Adventures & Journeys

My Progress so Far…

One quarter gone… Where did the time go?

We are now one quarter of the way through the year and I thought it would be a good time to review my goals and see where my progress is at. So let’s get right into it…

Books

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Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • I would like to say that I am progressing here, but it is definitely slow going as I am in the process of revising book one of the Conquer the Darkness Series due to a publishing conflict.
  • Book 4 is still in the editing stages due to the revision of book one
  • Book 5 is being written, though slower than I would have liked.

~ Some life events took precedence this quarter and I’ve gotten a bit behind here, but never fear, I’ll get back on track bringing you awesome stories and fantastic content!

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • So far I have read three of the twelve books, so I am behind one book. The last book I read was really hard for me to get through and caused me to put it down for several days at a time before picking it back up.

~ Now that I am through that one, I’m ready to pick another and forge ahead!

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • One down, one in progress and four to go!

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • Again I’ve done research and have a goal of getting qualified readers for my Beta group, but have yet to gain actual people to be in the group. So, now I ask you… would you like to be a part of my team? Gain free ARC of my books? And read some awesome fiction? Click Beta Readers if interested and lets go on an adventure!

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Uh! I haven’t even thought about this for more than two seconds! Still one of my goals, but my writing comes first and since I’ve lost time on that all my thoughts are on catching up. Hopefully, my next report will be better on this front.

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • Yet another area I’ve worked on very little. I’ve signed up for Scribofile, which is on-line critiques of your work, but you have to critique and gain points before you can publish your own work to be critiqued.
  • I’ve also started a Wattpad account and have submitted a short story. Head on over to check it out and tell me what you think!
  • Otherwise, that’s as far as I’ve gotten on this. Comment below or click Critique Partner if you’d be interested in being a critique partner for Paranormal Romance/Fantasy books.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • Oh my goodness! Does the chaos never cease? Hopefully, I can get my butt into gear since I took nearly a month off for family reasons. One more thing to add to my list of things to do and very soon. If interested please sign up here.

           

Communication

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Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • Luckily, this is one area I’ve excelled at. I haven’t missed a post yet!
  • Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • I’ve started posting irregularly on my social media accounts, but I’m starting to get better at being on there regularly. More to come!

Business

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I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

~ Going Up!

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

~ Working on! You’re going to love these!

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

~ Lots of video training, may get this up before scheduled!

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

~ Research and development are underway!

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Want to visit my store, click HERE!

~ No where even close to 100 products, so I’m doing what I can and I’ll keep moving to gain more.

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

~ Working on and progressing well!

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

~ New site is up and most pages are complete, just a few more pics and tweaks to go!

Extras/Other

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What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

~ I’ve complete three already and it’s only been four months!

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

~ This was going well, and I hope to get back into it soon!

What About You?

What About

Are you reaching your 2018 goals? 

Are you completing and accomplishing the tasks you set out to do? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s keep each other accountable!

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A Story Grows as a Plant Grows

Spring is upon us and we are beginning to ready our garden for seeds/spuds. Yep, we are adding potatoes to our garden this year!! I can’t wait!

Since my little man loves gardening and all things that breath life, I am dedicating this post to him. Not to mention it’s his birthday today, so Happy birthday buddy! If not for him, my thought process would have skipped over this topic and on to the next.

Anyway, as we are deciding on seeds and what to plant where, my author mind took hold and contemplated as I often do… how a story is similar to a plant and how it grows.

Here is what I’ve noticed:

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The Seed:

The seed in the story is, and you’ve probably guessed this… the spark of inspiration. That first initial thought of “Wow, this could be something great!” or “I’ve got to write this down, this would make such a great story!” And you’re probably right! 😉

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Germination:

This is where your story gets interesting, where it takes root as you write notes, plot, gather ideas for characters, settings, plot, conflict and the journey your characters will explore. The story will stretch it’s roots creating the beginning of something awesome!

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Growth:

As plants need nourishment, so to does the author. As a plant battles nature with weather, animals, and even humans, you to will discover the hardships of writing your story. Doubt, distraction, writer’s block, discouragement are all things we face as writers, but as the plant holds firm, you will too.

Find encouragement in others, inspiration in words and enjoyment in your characters, your setting and your plot twists to keep you motivated. Some plants may take days to flower while other take months or even years, but they WILL flower.

