Some Incredibly Exciting News!

Denise D. Young:

Exciting news from a fellow writer. Steampunk fans might be interested in her new book.

Originally posted on Celine Jeanjean's Blog: Down the Rabbit Hole:

My book, The Viper and the Urchin is finished! It is now a Thing That Exists, and that Thing (or rather the ebook copy for now) is available for pre-order on Amazon at the very bargain pre-launch price of $0.99. It will be properly out in the world late July. To say that I’m excited is an understatement of epic proportion, and likewise about being nervous.

D’you want to see the cover? Here it is in all its full-sized glory:
assassin_fullWhat do you think, do you like it? It’s by Ravven, and I’m so pleased with it! And not just because of my very childish excitement at seeing my name on the cover.

The story’s steampunk but set in a world of my creation — the tropical city of Damsport. There’s a bit of mystery and humour thrown in there for good measure too. Here’s the blurb:

The Viper and…

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Round 2 ROW80 Wrap-Up

ROW80LogocopyThings this round went much slower than I would have liked. Here’s what I did accomplish:

  • I finished a third draft of “Good Old-Fashioned Magic.”
  • I am just under 8K into a second draft of “A Prince in Patience Point.”
  • I also did a read-through of the first draft of that story and of “Made of Shadows.”

I planned to work on the fourth draft of the latter, but decided I needed to take some time to figure out what direction I want to take that story. It’s an older one, and it’s just so different from what I’m writing now.

I’m about halfway through “Dialogue” by Gloria Kempton, so I didn’t meet my goal of reading two writing books this round—not even close.

On the social media front, I added Pinterest to the social media sites I’m using, and while I missed a few blog posts here and there, I mostly met my goal of blogging twice a week. But I need to get better about my social-media check-ins.

So, all told, this round wasn’t terrifically productive. Moving prep work has taken a lot more time than I would’ve liked, and once we actually move (in July to stay with the in-laws and then in August to move into the townhouse), I’m sure I’ll have to take some more time off. But that’s just life.

We’ll always have slow periods, or times when we get out of our writing routine. One of my biggest challenges this round was how to get back into a routine when something popped up and interrupted me. I’d have a day or two where I didn’t write, then I’d spend the rest of the week struggling to get back on track. I spent a few weeks struggling with one manuscript only to finally move on to another for the time being, and getting back into a daily practice was more difficult than I would’ve liked.

What about you? How did this round shape up for you? What do you do when your writing routine is interrupted? How do you get back on track?

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop!

See everyone next round!

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Getting there: Sunday ROW80 check-in

Getting there. That’s how I would describe this week. I go through periods where my routine gets thrown off and it takes me a little while to get back into the groove of things. This week was me getting back to my writing, blogging, social media, other writerly endeavors routine.

And I’ve officially started packing the apartment. We have about a month until we need to be out, so we have time, but I don’t want to be caught in a whirlwind of chaos those last few days. Most of my books are now packed, which feels…weird. I’m so used to having them out and easily accessible. I kept out a few that I know I want to read in the next month or so. And I still have more to go—ran out of boxes. So I’m “getting there” on that front, too.

And then there’s my WIP, “A Prince in Patience Point.” I’d say I’m getting there with this project as well. I did a read-through and realized my poor hero had no character arc. He was there, but he wasn’t very active. Things just sort of happened around him, and he didn’t really change. This week I really worked on figuring out his character. What does he want? What’s his arc? What motivates him? I haven’t answered all of those questions, but I’ve started to.

ROW80 check-in…

Writing: Did a read-through of the first draft of “A Prince in Patience Point.” Currently at 5,613 words in this story, with a target word count of 35K. Also did some planning of future scenes and worked on Prince Neal’s character arc.

Reading: Read four chapters in “Dialogue” by Gloria Kempton. Read three novellas by Nora Roberts (“A World Apart,” “Winter Rose,” and “The Witching Hour”), finished reading “Off the Page” by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer, and started reading “Persuasion” by Jane Austen.

Social media: Blogged twice. Checked in on social media and commented on blogs three of five days. I need to get better about daily social-media check-ins. So that’s something to improve.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop.

What did you work on this week? Do you ever have periods of slow progress? Have you ever had trouble getting to know a character? If so, what helped?

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A Whirlwind Summer: Midweek ROW80 check-in

A whirlwind. That’s how I’d sum up the way this summer is shaping up. The good news is that we found someone to take over the lease for our apartment, so we won’t have to pay rent and a mortgage at the same time. Unfortunately, the new tenants’ lease ends in July and we don’t close on our place until August…meaning that we’re going to have to put all of our stuff into storage, stay with my in-laws (who live about an hour away, out in the country, with, gasp!, no Internet), and then move into the new place when it’s ready in early August.

In addition, I’ll be teaching again in the fall, and I’ve already had the obligatory dream in which it’s the first day of class and I realize I haven’t done my syllabus. Which is kind of like a student dreaming that she has a final in a class she’d forgotten she was taking.

