Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Spirit

Now that Thanksgiving's come and gone, it's time for the burning question: Have you started your Christmas shopping? Other than a few small things here and there, I haven't. I haven't put up a single decoration, taken the Christmas card photo, or listened to a carol. I'm sure my holiday spirit will get here eventually, but it's a little slow coming this year.

How about you? Are you in the holiday spirit? Or how about the winter spirit? Winter is my least favorite season, but my son loves it. He watches the weather constantly, looking for snow in the forecast (none yet, thank goodness!) Have you had any snow where you live? If not, are you looking forward to it?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Switching Gears

If you've been reading my weekly progress reports, you know I've been trying to finish the rough draft of my YA mystery, the Cottage, by the end of November. Usually I like to get started on a rough draft and just plow through till it's finished, but over the weekend I decided to switch gears. I'm going to apply for a local writers retreat, and I'd like to use The Cottage for the retreat. So I'm now working on editing the first twenty pages before I've finished the rough draft. This is the first time I've ever edited a draft that wasn't finished.

Of all the stages of writing a novel - outlining, writing the rough draft, editing, querying - editing is my favorite. I love writing the rough draft, too, but I don't edit at all as I go, so when I'm done I'm left with a big, ugly mess. It's a necessary step in my process, but a little discouraging, too. I seriously start to wonder why I think I can write in the first place. Then I start editing, and slowly but surely everything falls into place (usually!)

So I guess I won't be finishing my rough draft in November, but hopefully I'll return to it with renewed enthusiasm and inspiration in December.

Do you edit as you go along, or keep the rough drafting and the editing completely separate? And have you ever attended a writers retreat?

Friday, November 11, 2011

String Bridge Chart Rush

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to:


She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!

To purchase the paperback:

To purchase the eBook:

To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.

If you are
not familiar with String Bridge,
check out the book trailer:

Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my
veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.
~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion
and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult
scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds
barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop
character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel.
I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones
Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Weekly Progress Report and Award

I received The Versatile Blogger award from the fabulous C. Lee McKenzie. Thanks C. Lee! And I'm supposed to share seven things about myself. I'll see if I can combine this with my weekly progress report (how's that for efficient?)

1. This past week I wrote almost 12,000 words, so I met my goal of 1667 words/day which I need to finish my rough draft this month.
2. Even better, I got to attend my local SCBWI conference with my good friend Sharon Mayhew from Random Thoughts. I learned some new things, got inspired, and had a terrific time!
3. I'm not doing Nano, but I have been posting my progress with the Facebook group Writers Support 4 U. I'm amazed at how this has helped my motivation to achieve my daily word count.
4. Right now I'm reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin and I'm loving it!
5. My kids and I are reading The Death Cure by James Dashner together. Every night they beg me to keep reading just one more chapter and usually I agree because I don't want to put it down either.
6. Judging from the comments on my post on outlining, I'm kind of an extreme outliner. I'm planning to give pantsing a try with my next wip. I figure I'll never know if it works for me if I never give it a try.
7. I should never be left alone in the house with leftover Halloween candy - a very dangerous combination!

I'm supposed to pass this award on to fifteen bloggers. Since I can't choose, I'd like to pass this on to anyone out there who would like to accept it. Thank you all so much for reading my blog and sharing my writing journey with me!

How's your writing coming this week? Do you have a problem with leftover Halloween candy like I do?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this month, but I am participating in NaNoWriWs4U as part of the Writers Support 4 U Facebook group. Today I announce my goal for this month, and I'll check in with the WS4U group daily on Facebook and here on my blog once a week to let you know my progress. If you'd like to join in the fun, it's not too late! And if you're not a member of WS4U yet, hop on Facebook and join us!

My Project: The Cottage (working title)
Genre: Mystery
Category: YA
Goal: 80,000 words
Current Word Count: 30,000
Words Left to Go: 50,000

This is a total guesstimate, since my ultimate goal is a 90,000-word draft, but I know my rough drafts are always short so I'm guessing it will end up at more like 80,000 words. So my real goal is just to finish the rough draft, whether I've achieved that word count or not.
How about you? Are you doing Nano? Do you have a writing goal for this month?

Check out some other great progress this week: