2017, Day 4: What I’m Working On Now, Winter 2017

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New year… new plans…

So what’s coming from me, book wise, this year? I have some seriously ambitious plans, but we’ll see if they come to pass. Here’s what the plan is though. It is kind of novella heavy, but those are quicker and easier to write (usually!), and I have some I’ve been itching to get to.

A big chunk of this depends on how quickly I can get this current WIP done and into a writing-full-time-from-home groove. I’m also in the process of learning how to use dictation and transcription (both via DragonDictation) to improve my speed and am also looking at one of those pens you write on paper with and then it flips it to your computer in digital format. Somehow. I don’t understand how it works, just that it does. 😉 I’m hoping with all of those, I can speed up production. If so… who knows?! It could all come faster :D.

I do have a friend who dictated (via Dragon) FOUR. FULL. FIRST. DRAFTS in November. FOUR! Like three more than one. Full 70-75K drafts (which is about what my first drafts are though I shoot for 85Kish for my final drafts – the rest comes in edits). So yeah. Dictation. Working on it. 😉

Anyway… the tentative plan…

  • January or February: Glimpsing Hope (Christopher Bayfield) – look for a newsletter with release information later this month!
  • February or (early) March: Beauty and the Beast with a twist! (novella set in a BRAND NEW fictional country)
  • March or April (or even May, sigh): Reclaiming Hearts (Prince William of Mevendia)
  • April: Dare You (novella set in Serenity Landing with connections to Montevaro and the new royalty series coming later; this one is done and should release regardless of Reclaiming Hearts )
  • May: Lifeguard novella
  • June: Historical novella set in Mevendia and Ravenzario
  • July: Historical novella set partially in Mevendia
  • August: Grace to… (untitled full length sequel to Grace to Save; also opens on 9/11)
  • September: Novella to complete Mevendia novella collection
  • October: Christmas novella (I already have the cover! Oh. My. Lands. I love it!)
  • November/December: Heart of a Prince (full length first in the new royalty series! Picks up with Jordan from Dare You as soon as it ends – I already have this cover, too, and LOVE IT! And the prologue makes me cry – Every. Time. I read it.)

So there we go. Ambitious, but hey – if you shoot for the stars and miss, you could still hit the moon ;). Yeah. That’s it :D.

2017, Day 3: Infinitely More

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Happy New Year, all! Hope your 2017 is off to a great start!

2016 was a difficult year for many people. For us, it wasn’t bad. It was pretty good overall. No major tragedies in our family – immediate or (close) extended. In our extended-extended families there were more challenges – like the members of our family who miscarried twin girls or those who lost everything but each other in the flooding in Baton Rouge. That story isn’t mine to tell, but some of what’s happened to them in the last few months is nothing short of amazing – and even miraculous.

As for my writing career, it’s seen some ups and downs – though the downs weren’t BAD by any stretch, just not as good as the good. I was able to quit my day job*, though there were other factors involved in the decision. Writing, and selling, books enabled me to even have the choice to work at home full time.

That said, I didn’t hit all of my goals for my writing this year. Income wise I did fine, but I’d hoped, planned even, to write (and publish) so much more. For a variety of reasons, some in my control, some not, it didn’t happen.

But there was one thing I spent a lot of time doing, successfully, last year.

Many of you may have seen authors you follow or other friends talking about their “one word” for the year. This is a word they believe is their focus for the next twelve months. Maybe it’s diligent or peace or joy or dedication or any of a thousand other words they want to focus on. It’s often paired with a verse along the same lines. I know I’ve had one before, but I don’t see that I’ve ever posted about it on my blog.

Last year, I didn’t post it publicly. I’m not sure I ever made a decision about a word or just kind of thought something in my head. I don’t even remember what it was.

But I began doing, began sort of focusing, on one word – or concept – that really defined my year in many ways. I didn’t think of it in the “one word” sense, until my friend Ginger Solomon posted that it’s her word(s) for 2017.

DREAM BIG

I love that! I love it for her – because she deserves to dream big and have those dreams come true!!! I’m so proud of her!

I dreamed big last year. This year has something else – something beyond – in my mind… a sense of expectation, of anticipation, that made it… more.

Another friend (also named Ginger ;)) was over on New Year’s Day, and we discussed this at length. “Dream Bigger” or “Dream Even Bigger” was kind of where I thought it was headed, but it felt like stealing from Ginger S., though people often have the same word of the year as someone else.

