The Recap – April 2019

Now, Blogland, I knew working two jobs was a pretty big time suck. I knew it affected my productivity. But I thought I’d need a ramp up period after quitting Starbucks to get back to the levels of output I’d once had. Turns out, not so much.

April Goals

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Read 1 short story/week
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

How’d I do?

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • YES! And more! I wrote an average of over 600 words a day on this project in April.
  • Read 1 short story/week
    • Yep. I read/listened to five short stories this month, so once again I went above and beyond.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yes. The three stories are still waiting, but I also wrote a (very) short piece for a contest, which I’ll talk more about once I can. It’s all very hush, hush for now.
  • Keep reading!
    • Yep! I read so much this past month. I think something like nine titles, not counting the short stories. There were five book reviews posted to the blog in April.

Monthly Word Count: 21,140

April was a test of endurance and distraction. Endurance in that I came at writing the manuscript as a daily practice, doing a little bit each day. Now that all is said and done, I wrote an average of 639 words each day on Tavi. Now, I didn’t actually write every single day. There were days where I wrote nothing, but the next day wrote over 1500 words. But I kept coming back and kept track of where I was at on the way to my goal. And it worked.

For once, I mean distraction as a good thing. Usually distraction comes as video games or a tv binge session, both of which tend to seep into my writing time. But in April, I knew I needed a distraction from my pending submissions or I would go nuts with the anxiety. So, I threw myself into my writing, into reading, and into writing/author events. Which meant it was a really busy month.

Things I did:

  • Went on two hikes, one to Cape Lookout and another to Opal Creek. Total mileage: 12.6, with elevation gains of 810 feet and 652 feet, respectively.
  • Went on one Walk ‘n’ Talk with Madhu. Total Mileage: 2.8 miles, with only a 16 foot elevation gain.
  • Three neighborhood walks with Simon, totaling 2.5 miles, with negligible elevation gain. My neighborhood is pretty flat.
  • Went to the SFWA Reading in Portland where I met four authors and networked a little. Also got to try a new brewery and spend time with Husbando.
  • Celebrated Independent Bookstore Day by going to two bookstores. Met up with Ken Scholes and shot the shit, made more writer contacts in the area. Also celebrated the release of The Audient Void‘s seventh issue (buy your copy here).
  • Attended the Willamette Writers meeting on April 17th. Listened to Ken Coomes talk about all kinds of stuff, from Self-publishing to the benefits of public speaking on your writing. I don’t feel like I got very much out of it, but I did like the presenter himself. Seemed like a nice guy.
  • Launched my Patreon! This will eventually have an announcement post all its own. Right now it’s a bit of a fledgling thing while I figure out what sort of content to share with patrons. So far there will be a Newsletter, a short story each month, and some freebie writing tips. If you’d like to support me, or just check out the free stuff, you should swing on by.

And that doesn’t include all the quality reading and writing time! What a busy month! And from the look of things, May is set to be the same.

May Goals

  • Finish Tavi rough draft
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read a short story each week
  • Keep reading!

I’m sticking with the adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Last month went really well, so let’s keep that momentum going!

May is already looking like a busy month, so I want to get Tavi done by Monday May 13th. Which means I have just under two weeks to write about 11,000 words. Luckily there’s the Willamette Writers Write Here, Write Now event this weekend, so it should be a good opportunity to really hash out some words and get the jump on the final chapters of this book.

The week of the 13th is a big one for non-writing reasons. The 14th is the Snow Patrol concert. I can’t believe it’s almost here! Any time I think about it I just get this giddy glowy feeling because I love them so much and I one hundred percent thought I would never get to see them perform again.

Image result for snow patrol tour
I love them so very very very much. 

So there’s that. But there’s also a girls’ weekend in central Oregon right after that, visiting a friend and hiking all the things. We’re going to the Painted Hills and probably Smith Rock. It’s gonna be warm and sunny and I’m going to be a very happy Desert Rat. And probably sunburned. There will be photos.

