I just reached 50,000 words on my WIP and I'm pumped!
Why? Because I've been working on this MS for over three years, from its conception during a NaNoWriMo challenge until now. Kind of ironic isn't it? Writers are supposed to write 50K in one month and here I took 3 1/2 years! But that's okay because there was a period of 4 to 6 months when my writing practically stopped and I feared that the spark wouldn't reignite when I faced this MS again.
But you know what? It did. I was still in love with my characters and the direction the story was heading. And so I continued on, working on it while I could, little by little. I hoped to finish it by the summer, but then the spring of constant motion and exhaustion hit, and I was barely writing or even reading.
Here I am in July. I'm behind in my reading, behind in my housework but I reached 50K words. Before I started this project I wrote an outline for this novel and have been using it as a road map of sorts. To be honest, I haven't looked at it that often, but I love that I have it as a safety net. Last week, I revisited that outline. I was feeling a bit nervous about the approaching climax and how I'm going to end this novel. I have a vague idea, but wasn't sure how many total words I should aim for.
First, I went back and checked my word count for each chapter. As of now, before revisions, they range from 1500 - 2500 words. Then I checked my outline and came up with a plan for how many chapters I should have left. I figure I have about 16K left. 16!! That's totally doable! These last chapters are not going to be easy but being to finally see the finish line is all the motivation I need to work hard at it each day until I'm done.
I finally have a working title which seems to reflect the general gist of this novel: REACH. It may change as I continue to work on this but it's so nice to refer to it as something other as YAGS (young adult ghost story).
Hybrid author and friend, Donna Hosie, is the author of the successful THE RETURN TO CAMELOT young adult series. Earlier this year she released Book One in her spin off series, THE CHILDREN OF CAMELOT called THE RING OF MORGANA. Coming soon in 2015 she will self publish Book Two in this series called QUEST OF THE ARTISAN. Here's the gorgeous cover and what it's about.
THE CHILDREN OF CAMELOT series continues in QUEST OF THE ARTISAN.
Six months ago, seventeen-year-old Rustin Hall thought he knew what he wanted. Then he travelled back in time with his best friend, Mila, to the world of Camelot, knights and magic, and everything changed.
Now Rustin is the artisan, and he knows his future because it's written in the past.
But Rustin's plan to build the first temple for the Gorian druids is cut down like the trees he talks to when the Round Table reveals the name of the newest knight of Camelot: a name that carves fear and unrest into the other knights. With Mila now in danger, Rustin, along with his friends, James and Jalaya, goes on a quest to find her before a new malevolent evil gets there first. A necromancer is building an army of the dead, and they are coming for Arthur's daughter.
Rustin will join forces with a young would-be knight called Galahad, as his quest takes him into the very heart of the Arthurian legends he grew up reading. A quest that could be the end of the artisan's life, not just in Logres, but for good. Due for release in 2015. I can't wait!!
1. I am officially on summer break from work for 2 and a half months. Although it will be a summer of full days as I catch up on deep cleaning the house and driving children to work, friends, camp etc., I'll finally be able to tackle projects that have been on hold for a month and a half - my WiP being one of them.
2. I'm on Twitter! Not sure whether to say "Yay!" or "Yikes!" or how active I'll be, but thought it was time. If you'd like to follow me, and I feel weird even typing this, I'm at suzmforbes.
2. Yesterday's weather was a humid 90 degrees. After the cold, miserable, never-ending winter (seriously, we had no spring and were getting cold and snow well through April) summer is finally here and I'm ecstatic!
3. I'm beginning a bittersweet side writing project. I haven't quite figured out what exactly it will consist of but it's related to my Dad.
4. Last Saturday I ran and finished my first 5K race! It was a gray, drizzly morning when I woke -- perfect for a race :) I purposely positioned myself toward the back of the pack. What an incredible joy it was to run past cheering family, friends and strangers. The first song on my Running playlist was "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons -- very fitting and the perfect motivation. I felt good the entire time and crossing the finish line was awesome! My time was 40:55 and I came in 192 out of 225 so yeah, I was definitely running at a tortoise pace. But I ran the whole way and and achieved my goal by finishing.