Even after that settled in my mind, I knew it wasn’t… right. It didn’t fit.

Ginger V. and I went through a bunch of options, phrases, themes, etc. that encompassed it, but still none quite fit that sense of promise or prospect I feel God calling me to.

So tonight I Googled (isn’t that where everyone goes when they can’t quite put their finger on something?!) for verses about “God can do anything” – because when it boils right down to it, I can dream as big as I want, but it’s God who holds everything in His hands.

The first verse that popped up wasn’t exactly what I was thinking, but is exactly what I was looking for without realizing it.

Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (BSB, emphasis mine)

The first page that popped had the verse from The Message. I don’t normally use it, but the way it worded the first section caught my eye and sent me digging for the others:

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! (part of Eph. 3:20, The Message)

I texted Ginger V. and asked her about “beyond wildest dreams” – but it wasn’t until I hit up BibleHub for other translations (including BSB) and I read verse 21 that it all clicked.

Not just more.

Infinitely more.

Not a little bit. Not a lot. Infinitely.

Wowza.

Yeah. That fits.

When you read the verses, it’s talking about giving glory to God – because He alone is capable of infinitely more. Anything I accomplish this year is through Him and by Him and for Him.

And with Him**, I can do and be infinitely more. Exceedingly abundantly above/beyond/more what I can ask or think. Immeasurably more. Above and beyond.*** Like the Milky Way, outer space, in the header pic today.

So my words for the year are infinitely more – because God is capable, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)

Which reminds me… it’s time to get to work ;). Later this week, I’ll be outlining my goals for the year, including an updated What’s in the Works and What I’m Working on Now post.

Until then…sign-off-love-you-all

 

*I had a fantastic part-time job teaching American Government and Politics one or two classes a week (2.5 hours of time inside the classroom per section). Officially, I took the fall (and now spring) off and could go back, but once classes have been given to someone else, it’s notoriously difficult to get them back.

**The Story of With – by Allen Arnold…incredible

***All from other translations

2016, Day 313 or #NaNoWriMo2016 Day 9: Leavin’ on a Jet Plane – Help!

 

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(Scroll to the bottom for details on a SALE!)

Okay – so that plane looks a little LOSTish and I have no desire to end up on a desert island with a smoke monster, a mysterious hatch, crazy Others, Benry, and Desmond.

BUT…

Matt and I talked the other night and it looks like I’m going to two new conferences next year! YAY! They’re the StoryMaster’s conferences in Toronto (May) and Houston (June). Both look fantastic and I hope to learn a lot.

My issue is transportation.

Clearly, driving to Toronto is out. It’s about a 16 hour drive. I’d thought to buy tickets out of St. Louis, Kansas City, or Tulsa, because they have much bigger airports, and I have family in all three who could likely help with transportation to and from if needed.
But then I looked at tickets out of my local regional airport. I can get a round trip to Toronto (and Houston, which isn’t quite as far) for about $400. That’s not much more than flights out of those other cities and MUCH closer to home.

Both directions have one layover, but with the same airline (or regional counterparts). However, there is with one airline and back is with another. Even when I choose the same airline for both sides of the trip (which wouldn’t work out time wise), I get this note on

Expedia:

Your flight is a combination of two one-way fares, each subject to its own rules and restrictions.

When I click more details I get this:

If one of your flights is changed or canceled, it will not automatically alter the other flight. Changes to the other flight may incur a charge.

Question 1: does that mean the leg to Toronto is a one way fare and the way back is a separate one? Or that my flight to Chicago and from Chicago are two separate one way fares combined to make one longer trip and if my flight to Chicago is delayed and I miss my connection, I have to pay out the nose (probably) to get on another flight? How does that work?

When I looked at buying a one way ticket, that note disappeared and the prices were (ballpark) half of what the round trip was. So I’m guessing it’s that the two directions aren’t connected rather than the two legs on the way there or back, if that makes sense.

Does anyone know for sure? Is there any other potential issue? I mean, presumably, it just might affect the time of day for my flights as it appears there’s multiple flights at different times.

Question 2: I’m still six months out from these trips, but these prices astound me. Do I buy them now, or will they be cheaper later?

Keep in mind, I’ve flown exactly once since 1998… :p

SALE!

All of the books in the Brides of Belles Montagnes series are on sale for .99!!!! If you’ve been waiting to pick them up, now is a GREAT time!