So, I NEED to finish Tavi before that week because it’s my vacation week. My week to turn off my writing brain and have fun! My celebration week, to congratulate myself on a job well done. A six month long project finally finished.

Because after that comes a whole new slew of projects and goals. I have a lot of things waiting on the end of May so it’s going to be a stressful last half of the month. I want to work hard and play hard in the first half.

I’ll be back on Friday with the review for The Light Brigade. Then probably quiet here over the weekend while I focus on finishing this book.

Until then, Bloggarts!

 

BZ

 

Advertisements

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #17

I just got out of a webinar called “How to Survive and Succeed as a Writer”. They talked about goal setting and time management the entire time. Turns out, I might be onto something here, folks.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading The Light Brigade

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • Uhhhhh. YEAH! Like, a bit more actually.
  • Finish reading The Light Brigadethe light brigade
    • Yep! Finished it Wednesday night, and started on The Luminous Dead Thursday night. I stayed up late last night to finish it.

Weekly Word Count: 5,436

Um… Yeah. You might say I had a productive week. Every time I sat down to write, words poured out of me. I surpassed my word count goals by Thursday, and came back to the manuscript on Sunday to just add a little icing to the cake.

I was also a reading machine this week, finishing two books and slowly climbing my way back on track for my yearly goal.

Short story submissions continue to wait. I think this is the longest I’ve every waited to hear back on a story, with all of them pending for 50 days or more. It’s exhausting, but also kind of nice. I’m starting to forget about them. I check The Submission Grinder once or twice a day and then move on. It’s sinking in that I’ll find out when I find out and no amount of analyzation will change that. It’s… freeing, really.

Thursday night was the SFWA Reading in Portland, which was amazing. I got to meet Sam J. Miller, Rebecca Roanhorse, Kari Maaren, and Caitlin Starling (who wrote The Luminous Dead). Plus, there was good food and beer!

octopope

Saturday was Independent Bookstore Day and I celebrated with visits to two of the bookstores in town. Ken Scholes, who was the lecturer at the OWC writing conference last year, was at one and we shot the shit for awhile, leading to two introductions to writers in my community. So that was AWESOME! Then I went to Book Bin to attend a couple panels and then celebrate the release of the newest issue of The Audient Void.

It was a very busy, bookish week, which I loved. But I’m tired right now. I want to lock the door to my office and barricade myself in until this book is done. Unfortunately, I have yet another busy week ahead of me.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 1000 words/day on Tavi

That’s it. This week and next are about finishing this book. I have just over four chapters left if the story sticks to the outline. It won’t. But I can dream. And this is the dream that’s gonna make sure I buckle down and finish this book. Point is, it’s close. It’ll be done sooner than later at this rate.

But, this week is a busy one. Tonight is the annual Mug Club dinner at Salem Ale Works, then Wednesday night we’re going to see a showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the historic theatre in town. And then Saturday is Write Here, Write Now.  At least that’s an entire day devoted to nothing but writing. I’m banking on some serious productivity that day. Between work and social engagements, it’s going to be tough to write as much as I need to to stay on track.

Though it isn’t an official goal this week, I will still be reading. Today I’m starting Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children novella series, and I’ll probably read a Deadpool comic too. Because of all the reading lately there will be a lot of activity on the blog. I’ve got the Monthly Recap this week and The Light Brigade review. The week after that is the Reading Round Up and The Luminous Dead review.

Busy busy busy. Busy B, that’s me!

I’ll be around this week Bloggos, so stay tuned.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #16

This last week was a blur. I’m trying to think of what all I did, and honestly I can’t tell you much. The weekend was full with hiking, family get-togethers, and yard work in the decent weather. We also watched a couple movies and spent the holiday relaxing together, a rare occurrence these days.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading A Conjuring of Light

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep! Including two book reviews.
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • YES! Writing went very very well this week. a-conjuring-of-light
  • Finish reading A Conjuring of Light
    • …yes. I am so sad because of it. What the hell do I do now?

