I finished my second novella of the year! 2020 might be a shit year, but at least I seem to be back to writing somewhat consistently again, so that’s something.
Both of the finished novellas so far have been ones in the Spellbound series, so that seems to be what I’m focusing on now. That said, I still want to edit and finish my Regency romance novel as well. It’s just difficult to find the time for everything.
Now I have to decide which of all my ideas for Spellbound stories will be my next one. There are so many I want to write, it’s hard to pick!
In an effort to plan out what I want to do with the writing, I’m starting a new To-Do List to keep track. I realise this is mainly interesting for yours truly, but somehow publishing it makes me feel more accountable, so here we go!
Research Kindle self-publishing
Write the next Spellbound novella (probably Silk & Steel)
Edit Bowstrings & Velvet
Edit Shadows & Lace
Edit and publish on Wattpad (later Kindle) A Midsummer Night’s Kiss
Work out the details of a few more Spellbound ideas (find a story for Baudwin)
Write the sequel to A White Rose
Re-make covers into Kindle sizing (maybe change cover images?)
Research marketing of self-published books
Probably a lot more things I just haven’t thought of yet…
Well, that’s it for the To-Do List, though I suspect there are a lot more things to be added to it. And this is only for writing! I have a lot of things I’d like to do outside of writing too. Ugh, too much to do – too little time!
(I don’t know if people use a feedreader and how it works if I back-date posts, so just fyi I’ve just back-dated two for the first couple of days of March.)
It’s that time of the week when I share a little snippet of what I’m currently working on! I’m wondering if it’s getting too repetitive though? Should I maybe change it to once every other week, or maybe even just once a month?
At least, this time I’ve chosen something that’s not Bowstrings & Velvet! Today, I’m sharing the first couple of paragraphs from my Historical Romance (Regency): A Midsummer Night’s Kiss. I will also show you the updated blurb. I’m still not loving it, but I think I improved on it since my whinge about it last month.
And here’s the first page of the story…
Dear Diary, It was as if a dark angel had lain down amongst the crisp, white sheets of the bed. A very wicked angel.
London, England May 14, 1812
Angelique Grafton had imagined her unexpected arrival at her brother’s house in London in several ways, but she had not predicted finding a stranger sleeping in her bed. Moving thoughtfully from one foot to the other, she pondered her options. The best course of action would be to find her brother or the butler. Yet she wasn’t moving. Biting her lower lip, she glanced across the room to her bed again. Hovering in the doorway she could only see very little of the man, but it intrigued her. Who would her brother have allowed the use of her room?
It was highly improper for her to be alone with a man, even if he was fast asleep. Yet she couldn’t make herself turn around and leave. The sight of a man in her bed was so out of place. To think his naked body shared the same space where she normally slept. She shivered slightly at the thought.
The stranger was lying on his back with the sheets pulled up over his chest, a bare arm flung across his face. Little as it was, it was more bare skin than she had ever seen on a man. A quiet life in the country provided no sights like this. The thought made her smile slightly. Overcome by curiosity, she took a few hesitant steps closer. This was madness, but she just wanted a better look. Ignoring the fluttering of her nerves, she walked up to the bed, fully aware that she was doing something she shouldn’t be.
She could very well imagine her aunt’s disapproval if she was to find out. Angel, what were you thinking? Entering a room with a naked man inside! Are you trying to get yourself ruined? Even the thought of the possible censure from Aunt Christine wasn’t enough to deter her.
Standing by the bedside, she tried to lean over to see more of the stranger, but his arm blocked most of his face. His skin looked smooth and tanned, much darker than her own pale complexion. It looked utterly touchable. Throwing a glance towards the open door, she made sure no one was in the area before using her teeth to loosen her gloves at the fingertips. Pulling them off, she quietly put them on the nightstand by the bed. She just wanted to touch that exposed skin. Just once.
Reaching her hand out, she pulled it back quickly when the stranger let out a small sigh. What was she doing? She must have lost her wits. You didn’t just walk into a room and touch someone simply because their skin looked warm and inviting – even if they happened to be sleeping in your bed. Smiling ruefully, she shook her head and retreated a few steps.
She almost bit her tongue in surprise when the man suddenly reached out and grabbed her bare arm. Before she had time to react she was pulled down onto the bed.
“Not leaving so soon, sweetheart?” the stranger mumbled, the hoarse quality of his sleepy voice sending shivers down her back.
I promise that I will blog about something that is not writing one of these days! It’s just that my life is pretty much filled with toddler wrangling during the days and writing during the nights, so not much else is happening! If there’s anything you’d like to know about, let me know as it would give me an excuse to blog about something else!