Hand-Me-Down Princess
Winning the Queen’s Heart
Protecting the Prince (long novella)
Prince from her Past

hmdp-free-series-sale-2

2016, Day 308 or #NaNoWriMo2016, Day 4: Choosing Names

Just a quick note. Hubs had the day off today so we went out to lunch and did a bit of shopping and then did some stuff with the kids then dropped them assorted places, went out for dinner, and birthday shopping, then walked the dogs and went for Andy’s Frozen Custard! Yum!

I also posted a request for names on Facebook. An adorable four-year-old showed up and needed a name. Over 100 of you responded. I’ve chosen a name but a couple of you will win an ecopy once this book releases. Plus I’m making the list in Excel so I can have a WHOLE LONG LIST of names next time I need one ;).

The name I’ve chosen is super special for many reasons. When we get closer to release date, I’m sure it’ll be told. I love the name. I love how the story behind the name relates to the title of the book to come. And so many other things that were already falling into place before this decision was made.

Only God…

But NaNo…

NaNo Yesterday Total Word Count: 3549
NaNo Daily Word Count: 0 (and unlikely to change)
NaNo Total Word Count: 6334/150000
Percent Done: 4.22%
Percent To Go: 95.78%

2016, Day 307 or #NaNoWriMo2016, Day 3: Finding Calendars

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I almost went with “Finding Time” but I haven’t found much of that…

Today was a vet appointment for the new dog, plus a return trip when I forgot the paperwork the shelter gave us. And an appointment next week for a heartworm test because the shelter went by the word of the former owners that they’d been giving him medicine. Our vet wants a test to make sure. Plus a trip to the groomer tomorrow (but I won’t stick around for that obviously).

Then I spent quite some time looking for my calendars for Winning the Queen’s Heart and Discovering Home because there’s some overlap. I finally found them.

Kids are in bed. Time to write.

NaNo Yesterday Total Word Count: 2031
NaNo Daily Word Count: 351 (so far)
NaNo Total Word Count: 3136/150000
Percent Done: 2.09%
Percent To Go: 97.91%

2016, Day 306 or #NaNoWriMo2016, Day 2: Life Happens

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I’m really afraid that’s going to end up being my motto this month.

Last night, I spent several hours doing insane things (like pushups, crunches, and leg lifts) to keep my mind off Kid #1’s district band tryouts. She did well, but only 4 of 15ish tenor saxophones made it – and she was a freshman competing against much older kids. So not this year :(. They didn’t get home until 1130. Because of that and because she wasn’t feeling great, she slept in this morning then stayed home.

It’s always harder to write when people are home. Plus I took her to get her favorite food (even though we brought it home to eat). Then Kid #2 twisted her ankle during Trick or Treating and needed to go to the sports’ medicine clinic to have it looked at. Slight fracture of the growth plate in her right fibula. Brace and rest for the next couple weeks (and two hours of time today…)

I have a vet appointment for the new dog tomorrow (we had a naming meeting tonight, but The Yorkie Formerly Known As Prince remains TYFKAP for a few more days while we decide for sure – I was on board with Zeus, but I think I’m voting for Chewbacca now).

Time to get some words in before bedtime…

NaNo Daily Word Count: 161 (so far)
NaNo Total Word Count: 916/150000
Percent Done: 0.6%
Percent To Go: 99.4%

2016, Day 305 or #NaNoWriMo2016, Day 1 – Getting Started

Because my goal this month (and every NaNo) is to do a quick blog post every day, I’m doing one super quick before I officially start on NaNo.

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I was up until the wee hours last night finishing the Still-Untitled Christmas novella. Then took Kid #1 to school this morning. Went back to bed for a couple hours followed by an eye appointment with a semi-specialist. It’s the same doc kid #3 has spent a year in vision therapy with. Her reading speed and comprehension are Off. The. Charts. compared to last year.

My eye surgeon recommended I go see him because I have a bit of Gaze Nystagmus. This is unrelated to the PRK surgery I had in April, but it is why I’ve had the double vision issues. The inflammation from the surgery absolutely took significantly longer than most to heal, but it is healed. The Gaze Nystagmus means my eyes wobble just a teeny tiny bit. Enough to make everything just a smidge blurry – and help cause headaches.

For reference (kind of anyway), when cops suspect someone of being intoxicated they do the “follow my finger with your eyes only” thing. I would fail that because of this. They look for that telltale wobble.