5. Last Saturday night was girls night out at the movies. We all saw The Fault in our Stars together. I brought tissues just in case, but didn't cry. Not unusual for me. My biggest fear was that the actor portraying Augustus wouldn't be able to pull off Green's book Augustus, but Ansel did. No wonder why millions of teenage girls find him swoonworthy. I enjoyed the movie very much.
As an unpublished writer, I dream of the day when I can announce my literary debut. Until then I'll keep working on my WiP little by little until I'm finished.
But that doesn't mean I can't have a different kind of debut.
All of my kids are runners of varying degree. My girls are involved with track and/or cross country. My son ran in high school and continues to do so for the love and fitness. While on break from college last summer, I witnessed his dedication to training, often in 90 degree weather after working 7 hours. This past fall, he flew home on his semester break, ran a local marathon (coming in first for his age group) with a time of 2:56:52 qualifying him to run the 2015 Boston Marathon if he so chooses. /bragging mom
I was so impressed with my daughters' dedication and my son's accomplishment that I secretly decided that I would start running myself in 2014. There was no way I was going to start out in the fall with winter ahead of me, so I announced that "maybe I would start running" after the winter when it got a little warmer. I got a lot of snickers and "that's nice" pats on the head. Nobody really believed I would start. But I did. You know what my first realization was after I bought new sneakers, charged up my iPod, and started jogging around the track?
Running is hard!
And the thing was, it wasn't the breathing that was hard, it was how my calves felt like lead balloons as I ran. In the beginning, I started at the track and decided I would run/walk for 1 mile (4 times around times = 1 mile). The first day, I ran around once and nearly collapsed, walking the rest of the mile. Once I built up to running a continuous (no walking in between) mile I was ready to tackle road running. My route is three miles of which I jog and walk when I have to. I've found that running on the street has been harder on my calves and knees because of the inclines, the harder surface, and uneven sidewalks. Not to mention avoiding puddles and trash cans! And so my recent strategy has been to alternate between running at the track (which can get monotonous) and on the street.
After about 2 months, I am able to run 2 miles straight now. I love that I'm making progress and more importantly that I'm strengthening my heart. Nobody is making fun of me now.
I have no marathon aspirations. My short term goal was to be able to run a mile and I reached it. My next goal, run in a 5K race. Long term? If I stick with this and my legs can handle it, maybe a half marathon in the future. We'll see. As much as I love writing, the progress I've made has been slow. I really needed something else in my life that I could feel successful at short term. Something to get me away from my computer, from the busyness of everyday life, something just for me.
Any runners out there? What advice would you give a running newbie?
Look what I got my hot little hands on last week! I feel like I've been waiting forever!
Doesn't it make a nice addition to the family?
This time of year is notoriously busy for me. Spring sports means late afternoon/early evening practices and pick ups in different towns, 7:00 pm dinners, catching up on chores at night and weekend special events. My reading time is practically nonexistent during the months of April and May, mainly because by the time I open a book before bed, my eyes can't stay open. And so I'm only on p. 96 out of 613 (I peeked with squinty eyes to see how many glorious Dreams pages I had to look forward to).
However, I'm officially on vacation for a week. And although we have a lot to do (getting ready for Easter, visiting colleges) you better believe I'll be finding the time to immerse myself in Laini Taylor's world. Speaking of which, Laini will be visiting Boston next week to promote her book and there's a slim chance I'll get to meet her again. I was fortunate enough to meet her during her Daughter of Smoke and Bone tour and hope to see her again.
Grieving hearts are heavy as we remember two of Boston's finest, Lieutenant Edward Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy, who sacrificed their lives to keep others safe. We mourn the loss of these two fine men and are truly grateful for their service. May they rest in peace.
She's done it again!
Author and friend, Donna Hosie has been busy, busy, busy. After completing her successful self-published Return to Camelot trilogy in 2013, and later this year releasing Book 1, THE DEVIL'S INTERN, in her next series to be published by Holiday House, in Donna's *cough* spare time *cough* she's working on another series. So without further ado, the cover reveal for Book 1 in her Children of Camelot series, THE RING OF MORGANA.