Weekly Word Count: 4,980

I think it’s safe to say that the novel is officially in the third act and things are rolling downhill and gathering steam. Every time I sat down to write I wrote almost double of what I’d hoped to. I’d exceeded my word count goal by one hundred words by Saturday, and so rewarded myself with a writing-free Sunday. I also wrote about 1300 words hammering out a 500 word story for PodCastle’s Flash Fiction Contest. It was a real challenge, which was the point, but I’m pretty proud of what I came up with. I’ll have more details about this over the summer, once voting on the stories begins.

Book reviews for both Trail of Lightning and A Gathering of Shadows are out now, so check those out!

Thursday was a four mile Walk ‘n’ Talk with Madhu, where we mostly commiserated over waiting to hear about submissions. After that, since it was such a lovely day, I found a patio, had a beer and some french fries, and got some good writing time in.

I went on a lovely hike this weekend at Opal Creek, one of Oregon’s most popular hikes. It was a cool and misty morning that broke into a gorgeous day. The water was gushing with fresh snowmelt, the roar of the river never-ending. We packed a lunch of tuna salad, hard-boiled eggs, dolmas, cheesy bread, and dried coconut and apple chips. The picnic at the middle of the hike is always my favorite part.

And then Sunday was a chill day, watching movies, making good food, and enjoying the peace and quiet. I finished reading A Conjuring of Light last night, I cried a good deal, and then moped in bed because what else could I do? I have a serious case of book hangover right now.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading The Light Brigade

This straightforward approach has worked the rest of the month, so why not keep it going? I’ve got the review for A Conjuring Light to post this week, and will probably have another post later in the week as well. Writing continues to progress at a steady pace, so I’m confident that I’ll make my goal for the week. I’m working a little bit less this week too, so I have more time for writing.

the light brigadeI’ll also have some more time for reading, which is good because I haven’t even started The Light Brigade yet! It’s not too long, and all the press and reviews I’ve seen about it promise a fast-paced and gripping story. So, I should be able to finish it this week. I’m slowly, but surely, catching up to my reading goal.

This week is a busy one otherwise. I’m going to Portland on Thursday for the SFWA’s Reading series, where both Rebecca Roanhorse (Trail of Lightning) and Sam J. Miller (Blackfish City) will be reading and speaking! I am so stupid excited for this event and Trevor’s even going to come with me!

Then Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day. Each year The Book Bin does a big daylong celebration with panels and authors, and usually ends the day with a release party for the newest issue of The Audient Void. This year is no exception, with issue #7 final proofs returned to Obadiah today. So, if you want to come down, support a local bookstore, and grab your issue, hot off the press! If you don’t live near Salem, you should still visit your local indie Bookstore and give them some love.

No hikes for the next couple of weeks, there’s just too much going on. So I’ll be home or at writing/book events, getting work done. That’s the plan. I’ll see you soon with a review, Bloggos.

Until then,

 

BZ

 

New Year’s, New Look – 2019

I’m so excited to share this new layout with all of you! I really like this one. It’s crisp, super easy to navigate, and very professional looking. It also feels a bit more dynamic than last year’s. I’m not sure if that’s because of the contrasting aqua and purple (my favorite colors), or the widgets, or the site logo, but I do know I like it a lot.

Now, let’s get down to business and talk about what the heck happened in 2018!

In 2018 I said I wanted to:

  • Finish The Steel Armada
  • Finish Santa Sarita
  • Submit 2 short stories
  • Publish 52 blog posts
  • Read 65 books
  • Maintain my yoga practice

 How’d it go?

