Friday, August 28, 2015

Do You Have Goals? End of Summer Update and Book/Story Celebrations

Do You Have Goals? is an encouraging blog hop about creating fantastic, mind-boggling goals and then taking all the small steps to make them happen. This hop is hosted by the inspiring Misha and Beth!

This is my end of summer, super detailed update (skip to the end, if needed): 

1. Publication goals and celebrations:
July goal (which became my July-August goal): putting Ashes Burn Season 3 into e-book format
Plus, I finished Dynamic Writing 1. 
Underlying Long-term goal: To get work off my pc and into the world.
September Goals: Ashes Burn 4 in ongoing episodic format at my Ashes Burn blog. Looking for confirmation from my publisher that Eight if By Sea will come out in September, and prepping C.D. for release . . . which I had originally planned for October, but will take miracles to release as planned.

2. Writing and Write 1 Sub 1 Goals and Celebrations:
July and August: Finish revisions of C.D, DW1, and partial DW2, plus write and submit at least one story.
C.D. (still underway), DW1 (finished!), and partial DW2 (in last stages). Plus, I wrote and submitted 7 new stories, and re-subbed four older stories. 
Underlying long-term goal: To strengthen my writing skills and finish several projects this year.
September Goals: Finish C.D. Finish all prep for home-school co-op start on Sept. 14th (this involves moving some writing curriculum forward, at least in handout/note format).

3. Marketing goals and celebrations:
Underlying goal: To get better at this strange thing called marketing.
July-August goals: Track down that guest post e-mail, make action-item list for the rest of the year and follow it. Go to and rock the NW Book Fair without falling over in a nervous sweat. Figure out my newsletter.
Epic Fail Area. I didn't rock the Book Fair, didn't track down that one e-mail, and have only a partial action-item list.
September goals: to prep for the Puyallup Festival of Books in October, to make that action-item list, and to request guest posts and reviews. That's it.

4. Exercise goals and celebrations:
Underlying goal: Health and fitness.
July goal: Bike 40 miles, walk 40 miles, get yoga routine back, swim and kayak at least 5 times. Drink more water. (I think this is more reasonable)
I biked 34 miles, walked 44 miles, started easy stretches, swam once, and kayaked once.
I considered this accomplished.
August: I boogie-boarded in California, hiked in Yosemite, and started walking again when I got home.
September goal: help start a new "master/40+" kayak/surfski group, walk 40 miles, bike 40 miles.

5. Invitational goal:
Underlying goal: To have an invitational attitude.
July goal: Invite friends and/or family over for dinner/hang-out time. Sadly, I don't remember if I invited or if I just had my in-laws over for dinner in a happenstance kind of way.
August - um, not really. 
September: Invite someone over to my house for something - dinner, coffee, have my kids' friends hang out, etc. 

6. Spiritual goals:
July-August goal:  Prayer, Bible Study, Cell group, look at volunteer opportunities - did these.
September: Volunteer with Youth Sunday School (regular stuff for me), help with an Alpha group, Prayer, Bible Study, and Cell Group. 


E-mail me if you have news to share! I don't always remember because I'm clueless and my family life is a super busy life. If it's not written down and plastered to something fixed, I don't remember stuff.

Garden of the Lost Souls - Twenty dark tales of flash fiction to shiver your spine by Madeline Mora-Summonte. 

I love Madeline's fiction even though these tales are truly dark and freaked me out quite a bit. She is an amazing writer.  On a 1-10 scary scale, these are a 10+, and on a 1-10 writing scale, these are a 10+. So, move over Stephen King. (Not recommended for MG readers that might stop by this post.)

Dragon's Destiny Review 

Dragon's Destiny by Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you've read Dragon of the Stars, contact Alex J. Cavanaugh about reading this wonderful short story that takes place after the novel. 

My super short review: Aden's growth as a character continues on a phenomenal arc and the story is both dramatic and sweet. Highly recommended as a companion to Dragon of the Stars. You can only read this book by checking out Alex's plan for getting Dragon's Destiny found in this post, and by contacting him directly. Go to his website link for more info.

I read like books are food, and I don't always write reviews well, but I thought I would share a few from my recent road trip:

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. You've probably already read the reviews,and maybe you read my long facebook rant when I was stuck on page 43, utterly disappointed that Scout had turned into a brat, but I have one more tiny review to add to all the hoopla.

As a writer, I encourage you to read this book after you've read To Kill a Mockingbird. I noticed horrible craft issues as well as story arc issues, but I also noticed the differences in characters from one book to another. It reminded me of why I wrote seven content drafts of Champion in the Darkness, and how much the characters changed from one draft to another. I think Go Set a Watchman is an excellent example of a nearly unedited early draft. It helps me feel a bit better as a struggling writer. I mean, if Harper Lee couldn't get it right the first time, why do I think I will? However, I recommend this as a library book read, not a store-bought read. Don't buy it if you can borrow it.
I ended up giving it 3 out of 5 stars because I think Harper Lee was struggling with how to deal with the reality of our flawed humanity and the depth of racism in our country.

