writing

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Quarterly Planning

Since December I’ve been using the HB90 quarterly planning method from Heart Breathings. I mentioned it here in January, but it’s helped my productivity more than anything else I’ve done.

This past quarter wasn’t perfect. There’s plenty that I didn’t accomplish, but that’s okay. Quarterly planning gives me a clean slate. I can analyze what happened last quarter and try to do better in the future.

Another cool thing about the HB90 method is creating outcome goals. For example, I want to boost reader engagement by X percent. Once I know those goals, I can decide on the projects and tasks that will help me achieve that goal. It’s great because having a plan for the quarter means starting a new month isn’t as stressful. Those outcome goals haven’t changed much. I’ll just create different projects to accomplish them.

For April, a few of the things I plan to do is…
– Finish my WIP
– Read at least 2 books
– Get back to journaling
– Plot my next novel

What are you hoping to achieve this month?

Until next time,

Sarah

Sex Scenes

Writing Sex ScenesThis topic recently came up as a prompt during the February Instagram challenge I participated in. The first place I went was to my blog archives to see what I’d said about this before. Turns out the last time I’d written about it was almost eight years ago. Not surprisingly, my thoughts have changed a little.

So, here we go!

Writing sex is an interesting subject to me since it’s one I’ve struggled with throughout the years. My first novel was a sweet contemporary romance, so I skipped the sex altogether. The pressure of writing sex intimidated me. Plus, the book’s content was pretty sweet, so sex didn’t feel necessary. I’d also written a novella with sex in it (Jungle Heat), so I was good with writing it. It had a mainstream heat, not too hot and not too sweet.

My first publisher specialized in erotic romance, so the heat level needed to be ramped up. Sex scenes needed to be plentiful. Needing to write so many caused me to majorly burn out on them. That’s why the Cry Wolf series and Beneath the Broken Moon doesn’t have as much sex as some of my books.

After the hiatus I took this past year, the charred bits have begun to flake off. Along with my passion to write, I’m beginning to enjoy writing sex again. Hooray for small victories!

One thing that hasn’t changed for me is needing to be in a certain mindset to write sex. I used to try to muscle through them because they were next, and I’m not crazy about writing scenes out of order. However, I’ve found that if I try to just write them regardless, they need a lot of editing. If the scene doesn’t excite you, chances are it won’t excite the reader either.

What I do with love scenes sometimes is type **insert sex scene here** and move on. The scene will be there when I’m ready, even if that happens to be during the editing process.

A funny story is one time I turned in a book to my editor with **insert sex scene here** still in. I was really tired, and my eyes must have glazed over it. My editor was confused, but I wrote the scene and turned it in for her to look it over. After that, I try to be more careful!

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

Cover Reveal for Beneath the Broken Moon: Season One

I’m excited to announce that I’m going to be releasing the complete first season of Beneath the Broken Moon in March. If you’ve read all five parts currently available, then you’ll have read this book. It’ll be available in both ebook and paperback.

Blurb: Carmela she struggles to choose between the alpha werewolf she’s destined for and the vampire she’s enchanted by, but the wrong decision could lead to deadly consequences…

Werewolf relationships are all about influence and offspring, especially as the species is becoming extinct. Carmela Santiago resents that type of life. She dreams of falling in love and being happy, not following the dismal example her parents have set.

When sensual vampire Derek Ashmore rescues her from dangerous hunters, she tumbles head over heels for him. Not a wise decision since werewolves and vampires are mortal enemies.

Meeting her caring mate-to-be Brendan Kelly has her further questioning the future. Regardless, her life has forever changed now that she’s met not one, but two men who pull at her heartstrings…

Add to Goodreads

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


Plotting? Check!

First of all, Happy Halloween! I hope whatever you do today is spooktacular. Once the clock strikes midnight, I’ll be writing since tomorrow begins NaNoWriMo. 🙂

Over the past month, I decided to try out something different from what I usually do. Normally, I get my beat sheet done, then I begin writing with basic ideas of characters, locations, and so on. Most of that stuff is in my head and doesn’t go down on paper.

Whew… Not this time!

This year, I saw an October Prep Challenge for NaNoWriMo, and I decided to go for it. It had been a while since I’d done anything like that, so what could it hurt? There were plenty of different topics from the Premise to Setting Lists to an Antagonist Profile. It helped me to see the plentiful benefits of going deeper with plotting than just throwing together a beat sheet and diving in. In fact, I’ll probably do a modified version of it for future books. Maybe I’m more of a plotter than a plantser I realized?

Part of Jacob’s Profile

As seen above, I created a template for character profiles with pictures to get a better picture of the hero, heroine, and all of the other characters I can foresee making their way into the story. My Google-fu even came in handy to find pictures for the settings. 

Overview of October Prep

I’ll get it all a little more tidily organized within Scrivener today, but knowing that all the major information I might need when I’m writing is just a click away feels pretty awesome.

Until next time,

Sarah

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

The Selkie Who Loved A Wolf is available

SarahMakela_TheSelkieWhoLovedHerWolf800The Selkie Who Loved A Wolf is finally available! Hooray!

Love heals even the deepest wounds…

The wounded werewolf…
After being held in captivity by scientists for months, Colin Fraser needs rest and recuperation. The Scottish Highlands offer him the perfect place to get much-needed distance from the world and repair the bond with his inner beast.

The selkie’s search…
Unna Mikkelsen is being urged to mate with a selkie man she doesn’t care for. But she’ll never forget how, as a young girl, she saw her mother taken by a fisherman. Knowing she must make her peace with the world above the waves, she leaves the deep for dry land—even though this means she’s putting herself into danger.

The power of immortal love…
When Colin notices Unna in the pub, he realizes there’s more to her than meets the eye. But he fights his feelings for her—how can a wolf as broken as he is have a relationship? Little does he know Unna will need him when her pelt is stolen by a fisherman, causing her to relive her childhood trauma. Or how much he’ll need her too, because only her love can heal his wounds…

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1QCvpDX
B&N: http://bit.ly/1QDc59z
iBooks: http://apple.co/1RxE5YE
Kobo: Coming Soon…
Google Play: http://bit.ly/21ijexL
All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/1M3P626
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28234431-the-selkie-who-loved-a-wolf

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