writer’s life

News on Writing and Life

Hey there,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here at my website or been around on social media. My love of writing has really fluctuated over the last couple years, coupled with some health issues that didn’t make things easier. Earlier this year, I decided to take another break from writing. I gave myself time to focus more on making good, healthy decisions and in the process searched inward to see where I was writing-wise.

Over the summer, I did some freelance writing, which helped me fall back into a pattern of writing. That evidently sparked a fire within me. The freelancing stoked a burning desire to write again. Something I hadn’t felt in a while! Before it was more urging myself to write, knowing it was a task on the to-do list, instead of feeling that inner drive.

Coming back is pretty daunting even with my rediscovered passion for writing. So I’m dipping my toes in a little at a time. 

My MacBook Pro!

In other news, I did something pretty exciting. I bought a MacBook Pro. It’s an older one, but I’ve always wanted the chance to use Mac’s version of Scrivener and Vellum, two great pieces of software for writers. It’s been fun learning getting familiar with it, and with November–and National Novel Writing Month–right around the corner, I’m feeling ready to put some words on the page.

Until next time,

Sarah

Digital Slave is Available

Now available at your favorite retailers. The final book in the Hacked Investigations series…

 

If Hannah can’t find Ian soon, he’ll be lost to her forever as a digital slave…

Hannah and Ian face a drugged gang of werewolves forced into working for MAX Home Security while one of their many enemies is hell-bent on revenge. Things get worse when Ian is kidnapped by the werewolves and taken to a secret facility. Hannah will have to use all her resources to find him after someone from upper management stumbles upon Ian’s innate gift of technomancy. If not, MAX may turn Ian into a brainwashed slave to harness his abilities.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wjQnox
Nook: http://bit.ly/2fUR2pj
iBooks: http://apple.co/2x0Jfur
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2wcsEWJ
Google: http://bit.ly/2wryBPu

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35913852-digital-slave

News Bytes – SKIN DEEP is contracted!

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Hey everyone!

I’ve been quiet and pretty busy lately since I’ve had a lot of things going on. Hubby’s birthday, a nice vacation in Las Vegas (woot!), a blistering sunburn and a cold… wait… those aren’t good things lol, and my five year anniversary was yesterday.

I’m really excited to announce that SKIN DEEP, a steamy paranormal romance, is contracted with Etopia Press! WOOHOO!! I’m thrilled to be working with them. Currently, I’m going through the whirlwind of blurbs, taglines, and cover art ideas. Yay!

Here’s the 50-word pitch I used to give you an idea what Skin Deep is about. This pitch helped get me a request from my editor, Rachel Firasek! 🙂

After a painful break up with the love of his life, Connor (a werewolf) is set on winning back Angelique regardless of the power she possesses. He has a secret of his own, which may wedge another gap between him and his flighty ex-girlfriend, but answers are the least of their concerns. 

Woot! Thanks for celebrating with me!

EDIT: Blacklist Rogue is up for DRB1stChp’s Best of June 2012 for Cover and First Chapter! I’d love your vote. 🙂

Still Time for a Second Chance

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So, the other day, I watched a great movie, even though I’m sure my husband would’ve preferred something else. I can’t help that I enjoy the occasional romantic comedy. I am a romance author after all. *grin* (My usual movie genre is action/adventure or paranormal.)

A few things mentioned in the movie solidly struck home. One of the topics was something I’d been enthusiastic about and on top of at the beginning of the year. Fitness. But as good intentions usually go, I made progress and then flailed around when I hit a rough patch. Although, I won’t beat myself up for slipping since that won’t fix anything.

The day after watching the movie, I hopped on the elliptical that’s been incognito as a coat rack recently, and while I know I have a busy few months ahead of me, I’m adamant to get back on the horse and not neglect the goals I made for myself this year.

Looking at the calendar, July will start the second half of the year. That’s still plenty of time to make progress on whatever goals we’d still like to do. Knowing that we’re heading into the second part of the year strikes a fire in my belly that I still have time to turn things around, and it’s really revved me up.

How about you? Is there anything you resolved to get done this year that you’re ready to tackle?

Writer Wednesday: Growing as a Writer

Before I start my Writer Wednesday, I have a couple News Bytes to share. Today Jungle Heat is being featured on Nook Lovers as a Daily Cheap Read. I also have been interviewed by Linda Andrews on her blog. Also, tomorrow I’m guest blogging at TRS Blue’s blog, and I’ll be participating in the TRS Release Party. I’d love if you would stop by!

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve done a Writer Wednesday. I was looking through my early blog posts to see if I could get a glimmer of what to write about, and I noticed how much I used the word “try” in my blogs. I give myself credit for all that trying since I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had stopped, but there’s something pretty important I’ve learned in the time between then and now. As the Yoda quote goes, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

I can’t say I’m perfect now. I know there are still some areas that I struggle with in being a writer. Some of them are even ones I struggled with back then, but I have more fortitude and willpower because I believe in myself more. My ability to write and edit have increased, and I know that getting published isn’t like winning the lottery. I know it’s possible, and it will happen. Obviously, since I just had a book come out with my publisher, right?