Mine, however, isn’t the result of alcohol, but most likely because of the medication I take to (wait for it!) prevent headaches :p. Talk about counter productive. I have an appointment with my regular nurse practitioner next week to discuss the possibility of an alternative. If we find one, I’ll go see him a month or so later to follow-up because it’ll take a while to get out of my system.

But now… stats… then I’m headed to write…

NaNo Daily Word Count: 0
NaNo Total Word Count: 0
NaNo Goal Word Count: 150,000 (yes, I’m insane)
Percent Done: 0
Percent To Go: 100

Fall 2016: What I’m Working On Now

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What am I working on now?

Well, the honest truth is not much of anything.

A couple days ago, I posted this post about why I’m taking some time off. Not too long. Just a few weeks, but I need some R&R. Or at least no writing/deadline stress.

I’m also entering my first competition season as a marching band mom. Our next four weekends have competitions anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours from home. Plus three family birthdays and… well, it’s time for a break.

I’m also going to watch a bunch of movies and/or episodes of things like Gilmore Girls. Read a bunch of books for fun. Make my story world bible. Read some craft books to become a better writer.

Things like that. And give my mind a break.

I will finish up the Christmas story in October and get it out when it’s done.

So what will I be writing when I do write?

  1. Christmas story in October
  2. Possibly fun thing just for fun
  3. Christopher Bayfield’s story for NaNoWriMo! (I already have the cover for it! YAY!)

I’m also updating my “What’s In The Works” post to reflect what’s coming next, further into the future. 😀

2016: Day 259 or Taking Some Time Off…Kind Of

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Sometimes real life throws curve balls. As writers, we try to anticipate that SOME curve balls will come our way and get ahead enough that when one comes, we’re all good.

But that doesn’t always happen.

So, life threw a monster curve at me this week (everyone’s fine, just life stuff), and I had to, unfortunately, back out of the Christmas boxed set I was supposed to be in (it’ll be fantastic anyway, and I’ll let you know the deets when I get them).

I’m taking the rest of this month to just recuperate a bit from the stress of travel, conference late nights, multiple deadlines, etc. I’m going to read books for fun (I’m currently reading the first book anyone’s ever asked me to ENDORSE!), read craft books, work on my story world bible, etc. So I’m not taking the time completely OFF – I’m not “staycationing” but not actively writing anything new.

At least the rest of this month.

In October, I’m going to finish the Christmas story and release it. I might write on a super fun thing that’s outside my normal genre (at it’s core? a human romance – but in space/on an alien planet). Then again, I might not. I’ll keep working on craft books and fun books and the story world bible.

And then in November comes National Novel Writing Month. And then I will write Christopher Bayfield’s story. He’s Duke Alexander of Ravenzrio’s twin brother and former teen heartthrob. My goal will be to release it around the first of the year.

This need for a break has been coming for a while. In the last 22 mos, I’ve released 11 novels and 5 novellas. Of those, all 5 novellas have been written from scratch, as were 3 of the novels. Six of the novels were more or less done (the first six), while two others required extensive edits. And even when taking a break unofficially because of schedules, etc., I’d still be pushing myself to get SOMETHING accomplished.

And I need a break. So I’m taking one. Not too long. I still hope to have my next book out by January, but before then…rest and recharge.

If only I actually was on that beach up there ;).

2016: Day 229 or Family Helping Family

If you follow my blog regularly, or just happened to see it on Facebook or wherever, you know I spent the last weekend of July at a family reunion in Louisiana. If you’ve followed the news at all the last few days, you probably know where this is going.

Family Helping Family

All of the biological relatives at the family reunion (though a couple had already left)

Glenda is the lovely lady who hosted our reunion. I think she’s technically my first cousin, once removed – she’s my dad’s first cousin. Their dads were brothers.

She has two adult children, both of whom live with her at the moment. They’re my second cousins.

Her daughter is Mandee. She’s become a dear friend over the years. We don’t talk as much as I’d like, and I’d never met her before that reunion, but nonetheless…

Allen… Well, Allen is a miracle. When he was born, his parents were told he had maybe a week to live.

Allen Mandee Glenda

Mandee, Allen, and Glenda last year (Mandee has blonde hair now ;))

That was somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty years ago.

Allen has spina bifida. He’s paralyzed from the waist down and reliant on his motorized wheelchair and a specially equipped van to get around, and others for pretty much everything he can’t do for himself. He has ongoing health problems because of all of that, but he’s an outgoing, energetic, upbeat person.