  • Finish The Steel Armada
    • …Yes! As far as I’m concerned, right now, this project is stamped ‘done’. It turned out nothing how I planned, and became almost a complete rewrite halfway through 2018. The Steel Armada became Exodus: Descent, a SolarPunk novella. I sent it to Tim the Agent™ back in August, but have not heard from him. I’m shelving it for now, though I have plans for future novellas set in the same world. So, final status of this project is: Done for now.
  • Finish Santa Sarita
    • No. I thought so, and then BAM, another sequel appeared. I bit off a lot with this one, and I’m a little worried about it. So, this will be a pretty high priority in 2019. I don’t want this project lingering over my head anymore. Project status: In Progress.
  • Submit 2 short stories
    • Heck yes! This was much easier to do than I thought when I made this goal. So much so that by the end of 2018 I had three stories out for submission.
  • Publish 52 blog posts
    • Yep. And then some. This was, hands-down, the best year the blog has ever had. 119 posts, an average of one comment per post, and over 5,000 hits this year has really blown my mind. Consistency really is key. Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 8.55.52 PM
  • Read 65 books
    • Yes! I read 67 books this year! It wasn’t easy, by any means, but I had just enough time and graphic novels to really pad my Goodreads Challenge.
  • Maintain my yoga practice
    • Hahaha. No. I got bronchitis two weeks into 2018 and fell out of my practice. I’m contemplating trying again this year, but with two jobs and some lofty writing goals, I’m not sure if I can dedicate the time.

2018 Total Word Count: 149,331 

Honorable Mentions

2018 was an eventful year, both personally and in my working life. I received a scholarship to attend the Oregon Writer’s Colony Annual Conference in April, which really affirmed that I’m on the right track and making strides in this whole writing life thing. Right about that time I started submitting my short stories for the first time in over four years. That was a roller coaster all its own, and has been a great learning experience and growth opportunity for me.

June saw my traditional wave of summer depression. I coped by binge-playing Horizon Zero Dawn and eating way too many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

But, July and August were some of my most productive months of the year, with the completion of Exodus and the rough draft of my newest short story, That Which Illuminates Heaven.

September was the least productive month of the year, and reasonably so because we spent 12 days in Germany! It was an amazing trip, the exact vacation we so desperately needed, and our first journey abroad together. We hope to spend more time in Munich someday, especially for Christmas. And of course, we have other travel dreams! Ireland, New Zealand, Italy, the UK! The world is a big place, and I want to see as much of it as we can.

October was spent readjusting to working two jobs and outlining and researching for my new novel. Writing was limited and that sucked, but it was all part of the plan. It worked out, because I met my word count goal for November, with a startling 25k words! That’s about a third of the planned manuscript, which is kind of crazy if I think about it too much.

December is a busy month in our house, what with my birthday and the holiday. Add in the mental recuperation from Nanowrimo and it meant I just didn’t expect much from myself that month. But I did finish my reading goal while I let my writing muscle relax!Img bookstack 72

I read 16,300 pages across 67 titles in 2018!

I also flexed my editing muscle this year with The Audient Void. We released two issues this year, and are on the cusp of releasing a new chapbook of some of David Barker’s previously unpublished short stories, Half in Light, Half in Shadow.

2018’s word was FOCUS. It was my mantra, the thing I came back to when I felt out of control or like I was drowning in my workload. Based on how well my year went, I think it worked. So, I want to pick a new word for 2019:

INTENT.

I want to be purposeful in my writing, I want to take the time to better learn my craft and write with more intention. I don’t really know what that will mean for my writing just yet, but I bet I will by January 1, 2020.

What am I doing in 2019?

  • I am finishing the Tavi rough draft. I’m already a third of the way there. In an ideal world this rough draft will be done by the end of March/beginning of April. Realistically, this will take the first half of the year.
  • I will finish Santa Sarita. This is a big job still. I think, right now, I’m really stuck in my head about it. I need to sit down and start writing this story again and let it take the reins. I honestly think that’s the only way it’ll get done.
  • I will revise Cards. This is the project that comes after the Tavi rough draft. I wrote Cards back in 2014, and I’ve learned a lot since then. Much like The Steel Armada, I anticipate Cards will require extensive rewrites. But, I’m ready. I learned how to do that last year and I’m equipped with the skills and knowledge to do it again this year.
  • I will publish something! This is a tricky one. I don’t actually have much control over this goal. There are a lot of factors that go into getting a piece published and almost none of them are decided by me. But, I have three stories out right now. I want at least one of them to find a home.
  • I will publish two blog posts a week. I’ve got this into a rhythm now, so I’m confident I can do it again.
  • I will read 70 titles. I exceeded my reading goal this year, it only makes sense to increase it in 2019.