My goals for the summer are to finish a second draft of “A Prince in Patience Point” and either a fourth draft of “Good Old-Fashioned Magic” or a second draft of my short story “Midwinter Bride.”

ROW80 check-in:

  • Started a read-through of the first draft of “A Prince in Patience Point.” I’m still trying to get a read on Prince Neal’s character.
  • Read two chapters in “Dialogue” by Gloria Kempton.
  • Checked in on Twitter and Pinterest. Visited three blogs on Tuesday; Monday was a non-writing/social media day.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants!

What about you? What are your summer plans? Will yours be a whirlwind season or a laidback one?

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On taffeta—research and the writing life

4,438. That’s how many words I’ve written so far in the second draft of “A Prince in Patience Point” (formerly “Be True). This story has grown from a quick, shorter piece into something longer, though I’m not quite sure how long yet. Maybe a longer novella. Maybe a shorter novel. In any event, it’s changing, and I’m excited to be working on it. In addition to my word count, I’ve done some character background work and some world-building. And I’m getting back into the swing of things with social media.

photo by Jenny Kaczorowski, WANA Commons

photo by Jenny Kaczorowski, WANA Commons

One of the most amusing parts of the writing life is the randomness that we get to research. Today, for example, I got to research the history of taffeta. I now know what the word means (it’s Persian for “twisted woven”). What I was specifically looking for was when it started being used. Part of my story is set in a Regency-esque fantasy world, and I want the details to be as true to that period as possible (with the addition of magic and dragons, of course!). I’m going to be moving later this summer, and I’m teaching in the fall, so my goal is to finish this story by late July. I doubt I’ll finish it before this round is up.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop!

What about you? What project are you working on this summer? What odd things have you had to research as a writer?

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Back after a blogging break: ROW80 midweek check-in

ROW80LogocopyWell, it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve blogged, but here I am. It’s hard to believe that it’s June and the second round of ROW80 is almost at an end.

Here’s what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks:

Took a trip to Missouri to visit friends. I finally got to see the Mississippi River (I’ve seen it from a plane, but never stood on its banks). We hiked, watched movies, played board games—lots of frugal fun.

Finished the read-through of “Made of Shadows.” It’s going to be a difficult revision because the style of the story is so much different from what I’m writing now—it’s darker, edgier, and the stuff I’m writing now is sweeter, lighter. So I’m taking some time to figure out what to do with that story.

I have a rule that if I’ve spent more than a week spinning my wheels on a story, I switch to something else for a little while. This not only helps me stay productive, it also helps me step back from the story I’m stuck on and get a fresh perspective. Sometimes distance can bring clarity to the writing process. That being said, I’ve started working on the second draft of a story I wrote earlier this year, “A Prince in Patience Point” (formerly titled “Be True”). I have some exciting places I want to take this story, so I’m glad to be working on it.

I haven’t been blogging or doing as much social media as usual. House stuff has taken up a lot more time than I anticipated, and then it’s hard to get back into the routine after you’ve taken a social-media break, but I’d like to get back to blogging twice a week and checking in daily on social media.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life.

What about you? How is your summer going? Have you ever tried to revise a story you wrote long ago, only to realize how much you’ve changed as a writer? What did you do?

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Midweek ROW80 check-in

ROW80Logocopy45. That’s how many pages of notes I’ve taken so far on my WIP “Made of Shadows.” The good news is that the manuscript won’t be a total rewrite. The beginning is more than a little rocky, but toward the middle a lot of what I’ve written has already been revised several times and needs only minor edits. There are still some unanswered questions, a few plot holes to fill in, but most of the writing is solid. I’m currently about 85 percent of the way through the read-through, according to my Kindle. I hope to finish it tomorrow.

It’s interesting to read through a story I wrote several years ago and see how far my writing has come. There are mistakes I made then that I wouldn’t make now—overusing a character’s name when a pronoun would suffice, awkward wording that today I would’ve caught as soon as it was on the page, etc.

My goal for this story is to start submitting it to contests later this year, so at least the first part of my summer will be spent on revisions. I’m still aiming to have a couple of stories query-ready by the end of the year, even though I’m still debating whether I want to self-publish my shorter works. I’m leaning toward yes, but I haven’t decided yet. I’m toying with the idea of a hybrid path—try to get my longer works traditionally published and self-publish the shorter stuff. So I have that decision to make in the coming months.

We’ve completed the home inspection for the townhouse we’re buying, so this summer will be a full one, first getting the apartment ready for new tenants, and then making the townhouse livable. Next week I might pause in writing in order to do a massive cleaning/organizing of the apartment so we can start looking for someone to take over our lease. And then, at some point amid the chaos of moving, I’ll need to start prepping for the class I’ll be teaching in the fall.

What about you? What are your summer plans? Have you ever picked up an older WIP after setting it aside for a while?

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop!

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