writer’s life

Historical Fiction

vaulted cellarHistory has always been one of my favorite topics.

In college, I started out as a double major in English: Creative Writing and History with an emphasis on European History. That didn’t end up happening since I was so ready to be done with school. Knowing how helpful the time I’ve spent learning from Romance Writers of America and the internet has been, I wish I’d gone with the History major instead.

But I digress.

I’ve always loved historical romance novels and historical fiction. At one point, I didn’t feel comfortable writing them and the level of research that go into something like that. They still do intimidate me, even though I’ve written a fantasy romance series set in medieval Ireland, a Wild West paranormal romance novella, and co-wrote an urban fantasy romance that takes place in an alternate reality Ireland.

Regardless, I sincerely admire authors who write them. I’ve accepted that paranormal romance and urban fantasy placed in contemporary times is more my forte.

Anyways.

My favorite historical time period and location is Dark Ages and Medieval Europe, particularly in Scandinavia (Vikings!) and the UK and Ireland. So many fascinating things happened, and I love reading about mythology. When my husband and I have traveled, we always try to hit the museums.

There’s also ancient Greece and Rome. I’ve read a couple of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books that incorporate that time period, which were really cool.

I’m very passionate about history. Surprisingly, it’s been a while since I’ve read a historical romance or fiction. That genre is on my TBR list this year, though, since I’m challenging myself to read wide.

What are your favorite time periods to read about? Do you have favorite time periods you don’t feel are represented enough in fiction?

Leave a comment. I’d love to know what you think!

Until next week,

Sarah

Writer’s Mission

Since the end of last year, I’ve thought more about this topic than I have for a while. What’s my mission as a writer?

As an entrepreneur, I have a business plan with my long term goals and what I’d like to accomplish. That’s a different cap than a writer’s mission though.

The pull for me to become a writer comes from my childhood. I used to escape into books and let reality take a back seat, even if it was for a little while. Exploring a world that I might never get to see, all through the pages of a book.

For the first time in a while, that’s happened to me again. I fell face first into a book that started out a little slowly, but now that it has sank its claws into me, all I can think about is getting back to it! I’m relieved it’s the first book in a series because the book is almost over, and yet, I don’t want it to end.

That’s something I crave to create for my own readers. To entertain them and whisk them away to make believe worlds too. To let the book sink its claws (or fangs) into them and not let go. To keep them thinking about it until it’s over.

It’s a great time to reflect on that mission. I’m truly grateful to everyone who has read my books. Hearing from people that they love them is humbling (and blows my mind).

Until next week,

Sarah

Refueling the Muse

One thing I’ve learned is how important it is for me to keep my muse fueled up. It’s pretty easy for me to switch into workaholic mode and go go go without taking time for myself. Then again, I think that’s probably true for a lot of authors. However, that’s not sustainable.

Taking the hiatus last year and focusing on myself and my health was fundamentally important. Not only did it help change my outlook on self-care, but I feel like, for one of the first times in my life, I truly understood the importance of having balance. I also realized how much I enjoyed writing once the pressure was off.

I had a few weeks where I was busy and out-of-town where I was overcome with an overwhelming need to put words down on the page. That was a magical moment that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Before re-evaluating things, I let myself get bogged down with the business and marketing side of writing biz that my passion for writing was smothered. However…

This year, I’m taking steps to keep that balance in mind. Here’s what I’m doing:

  • – Prioritizing writing, even if it’s a few hundred words, no matter what needs to happen.
  • – Meal planning to keep my body fueled with healthy food.
  • – Journaling for my mental and creative health.
  • – Using two planners, one for my business and the other for my personal life. The personal planner has daily things to accomplish that’s just for fun (like reading and video games). Planning fun sounds strange, but if it works!
  • – Exercising to keep my body and mind healthy.
  • – And finally, making time to do something fun with my hubby and family.

What are you doing to keep yourself mentally/physically/emotionally in good shape this year?

