ROW80 Check-in #104 How It All Started

The writing challenge that knows you have a life.

This round of 80 days is coming to a close this week. I’ve now participated in six rounds. How far have I come since the beginning? Well, I pulled up the first check-in from back in January 2012 and found a writer looking for her rhythm.

All my worries from back then came flooding back. I was in love with writing, still am. I was afraid of losing a new found passion. I also remember needing to respect the process. I needed to put in the time, study the craft, get to know my characters, and most importantly to keep moving forward.

I remember check-ins that held lots of fears and worries about my work, these remain. I have a lot still to learn. I’ll keep coming back to that first check-in though because it holds so much hope and that’s something I want to hang on to.

The self-discipline I worked on over the course of all 104 check-ins helped me to make this happen:

click to see SJ's books on Amazon

I have a lot planned for the rest of 2014 and beyond. I will get there by respecting the process and I will keep moving forward.

The Goals – week-11 results

  • Spend at least 1-hour a day with my characters-  done. I actually spent time with characters from three different WIPs. Oh boy, lol.
  • Daily progress in writing craft, word count, editing, and/or plotting- considering it done once again. I did some craft study this week, but the majority of my time was spent on writing guest posts to promote my releases. I was hoping to get to the WIP last night, but it didn’t happen.
  • Take care of and be kind to myself (start w/ a relaxing ritual, the healthy journey, and daily breaks from technology)- done. Although I’m not getting enough sleep lately, I did spend time in my garden and I did read a couple books this week.

What you might have missed here this week:

Review: A Love Discovered by Ella Jade
Ten Things to know about the Love Projects Series
Mid Week Tease – Long Shot by Cara Bristol
Evernight’s Executive Assistant Anthologies Are Here!

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ROW80 Check-in #103 Release Day High Jinks

The writing challenge that knows you have a life.

I’ve survived my third release day. That’s right. Taking Courage, the second in my Love Projects series released on Thursday. Wahoo!

I was definitely better prepared for this release than my previous two, but it was still nuts and I have no idea if I’m doing it right.

Release days for me are filled with all kinds of fun things and many, many steps. I have a check list that I keep adding to which is very helpful. There are some things that gave me headaches with my first release that are now no big deal, like claiming a book as mine once it appears on Amazon or adding the ISBN on Goodreads or hunting down all the buy links or updating all the places on my website that are now out of date…

I’m three days post release and there are still things on my check list to be completed. I desperately want to get back to my WIP, but Taking Courage deserves my time and attention right now.

Here’s to my release list getting done in time to celebrate the anthology that’s releasing this Friday. Yikes in such a good way. 😀

If you want to know more about my new release and enter my giveaway, click here.

The Goals – week-10 results

  • Spend at least 1-hour a day with my characters-  not done.
  • Daily progress in writing craft, word count, editing, and/or plotting- considering it done. I may not have worked on the WIP this week, but I did tons of stuff for my release.
  • Take care of and be kind to myself (start w/ a relaxing ritual, the healthy journey, and daily breaks from technology)- done. I spent time in my garden again this week. I love my backyard. 🙂

What you might have missed here this week:

Inside Look with Cherrie Mack author of The Beginning (Witches Of The Bayou)
Pushin’ Buttons by Em Petrova – The Interview!
Mid Week Tease – Find Your Courage and Take A Chance
Release Day Party for TAKING COURAGE – Love Projects 2

ROW80 Check-in #102 Behind the Curtain of Summer Vacation

The writing challenge that knows you have a life.

My boys are now both on summer vacation. If my juggling was difficult before, now it just gets more interesting, especially since my husband’s schedule will get busier and busier.

I may not be packing as many lunches or screaming about how the bus is coming, but the time I find in the morning will get swallowed whole by interruptions and activities during the day.

If I want to keep my forward movement, I’ll need to refresh my anti-distraction skills. I’ll need to be prepared for my small windows of writing time. It’s a skill I’ve been working on, but it’s now sink or swim time.

