out. They always smell fresher after a good airing.

‘Til next week, create something no one else has ever done and enjoy.

 

At Home with December’s Wintry Season and Writing

Heavy Forest Snow 1

It’s snowing here again—at least two inches of fresh whiteness with more on the way has cars slipping and snowplows scraping. How is it where you are?

It’s taken this long to get through the worst of burn-out and back into active writing mode. NaNoWriMo helped with boost me out of my shell. And, thankfully, NaNo is over. The pace can slacken off now.

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

For those who picked up the NaNo challenge, my congratulations. Those who’ve done it for a few years know the story draft is always horrendous. That’s its purpose. Now you have the kernel from which to grow a great story. Muse gave you the bones of it. All you have to do is flesh it out the way your want.

I have one piece of advice for that revision process. Let the thing lay unattended for a while. Ignore the pulsing drive to go back and really dig into it. If you have a beginning outline for it, great! If you don’t, that’s okay too.

Take an hour or two to review your outline or create a new one. When you go back to the story in a few weeks or more, you’ll have something to hang on to while you read through it again. Your perspective will be clearer. Also, in the interim, Muse will tweak your brain with tiny tidbits of additional business or a subplot twist that helps explain/intensify the backstory or plot subtleties. 001-bonus-things-j

Instead of plunging into something new to offset that continuing push to write, consider going back to something that’s sitting on your hard drive or out in a Cloud somewhere. Pull out something old, do a rewrite and edit and send that puppy out to a market. Use NaNo’s momentum to keep you focused on production. After all, it doesn’t have to be anything more grandiose than a poem submission to an online magazine/journal.

It’s something submitted. The confidence boost will do you good. Think of it as a present to yourself.

You might ask what I wrote for NaNo. Believe it or not, it was a women’s fiction novel. I wasn’t a rebel this year. The story doesn’t fit into any one genre specifically. It has a bit of western, some romance, a texture-1crime mystery, and other bits to keep it interesting. I hope. It’s also resting now. I’ll deal with it sometime in next year.

At the moment I’m finishing a complete revision and edit of Dreamie’s Box, my women’s cozy mystery. That will keep me occupied this month. January has a couple of complete revisions to do on shorter pieces. In fact, that’s my plan for much of next year—revisions and submissions of my backlog fiction.

Plans are to show up here and on my other website every week from now on. I’m through being a victim to unrelenting 004-stock-photo-owriting. Instead, I’m moving toward a balance in my life that includes more non-writing activity. I’ve learned, once and for all, that ambition and aspiration can bring you to your knees or worse. I’m taking lessons in tempered living with mindful focus.

So, there you have it. Much of this year has been a trial, but I came through. Here’s a tidbit for you, if you haven’t experienced it before.

The hardest thing I’ve had to do in the past few months is create a post for this website. Obstacles of guilt and other 010-texture-008unpleasant emotions keep throwing up walls to keep me away. It’s become a habit to carry a sledgehammer with me for use on those walls.

Take care, peeps. Write a little bit each day, even if it’s only a clever shopping list for the holiday. Tell someone you love how you feel and that you appreciate them, and enjoy life while you have it and keep safe.

I’ll be back in a few days, I promise. It’s on my to do list each week now in big RED letters. Later!

Dreamie’s Box, a Novel

In a small town, somewhere outside of Savannah, Georgia lives a woman named Dreamie Simple. Her life flips upside-down and sideways when her husband collapses in his office and then dies. His physician doesn’t accept a diagnosis of heart attack and orders an autopsy, which concludes that his death was a homicide.

Dreamie surprises the town folk with her calm, accepting attitude to her husband Martin’s death. She shows no grief or surprise to anyone. Her two best friends don’t expect her to show grief.

Her friends learn that Dreamie has lived a secret life–one totally separate from her married one. She’s independently wealthy. She has a lucrative career. Above all, she had reasons to kill her husband.

While Dreamie had secrets, so did Martin, and his outstripped hers in several ways. She’s a suspect among others. The question comes as to whether her motives appear stronger than his other enemies.