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Polination:

This is the part of your story where you get down to the nitty gritty. As bees pollinate the flowers, you must go from place to place researching your story further with interviews, history, occupations, folklore, or whatever topic is in need of researching for your specific story. Enjoy this journey and have fun with it!

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Reproduction:

Reproduction is the act of bring things together to create a new and exciting being. In the same sense, you bring all the components together from your notes, research, interviews, and more to create a new and fascinating tale. The journey of the characters, the realism of the settings, relationships and conflict as they move along their path create something people are dying to read!

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Spreading the Seeds:

Spread the seeds! Are you ready to enter the realm and start again with a series or did you discover a new tale while writing this one? Keep going with characters your readers love and create their story. Create your tale so that readers are coming back for more and sparking that seed of inspiration in others writers who dream to be where you are.

 

What do you think? Ever sit and think, “This is so much like writing!” What have you noticed around you that you could relate to the writing process? Comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

 

This Month’s Writing Theme: Favorite Spring Activity!

Since spring is here I thought we should write about our favorite spring activity! What is your favorite? Is it a family activity? A solitary activity? A traditional activity? Tell about your favorite activity. Below is mine!

Favorite

My Example: Every year during late spring/early summer our family will sit down and create a list of all the things we want to do during the warmer months. Creating this checklist of items we want to do is a wonderful way to get the creative juices flowing for places and activities. As a writer, it provides more experiences to gain material for stories and create memories at the same time. It is something we love doing and my kids love checking off the things we get down each season.

What Can’t You Live Without?

During the last few weeks my husband has been on vacation and I’ve been traveling down to my sisters for watch her children while they were out of town because… I’m an awesome sister.

With all the traveling, I’ve had to cut down access to my work to my IPad and my phone, which got me thinking… If you had to pick on thing, what is one that you could not live without. Let me know! I would love to hear from you. I’ll include my answers here, in green (my favorite color 😉 )

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The One Thing: ___________________________

My Answer: Pencil/pens

Why? What’s special about it: _____________________________________

My Answer:  They are the most versatile utensil. As long as you have something to write on – paper, napkin, journal, flyer, whatever you can find, you can write

I bet you were thinking I was going to choose my IPad… what I have found while traveling the last few weeks is that my IPad and phone need to be charged, sometimes I need WiFi, and that where is going back to basics comes in handy. When inspiration strikes, if you have a pencil/pen you can grab something, anything nearby to write it down on for later contemplation. So, what’s yours?

Ok, not that we got that out of the way, why don’t I make this a bit more fun and give you some categories for other things you can’t live without:

General Item:

A general item you tend to keep handy, just in case…

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Answer: __________________________

My answer: Sweater – I’m the type of girl who can’t go long without getting cold.

Sweater with a cup of hot chocolate… even better!

On your desk:

The one thing one your desk that doesn’t include your computer, keyboard, mouse or other electronic…

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer: Griffin Candle: What better inspiration than an item from your chosen genre? He sits on my desk and watches me type everyday without a word, but ever encouraging.

The one electronic:

Ah, here’s the electronic… what is the one you can’t live without?

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer:  I guess I would have to say my iMac – I purchased it last year and I’m loving it! It has all my projects, graphics, social media, plans, etc all in one place and even if it can’t travel. I know my stuff will be there when I return. 

Social Media:

With all the social media outlets out there, which one could you not live without?

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer: I would have to say Patreon, not only can I post blog posts, it’s an easy way to offer more to readers, fans and audiences for their support while still providing awesome content.

Music:

What type of music or music platform could you not live without while working?

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer: I usually listen to Pandora while I work and my favorite channel to listen to is “Song of the Lonely Mountain” from The Hobbit. My genre is romantic fantasy adventure, so it fits. 

Snack:

What is one snack you can’t live without while working? or do you not snack while working. I’m always snacking on something… I guess my brain associates writing with food so I’ve now got a few healthy snacks on my desk while I write.

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer: Oh, this one is a bit harder, I really love something with pieces I can just pop into my mouth and keep working. What I’ve been choosing lately is cereal. Fruit in the Middle Mini Wheats. Love those! 

Writing Utensil:

What writing utensil can you not live without? Mechanical pencils? No. 2 pencils? Colored pencils? Black pens? or my personal favorite… Colored pens?

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Answer: __________________________

My Answer: Well, here is something that doesn’t take any thought whatsoever. Colored Pens! Yep, I am one of those people who gets excited when she receives pens as a stocking stuffer, colored pens – even better! 