Until next week,

Sarah

Plans for 2019

2018 was something else. I’m happy that it’s in the past. I accomplished some great things, but I’m so excited for this new year. It feels like there’s so much potential, and no, I’m not just saying that.

In December, I stumbled upon Heart Breathings and started devouring the YouTube videos. (They’re really good.) There was a planning/productivity course detailing Sarra Cannon’s method of quarterly goal planning. I wasn’t sure about taking it, so I waited until the last minute to make a decision before taking the leap. That course really changed my outlook on goals and planning.

A couple things I learned, for instance, was breaking goals down into quarters makes it easier for someone to accomplish their goals. She also discusses the difference between a goal and a project. A goal is focused on an outcome while a project is something that can be broken down into tasks.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been utilizing what I learned and getting so much accomplished, even with it being a holiday season. Now that it’s January 2nd and the holidays are over. I’m excited to see how productive I’ll be and how much more balanced my life will be with a plan in place.

Until next time,


Sarah

Happy Holidays!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas yesterday, and that you’ll have a Happy New Year starting next week.

It’s still a shock that the year is almost over, but I’m more prepared for 2019 than I have felt about any year in a long time. I’ll explain more about that in next week’s post.

As for what I did during Christmas, my husband and I spent time with family over the weekend. Christmas Eve and Christmas were all about enjoying one another’s company. We stuck with our ‘tradition’ of having Chinese food for our Christmas meal, which is something we’ve done for the past almost five years, I think.

Our time with one another has been really relaxing. We’ve watched a Christmas movie on Netflix, drank hot chocolate, enjoyed a fire in the fireplace, and, of course, played plenty of computer games together.

Until next week,

Sarah

Cry Wolf 6’s Title and Blurb Reveal

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The title for Cry Wolf 6 is… The Leopard Who Claimed A Wolf!

And now for the blurb!

When a wolf loves a leopard…

He’s her protector...
Caitlyn Fraser, a wereleopard who has always hated cruel werewolves, is the former prisoner turned mate of Dougal Sterling, Alpha of the Scottish pack. She’s courting jeopardy with her determination to attend the funeral of her brother’s father, since the Pack blames her for Alistair’s death. But still Dougal protects her from his wolves.

Her defender…
Short of allies, Dougal struggles to balance loyalty and attention between the Pack and Caitlyn. When the Pack’s stability crumbles, he’s faced with the return of his older brother, the rightful Alpha, who shirked his duty after their father’s death. However, Ewan’s challenge will be a battle to the death. Sheltering Caitlyn can only lose Dougal more friends, but he knows she’s the mate he’s longed for.

But survival takes two…
Menace lurks in every corner of the Highlands; Alistair and Ewan’s supporters and haters of shapeshifters abound. Caitlyn and Dougal must stick together, pushing back fiercely when they are attacked. Even if that puts them in mortal danger…

Hooray! I’d love to know what you think! 🙂

Until next week,

Sarah

Five Years of Indie Publishing

Something occurred to me earlier this week as I was looking at the calendar. This time of year is special to me for reasons aside from the holidays and spending time with family and friends. It marks my foray into indie publishing. I’d been publishing with e-publishers for a few years before that, and it was good. Hearing about the creative freedom and the potential of indie publishing lit a fire in me, and I really wanted to try my hand at it. I was still with the e-publishers, so if it didn’t work out, I could continue doing what I was doing.

Surprisingly or not, The Witch Who Cried Wolf –the book that’s now five years old–really changed my career. The traction it gained, as well as the subsequent books, gave me the answer I hadn’t known I was looking for. After that book released, I shifted my focus more toward indie publishing while wrapping up series for my e-publishers to continue with that change.

I’m very thankful to everyone who has supported me and enjoyed the books I’ve released. It means so much to me. I’ve already started planning my schedule for 2019, and I’m looking forward to releasing many more books.