There’s nothing exciting behind the curtain. It’s simple nose to the grindstone.

The Goals – week-9 results

  • Spend at least 1-hour a day with my characters-  not done.
  • Daily progress in writing craft, word count, editing, and/or plotting- not done. Watching your inbox and waiting for your cover to arrive doesn’t count, right? Definitely not done then. I worked on graphics for my upcoming release. Found the lines I want to quote and teasers I want to share. I did finally start a new read through on the WIP and got about 3/4 of the way through or 41 pages. I need to finish my read through and finish the final scene because my cover will arrive and my release day is coming.
  • Take care of and be kind to myself (start w/ a relaxing ritual, the healthy journey, and daily breaks from technology)- kind of done. I spent time in my garden this week. It gives me an endless supply of peace. So glad I’ve taken the time every year to nurture it. I didn’t however spend anytime on my healthy journey this week and I can tell.

What you might have missed here this week:

Inside Look with Elyzabeth M. Valey and her Naughty Fairy Tales

Inside Look with Ela Stein author of Pleasure Android 7.1 and Love’s Labyrinth

Mid Week Tease – Time to Choose

ROW80 Check-in #101 My Writing Process

The writing challenge that knows you have a life.

My Sisters Demon coverMy fabulous friend, Julie Glover tagged me in this writing process hop a couple of weeks ago. She has a new release, My Sister’s Demon. Here are links to Goodreads and Amazon. It’s definitely worth checking out. 😀

I did a similar writing process post back in February. It was fun to look back at what I was working on then.

executive-assistant 300x200Back then, I was a month away from starting the story that would be accepted into the anthology that’s releasing June 20th! It’s already on Goodreads. Plus, I was also no where near close to having my next release, TAKING COURAGE ready for the send button. Last night, I sent the last set of edits back to my publisher and that story will be releasing very soon.

I can only hope to see just as much progress when I look back at this post a couple months from now.

What am I working on?

Hitting the send/receive button in Outlook hoping my next cover will arrive, lol. I’m working on the final scene in my WIP before I start working on guest posts for my next release.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I love romance and that will always be up front and center in my books. I also enjoy adding a bit of kink to my stories and the D/s relationship hits the spot for me. So far, all of my stories have been about strong career driven women who find their one and only in the middle of their work day. They love their jobs and they’re passionate about their men. Yes, my leading ladies are lucky, but I make them work for each of their happy endings.

Why do I write what I do?

I write what I like to read. It’s that simple. I love hot romances. I love finding broken hearts and gluing them back together. It’s what I do and I love it.

How does my writing process work?

Once the first draft is done, a long series of read throughs begin. The first couple of passes I edit for story arch and then character arch. I usually add several thousand words during these read throughs. The last couple of passes are for sentence structure and anything else I find that I can tighten. Once my betas offer their feedback, it’s back to the read throughs until the manuscripts shines and then I hit send.

I’m mostly a plotter, but I pantsy my way through each book. Until I’m done with that last read through, you never know what I might change.

I’m tagging Denise D. Young, Beth Camp, and Elizabeth Anne Mitchell to continue this writing process hop.

The Goals – week-8 results

  • Spend at least 1-hour a day with my characters-  done.
  • Daily progress in writing craft, word count, editing, and/or plotting- done. The plans for my WIP were interrupted on Monday morning when my edits arrived for TAKING COURAGE. It took me four intense days to go through the edits, add to a couple of scenes, add an epilogue, and do one last slow read through. On Friday, I opened my WIP and read through the new scene. Then late yesterday, I received the last set of edits. Did I go to sleep or did I open it? Of course I opened it, lol. It took me no time to go through her latest edits. I reread the passages that worried me and added a word that woke me up in the middle of the night. That one word clarified something in the epilogue. So glad I remembered. Yesterday, I did get back to the WIP. The final scene isn’t done, but it’s close.
  • Take care of and be kind to myself (start w/ a relaxing ritual, the healthy journey, and daily breaks from technology)- kind of done. It was an intense week. The daily breaks didn’t happen. But, I did see Lucius and The Head and the Heart this week at our local State Theatre. Wow. What a show. They gave me plot bunnies for three books. Amazing. Got to love live music and a midweek date with the hubs.