More is an urban fantasy mystery by T.M. Franklin. It's action-packed with a touch of sweet romance and a good amount of mystery. My youngest, who is as voracious of a reader as I am, found it to be her favorite book on our road trip. I think she read it twice. It's fairly short, but it's a good read, and the rest of the trilogy is out so you don't have to wait for more of the More Trilogy. :)

The last book in this over-long post is my own. Call this a min-celebration with another small planned celebration to come on September 14th when I will post about the background of this book and have all the links prepared for various sites.

Dynamic Writing 1 includes 161 writing lessons for middle school students. In one year, students will write over fifty journal entries, six book summaries, two descriptive essays, two narrative essays, five short fiction stories, a process essay, a news article, a super short biography, a short research report, two quatrains, a ballad, two timed essays, and a writing resume. In addition to essay basics like thesis statements, introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions, students will also learn sentence variations and writing concepts. Notes for teachers and parents, as well as checklists and grade sheets are provided within the lessons, and an answer key may be found in the back of the book. With all of this, Dynamic Writing 1 is ready for use in the home or the classroom. 

The first fifteen lessons are available for kindle readers for 99 cents or for free at the new Dynamic, Every Day Writing site. These lessons serve as a tiny introduction to the series. The rest of the lessons get progressively longer and more challenging as the year moves onward.

Dynamic Writing 1 is available as a whole book in paperback and is getting split into two e-books, Dynamic Writing 1A First Semester, and Dynamic Writing 1B Second Semester.

For some reason, I am more proud of this particular project than any other that I have written. I love writing fiction, but writing this middle school writing curriculum book involved just as much sweat, tears, laughter, and time as anything else I've ever written, and I wrote it because I saw a need that I felt passionate about filling.  

I know that middle school writing curriculum isn't on everyone's TBR list, but if you could in any way help me spread the word, I would greatly appreciate it. 

In fact, if you have any ideas on how to market writing curriculum instead of fiction, I would gladly take marketing advice. Other than contacting a few review sites and planning to have a booth at a home-school curriculum fair next year, I'm not sure how to get the word out about this one.

Do you have goals? Have you finished a project lately? Do you have a book to share?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Here ye! Here ye! I'm back and I'm inviting all to participate in Realms Faire!

During the actual family road trip part of my absence, staying off the internet was fairly easy although I did randomly post images of our trip via instagram, twitter, and facebook. Posting things like that from my phone didn't take more than three minutes and felt like a good way to stay connected with friends and family near and far.

I could ramble on more about my ultra-packed family road trip but I'll try to sum it up in just fourteen phrases:
1. Rained out book festival blues.
2. Long drive(s).
3. Mega roller coasters for my daughter's 14th birthday at Magic Mountain.
Yes, they were making faces while waiting for the Batman coaster, but this is a part of our family fun.

4. A college campus visit.
5. Nationals opening ceremony involved a torch run at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista, CA.
6. Daughters both in medal-winning races!
7. Heat, humidity, and a spider bite caused some health concerns.
8. Our team won Nationals for the 4th year in a row!
They're holding up four fingers to celebrate winning four times in a row. We were at an Olympic Training venue and they lit the torch for the event! :)

9. A visit to old town San Diego.
My family's sense of humor on display.

10. Boogie-boarding at Huntington Beach.
We hardly ever take pictures while actually doing things, so this is afterwards . . .

11. Hiking with friends in Yosemite National Park.
12. A visit with friends in Nevada.
13. A doctor visit and antibiotics for that same horrible spider bite.
14. A decision to come home two days early, a beautiful drive, and some rain relief from the heat.

And, it took us a week to adjust to being at home as I started my "book journey" part of my blog absence.

My writing and revision felt like slogging through mud uphill into mountainous terrain with high humidity and I wanted to turn to the internet for any distraction it could offer, and I lurked just a little. Mostly though, I just wrote and revised and paced. (Plus, I celebrated a 19th anniversary with my husband and my birthday.)

Anyway, I'm back. And, I still ramble even when I'm trying not to ramble.

So, without any further distraction, I would like to invite all, near and far, to participate in the annual Realms Faire, started by the one and only M Pax, and co-hosted by several bloggers and blogs including: River Fairchild, Cassandra Webb, L. Diane Wolfe, Untethered Realms, Christine Rains, Julie Flanders, Cherie Reich, Misha Gericke, Mary Waibel, and VelociRaffle. Oh, and me, too.

I'll be hosting the Hero's Dilemma

Hero's beware! Here at the House of Hero's Dilemma, a new cliff-hanging adventure will dangle new heroes above the depths of destiny or despair. In 100 words or less, a hero will face a danger in story form.

Each day, the people of Realsmdom will decide the fate of these heroes in three sentences or less. If fateful endings are giving answer in poetic form, an extra entry for prizes will be awarded. For each Dilemma, the entries must by in by midnight, Pacific time. 

Daily e-book prizes will be awarded via random name-pulling from the entries. Winners will be announced regularly. Everyone is invited to participate in the comments section.

People of Realmsdom, you have the power of storytelling might to decide the fate of the would-be heroes. Will they die in glory or shame, live in victory or defeat? It is up to you.

And, after you have decided the fate of the Hero's Dilemma, try your hand at the other Realms Faire Events for more fun and prizes!

To find out more, visit Realms Faire!

All events have daily drop-in opportunities to participate and a few require some advance sign-ups like jousting. Check it out! Join the fun of the one and only online Realms Faire! You can dress up in your knightly wear or your nightly wear while participating.