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fireworks

Finally! A check-in where I can say “it’s done!”. Fire Wizard is officially finished. Well, not the editing part, but the writing part. I finally got all the cat litter cleaned out of my office (which I share with the cats) and I felt like writing in it again. I sat at the desk and typed away. The next thing I knew, hubby was saying goodbye. I’m like “What? It’s not time for you to go to work.” Then I looked at the time, and it was after 10:00 PM. Where had the time gone? I was THAT into the story.

Now that it’s done, I’m seriously worried about the ending. Is it too bland? Too sappy? I’m bad about sappy endings. I guess my beta readers will tell me. :) I’ve struggled a lot with this book. I think it was more about having too many other things to do and not having time for it. But I’m learning to use my time more wisely, even though I have so little of it. Ah, evil day job, how you take up so much of my time!

What have YOU accomplished this week?

Today I have L.S. Engler here on my blog to do a guest post. Please give her some love by commenting. :) Psst! This is a very good book!

There’s a lot a person can learn when publishing their first novel. They can learn about pacing and plot, on how to make sure all the details fit together and how to tighten their writing to get rid of excess details that don’t enhance the story. They can learn about character development, character consistency, and character interaction. They can learn that, no matter now many times you edit your novel, it will never be perfect and there will always be something you’ll want to change. Despite my background in creative writing at Central Michigan University, I still had a lot to learn on all these things when I wrote up my first novel, Soulless. But the one thing that I really had to learn is easily the most difficult aspect of writing, as well as something that, once you conquer it, will make you unstoppable.

I had to learn to just keep going.

Something I hear over and over from people when I tell them I’m a writer is that they, too, would love to write, but they just can’t do it. They get a good start going, then they just kind of peter out, losing interest, or starting to feel like what they’re writing is just plain awful. Or you have other writers, like my boyfriend, who obsesss over making sure everything you put down is perfect. They write the first page, decide they don’t like it, and start again. Another first page, and they don’t like that, either, so, riiiip, start again. And again. And again. Lather, rinse, repeat. I used to be one of those writers, and conquering that obsession was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. And Soulless was a big part of that.

For a majority of the rough draft of Soulless, I hated it. It was sometimes a chore to go in and plow through and write up what I knew I had to. I was so tempted to just drop it and pick up something new and shiny, or to just scrap the last five chapters I had written and start them all over again. I refused to let myself do that, though. I made myself sit down and write at least a page of day, reassuring myself that these rough patches would be over soon, and the the sooner I got through them, the sooner I could get to the chapters I really wanted to write. I had to push forward, almost blindly, full speed ahead, until I reached the very end, even if everything left in my wake was pure and utter crap.

Because you know what? A first draft is supposed to be crap. The biggest challenge and the greatest success can come with merely finishing a rough draft. When you’re done, it doesn’t matter how rough or perfect it may be. You finsihed a book. It needs some work, probably a lot of work, but it’s still there, and you did it. The editing and revision process is where we take this big lump of an idea and mold it into something more refined and beautiful, where we smooth out the edges and fill in the gaps, something that’s much easier to do when you have the whole picture before you rather than little bits and pieces. It’s easier to put together a puzzle when you have the final image to compare your progress to than when you’re just blindly putting the pieces into the spots that fit, right? Right.

Soulless and I had an incredibly tumultuous relationship, I’ll admit that, and I was very close to giving up several times. I’m so glad I didn’t, as hard as it was to forge forward against my critical judgement. The experience taught me one of the hardest and most difficult things I’ve ever encountered in my fledgling career: never give up, no matter what. Set yourself a goal and an end game, and, even though you could set it aside for another time, even though you could push that deadline release day back…don’t. Don’t you dare. You forge through and you fight to the very end. You’ll be bloody and bruised from the battle, but the victory will surely be yours.

In a way, this is all a metaphor for the plot of Soulless, too, which features a bold, strong, fearless warrior, constantly faced with the desire to just give up and let herself go to the monsters that she’s spent her whole life fighting. But she doesn’t give up, not even when all the odds are against her and the world seems to be descending deeper into chaos. The Slayer and I found our strength together, and, hopefully, you’ll find some of it in our respective stories as well.

Stitch Fix!

Thanks to THIS post by Jess Witkins, I ended up signing up for Stitch Fix. You can click on the link and go to their site to learn more about it, but basically, you receive a box of five items, you try them on, decide what to keep and what to send back. There are no shipping costs, and they send you a bag with the return label already affixed for what you send back. Anyway, I got my first box today. Here’s a picture of what I didn’t like. The shirt was too tailored and not feminine enough for me, plus it was really tight through the chest. And the earrings were bleh.

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This next shirt is one I kind of wanted to keep. If the jeans hadn’t been SO expensive I probably would have. But the shirt was a little too big, anyway, and if I lose more weight, it won’t look good at all.