What you might have missed here this week:

Inside Look with Casey Moss author of Open World (C.O.V.E.N.)

Mid Week Tease – Love Me Now

ROW80 Check-in #100 Fun with Facebook Parties

The writing challenge that knows you have a life.

I worked my tuchus off this week. Wow. From the evil day job, last meeting for my volunteer job, kid activities, gardening, edits, and my first ever Facebook party. I was kind of a crazy woman, but it was a whole lot of fun.

Once my edits arrived, during an already busy week, I knew I wouldn’t be able to make progress on the WIP. I accepted it and enjoyed my week. Sure, I’d hoped to have the WIP ready for another beta read by now, but that’s okay. I did promise my WIP I’d attempt to finish its last scene before I started working on guest posts. That’s a promise I’ll need to deliver on this week.

One of the first friends I made on-line when I started this writing journey, Ella Jade, is celebrating her third publishing anniversary this weekend. She’s a fabulous writer and I love her books. They always go on my must read list. She invited me to host an hour of her Facebook party which I did on Friday night. I had several weeks to plan, but right until the last minute, I was still tweaking my posts. I was so nervous. I worried her guests might not care for what I’d planned to share.

What if no one commented on my posts???

I threw my nerves out the window and went for it. Sure enough, people commented and I had a great time. Made several new friends too. Double score!

There in a nut shell has been my experience on this writing journey: nerves ignored and going for it. Not everyone will like my posts or my books and that’s okay. Not everyone is my target reader. I do need to keep putting myself out there so my target readers can find me. I also need to keep studying my craft, and working to put better and better books on the virtual shelves.

Here’s to 100 more check-ins 😀

The Goals – week-7 results

  • Spend at least 1-hour a day with my characters-  done.
  • Daily progress in writing craft, word count, editing, and/or plotting- done. No progress on the WIP, but I worked through edits from my editor and I’m almost finished with my last slow read through. (Update!: I finished the read through late last night *I’m dancing* Gosh, I love that story.)
  • Take care of and be kind to myself (start w/ a relaxing ritual, the healthy journey, and daily breaks from technology)- done. By not stressing about what I wouldn’t be able to get to, I gave myself permission to live in the moment. Queue the happy music.

What you might have missed here this week:

Mid Week Tease – Safety First

My Book Crush with Terran (Breeder 2) by Cara Bristol

ROW80 Check-in #99 Sweet Progress

>>Click here for the Wicked Nights Giveaway Hop<<

The writing challenge that knows you have a life.

How I’ve missed you, sweet sweet progress. The writing bug hit me hard this week. All those days spent with my characters finally got them talking to me again.

I may have started writing their story last summer and left it unfinished for too many months, but I’ve got them back on my side now.

Here’s to proving once again that if you keep working at something, the breakthrough will come.

The Goals – week-6 results

  • Spend at least 1-hour a day with my characters-  done.
  • Daily progress in writing craft, word count, editing, and/or plotting- done. I made steady progress on the WIP this week. The first new scene is almost done. I added 1k words.
  • Take care of and be kind to myself (start w/ a relaxing ritual, the healthy journey, and daily breaks from technology)- mostly done. The workouts didn’t happen this week, but I’ve been working in the yard. Gardening is most definitely a workout and it puts me in my happy peaceful place.

What you might have missed here this week:

Spotlight: The Beta’s Beloved by Rebecca Brochu

Mid Week Tease – Lucky in Love

Wicked Nights Giveaway Hop with all things S.J. Maylee

ROW80 Check-in #98 A Mixed Bag

The writing challenge that knows you have a life.

