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!
So, the world sort of stopped for all of us, and now it’s suddenly June. I completely lost the plot there for a while, and to be honest with you I’m still kind of floundering. Motivation to do anything is low, and I’m feeling pretty down.
About a week or two after my last post the UK went into full lockdown. We were only allowed outside once a day for exercise (1-hour max), and for essential food and medication shopping. That was pretty much it. No seeing other family members not in your household. Everything was shut other than grocery stores pretty much.
As I’m writing this, we’re just starting to ease lockdown, but it’s still fairly strict. As of today (1 June) some children – not all – are going back to school. We’re allowed to visit the beach or park (no playgrounds) or see family (max 6 people total) outside in a park or garden – but only if we keep 2 metres apart. I personally can’t wait until we’re allowed to leave the Imp with her grandparents for an afternoon.
Entertaining a toddler at home is not easy. I don’t envy people with multiple children, I’ve struggled with just the one!
I worry about what the future holds, but I’m hoping things will improve. I just hope there’s not a second spike after lockdown starts easing (feels like it will be difficult to avoid though). My trip to visit family in Sweden is postponed indefinitely for now until it feels safe to travel, which makes me sad.
My writing has been up and down during the last three months, partly because of my mood in lockdown, partly because the Imp’s sleep varies greatly, and partly because I’m honestly just lazy and want to watch Netflix some evenings.
I finished my novella for the ONC, and made it through three rounds and onto the Longlist – but didn’t then make it onto the Shortlist. However, I’m quite pleased having made it that far as I never thought I’d make it to the Longlist even.
In actual words written, this will now be for the last three months. Let’s have a look!
Total work/words for March-April-May Bowstrings & Velvet: Chapters 9-17 (16 697 words) ongoing Shadows & Lace: Chapters 5-20 (27 883 words) complete A Midsummer Night’s Kiss: Revised and published chapter 2+3 (4633 words) ongoing One-shot scene for Bowstrings & Velvet: 3039 words
While Shadows & Lace is technically finished – I do want to go back and flesh it out a bit more since it was rushed to hit the contest deadline. When I do that, I will probably also do the editing.
I also made a collection book for the whole Spellbound universe where I’ve added the one-shot scene, character lists, world history etc. I’ve not bothered adding the words for that, since most of it is just lists and such anyway, so not exactly fiction writing.
So in a moment of stupidity, I managed to delete the blog for a while. Fortunately, my host was able to retrieve it from a backup – but I did lose a lot of links to old photos. I don’t think a lot of people look back at old posts, so shouldn’t be too bad. Still frustrating though.
When I got it back, I decided to change the colour scheme slightly. If you can’t remember, this was the old one – compared to what you see now. Minor changes, but it feels a bit happier and cheerier which is what I need.
I also updated the Writing section slightly, mainly with images – which I hope won’t load too slowly! But it now has all of the most recent covers and blurbs for the stories.
The website in general is giving me some weird problems where it locks me out for a few days now and then. Not as in, I can’t login, but rather that I can’t even access it. Almost as if the host is blacklisting my ip from time to time. Very strange. (This is also the reason this post is a few days late, as I’ve only just now been able to get back on after the last lockout.)
What has everyone else been up to the last three months?
(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.
And suddenly it’s March… Honestly, time does go much too fast at times. So, what have I been up to in February? Really, I’m asking, because I honestly can’t remember right now. I think I will have to look at my phone to figure it out…
I’ve managed to keep up my schedule on Wattpad of publishing one new chapter every week of Bowstrings & Velvet. I’ve also entered a little writing contest (Open Novella Contest), and I’m slowly slogging through my entry for that (not as quickly as I would have liked). Last week I also ended up publishing the first chapter of my historical romance (regency). I figured that if I can get any feedback there for now, it can help me with the revisions before releasing it on Kindle fully edited (and by then probably removing it from WP). But I’ll see, I haven’t decided on that one.
Total work/words for February: Bowstrings & Velvet: Chapters 4-8 (7389 words) ongoing Shadows & Lace: Chapters 1-4 (5128 words) ongoing A Midsummer Night’s Kiss: Revised and published chapter 1 (3158 words) ongoing
Another month of rubbish weather. I swear we had a storm here every single weekend. So a lot of indoor time again. Even at the farm we go to we ended up mainly indoors. Valentine’s happened. We didn’t do much, to be honest. I cooked a nice dinner and the Boyfriend brought home flowers and chocolate. With a toddler there’s not much romance, I’ll be honest.
Right now, I just feel like I’m waiting for the weather to turn so we can go outside and enjoy this beautiful part of the country where we live. I’d like to go to the seaside with the Imp and the dog. I’d like to visit a playground without having to bundle us up in ridiculous amounts of layers.
I haven’t even been watching much Netflix, there’s just no time. The boyfriend and I are re-watching Friends while eating dinner, and other than that all I’m watching is Picard (on Prime).
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.”
With a new year, I thought I’d get back into the habit of writing a monthly update with what I’ve been doing lately. For myself, if nothing else.
I signed up to Wattpad in 2017 but did absolutely nothing with it. Since I’ve decided that this year is the year I stop procrastinating (as much), I’ve started publishing some of my shorter things there. Some are ongoing, some are now done. I had a lot of old fantasy romance stories I wrote when young, and I had the idea to combine them all into the same universe (which is a merger of the old ones) and loosely link them all. So far I’ve updated an old one called A White Rose, and I’m writing a new one called Bowstrings & Velvet which I update every week.
Total work/words for January
Bowstrings & Velvet: Prologue + 4 chapter (7756 words) ongoing A White Rose: 4 chapters (10 159 words) complete Day of Farewell: Flash fiction (933 words) complete
The weather has been absolutely rubbish in January. We’ve managed two visits to a playground, and one visit to the farm that we go to a lot, other than that it’s all been indoor activities. A lot of soft play areas! Swimming once. A couple of times to mini gym/mini movers. Then we’ve hung out with our friends and tried to keep ourselves entertained at home. I really hope the weather will improve soon!
She’s starting to talk more, even if more than half of it still sounds like gibberish. I suspect that she knows what she’s saying, only we can’t make it out. I think she’s a tiny bit behind on speech, but it’s supposedly common in bilingual children. That said, she speaks a lot more English than Swedish, but I guess that was unavoidable considering that we live in England. However, she fully understands either from what I can tell. (It’s not like she will do what I say if she doesn’t want to…)
I’ve finished (and really enjoyed!) The Good Place on Netflix. It was such a good show. If you haven’t seen it, you really should. I’ve also started watching the new Picard show on Amazon Prime, and while it’s not quite like the old Star Trek shows, I’m quite enjoying it. Another good show I’ve seen lately is Sex Education on Netflix. There’s a Swedish guy in it, which always cracks me up. His accent is very Swedish!
Oh, and The Witcher. I had mixed feelings about it initially, but I have to admit that the show grew on me. Henry Cavill as Geralt didn’t hurt… Since then I’ve been listening to metal versions of “Toss a Coin to your Witcher” on YouTube. Someone, send help…
Nothing else interesting has happened really. Between the imp and writing, there is little to no spare time left (and as you can tell, I spend it binge-watching Netflix!). I’m trying a new approach to keeping on top of housework, which is always difficult for me with CFS and fibromyalgia causing lack of energy and pain to steal my momentum. Still, even while I’m not managing to follow the program fully, I feel like I’m a lot more on top of the cleaning than I was in 2019. Fingers crossed that I can keep it up.
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.