This week, it’s an excerpt from chapter 3 of Bowstrings & Velvet. Maybe I ought to do another story sometime for WIP Wednesday to keep it from being too repetitive. I promise to do another one next week.
I don’t know if I’m setting myself up to fail or not, but I’m trying the Open Novella Contest on Wattpad at the moment. It’s inspired by NaNoWriMo, but has a much more relaxed schedule – which suits me a lot better. Most days I get a whole two hours to myself, and those go towards any writing/blogging/reading social media/reading… showers… So, needless to say, my writing time is limited.
The Open Novella Contest is only 20 000 words in 12 weeks. Much more doable for a toddler-mum.
What’s slightly different to NaNo is that you get a list of prompts to choose from. But they’re relatively open, and you’re allowed to change it somewhat to suit your needs. I went with this prompt:
To escape her abusive parents, a princess dresses up as a male vigilante to protect her kingdom but soon catches feelings for her own ‘damsel in distress’, who knows nothing of her royal blood and true identity.
I’ve decided to write another story in my Spellbound (fantasy) universe. Romance, of course. I’m incapable of writing anything different. I’ve changed a few details, for example, the abuse of the parents is more towards the kingdom than the princess. Guess what though? For once, I actually don’t hate the blurb I wrote! Normally, I really struggle with blurbs.
The contest is set up in three word-goal stages. The first is only 2 000 words, and I’ve hit that. After that, it’s 8 000 and then 20 000 at the end. Wish me luck in hitting them all!
Since I’m actually writing somewhat regularly again, let’s start the WIP Wednesday routine again! Every Wednesday I will share a piece of something I’m currently writing on. The length will probably vary greatly since I don’t want to give too much away.
Today, I’m sharing a piece from Bowstrings & Velvet, my fantasy romance novella currently being published on Wattpad (and my author blog). Since the last time I shared a piece of this, the male lead has had a name change (in case anyone remembers).
It was nightfall by the time they stopped to make camp by a small stream. They’d travelled in the water, allowing the current to wash away their tracks, and Felix finally seemed content to believe that anyone following them would be far behind. Shae was exhausted, she’d not been on a horse for a long time, not since before their marriage, and her arms and legs were aching. When Felix came to help her down, she literally fell into his arms. He steadied her by wrapping his arms around her.
For a moment she allowed herself to close her eyes and feel safe in his embrace. He was warm and firm, smelling faintly of the sandalwood soap she knew he favoured, but now it was mixed with the smell of horses and blood. Steeling herself, she pulled away from him and turned to unsaddle her horse. Felix’s hand on hers stilled her movements.
“Let me do that,” he said softly. “You can barely stand upright.”
While I’m not claiming to be some writing virtuoso, I definitely find writing easier than writing blurbs. The ones for my short stories and novellas are hard enough, but I’m now trying to make a really catchy one for the novel I’m hoping to publish later in the year. I don’t know if it’s harder than normal today because we’ve just had a few nights of absolutely dreadful sleep, so my brain feels quite foggy. Maybe I should try again another day.
My blurb so far is two words. Two. Words. And they’re the names of the main character… Yes, that’s how bad my brain is working today.
I have a tagline though. I think?
What is a proper, young lady to do when she finds a stranger sleeping in her bed?
I like it, but at the same time, it’s only really pertinent to like the first chapter. Since the stranger is 1) only in her bed in the first chapter 2) only a stranger in the first chapter since obviously they get to know each other after this. Am I overthinking this? Possibly. Will I keep thinking about this? Definitely.
After all, I spent a good 10 minutes the other night agonising over the correct word to use in a sentence. That was one word. This is a whole blurb. Expect at least a few weeks of me tearing my hair out.
I have an old blurb for the book, but I don’t think I like it. If anyone has any insights, please feel free to share.
ANGELIQUE GRAFTON never imagined finding a stranger in her bed, let alone a Marquess. She knows that her family expects her to marry another, but every nerve in her body tells her that it’s a bad match. Always having been told that she’s not lovable, she feels that she should be grateful for the unofficial arrangement made by her late parents. But could she jeopardize her happiness to fulfill her parents’ wish? Especially when she’s met a man who makes her very skin tingle in awareness.
NATHANIEL HOWERTY, the Marquess of Pensington, is not looking for love. In fact, he’d be quite happy never to find it. Having seen how his father was destroyed by losing the woman he loved, Nathaniel fears that the same would happen to him. But when he meets Angel Grafton he finds that he wants her more than anything else. Does he dare to leave himself vulnerable to a woman that might not only steal his kisses but his heart as well?
