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“Pine Mountain Dreams,” FINISHED!!

I’m so excited! I finished the third book in my “Pine Mountain Estates” series, Pine Mountain Dreams!

YIPPEE!

Now comes the fun part: revising and proofreading. I’m actually going to start that process on the second novel in the series after I take a break for a couple of days. While I do that, I’m going to create a rough outline of the fourth (and final, unless readers beg for more) book in the series.

I always set aside a newly-completed novel for three weeks before I go back and do the first revision. That way, I can look at it much more objectively and make a lot better decisions about whether any big changes need to be made.

But for now, I’m going to relax for a few days. Play with Amazon Advertising and see if I can sell my vegetable gardening book that way (because it’s the right time of year).

And I need to finish the cover for the first novel in the Pine Mountain series. It’s been a struggle, because it’s also the right time of year for our wireless Internet to go all glitchy.

It doesn’t like spring as much as we do.

I’m having a hot flash now, so excuse me while I go cool off.

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In The Flow

Today, I wrote not quite my typical 2400-word goal. But it doesn’t matter.

After three days of writing the “next scene” wrong, I got it right today! As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I figured out that an idea on where to take the book – which deviated from my outline – was the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, finally, I went with it. And the words just flowed.

Today was an easy writing day.

And the rest of the novel, three or four more chapters, should flow as easily.

Because I’m nearing the end, and I know exactly how to get there.

Hallelujah!


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It’s Been A Week.

It’s been a week. A week of frustration. A week of decisions. A week of perimenopause.

In other words, a typical week for me these past few years.

Seriously, I haven’t blogged for the past couple of weeks because I’ve been trying to sort out what to do with my blogs now that I’ve made the decision to be a career novelist. Especially since I’ve been frustrated with the novel that I’m writing.

SO…let’s start with the decisions first.

Decisions made this past week

#1. I’m laying down my blog at liveyourdreamswithemily.com. If I try to keep it updated and write novels, I’m going to go insane.

#2. This blog is going to become…wait for it, wait for it…a blog. My author blog. In other words, I’m usually not going share family stories. Not because I don’t want to, but because I simply don’t have time if I’m going to work on novels.

I need to prioritize.

If not every day, then several days a week I’m going to try to publish a short post summarizing my day as a writer.

#3. I’m going to write 2400 words a day on my novel. Provided I don’t have a frustrating day or three – like the ones you will hear about shortly. This is not the most I’ve ever written every day, but it will be the most I’ve written daily in four or five years.

#4: I’m going to write mostly short-ish novels, between fifty and sixty thousand words. Much longer, and I start to hate them. Like the one I’m working on now.

#5. I’m going to start writing more feel-good, lighter, humorous stories. Because I’m perimenopausal and I need all the levity I can get.

Frustrations

#1. This blog wouldn’t work for two days.

#2. My novel wouldn’t work for three or four days. I got to a certain point, and wrote three different scenes to continue after that point.

Ended up chucking them all.

Know why? Because I was trying to stick to my outline, while my muse (okay, we’re mostly Christians here, so I’ll say, the Holy Spirit) was leading me to go in a different direction.

I know where to go from here, so I’m finally looking forward to writing the rest of it, for the first time in days.

#3. I did a particular promo with My Book Cave that requires me to keep The Envelope priced at free until August 1. I’d been planning to price it at $2.99 and see how sales went with it, because its ranking is pretty good right now.

Perimenopause

TMI coming for you men in my audience.

Looks like I’m skipping a period again. Hopefully, I’ll skip several like I did last July through September.

But because of that, my estrogen levels are whacking out, and hot flashes are back, brain blips are back, moodiness, digestive issues…*SIGH.*

The moodiness has done nothing to help me feel good about the novel I’m writing.

The good news

Last month, I scheduled a promo for The Envelope with, as I mentioned, My Book Cave. I got more downloads with it than I did the first time I promoted through them. Then, for some reason (God?), FreeBooksy decided that since I’ve been a past customer they’d do a pro-bono promo for me. It was just one day, but I noticed the boost.

Finally, I did a featured promo with Robin Reads this past Sunday.

Because of the momentum I’d received from the other two promos, the RR promo brought me into first place in three categories! Not for more than a day or two, but still!!

I continue to get a crazy number of downloads for the novel every day, and have sold more of my other novels and boxed sets than I usually have by this time of the month.

I am thrilled. And planning to either do more book promos, more often, or to start advertising on Amazon.

Because I’m finally getting serious about making serious sales.

Stay tuned for the upcoming reveal of the cover for the first novel in my “Pine Mountain Estates” series.