And now for the Christmas tree picture I mentioned last week! While it might be small and tabletop-sized, I’ve found that trees kept mostly out of the way from cats are much better than a big one! I have a few memories of Christmas trees falling over after cats decided to climb them. Lol Never again.

Until next week,

Sarah


Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!

Each Thanksgiving, one of the traditions that my husband and I have is to write a list–or at least discuss together–things we’re grateful for that year. During day to day life, it’s pretty easy to get frustrated or not feel thankful when things aren’t going great. Thanksgiving serves as a time to reflect for us.

Things I’m grateful for this year:

  • My family
  • My friends
  • My readers

Our other tradition, aside from cooking an almost traditional Thanksgiving lunch/dinner, is to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If I’m lucky, hubby and I will put up our Christmas tree after Thanksgiving lunch/dinner! If not, we’ll have the weekend to tackle it.

I’ll be sure to post pictures next week!

Until next week,

Sarah


Writing Life

If you’ve been keeping track of the awesome writing adventure I’ve been on, you’ll know I’m working on the 7th book in the Cry Wolf series for National Novel Writing Month.

This week’s post dives a little deeper into that. I’m currently sitting at 27k words, which is pretty impressive for me.

One thing I’ve remembered this month is how just because I have an outline and the characters laid out doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy. But that’s been part of my process, I guess. There’s a point in the book where I have no idea how in the world I’ve managed to write around 30 books. Were those books flukes? How did I do it? And then, something happens, and I break through that point, and the words flow again.

On the flipside, I’ve discovered that there’s something new and special about the person I am now versus who I was before. The hard days before might’ve knocked me down and made me consider just not writing for the day. With the holidays coming up, there’s a good chance I’ll be taking small breaks to spend time with family and friends. But not getting words on the page because I’ve had a bad day, or my outline isn’t as awesome as I’d first thought, isn’t a good enough reason now. I’d rather keep climbing my way to 50k words and beyond!

Jacob and Kelly also make it a pleasure to write. They keep me coming back to the keyboard each day, ready to see where their story is headed next. Their interactions with one another are seriously cute.

Interested in seeing a snippet from the latest book? I shared one with my book club on Facebook. Join us if you’d like to see excerpts from my latest novels too!

Until next week,

Sarah

Staying Focused

Since the beginning of November, I’ve been doing National Novel Writing Month. That’s been going well! I’ve written over twelve thousand words so far, which I have to say is the most on top of it I’ve probably ever been. 🙂

Over on my Instagram, I’ve been participating in a NaNoWriMo Instagram photo challenge. You can find it at #igwritersnano. The fifth day’s prompt was How Do You Focus?

For me, I think one of the important things that have helped my productivity this month has been the fact I laid out a solid foundation for my book with the prep challenge I did in October. Knowing more about my characters, knowing about the locations, and knowing what’s going to happen (for the most part) in the book really helps. My problem before with writing was I’d get so excited to start writing that I’d dig into the book, then get stuck because I didn’t know where the story should go next. Having a beat sheet handy helps a lot.

With that said, I fire up Scrivener and put on my headphones. There’s something about using headphones that helps me block out the world and focus harder than if I’m listening to music without headphones. For music, my favorites are Electronic Dance Music and The Game of Thrones soundtracks.

Something else that’s helped keep me on track is using the PomoDoneApp, which is a Pomodoro timer that syncs with my to-do list. That helps me keep track of how long it takes me to write or create a blog post and ideally plan my days better.

I also enjoy doing word sprints on NaNoWriMo’s Sprints Twitter. Seeing other writers share their word counts too makes it exciting. You’re not the only one out there, just writing alone in the void.

The great thing about both of those methods is it allows me to focus on writing, but it also reminds me to take small breaks to get water and move around a little in between sprints or Pomodoros. In the past, I’ve had a bad habit of staying at my desk for hours upon end and forgetting that the world outside of my computer exists until I look up and I’m so hungry or thirsty and several hours are gone. I’m glad those days are gone! That certainly wasn’t a healthy way to work.

Until next time,

Sarah