Reading it again, I really don’t like it. There are parts of it I may keep, but other ones I think are over-explaining without actually catching anyone’s interest.
When I next get a moment I will write a post about Christmas and New Year’s, but today it all about shameless self-promotion!
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve set myself some goals for 2020. One is to finally revise my old manuscript and self-publish it to Kindle before the end of the year. (Still need to get cracking on this one!) The other is to start putting myself out there, as scary as it is… So I’m publishing some other material on Wattpad. (If you don’t know it’s a platform for readers and writers where you can publish your work and/or read others stories. Or just read, there are a lot of people supposedly who are only readers as well. You can either do it on their website or download their app onto your phone/tablet.)
So! I’ve set myself a goal of one chapter of a novella every Monday. It’s a fantasy romance novella called Bowstrings & Velvet. I will add the blurb below in case anyone is curious about my terrible writing. It’s Romance with capital R, and fantasy with lower case f. Just pointing it out. Definitely more internal conflicts/character-driven than big, sweeping fantasy settings. Basically it’s people falling in love but in a fantasy world. Still, it’s writing and I’m rusty. I need to start somewhere.
The idea is that there will be a bunch of novellas/short stories all taking place in the same fantasy world. They all take place after the big battle that usually culminates in a “regular” fantasy novel, where they usually end. These stories happen in what’s left of the world after the big bad has been defeated, as the people are getting back to a new normal. Just because you win the war/defeat the bad guy it doesn’t mean that everything is suddenly fine and dandy (demonstrated very well by the burning of the Shire, for those who read Lord of the Rings).
But I’m rambling now. (It is late and the Imp has been waking up a lot during the night, so my brain may not be at peak performance, I’ll be honest.)
Below is the blurb for Bowstrings & Velvet. And also for A White Rose, which is a short story in the same universe, also sort of in progress, so nothing is completed.
If you want to check Wattpad out, you can do so here.
I think we all have our own things that we do instead of that writing that we ought to be doing. In this I’m not going to include the obvious things like working, sleeping, eating and keeping the house tidy (in all honesty, I tend to find ways to procrastinate these too!).
I’m admittedly a bit of a gamer, not as much these days as I used to be – but I still play a fair bit. The games vary a bit, but the longest standing one is probably World of Warcraft. I even used to run a WoW blog for a few years, but as my gaming slowed down, so did my blogging about it. Other games I play are Dragon Age, Diablo, Stardew Valley and a bunch of little ones on Steam when I have the time.
I probably watch more series than movies these days, but I do love a good movie and go to the cinema to see some of the ones I’m really interested in. TV-series are so good these days though, and there are so many of them. Too many! Services like Netflix, Amazon etc. have made series and movies so accessible, that it’s easy to waste hours binging on a new show.
No surprises there. I can easily waste hours just browsing the web, checking blogs, updating my own, perusing the latest posts on Facebook. Oh, and what’s new on my favourite YouTube channels? I also use the internet to keep in touch with my family in Sweden, so in fairness – I do love having access to it. When living away from your family it makes the world seem a little smaller.
What are your biggest procrastination fiends / time sinks?
I’ve been thinking back to how I was writing before I got sick ten years ago (and everything fell to pieces). What has changed? Why am I struggling with writing to the extent that I am?
Ignoring the fact that I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, why can’t I pull myself together to do these things? Or is that the reason in itself? It can’t be. I know people who suffer from these things and they do get writing done.
Working full time for the last year and a bit for the first time since before I got sick is definitely not helping. I have limited energy, and currently it feels like all of it is going towards getting to work and doing my job. When I’m home, very little – if anything – is left. Not working, however, is not an option – because of that pesky detail of paying bills.
After a busy week, I just spent a whole day in bed. So energy levels definitely aren’t at their best at the moment.
The one thing other than my illnesses that I know is different is that I had a friend/colleague that read my chapters as I finished them. I think on some level that helped me feel motivated to keep going. Writing a book, as any writer knows, is a sludge and a rather lonely process. You have no idea if what you’re churning out is terrible or at least decent. (Most likely terrible, there’s a reason there’s a revision process!)
Still, having that one person who read each chapter as I wrote them – it kept me going. And it gave me an idea if I was on the right track, because she’d question things if they didn’t make sense and some things I could then nip in the bud instead of possibly missing them during the revisions/editing. I definitely miss having that.
None of this helps with my lack of energy, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Truth is, I have no solution, I think maybe I just needed to vent.
If you have a chronic illness of some kind, how do you get through it and find the energy/ability to write?