 

Have others to add to the list? Comment and let me know so I can add them and give my answers! Go ahead and comment, I would love to hear your answers.

Patreon Benefits

Patreon Benefits For Authors and Writers

Nothing is better for Authors and writers than gaining the support of their readers. Whether that is liking posts, reading their books, writing reviews, critiquing their work and more. Let’s talk about another platform that you could be utilizing to support your favorite writer, author or creative entrepreneur. Yep, I’m talking about Patreon! I’ve noticed that quite a few artists and creatives have begun to use Patreon for various reasons:

Communication ~

As with blogs, social media and websites Patreon connects with them all to offer another platform to communicate with fans, readers and audiences from all over.

  • Not only do they provide a way to keep readers up to date with posts, it also allows you to create additional content for those that become a patreon of your page.
  • Connect your website and social media sites to provide more ways to find you and what you are posting.
  • One thing that I love about this site it the fact that you can provide an Intro Video, giving your readers, fans and audiences a face and personality to go along with the person they are supporting.
  • There is the ability to provide additional information with adding graphics and video into your posts.

Community ~

Community is an important part of any creatives repertoire. With Patreon you can build a community with others just as amazing as you!

  • Like, comment, follow and support others like-minded creatives who love the same things as you
  • Or ones who don’t! Inspiration comes from everywhere
  • Communicate with creatives in your field such as graphic designers, cover artists, marketers and more!
  • There is no limit when you are surrounded by others who are working toward a similar goal.

Linking ~

Patreon, like many other sites allow you to connect to your other sites for better conversion rates and communication.

  • Link your website (and don’t forget to add that on your posts along with your author page)
  • Link your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Twitch for gamers)
  • Don’t forget you can add links in any of your posts!

Patreon Extras ~

Man, did I forget to mention the rewards… and more?

  • If you visit most patreon pages, the right hand side is a column of rewards for becoming a patreon member. You could receive anything from Patreon Only posts to free goodies and more!
  • Also, if you are an Author, you can offer a reward section for early releases or sneak peeks of your work!
  • There are many things to provide as rewards
    • Sneak peeks
    • ARC
    • Short stories
    • Author Merchandise/Swag
    • Coupons/Discounts
    • And more!

If you are thinking of starting a Patreon page (or supporting a journeying author) check out Patreon or My Patreon page to find out more.

This Month’s Writing Theme: Lucky!

March is the month of leprechauns, gold chocolate coins and luck. So this month we will be writing about how you or one of your characters has been lucky. Is it shear dumb luck or defeating something by the skin of their teeth? What event were you lucky at? (Please no gambling references, we want actual events.) Have fun and get lucky!

Lucky

 

My example: I have a character who while in the process of trying to save another gets shot. Though those around her try to save her with what means they possess, her life slips away. Her friends finally able to remove the bullet try hard to revive her. As time slips by their newest comrade watches on with worry and a sense to help. A split second decision to use her newfound powers, the new comrade strikes causing a shock to rocket through the unconscious woman’s body, as her heart begins to beat once again.

So, the split decision of one saved the life of another .

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Creating and Planning Characters

I posted on social media last week about how you come up with your character’s names and that got me thinking how I create and plan my characters. And because I love to share, I thought I would post it here to provide an inside to my thought process and possibly help those who are struggling in some areas.

So, let’s dig in.

Naming my Characters:

When I start a new story, I tend to have an idea for the main character in mind before the story actually starts or is planned out. What they look like, their personality, etc. Whether the character is timid and will grow in strength, or they are strong, but realize that showing weakness makes them human. Or maybe something different all together.

So, then comes naming my character(s). I really don’t like writing a story and not knowing my character’s name. It seems so impersonal. So, I think of a name and I tend to use the same technique to come up with their identity.

Letter(s):

I tend to, well I can’t say tend to, because I alway have a letter or a few letters in mind for the beginning of the first name. It’s hard to explain how that works, but I think of the characters, how I want them to be portrayed throughout the story, and a letter usually presents itself.

I will use the characters of my Conquer Series for examples:

  • R – Raylynn
  • B – Blessing
  • J – Jazzmine
  • B – Brandon
  • J – Jynx
  • K- Knight

Syllables:

As with the letters, I usually know how many syllables the character’s name will have. Most do have two syllables with a nickname, while others have one or even three. Again, I can’t explain this, but I know how I want the names to work, so why not know their syllables? 😉 I didn’t realize it, but most of the names fit the characters so well they actually tell something about the characters.

