Under Construction

Changes have been happening in my life. The biggest one is I took on a part time job. The hours are perfect: 9-2 while my kids are at school. Unfortunately it means I can’t write as much.

I was going to shut down the website. I really haven’t had much to say about the writing process for awhile now, and I didn’t have time for Spark Tally over the summer. But it was a really hard post to write goodbye. I felt like I was giving up, even though I don’t plan to give up writing entirely. Plus, I really enjoy when people check in and let me know how they’re doing. There have been many successful writers on this site whether it’s getting a first draft done or getting a publication or just having time to string some words together.

So if you’re still out there, I’m going to start posting Spark Tally again. I’ll probably be glad if I get a few hundred words down a week. If you know some writers who’d like to share word counts and thoughts, please invite them!

Beyond Spark Tally, I don’t have a plan for the blog. I did update the rest of the site, so take a look at the links above. Many of the websites I was published at are gone, but I still have a few publication links left. Surprisingly, the very first story I had published is among them.

I hope you’re doing well. Please share your news, or wait for the Spark Tally post this weekend!

2000 Words a Day…Go!

I got some writing done last week! It wasn’t 2000 words a day, but it was about 5500 for the short week. I worked on two different stories, which also made me feel good. I’m going to keep my goal down at 2000 words a day for this week. We have a lot going on, and I’m trying to get a balance of realism and optimism going.

I’ll check in each day this week to post what I managed and maybe a picture or two. Please join me! If you’re feeling rusty, maybe 500 words a day is good. Or if you have a looming deadline maybe 5000 words a day is good. Do what you think will work for you, but write every day!

Good Luck!


May the coffee be with you :)


Spark Tally Saturday


I’m much closer to my goal of 15,000 words a week. I made it to 13,000 words this time. I finished an episode for my serial and am already 2600 words into the next one. Maybe I can get Episode 6 finished in one week. I’d definitely toast with some Champagne and berries if that happened.

In a surprise event, Goodreads removed the ratings from the Troll I posted about at the end of 2015. I have no idea why they did it. I recieved no email from them about it, and I hadn’t sent an email to them since our exchange back in December. Sadly, some other people gave me some one and two star ratings. The one stars have no reviews attached to them, so I have no idea what I did wrong. But, my overall rating is a respectable 3.8 now.

In better news Holly has a great blog post about Query Letters. Definitely go by and check it out. I think Indie authors can use the same advice for writing book blurbs. Also, Shari has a good post about setting writing goals for the year over on her blog.

How was your writing this week?

Free Form Friday!


I had a really rocky day Thursday as far as confidence in writing went. I read an article that made me think I was the only indie author not making bank. My sales are paltry, but I thought they were fairly normal for someone only in it a year. The person writing the blog had only three books out for 18 months and made $36,000 in those 18 months. And she was talking about how little that was.

Not only was it a blow to me, but I had a story to finish.

How do you push through and keep writing on days that you’d rather have a few tumblers of St. Germaine’s over ice and call it good?

Spark Tally Saturday!


I wrote 7000 words this week. That’s less than half of my goal :( But I did get caught up on some house work. There’s still more to do on the house, but maybe this week I can manage my time better.

I’m making my daily sales goal of one sales a day this month. I’m hoping to have at least one sale a day throughout the year. On a month with a big release, I’ll hope for more. Slow and steady is the way for me this year.

How was your writing this week? Be sure to respond to the Free Form Friday question. I’ll post the comments on Sunday Night.

Still Writing

I’m still writing. Unfortunately, I have nothing to say about writing this week.

I spent the weekend preparing and executing one of my kid’s birthday parties. I will leave you with a picture of the Harry Potter themed cake that I made. I hope you enjoy!



Actual Writing Advice: Schedule Your Writing Goals



Back in July I told Julie and Heather that I wanted to do X, Y, and Z. Heather said, “Show me the schedule.” So I sat down at Teamup.com and filled out a calendar for the end of July, all of August and the first week of September. It took three hours.

X is done. Y is daily and on going. Z is incomplete. I have to have Z done by the end of this week. It was actually supposed to be done at the end of August. Obviously I overscheduled. But by golly, I am not adding anything more to that schedule until it’s done.

Having a specific schedule to adhere to is a real boost. I like to check off things when they’re done. I don’t let myself move on until everything is complete. It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to write a book this year.” It’s another to say, “I’m going to write one chapter a week. I’m going to be half-way done by July 4. I’m going to have a full manuscript by Dec. 31.”

It’s good to say, “I’m going to write every day for two hours.” But I think it’s even better if you say, “I’m going to write two hours a day and have a short story done by Saturday.” It keeps you honest with yourself. Maybe it will prevent you from spending that two hours on Youtube, or reading news articles, or twitter. Sometimes I get done with an hour and I’ve done nothing but check stuff on the internet that isn’t related to my writing project at all. If I have a looming deadline, even a self-imposed one, I can click on my schedule and say, “Better not go through my WordPress Reader right now. I need Z done in two days!”

I know some of you out there schedule your goals. Do you have any special tricks that keep you focused?

Beginnings: Outlander

As I’m countinuing to write Gwen’s story, I’m still trying to figure out the best way to start it. Instead of reading more books on how to begin a novel, I thought I’d study beginnings of very popular books. The first I chose is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearance, at first glance. Mrs. Baird’s was like a thousand other Highland bed-and-breakfast establishments in 1945; clean and quiet with fading floral paper, gleaming floors and a coin operated hot-water geyser in the lavatory. Mrs. Baird herself was squat and easygoing, and made no objection to Frank lining her tiny rose-sprigged parlor with the dozens of books and papers with which he traveled.

I met Mrs. Baird on the way out. She stopped me with a pudgy hand on my arm and patted my hair.

“Dear me, Mrs. Randall, ye canna go out like that! Here just let me tuck that bit in for ye. There. That’s better. Ye know, my cousin was tellin me about a new perm she tried. Comes out beautiful and holds like a dream. Perhaps ye should try that kind next time.”

So the hook comes with the very first sentence: It wasn’t a very likely place for a disappearance, at first glance. And then the narrator goes on to describe the place. When I first read this, I thought it was an omnipotent narrator. It’s not till the second paragraph that the narrator is established as first person. We know Frank has lots of papers, so we can conclude that maybe he’s a teacher of some sort, but we don’t know yet his relationship to the narrator. We have a very good picture of Mrs. Baird, but the only thing we know about the narrator is she has untidy hair and isn’t too concerned about it. And her tone of narration makes me think she’s a bit sardonic, which I like.

Mainly, we’re waiting for the disappearance to happen, and that isn’t going to happen for a long while.

What do you think of this opening? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Do you like the style?

I like this beginning. I enjoy how she’s easing in to the story by establishing place. She isn’t trying to hit us hard with a lot of drama or action up front with a bunch of characters we know nothing about.

Mini Word Count Marathon Day 3

Last night, I was driving home from Hastings on a street by the mountains called Tramway. One of my favorite Greenday songs came on and I hit the gas. Tramway is a great road for speeding at night. There’s too much traffic during the day, but otherwise it’s straight and already has a high speed limit.

It occured to me that I wasn’t acting my age. I should’ve been home worrying that my teenage son was doing exactly what I was doing–driving way too fast. But I’m not much for societal conventions. I’d had a good stint of writing and it’s spring. And my son was the one at home, so no need to worry anyway.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music while I’ve been getting words down. Most of it has been Chris Thile, but I often start out with the Black Eyed Peas: Pump It. Another song that I’m sure would cause me to speed on Tramway :)

I got my 5000 words yesterday. How did you do?