Monday, September 11, 2017

September Updates

I am working hard on a number of projects. I'm sure I need to be telling myself it's crunch time, but for what? Perks of being my own boss, I guess. I treat my employees like superstars. ;-)

Like any good writer, I'm also looking to diversify my business and take full advantage of my skills. Along with the current gig I have on Fiverr, I'll be adding another one soon to help with editing blog posts. That, and I'm looking to take the first step in making my presence uber-professional, so I need to complete enough gigs to pay for that logo I've been wanting. I'm also embarking on a way to focus more on my fiction work (hint: rhymes with Smatreon), but you'll be hearing more about that in the coming weeks.

I know you're wondering about the writing. It's going as well as it can be. I have poetry ready to go for submission on Friday, MoL #3 is still coming along, and I'm nearly finished with revisions on my latest short story, which I hope to be submitting somewhere by the end of the month. I've also been slowly finishing a first draft that's been taking forever, and since I've switched what project I want to try with Kindle Scout, there are more plans to be made and writing to be done.

What are you working on this week?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Weekend Reads: The Lauras

An escape. A road trip. A pilgrimage to understand one and discover the other. In The Lauras, a woman is faced with the need to get away from her life, and in doing so pulls her child Alex with her. The relationship between mother and child grows and develops as they hit the open road, both trying to find different things while still holding onto the best parts of their individual pasts.

Although the story is told through Alex, it is Alex's mom's stories that are prominent throughout the book. These stories about all the different Lauras (a generic name given to all of the transformative women in Ma's life) are sort of destinations on the map across the United States. In each stop that the pair make, there is a quest or a task that Ma must complete before she and her child can move onto the next phase of the journey. It is through these stories that Alex learns about Ma and her childhood, and intertwines Alex's own story of growing up in the present. All of Alex's needs and all of Ma's secrets play a delicate tug of war to provide plenty of interesting moments in the novel.

The one aspect of this book that seems to settle in the background until on a few occasions it is brought to the forefront is the fact that Alex wants to remained untethered by gender identification. The key to reading the story of Alex is to push yourself past the assumptions you make while you are reading the story. I know that I found it difficult to not put Alex in a box, based on the actions Alex took and things Alex thought throughout the novel. I had a clear idea in my mind who Alex was at the beginning, but as the novel went on, it morphed and I turned out second guessing my original thoughts about who Alex could be. I even skimmed the novel after reading it to see if the author provided any hint as to how Alex couldn't fall into at least one gender stereotype to give away the answer, but Taylor was great at crafting Alex the way Alex wanted to be portrayed. 

That's the whole idea of Alex's side of the story--if you want to respect Alex's narrative, you must give up trying to figure out whether Alex is male or female. Alex doesn't want it to matter to the story, so it shouldn't matter to the reader. With or without it, it's a good story of family, of adventure and the need to know whether the definition of home is within a place or within yourself.

Interested in reading The Lauras for yourself? You can find out more information about the book from Penguin Random House. You can also learn more about Sara Taylor by reading her bio.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Ending Camp and Beginning Again

It's the last day of the month, so that means I only have to write 6412 words by midnight to meet my Camp NaNoWriMo goal.

Uh... since it's Monday (the busiest day of my week) and since it's more than 5k left to go, I doubt I will make it. This project isn't schedule to be released until January 2018, so I know I don't have to rush the process right now. I just have to get it all down on paper first.

The best thing I can do right now is keep it all in perspective. Not hitting 10,000 words in a month seems like I was slacking, but when I take the time to consider how many words a day I really write, it doesn't seem so bad. Combining paid freelancing gigs, blogging, book reviews and journaling, I probably write close to 5k per day before I start working on any of my other projects. If I had the luxury to do nothing but work on one single project for the whole month, I don't think it's out of this world to say I could write a full first draft every 30 days. But who has that luxury? I'm not sure any writer does.

And then comes August. I like to try and concentrate on a single project every month, and I'm leaning towards scripts again with a drama feature that I just need to finish revising. I'm still trying to get my pesky toes in those waters, but it's slow going. Stage 32 seems okay for networking, but without a completed project (other than short scripts I've done in the past), there's not really any momentum. But my drama would be cheap to produce, so let's see if I can network with the right person at the right time.

What are you working on in August?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Marathon Has Begun!

I mentioned a couple of months ago I was setting up a reading project for myself, but stayed vague on the details. So, what's the project? I've embarked on a reading marathon. I'm giving myself a year (hopefully that's enough time!) to read the entire Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin--plus Super Specials, Mysteries, and spinoffs. Thanks to a user on this BSC board for the complete list, I know that it is 367 books. But they are children's books, so maybe I have to invest an hour and a half to each, including note-taking time.

Why am I doing this? Honestly, I don't entirely know. There was a hankering to do it, so I decided now is the time. I know what it's not--it's not some desperate attempt to recapture my youth, because most of the time I spent reading these stories as a kid I finished each book wishing I was a character in it and totally jealous that I wasn't. Though I can see it being beneficial to me as a writer, because it's a deep study of a successful series that's stood the test of time. And I never got to read them all as a kid, so now I can fill in the gaps.

Originally, this marathon was supposed to be for Sweet Valley High and all of those spinoffs because I only read a few Sweet Valley University titles in middle school (and loved them, of course), but there were a few problems with a SVH marathon--the major problem being the spinoffs are not available for Kindle yet. And I'm a stickler about reading in chronological order, which means there are three or four spinoffs that take place before the original series. The additional problem with a SVH marathon is that there is no single list of every title available like the BSC has, and as far as I can tell while I'm putting one together myself, there has to be close to 600 books. I'm a good reader, but whoa... maybe that marathon needs a little more planning.

Along with this is all that regular, mundane adulting I have to do. Like finishing the third installment for my Kindle Worlds series. It's going slow, but it's going. I still hope to succeed with 10k words before the end of the month. I just need to give myself a little boost to get through that first draft.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Are You Getting Ready for #PrimeDay?

It's that time again! Amazon's going to be crazy over the next couple of days because they are offering some amazing deals to Prime members. Not a member yet? You can sign up now so you won't miss a thing:

And here are just some of the deals that you'll find for this year's Prime Day. Which of these are most appealing to you?

Prime Day 2017 - 30 Hours of Deals

Kindle - Up to 40% Off Kindle Unlimited

Get 4 months of Amazon Music Unlimited for $0.99

Save 20% on Select Home Services Leading Up to Prime Day