Examples:

Raylynn, who’s nickname is Ray can be a “ray of light” (You’ll have to read it to get that one 😉 )

Blessing, who doesn’t realize she is not a nuisance or burden, she is a blessing

Jazzmine, well her personality fits her nickname.

And these were totally unintentional!

Visuals:

My next step is to find a visual for my characters, a picture to put with the name. I use sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels to find my photos, because most likely I’ll be using them to create their covers and photos from those site are completely royalty free.

Here are some example of photos I’ve found and how I used them:

Raylynn:

b7830-jazzmine2bfinal-2        pexels-photo-247203

Jazzmine:

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I may change their features a bit to fit the character better, but usually there isn’t much that needs to change. They are quite similar to what I’m looking for in my characters.

Physical Description:

This is one area I do stick to the norm and fill out a list of descriptive qualities such as:

  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Build
  • Skin tone
  • Distinct feature(s)
  • Clothing
  • Age

Visit my Writing-Education or Writing- Character Inspiration pinterest page for great ideas to help in these areas!

Personality:

This is another area I have a list for:

  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Personal Goals
  • Struggles/Challenges
  • Accomplishments
  • Future Expectations
  • Future Reality
  • Internal and External conflicts
  • Quirks
  • Flaws
  • Secrets
  • Pet peveves
  • Personality type (I use the list from 16personalities.com)
  • Character archetype (I use The 12 Common Archetypes by Carl Golden)
  • One more thing I add to this category is their Ability. Most of my characters have some sort of power that makes them who they are so I mention that here.

Now the characters may not fit the personality or archetypes exactly, but that gives you a chance to use that as weaknesses or lessons they’ll learn throughout your story.

Habits/Mannerisms:

This is where I list quirks, things they do that make them… them. Make them real. (Link previous post) Things like running their hands through their hair, tapping their chin, tapping their fingers when their arms are crossed. Maybe they carry something with them always or rely on something for security.

Background:

Here is where you can add things like:

  • Family
  • Ethnicity
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Brief Life History
  • This is where I like to give a little about how they ended up where they currently are when the story begins as well.

Looking Forward:

This is where I like to give a little about the Character and where they will end up at the end of the book. It’s not a bad I idea to know where your characters will be by the end of their tale.

 

So, what are your thoughts? Anything I don’t have you think I should? What do you have and how do you plan your characters? I would love to hear from you!

February’s Writing Theme: A Love Story

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, let’s dive in and write a love story! Write how you met your significant other, or how you dream of meeting them. You could also write a romantic scene with a couple. It could be a romantic date or just one doing something sweet for someone else.  What is your idea of a romantic day with your love? Have fun and make it elaborate! I can’t wait to hear about it!!

Write A Love Story

 

My Example: The day was cold, snow covering the ground with ice sheets. A day spent watching young ones play while you stood frozen in place from the cold, but something catches our eye. A streak of black then blue racing over the hill near your home. Turning toward the source we see a little boy dress in warm clothes and an older man dressing in shorts and a blue tank top racing down the hill, one on blades the other in sneakers.

To my surprise nearly 20 years later I would be married to that man I thought was crazy for dressing in such inappropriate attire for the wintery weather we were having and I couldn’t be happier.

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January’s (2018) Writing Theme: One Power You Wish You Had

Your characters may have powers, so this month’s theme is… If you could have one power, what power would you have and why? Would you want the ability to fly, invisibility, the ability to read minds, or something a bit different like the ability to call shadow or light? Give us your thoughts and tell us one power you wish you had!

Your Desired Power

 

My Example: This one is a hard one for me, but if I had to choose… I would pick the ability of Telekinesis. I’ve had a lot of dreams of this, so I would have to say Telekinesis. What would you choose?

December’s (2017) Writing Theme: Your Character’s Goals!

December is the time of hear we are celebrating with family and friends, but the end is when we are thinking of the next year and the goals/resolutions we want to accomplish during that time. For this months theme, we are going to write about our characters and what their goals are throughout their journey. So, what goals are your character’s trying to accomplish throughout the journey you have created for them?

Writing Your Character's Goals

My Example: For my first book Ray of Light (Previously Raylynn) her goal is to discover what really happened many years ago which in turn will answer what is happening to her now and who was behind thethreat of her future.