In a brand new series, Donna Hosie revisits Logres with THE CHILDREN OF CAMELOT.
Sixteen-year-old Mila Roth wants to be normal. It’s a phrase that has been drilled into her by her mother since she was born. But Mila Roth is anything but normal. For sixteen years her parents have hidden a secret from her. For Mila was born one thousand years ago in the land of Logres, and far from being a math teacher and a housewife, Mila’s parents are the awakened King Arthur and Gorian druid queen, Morgana.
Two worlds, one thousand years apart. And those worlds are about to collide. The spirit of the malevolent Lady of the Lake has been contained for sixteen years in the fabled Ring of Morgana. When the ring curses Mila’s younger sister, Lilly, the Roth family has no choice but to return Mila to the land of her birth as they face a battle against time itself.
Accompanied by her best friend, Rustin, Mila will have to decide whether to defy those she loves in order to save her sister. Should she trust the Gorian druids and the mysterious Melehan? What is the true cost to Mila’s heart as she strives to master the purple flame? And why have her mother and father denied the truth of her origins for so long?
For she alone has the combined power of royalty and druid magic within her.
And now only Mila can save Lilly and Logres.
THE RING OF MORGANA will be released in ebook and paperback on the 15th June 2014.
For the past three years I've signed up for the Goodreads Challenge. If you haven't used it before, it's basically a way to challenge yourself to read a certain amount of books and keep track of your progress. I like it a lot but end up feeling like if I don't complete it I'm a loser, which is total hogwash, but who can understand one's own psyche? Mine loves to drive me up a tree and convince me that I failed even though I totally read over 20 books! How can that be a fail? Conclusion: It can't.
Here's a look at my past three Challenges if your interested. The first year I signed up I set my goal way too high.
2011 Goal = 60 books(What was I thinking? Seriously, when did I think I'd have time to read 1 book a week, plus? *Shakes head in disbelief*) Books Read = 26(Wake up to reality, hun)
I ended up feeling like I was behind all year and could never catch up to a goal that was completely out of reach by the fall. Didn't feel too good about my goal setting abilities that year and lost sight that I had accomplished reading 26 books. After all, reading is supposed to be relaxing, right?
2012 Goal = 40 books(Much more manageable of a goal until the Whirlwind Spring of '12 hit my life) Books Read = 27(Not bad)
This time I figured, okay, 3 books a month =36, plus throw in a few extras during the summer = 40. What I didn't factor in were the multiple, time-consuming family events and many exhausting days/nights that year.
At the beginning of 2013, I re-evaluated my purpose in completing the Goodreads Challenge. Did I want to set an unrealistic, challenging goal and feel that pressure again? No. I wanted to feel good about continuing to read for pleasure in the category I write: Young Adult, with a focus on the genre I prefer, contemporary. AND I wanted to use my free time focused more on my writing. For 2013, I realized that my writing had to be my first priority for free time use, so I set my goal the lowest it had been in the past three years. Guess what happened? I ended up reading MORE!
2013 Goal = 32 books(This time I purposely set my goal lower to relieve the self-induced, bordering on neurotic pressure I put on myself to complete this Challenge) Books Read = 39 (Yeah, baby!) one was a reread that didn't get added to the GR total)
So this year, I've decided to up my goal a tiny bit higher. My first priority again, is to write during my spare time. This goal ensures that I can continue to read for pleasure during the slower times of the year (like now) and lighten up during the busy months while still reaching a comfortable goal.
2014 Goal = 35 books
Do you set a reading goal for yourself each year? How many books do you hope to read in 2014?
I suppose most people have put 2013 behind them by now, but before I join them in putting the year to rest, I have a few reflections. It was a mostly positive year, with one dark cloud which will continue to loom over my family in 2014. Though I may not always be able to see the sun on a dark, cloudy day, I have faith that it still exists on the other side. So, in no particular order, some of my highlights and favorite things from 2013.
1. Writing - What would I do without words? Without characters and stories to create? Probably succumb to watching HGTV 24 hours a day. That channel is seriously addicting.