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Grace For The Weather

Looks like March is, indeed, coming in like a lion this year. A fifty percent chance of snow at the beginning of that month is not normal for southern Oklahoma. Neither are highs in the mid-thirties.

Just writing the words makes me shiver.

And this, after a couple of sunny days (which have been few and far between this winter), with temperatures approaching seventy. I have a YouTube subscriber in Florida who wishes for snow. Well, I’ll trade her our upcoming weather forecast for hers.

This persistently cold winter, not unlike the ones we endured when B was three to seven years old, have really forced me to walk my talk.

In books, videos, and blog posts I have challenged people to persevere through obstacles, to be strong and committed in order to reach their goals. This past winter, I have experienced many days when I wanted to sleep in, and then when I got up, to watch videos or listen to books all day.

In other words, to do nothing productive.

Some days, the root has been hormonal fatigue. But most? The barometric pressure weighing on me like the anchor of a freight ship. I am one of those blessed people who feel every little movement of the atmospheric pressure, more blessed to live in an area where said pressure seems to change at least every other day.

According to Bible scholars, the thorn in the apostle Paul’s side was an eye or vision problem. Weather is the thorn in my side.

Like Paul, I have discovered that God’s grace is sufficient. I may not always have the energy to whip out 300 words every fifteen minutes, and my brain might not pull out the perfect words and plot twists as quickly on those nasty, cloudy days when the north wind is blowing in precipitation.

But if I persist, I have the grace to meet my 2100 words-a-day quota. And write interesting scenes as I do. Even to find time to blog once in a while.

Writing feels like work when I’m sleepy. It feels like work when I’m irritable. But even when the weather’s dragging me down and I don’t feel like doing anything, if I just press through and make myself work, by the end of the day I can revel in the satisfaction of having made significant progress toward my goal.

I feel fulfilled, if not jazzed.

I’m more than halfway through my latest novel, Pine Mountain Dreams. And I’m glad for having learned the lesson that it’s God’s grace that helps me through, not perfect circumstances.

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He Just Might Be Growing Up.

When B was around eighteen months old, he was every mother’s dream.

He cleaned up after himself.

Now, I can’t remember whether it was because I asked him to, or whether I’d asked him to often enough that one day, it just clicked and he started putting up his toys when he was through playing with them.

Either way, he would put them on the shelf, where they belonged, promptly and without fuss.

This went on for a long time. Many, many days.

About thirty of them.

And then, all of a sudden, the wiring in his brain changed and from then on, it was like pulling teeth to get him to pick up his toys. Forget them being put in any sort of reasonable order. I had to resign myself with being satisfied with them being off the floor and furniture, and being contented with having remained sane enough that I didn’t have to check myself into the nuthouse after a bout of nagging him to clean up.

He’s twelve now, and for the past year and a bit the only “toy” he’s really been interested in has been his computer. He alternates between attending YouTube University and improving his eye-hand coordination, visual acuity, and attention to detail via digital manipulation.

Otherwise known as playing video games.

So his toys have been, for the most part, gathering dust. Still, the few times in the past few months he’s taken something off a shelf, he hasn’t been inclined to put it up.

Until recently. The other day, I witnessed a shocking event. B was playing with my foot roller (which I have kept because I convinced myself that one day, I am going to start using it again). He was whipping it around like it was some sort of weapon. A few minutes later, deciding he’d had enough pretend sword fighting, he set the foot roller back on the book shelf.

Yes, that’s where the foot roller lives. I had too much clutter in a certain spot in the bathroom, so I decided the foot roller had to go elsewhere. So I did the sensible, logical thing and stuck it on an a space on a book shelf just big enough for the foot roller. Because the shelf, containing a variety of books, notebooks, and multiple-pocket folders – plus a couple of decorative boxes – wasn’t cluttered enough.

But I digress. B put the thing away without being asked, instead of leaving it on the floor or table or everywhere else where it doesn’t belong.

I wished I’d been making a video.

The very next day, he opened one of the millions of boxes that arrive at our door every year. He did so the way he always does, using the scissors that lives in the top drawer of the kitchen utility cart. Invariably, I’ve had to nag him to put the scissors up when he was done with them, because invariably, he’d leave them on the floor.

Guess what he did the other day, instead?

Yep. He put them back where they belong. Without me having to say a word. Or even give him one of those “mommy looks.”

Somebody should have been making a video of me being knocked down with a feather.

I’m not getting too excited. It may be just another month-long fad. It may be that he is only capable of remembering to pick up after himself every ten and a half years.

Or, my baby may be growing up.

In the meantime, I need to get my camcorder ready the next time he takes something off a shelf or out of a drawer. Just to have proof that he does, indeed, know how to clean up after himself.

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