Happy Mother’s Day. This is the kind of day I plan very little. If the weather permits, I’ll enjoy a family bike ride. I intend to spend most of the day writing and reading. One of my favorite authors released a book this past week, such perfect timing.

As for my progress last week, it was a mixed bag. I had one of those weeks where the evil day job and kids activities took over all my time. Ugh. It’s frustrating, but it happens. My eye is still on the ball though. I spent time with my characters and added to a new scene in the WIP. I’m in a good position to make progress today which I’m definitely hungry for after this crazy week.

So, here’s to all the moms out there, you rock! I hope you have a great day.

The Goals – week-5 results

  • Spend at least 1-hour a day with my characters-  done.
  • Daily progress in writing craft, word count, editing, and/or plotting- not done.
  • Take care of and be kind to myself (start w/ a relaxing ritual, the healthy journey, and daily breaks from technology)- kind of done. The workouts didn’t happen this week, but I accomplished the rest on the list.

What you might have missed here this week:

Party Cinco de Mayo style with SJ’s Naked Guacamole

Mid Week Tease – The Day He Met Her

Flash Fiction #59 Loves Late Arrival

ROW80 Check-in #97 Methods in My Madness

Hello Weekend Writing Warriors. I’ll be back very soon.

The writing challenge that knows you have a life.

Through this writing journey, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about myself. I’ve learned what can push me past my insecurities. I’ve learned what makes me weak. I’ve learned what it takes to keep me going.

Just like the introvert in me needs down time after an outing, the slowpoke in me needs a recovery period after insane activity. BUT, it’s time to get back to work. After the craziness that was my March through the first half of April, it was time to get back to the languishing WIP.

I probably should have gotten back to work last week, but if I’d pushed before I was ready, I might have suffered through a bout of writer’s block. I also know that if I don’t kick myself into gear, this phase of not working on my WIP will linger. 😦

Here’s to fingering out what works for us and getting it done.

The Goals – week-4 results

  • Spend at least 1-hour a day with my characters-  almost done. I have gotten reacquainted with Jane and Rob, but I didn’t get to them everyday.
  • Daily progress in writing craft, word count, editing, and/or plotting- almost done. I went through all the notes from my beta, made changes, listed the scenes to add, and started working on the first new scene.
  • Take care of and be kind to myself (start w/ a relaxing ritual, the healthy journey, and daily breaks from technology)- done. I even worked out THREE times. This is huge for me. I can’t remember the last time I worked out more than twice in a week.

What you might have missed here this week:

Happy Release Day to The Sin Circus with Sweet and Sticky Buns from Sabrina Garie

Mid Week Tease – Over the Edge

ROW80 Check-in #96 Deep Yes and Coming Soon Times TWO

Hello Weekend Writing Warriors. I’ll be back very soon.

The writing challenge that knows you have a life.

Oh what a difference a week makes. The week started with distractions from my mom and MIL. They helped me to regain normal. I cleaned my house and my inbox. I read a few books and countless blog posts. I finished lots of evil day job and volunteer stuff. I played games with my kids. Real life distractions were my ticket to surviving the anticipation of waiting to hear on my latest submission.

The waiting all ended before the work day was over on Tuesday. I’d already learned a lot from the experience, but I wanted in the anthology. Their answer was …

Accept!

Holy cow! I did it. 😀

Five days later and I’m still pinching myself.

coming-soon 300x450coming-soon 300x450My Books page now has TWO coming soon covers. Wow.

I’ve been loving Kait Nolan’s Three Awesome Things posts and this week one of the awesome things really spoke to me. Lots of things to love about the TED talk by Justine Musk, including this line: “Behind every no is a deeper yes to whatever it is that you do want.” <~~ This is something I need to remember, especially as I try to stay on track for my next submission, edits on my two books releasing soon, and all the marketing to come. To gain my balance AND to protect what I want, I’m going to utilize the deep yes.