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This next shirt, AND the jeans, were definitely keepers. The shirt fit perfectly and was so soft, I almost couldn’t feel the sleeves on my arms. And my husband really liked it, too, which surprised me. I didn’t think he would. And these jeans felt amazing. They’re a little long, but I can live with that, and they otherwise fit like a glove. These are the most expensive jeans I’ve ever owned. I gasped at the price. Then I kept them anyway. That’s how much I loved them.

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So, anyway, if you ever decide to start doing this, I would so appreciate it if you would use my referral link here: Lauralynn’s Referral Link. I get $25 off a “Fix” the first time someone signs up through my link and buys something from HER fix. I used the link for Jess (not directly, but I got that fixed…long story). These aren’t cheap clothes. I could only afford two things this time. But they are high quality pieces. And you can choose how often you get a Fix. Once a month, every two months, or you can tell them when you want your next one each time.

All in all, even though I was disappointed in how expensive the clothes were, I was very pleased. I still wish I could have kept that other blouse. But maybe in the next Fix, I won’t buy something as expensive as those jeans and will be able to get three or four pieces. I can’t wait until October!

One more thing…I don’t buy clothes that often, but Stitch Fix is a reward for some good habits I’m establishing and daily things I’m doing. I deserve this reward. :)

You know, I used to blog more than I do. Now it seems it’s mostly for my ROW80 check-ins. I must remedy this!

I still haven’t touched my WIP. I was going to last night, but the time got away from me. I am making progress on the book I’m proofreading, though. :)

Since my update is so short, I’m going to mention something not related to ROW80. I did something that might be construed as kind of stalkerly. I met this poet on the airplane, and we started talking about writing. She was delighted to have met a fellow author and she said she learned some things by talking to me. She said she almost never talks to people on airplanes, and I told her I didn’t, either. I got the impression she was definitely an introvert, maybe a little shy. We exchanged names. So, the other day, I started looking for her online and found her email address at the university where she teaches. I hesitated a little, but in my usual “go for it” manner, I emailed her and told her how happy I was to meet her and gave her a little encouragement with her writing. I was a little apprehensive, wondering if I came off like a stalker. To my delight, she emailed me back and was really happy that I had contacted her. So I was glad I did.

How about you? Have you ever done anything “stalkerly”? (I probably won’t user “stalker” as a tag for this post because that would bring interesting people out of the woodwork.)

What have I been up to this week? Let’s see….

I’ve been using HabitRPG to keep up with habits and daily things I need to do. It’s pretty neat. Check it out HERE

Saturday, I made mozzarella and ricotta cheese, then made lasagna with them. I’ve had my friend’s 11-year-old son here this weekend, and he really loved it. Hubby did, too. :)

I finished a line editing job and am finishing up a second one in the next week. And I got another one today.

I haven’t written on my own WIP in a LONG time. I plan to change that this week. I’m going to put it on my HabitRPG list. I’m done with business trips for awhile (I got out of the last one I was supposed to go on), so life has settled down a bit.

So, anything interesting going on with you?

Is anyone else having cooler than usual temperatures for July?

I was really wanting to get Fire Wizard done by the end of this round, but I don’t guess that’s going to happen. I’m working on two line editing jobs for other people right now, so I haven’t had time to even touch my manuscript. Once I get done with one of them, I think I’ll be able to find some time to pick back up on the book. It’s in the middle of the climax of the story right now, so I’ll have to read back over the last 2-3 chapters to get the momentum back. My cover artist, Anya Kelleye, isn’t done with the cover, anyway. So I guess that works out for both of us. LOL

So, were my goals met? My proofing goals, yes. My writing goals, a world of no. 50% is better than nothing. :)

I want to start out by saying I feel guilty for flying first class. Hubby and I have had financial difficulties this year, but now he’s back to work. And my proofreading business is taking off pretty good. I’ve had some rough times lately, and I felt like I needed a little pampering. Here’s what happened. I went to the Delta website to book my flight, which would be paid for by my company. There was an optional upgrade to first class for a VERY LOW FEE. So, really, all I had to pay for was the upgrade. If I had been paying for the flight, I wouldn’t have done it. I just PayPal’d the money to my company for the upgrade.

So here I was in the airport, squeeing because I was able to get on the plane first. Then, when I got on, all the first class passengers turned to the left to get into that cabin. Immediately, we were asked what we would like to drink. And they handed out snacks that were a cut above the main cabin snacks (they didn’t serve a meal because the flight was less than two hours). The best part was I didn’t have to share an arm rest or leg space with the passenger beside me. I could even cross my legs! On the flight from Chattanooga to Atlanta, there was no first class since it was a small plane, and the guy beside me REEKED of cigarette smoke, and he had his legs all splayed out, and they were in MY space. I was so glad to get on that plane in first class in Atlanta! Why do men feel they have to spread their legs so wide? His legs weren’t so long that he couldn’t keep them together. Anyway, first class is the way to fly if you can afford it. Alas, I’ll probably never be able to do that again. But just this one time…I had my guilty pleasure.

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