If time allows, I’d like to…

  • Make considerable progress (30k words) on From the Quorum. This novel is the first in a planned trilogy, and is my longest-lived idea. I first met these characters in 2009, and they are still around, patiently waiting for me to tell their story. I don’t know if I’ll make much progress on it this year, but  it will definitely be a priority in 2020.
  • Write a new short story! I have three out now that are performing well. It’s just a matter of time before one of them finds a home. It’d be nice to have one waiting in the wings and ready to go when that finally happens.
  • Submit Exodus to novella markets. I actually think this one is pretty likely to happen. But, with Tavi and Cards looming, this won’t be on my radar until the later half of the year.

There’s a lot to do in 2019. I probably bit off more than I can chew, especially since I’m working two jobs right now. There’s also always the reading and editing for Madhu and The Audient Void to consider.

So, in short, I’m a busy busy lady and nothing about that will change in 2019. I look forward to sharing that journey with all of you in the coming months.

I’ll be back later this week with the Monthly Recap!

Until then, Blogland.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 49

Hi Blogland,

Last week felt unreasonably long. Like, each day just took forever and was needlessly complicated. I slept a lot of cope with it, which made achieving my goals a little tricky.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish reading A.V. submissions
  • Read Lies Sleeping
  • Write 2k words

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish reading A.V. submissions
    • Yes? I just did them this morning before I opened WordPress. I’m counting it.
  • Read Lies Sleeping
    • No. But, I did finish Skyward!skyward
  • Write 2k words
    • No, but I got real close.

Weekly Word Count: 1,586

I don’t really feel like I accomplished much this week. I wrote some overdue blog posts, and spent a lot of my free-time (such as it is) binge reading the newest Sanderson book. I did play some Red Dead Redemption 2, and on Sunday we made a fancy dinner, bought a Christmas tree, and assembled our new coat rack!

I was way too excited about that coat rack, by the way.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Lies Sleeping
  • Write 2k words

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got going on right now. The blog posts should be easy since I’ll have the Skyward review to write. The new Peter Grant book isn’t very long and they always read fast, so I’m sure I’ll get that done as well. Really, the only question mark on this list is the writing. I’m feeling a bit mentally checked out right now, which is pretty typical post-Nano. We’ll see if I can pull out of this funk.

If not, that’s what video games are for.

So yeah.  I’m feeling good about my odds of meeting my reading goal for the year, and I’ve done a lot of writing this year. Just gotta stay productive and coast on into the new year.

Talk at y’all soon.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 48

Bloggos!

I maybe spent the bulk of my weekend playing Red Dead Redemption and completely forgot that I was not a rough and tumble outlaw trying to eke out a living in the late 1800s in the Wild West. As such, I did not post either of the blog posts I’d hoped to and for that, I’m sorry.

What in tarnation was I supposed to do, anyway?

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read A.V. submissions
  • Read Skyward
  • WRITE!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. There was just the one post, actually.
  • Read A.V. submissions
    • Yep! I’m really impressed with the submissions so far, and can’t wait to see what we finally publish.
  • Read Skyward
    • …no. I made some progress, but not nearly as much as I should have, thanks to my galavanting across the virtual plains.
  • WRITE!
    • Yep! This week was pretty much just icing on the cake so any writing was going to put this goal in the black.

Weekly Word Count: 1,434

Image result for red dead redemption gif

So aside from doing my best Billy the Kid impersonation what the heck did I do this week? Well, I wrote a bit, which was enough to tip my word count over my goal for the month, so that’s amazing. I read all of those Audient Void submissions, and have a handful more to read today. I read 80ish pages of Skyward, but it won’t be enough to finish the book before I have to return it on Wednesday. It’s a pretty big book, even if it reads super fast there’s only so much I can accomplish in two days.