Wherever you’re at as a writer right now, strive toward what you want whether that’s improving your writing craft or getting published. It might take a while, but then again, I’ve been on my journey quite a while too.

How have you grown as a writer?

Writer Wednesday: Reading Challenges

Hey everyone! I hope you’re having a fantastic New Year so far! Welcome back to Writer Wednesday. Reading is important to writers because it helps them hone their craft. Hence why I’m discussing it today.

With a fresh new year here, I know I’ve been thinking about what I want to accomplish in it. One of those things is read more. Last year, I failed with my reading goal, so this year I’m setting a new one. Probably one that’s more ambitious, but I’m hoping to stick to it. Yes, it’s… 36 books (novels, more specifically). No, no, please don’t start laughing…

Anyways, I’m a slow-ish reader. If I don’t do anything but eat, drink, use the restroom, and read, I can finish a book in one day if it sucks me in. Otherwise, a little over a week is my pace. Yes, writing, and then computer games, take up the other portion of my time. *grins*

So, I’ve been looking at quite a few blogs recently, and I’ve seen a lot of people doing a wide array of reading challenges this year. The three that I’m doing are:

Goodreads’ 2012 Reading Challenge: Pretty simple, all you need to do is join Goodreads, set a goal for yourself, and read those books. It keeps track by you specifying “read” and when you read the book. Their widget shows if you’re ahead or behind of your goal.

Book Chick City’s Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2012: This is a genre based challenge. To sign up, you just go to the website, fill out the linky, etc. and read the books!

Book Chick City’s Speculative Romance Challenge 2012: The same as above here, except this one is for all kinds of romance like sci-fi romance, paranormal romance, fantasy romance.

Book Chick City also has other Reading Challenges. There’s more here, and I’m sure if you typed in reading challenge (romance, sci-fi, etc.) that you’d find more.

So… who else has taken the dive to read more this year and joined a reading challenge? If you have, which ones?

Guest Author Kinley Baker

Revising by Post Its

I’m in the middle of revising a brand new book and I’m very excited about this story. But I realized I need to concentrate heavily on revisions and make sure this story is the best it can be before I submit it to my dream publisher. So I’ve decided to revise by Post Its.

I’m hoping you will contribute today with your suggestions for revising by Post Its! This will help us all become more thorough revisers. To start, I’ll share a few of my Post Its. These are some of the main issues I struggle with.

Use all FIVE senses! SIGHT. HEARING. TOUCH. TASTE. SMELL.

I think with my latest manuscript especially I need to concentrate on incorporating all of my senses. What is my Point-of-View character seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling? I think this automatically helps with using active language and showing instead of telling.

Active language!

I tend to do a lot of: “Andy was sitting on the lawn.” Instead of the more active: “Andy sat on the lawn.” When I’m writing the first draft I try not to think about using active vs. passive language because it slows down the story. But going through revisions, I try to make sure that each sentence has been evaluated. I’ll always need to use some “to be” verbs, but limiting them will help the reader engage in the story. Of course, I still think focusing on using the five senses is the most important thing.

Beware of POV Shifts.

Point-of-View (POV) shifts easily sneak up on me. Even simple phrases can lose the reader with POV. I always have to remember to include what the POV character is thinking, feeling, seeing and doing. Every sentence counts. One ambiguous sentence can pull the reader from the story.

Set the scene with ACTIVE setting!

I tend to forget to ground my scenes. At the beginning of each scene the reader needs to know where the characters are. This doesn’t need to be written in long exhaustive paragraphs. I think the description-heavy style of writing is trending out. I usually try to summarize the location and time setting in one to two sentences with something that relates back to my POV character.

Make sure each scene has a conflict!

I go through each scene and make sure that each character has an overarching goal and one for the scene. With my new story, this is a lot easier because for the first time in a full length novel, I only have two POVs, the hero and heroine. I built the world so they would have continuous conflict between them, so this really helps when trying to clarify the conflict for each scene.

Scene and Sequel!

I think of scene as the action and the sequel as the reflection on the action. I try to keep my sequels short to keep the story moving forward.

***

I hope you’ll get involved in the comments! If you use Post Its, tell us what they say. If you have key phrases that help you in revisions, tell us that, too! We’d really love to hear your reasoning because I’m sure we can all learn from your suggestions!

Blurb for Ruined

Jessa is one healing away from death. Under the thrall of her gift, the Court’s Senior Healer risks giving her life in exchange for her patient’s.

Vale is a rebel ruler. When his brother is killed, he’s given the throne and the decree from the Court to produce an heir or lose his family’s hold on the land–and his deceiving advisors aren’t afraid to use murder as a weapon if their directive to stay away from the Senior Healer goes unheeded.

But Vale burns to possess Jessa. The heat between them leaves a wake of smoke, and even the powerful forces above want to bind them in a union that lasts forever. Vale taking another would be a betrayal neither could survive.

Their enemies fear a child born of such a powerful Healer and Warrior, but the true threat lies in the bond forged in shadows and fused in fire.