2. Squash pie from Wilson's - I discovered this pie right before Thanksgiving and had to go back to buy one for Christmas. I may have accidentally hid it in the back of the refrigerator on Christmas until after we had eaten dinner and dessert. Such a shame that the family was too full to eat any.
3. Speaking of refrigerators...My new refrigerator! - After my ol' faithful 20 year old fridge froze its last ice cube a few days before Christmas, it was time to put it to rest. My new one is shiny and white and doesn't have handles. It's sparkly with it's LED lights and oh, so clean. I never thought I'd become enamored with a kitchen appliance, but I'm smitten.
4. Pope Francis - I love that this simple man of faith is leading my Church and I'm hopeful for its future.
5. The University of Notre Dame
6. My family - There were so many joyful moments that made my heart soar this past year: birth of a new baby, wedding with a story behind it that makes me tear up every time I tell someone (and the addition of our Chloe), my parents moving back from Florida, celebrating sacraments together: First Communion, Confirmation, Baptism - we are truly blessed. There were/are some difficult events that we struggled with and will continue to face in 2014 but we're strong, resilient, and hopeful.
7. One of those joyful family events...My son running, finishing, and in his category, winning a marathon.
He trained last summer, often running 8 to 15 miles in the heat. This past fall, on his fall break from college, he flew home and ran in a local marathon. His time, just under 3 hours, qualified him for the Boston Marathon in 2015. He is such an inspiration to me and I'm so proud of him.
8. My friends, J and T, blog about their child and how she has changed their lives in the best possible way. It's a peek into their private lives and the little joys that come with their child's discoveries and growth. Their posts put a smile on my face as I remember my own brood when they were that young. I look forward to every post!
9. Downton Abbey - Yes, I am bandwagon jumper on-er. After mispronouncing the name of this hit show for two years (kind of like how I mispronounced Hermione's name until I listened to a Harry Potter audiobook. Doh!), my oldest daughter and I decided to borrow the DVDs for the past 3 seasons to see what all the hype was about. Well, it only took a few episodes to hook us and I'm so excited about season 4. Can't wait to find out what happens to the residents and staff of my favorite English residence.
10. My comfy Clarks. Worth every penny.
What were some of your favorite things or moments of 2013? I'd love for you to share them in the comments below.
My Goodreads reading goal for 2013 was to read 26 books. To my delight, I surpassed this goal in the fall and reset it for 32. As of December 31, 2013 I finished reading 39 novels! It was a great year for YA fiction and it's going to be hard to narrow down my favorites, but I suspect that some of mine are on your favorites list as well. In no particular order:
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - I love a book with a gut-wrenching twist.
Just One Day/Just One Year - Gayle Forman is back! Just sayin'.
Fangirl - I categorize this as NA. Another great book by Rainbow Rowell.
Shine - Lauren Myracle - How did I neglect reading this for so long? Wonderful!
Prodigy -Marie Lu - The Legend series; Most trilogies I've read or started reading have a weak book. Not this one. Champion will be my first read in 2014.
Days of Blood and Starlight - Laini Taylor, enough said.
Wintergirls (reread) - Laurie Halse Anderson - Perfect.
The Fifth Wave - Rick Yancey, I love your writing.
Chaos Walking series - Patrick Ness, I love yours, too.
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith - Jo, you sneaky devil! Refreshing. Renewed my love for mystery/detective books with great characterization.
And because Neil Gaiman's brilliant, even when he's writing a blog post, The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Good creepy stuff!
I'll keep my 2013 list visible on the right of this homepage for a few more days in case you're looking for recommendations for your 2014 TBR list. After that I'll post the list under my Books Read tab where you will find my 2012 and 2013 list. If your're interested I will be adding my 2014 reads to the right sidebar on this page as well as what I'm currently reading.
Also, a special shout out to my two friends who were published this year. Donna K. Weaver and Donna Hosie.
I'm so proud of these women and happy to count them as friends. I wish them continued success and can't wait to see how they'll use their talents this year.
What were your favorite reads of 2013? Were any of mine on your list? What must read book should I add to my 2014 TBR list?