I’m thinking if there’s anything else I accomplished this week, but I think this was really it. Madhu and I went for a Walk ‘n’ Talk, we got rained on and sought shelter at Starbucks.

I got a lovely rejection on That Which Illuminates Heaven, and have it out again already. I’m still waiting to hear back about Lifelike and The Cost of Rain. Just that constant, low-key buzz of stress. Forever and ever, amen.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish reading A.V. submissions
  • Read Lies Sleepinglies sleeping
  • Write 2k words

This should be fairly doable, if I can just keep my gaming time down to something like reasonable. Once I return Skyward I’ll be diving into Lies Sleeping, which I know will read very quickly. Writing goals can go back to something like normal. A chapter a week would be ideal, but December is a busy month so I’m giving myself some leeway on that. Besides I did well enough in November that I bought myself a bit of breathing room for this month. But I’ll get more into that in the next post.

Tomorrow is my birthday, which is nice. I already got my present from Trevor, and have been playing it for a week or so now. Spyro is just as much fun as I remembered, and it was a beautiful work of fan service to see my favorite childhood game fleshed out in today’s graphics.

I also commissioned a friend/artist on tumblr as a little gift to myself, and as soon as I get it, I’m sure I’ll post it everywhere I possibly can.

So yeah. You’ll see me around a bit this week, to make up for all the missing posts from last week. And if I’m dedicated, you might just get a book review at the end of the week.

Image result for fingers crossed gif

 

Until then, Blogland!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 47

Oh, Blogland. How does November seem to fly by with ever increasing speed? How has Thanksgiving come and gone already? How am I supposed to get anything done if the whole world just keeps zipping past me?

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Audient Void submissions
  • Finish reading A Map of Days
  • WRITE!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yes. Barely. And let’s be honest, there wasn’t much substance there. But, that’s how I felt this week, relatively substance-less.
  • Read Audient Void submissions
    • …No…
  • Finish reading A Map of Days
    • No. And I finally bit the bullet and moved this book to my “Abandoned” bookshelf on goodreads. It just didn’t grab my attention enough to compete with Nanowrimo and Spyro. I’ve moved on to the next book in my TBR pile.
  • WRITE!
    • YES! Oh my goodness, so much yes!

Weekly Word Count: 8,682

Do you see that word count? Do ya? Holy moly do I feel like a rockstar whenever I think about it. Granted, I’m so tired from all the writing that I don’t feel quite as excited as I probably should about crossing the 24k word mark on my manuscript, but I still feel really good about my progress so far. Less than 1k to go this week to officially make my Nano goal!

With all the writing this week, it really makes sense why I fell behind on everything else. Honestly, I’m not really even mad about it. I’m bummed about the Audient Void submissions, but I should be able to knock those out this week no problem.

Also, I maybe sank more than eight hours into playing the remastered Spyro games… Trevor bought me the Reignited Trilogy as an early birthday present, and I’ve been playing it a bit over the weekend. Thank goodness the majority of my writing was already done by the time I opened my gift!

spyro gif.gif

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read A.V. submissions
  • Read Skywardskyward.jpg
  • WRITE!

I have a surprising amount of free time this week, which I’m really excited for. It’ll be nice to get caught up on my reading, finish up my writing for the month, and get some chores done around the house.

That’s if I can keep my Spyro time to a healthy level. Trevor bought me the Reignited Trilogy as an early birthday present, and I’ve been playing it a bit over the weekend. Thank goodness the majority of my writing was already done by the time I opened my gift!

So yeah. Writing, lots of reading, and plotting out how to wrap up this year. Can you believe it’s almost over already? We’re we just here, talking about the updates to the blog and all my dreams and hopes for 2018?

Yikes. I think I may be getting old. Time is going WAY too fast these days.

Talk soon, Bloggos.

 

BZ