They live in the home next door to the church where the reunion (pictured above) was held.

So where am I going with this and what does it have to do with yesterday’s Giving Back post?

Saturday, we all started hearing that the Baton Rouge area was flooding. I saw pictures of the intersection half a mile or less from our hotel. Under water. Everything flooded.

Outside their home

Outside their home

And I heard that Glenda, Mandee, and Allen were unable to get out of their home because it caught them off-guard. They normally bug out early when they suspect something might happen (they’re only a couple hours from the coast after all and hello, hurricanes), but this time, no one was prepared. The water was on their road, and they couldn’t get out, but their house is on a little bit of a hill and had never been close to flooded before.

By Sunday morning, the water was in their house. Communication was spotty at best. They have AT&T and, thanks to the flooding, one of their “switching centers*” was down, and there was no service. Eventually, as the water in the house was at least knee high, a member of the “Cajun Navy” (here is another story about the Cajun Navy) showed up and were able to get them to another home much further above water, and miraculously still had power. One person had a Verizon phone with a bit of power, and they were able to make a quick call.

Allen in the boat - you can see his usual wheelchair in the water next to it

Allen in the boat – you can see his usual wheelchair in the water next to it

They were there for a period of time, along with a number of others. The Army came along in a truck and promised to be back after picking up a few others further down the road. They did, but were unable to get Allen (now long sans his usual wheelchair and in a regular one) into the truck. They would send a helicopter that would hopefully be able to get them out. (Another quick call on that Verizon phone before everyone else left.)

I still don’t have the details of how it all went down (and I admit I could be wrong/have misunderstood some of the details I just shared), but by the time I went to bed Sunday night, they’d been taken to a shelter in a nearby town.

Monday, word came the house was under water up to the eaves. They moved several times in an effort to get them to a location where Allen’s needs could be taken care of more easily. From what I’ve gathered, the “medical shelter” still leaves a lot to be desired. As I’m sure you can imagine, the number of people needing medical assistance after being in that water… Even minor cuts can become major issues in situations like this, and no one is immune.

But Allen’s blood work came back showing his kidneys are functioning normally. PRAISE GOD! I’m sure there’s still on-going concerns, and I know they would appreciate your prayers. Glenda and Allen are with her brother and sister-in-law in Texas now, while Mandee stays closer to home and starts to see what needs doing to rebuild.

I’ve seen estimates that 75% of the homes in their parish (aka: county) are a total loss, including up to 90% in their town of Denham Springs.

The Cajun Navy

The Cajun Navy

So again, what does this have to do with yesterday’s post?

They’ve lost EVERYTHING. From Allen’s wheelchair and the van to get them around to Mandee’s truck to clothes, furniture, electronics, you name it.

Another cousin, Donna (Glenda’s sister), runs a charity and has set up a way for people to give funds as they are able to. If you feel so led, here’s the direct link. You can also mail directly to the address at the bottom and note what the donation is for. All donations are tax deductible. If you’ve followed my blog (or Facebook page) long enough, or around Christmas, you’ve likely seen me share a toy story her husband, Randy, tells every year.

For August (yes, even though it’s already half over, all of August) and September (and maybe October), my “cause of the month” is my family. 12% of my US ebook sales (which is the VAST VAST majority of my sales) will go to Glenda, Mandee, and Allen to help them rebuild their lives.

In addition, if you give a minimum of $25 to this particular cause, I will gift you a Kindle copy of Discovering Home when it releases next month. Just shoot me an email at donations at candidpublications dot com (they MUST go to this address, set up solely for this purpose) – include your name, the email address you’d like Amazon to deliver the book to, whether it was online or mailed directly to Spirit and Truth Ministries, and the date of the donation. I’m not going to ask for a copy of the receipt, so this is an honor system, but I trust y’all won’t take advantage.

If you’ve also been displaced, I hope you understand why I’m helping my family specifically through this. However, if you have been and would like a bit of reading material to help pass the time and hopefully take your mind off things for even a little while, send me an email at the same address and I will gladly send e-copies of any one series already published to you (these will be done a bit differently than above). You are all in my heart and in my prayers continually.

 

Spirit and Truth Ministries
Randy and Donna Denton
PO Box 2635
Mission, TX 78573-0044

*Kudos to Verizon for stepping up where they could help

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