Buy Links

Paperback
Ebook

BIO

Kinley Baker read her first romance novel at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. She is the author of the fantasy romance series, Shadowed Love. Book one, RUINED, released in July 2011 from Crescent Moon Press. You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com, at her blog http://authorkinleybaker.blogspot.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kinleybaker.

Writer Wednesday: Motivation or Inspiration?

Hi everyone! It’s the second week of 2012. We’re all still excited about the fresh new year, right? That leads me into my Writer Wednesday topic this week.

Motivation or Inspiration…

Some writers only write when the mood hits them, while others put themselves in their chair and write no matter what. Sure, I’ve been guilty of writing when the mood hits before, but it’s important to work consistently on your work-in-process.

I’ve learned a few things about that:

  1. It’s harder to keep track of what has gone on in the story if you’re not working on it every day. Chances are you’ll have to do that much more revision, unless you’ve got it all plotted perfectly.
  2. It puts distance between you and the story, causing the story to go cold.  You begin not to have the passion for it, then as each day goes by excuses not to work on it start. After a while, you sit back down to find out that you’re not as enthusiastic about the characters and scrap it to write a different story. (Yes, I’m speaking from experience on this one.)
  3. You’re not producing work consistently. If you’re contracted on a story, then producing new words is super important to fulfilling your contract (or getting the contract in the first place).
  4. Writers write. If you want to be a writer, shouldn’t you enjoy writing?

So, how do you make it through the days when the muse is off somewhere else?

Writer Wednesday: Goals Part 2

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Welcome back to Writer Wednesday! I hope you’re having a great holiday season. I know I am.

Last week’s Writer Wednesday post discussed looking over 2011’s goals and seeing how you did with them. This week, we’ll continue with goals but focus on planning for 2012.

First of all, one thing I’ve learned is that I don’t do well with having like 16 goals on my list. I tend to only accomplish half of them, no matter what they are. Maybe I should’ve been more fierce about my goals, but I think more often than not that I just dump the kitchen sink onto the list and decide I’ll figure out what I’ll do. Not a great way to go about goal setting. *grins*

This year, I’m going to write down only what I really want to accomplish. If I accomplish more than what’s on the list, that’s awesome! But I think it’s important not to get sidetracked. Like I said last time, things may come up that we don’t expect, and if they do then adjust the goals and continue forward. For example, I’d had in mind that I would write, edit, and query a few novels this year, but I was accepted to Changeling Press and instead have been writing novellas.

So, how do we figure out what goals we should be working toward? That’s pretty simple. Where do you want to be a year from now? Five years from now? Got that picture in your mind? Good! Now plot how you’ll be able to get there.

For example, if you want to be published, it’s important to learn your craft, write a book, find some good critique partners, do research about the publishing industry, write a query letter, and query agents (and/or editors). That’s not something you can accomplish in an afternoon, so then you’d break it down into steps.

  1. Read three books on writing.
  2. Finish a book by (insert date here) by writing X words a day.
  3. Join a writer’s organization (like RWA) and meet other writers to become critique partners with.

… and so on.

Here are a few links I’ve come across about goal setting. Enjoy!

Getting Out of Your Own Way – Goal Setting for the Writer by Theresa Meyers

Marrying Marketing and Writing Goals by Monica Valentinelli

From NaNo to Submission: a 90-Day Plan by Suzanne Johnson – True, this one doesn’t necessarily fit into goal setting, but I think it’s useful to see other people lay out their goals.

What are your goals for 2012?

Writer Wednesday: Goals Part 1

(Since it’s so close to Christmas, I’m cross posting this and Part 2 with Castles and Guns. :-))

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I know it might be hard to think of this, especially if you’ve still got some Christmas shopping to do *raises hand*, but the end of the year is almost upon us. One of the things I’ve begun thinking about as New Year’s Eve approaches is what I’ve done this year, how effective I was, and what I’d like to do next year. I’m getting a jump on my goal setting since one of the things I’ve learned about myself is I’m better with a plan.

I honestly think it’s important as a writer to have goals and to know where we’re heading. Sometimes you just might not end up where you’d planned, which has been the case with me. There are quite a few things on my 2011 Goals list that I didn’t accomplished, but then again, there are also several items not on there that I did. I could easily say that if I’d stuck with what I’d planned, I probably wouldn’t be where I am, but that discussion is for a different day.

So, what’s first? I’d suggest going over your 2011 goals list and see what you’ve written down. Where are you in comparison?

  • Look at where you are goal-wise today. Are you unpublished and finishing up your NaNoWriMo project or polishing a query letter? Published and working on a proposal for a new book? Right now, I’m an author on an upcoming deadline.
  • What’s something you have accomplished this year? Did you finish your first novel? Find a publisher? I’m published and slowly getting the hang of social networking! 🙂
  • What’s something you haven’t accomplished that you wish you had? For me, I didn’t read as much as I’d have liked to, and I ended up not working on a couple projects I was looking forward to.
Now that we’ve looked at that, we can start thinking about next year. What are we hungry to say we’ve completed in 2012?
What goals have you accomplished this year (or are on track to complete)?