The Goals – week-2 results

  • Spend at least 1-hour a day with my characters-  not done. I did spend a couple evenings with my characters. I need more though before I have hope of writing the missing scenes in my WIP. I probably have less than two weeks before edits will arrive and I’d like to see good progress before then.
  • Daily progress in writing craft, word count, editing, and/or plotting- done. It was craft study all week.
  • Take care of and be kind to myself (start w/ a relaxing ritual, the healthy journey, and daily breaks from technology)- almost done. I accomplished everything here except the workouts. I did some exercising and some stretching which totaled maybe fifteen minutes. I need more. I want my physical strength back.

What you might have missed here this week:

Spotlight: Barb Drozdowich and Babs Hightower and Their Guides for Authors

Spotlight: Extreme Heat AND Surrender Sweet Succubus by Jewel Quinlan

Mid Week Tease – Changing His Mind <~ from my anthology story.

Cover Reveal: Freed by Stacey Kennedy

SJ’s Taco Soup – I was at Romance Cooks yesterday and I shared my secrets for Taco Soup AND my homemade taco seasoning. 😀

ROW80 Round 2 2014 Goals

Hello Weekend Writing Warriors.
I’m almost ready to share snippets with you again. I’ll be back very soon.

This will be my tenth round of 80 days. A Round of Words In 80 Days or ROW80 is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Join in at any time. State your goals and check-in on Wednesdays and or Sundays.

I ended my last round with lots of forward movement after moving slowly at the start. Looking back, I recognize the nerves and other personal issues that were standing in my way. By the end of the round, I was so hungry for progress, I almost wore myself out trying to catch up to my goals.

__________

You may remember I was polishing a WIP at the end of the last round. I may not have told you, my publisher released a submission call in March for a new anthology. The call was right up my alley, romance in the work place. So, while polishing the WIP I had wanted to have finished last December, I was also looking at a ticking clock on a fabulous opportunity since submissions were due by April 11th. I made notes of the plot points that popped into my head, but I stayed focused on polishing my WIP.

I finished my last read through on the WIP on March 26th and hit send. By the 27th, I was in crazy plotting mode for the submission call and then I got an email … ACCEPT! In one day, my publisher accepted my book. WAHOO!! 😀 Party, shimmy, shake, back to work.

I started writing the submission call on March 29th. I averaged 900 words a day and finished the first draft on April 7th. At that point, I thought I had either the best thing I’d ever written or a worthless piece of junk, lol.

I spent three very long days polishing and worrying I was just wasting my time, but I kept going. I love these characters and I love the fast pace of the story. It’s sexy. It’s heart wrenching. It’s submitted. Yes, I hit send on a 10k story I started writing not even two weeks ago. I think I’m nuts, definitely sleep deprived.

Even if they don’t accept it, I’m proud I tried. 🙂

__________

It’s tempting to take some time off. I’m so tired. However, I don’t want to lose my momentum. I have two WIPs to finish polishing and another I need to start writing. I will also have a new book to promote this round. I have added items to my goals to guard against burnout.

My main goal will be to find a balance between it all.

My goals below are in addition to my evil day job, volunteer duties, and my family.

The Goals – Round 2 2014

  • Spend at least 1-hour a day with my characters
  • Daily progress in writing craft, word count, editing, and/or plotting
  • Take care of and be kind to myself (start w/ a relaxing ritual, the healthy journey, and daily breaks from technology)

Here’s to a fabulous round of 80-days.

What you might have missed here this week:

What’s In a Cover – my guest post at BTS eMag Daily Blog
Inside Look with Erin Nicholas author of Up by Five
Inside Look with Lynn Rae and Peri Elizabeth Scott authors of Prohibited
Mid Week Tease – Not What He Expected