Could You 30 Day Challenge Yourself Every Month?

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If we can participate in NaNoWriMo, then why aren’t we challenging ourselves to write a novel in 30 days at the beginning of EVERY month?

This is the question I just asked myself, as I’m looking at my goals for 2019 and realizing I don’t have as much time as I’d like to think. My list of books to publish this year total 3 and 1 is already done, so that’s nothing, right? But I’m staring down the barrel of February toward spring with less than a chapter written on one of those books and sweating bullets over how little time I have to get this done, because finishing the book is just the first step. In order to publish when I want to, I need to make sure it’s done in time to order a book tour in advance, get it through my editor and off to beta readers before launch day.

I don’t even participate in NaNo every year, but the last time I did, I was successful at getting more than 50,000 words written on a novel. So, why can’t I do that on my own? I’m an Indie Author, aren’t I? I’m used to doing everything myself, so there is absolutely no reason why I can’t. It’s all a state of mind. Which, is why I’ve decided that I’m going to challenge myself DIY style and will dedicate Wednesday as my word count accountability day. Granted, it’s not the first of the month any more, but in all fairness, I already have a word count going, so I think that makes up for it.

Here’s my first DIY 30 day challenge to myself: Get the first draft for Fox Trot (Dark Day Isle, Book 3) done by March 7, 2019!

Current word count is: 3,668

Wish me luck… o_O

 

 

Dear Indie ♥ New Resource Post

Independent

So… October 7th was my 3 year Blogaversary with WordPress. They went out of their way to get me a trophy badge and I not only failed to get them anything – again – but completely spaced on the date. I think this might be how divorces happen, I’m not sure. Of course, I’m surprised none of my social media accounts have kicked me to the curb yet with how little attention I’ve been giving them lately.  To which, I don’t have any excuses…just a couple new addictions taking up my time. 😉

SCRIVENER, where have you been all my life? It wasn’t like I was hearing about this totally BOSS program everywhere I turned, but I started hearing about it enough that I decided to download their 30 day free trial… 😮 [cue the choir of angels and divine light shining down from the heavens]. I’m sure I’m not even getting the full array of features Scrivener has to offer with this trial, but what I am getting is organized for the first time in my writing career!

Alright, I admit it, I’m a complete Pantser. I have never, ever, not even once sat down and tried to plot out a book ahead of time. No outlines, character sheets, blah… that was time I spent actually writing the friggin’ book. The closest I came to any kind of ‘outline’ was when I participated in NaNoWriMo last year, but in all honesty, most of the outline was in my head, not written out. The idea had already been stewing in my brain long enough to have a ton of material to start with. Could I do it again that way? LOL Probably not. I think it was just beginner’s luck.

I’m also that rare breed of author who actually writes a book in chronological order, from beginning to end. I don’t write random scenes and then piece them together later. If I have an idea for a future scene, I create a “notes” document for that book and jot the idea down real quick, so I won’t forget it, then go back to writing the book… in order.

Awhile ago I tried to make character bios, but they just got lost in the ever-increasing mess of My Documents and it turned out to be a step that was too easy to forget about. But, with Scrivener everything is all in one place, in one project. All you have to do is click an icon and click back to writing, you’re not opening multiple windows or documents and trying to keep track of what’s what – which can just be frustrating and daunting.

If you want a hint at how amazingly simple and helpful these features can be, check out this short video on how the Character & Collections features work to help keep track of and manage all of those little tidbits of ideas that pop up while writing. Not to mention, it’s great inspiration to get your creative juices flowing.

I honestly don’t know how my muse will take to having the ability to write books in short scenes, but I’m almost excited to give it a shot. I’m sure a lot of Indie’s reading this are already well aware of Scrivener and I’m just late to the party, but in case you’ve been just as clueless as me all this time, do yourself a favor and check this program out. It’s 30 days with no commitments, no credit cards necessary. They won’t start billing you on day 31, it will just expire – but I think it would be well worth the inexpensive cost for all of the time and stress it could save in the long run.

I’ve gotten to the point in my career where I’m tackling far too many projects and contracted deadlines at once to keep flying by the seat of my Pants-er ways. I am so happy that a program like Scrivener exists – Oh, and if you do download the free trial, I highly recommend watching the 9 minute Quick Start tutorial narrated by the creator of the program. Not only is it easier to follow than reading the more extensive tutorial, but if you’re like me and have a weakness for men with accents… let me tell you, this guy should be narrating audio books! 😉

Wait… that’s only one new addiction. What’s my other one? It’s not necessarily brand new, but it’s becoming more addicting with each new book, and that’s creating the Teasers for my upcoming new releases. I’m actually contemplating the cost for PhotoShop to keep making my own book covers and graphics with, but in the meantime I’ve been hacking out the Teasers for Avarice Unforgiving in Canvawhile jamming to my third new addiction: The entire Suicide Squad soundtrack.

Have you hugged an Indie today? You should! Then you should share what you’ve been up to in the comments. Who’s all participating in NaNoWriMo this year???

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The Wicked Web

Welcome to the start of my new project: The Wicked Web. A blog series of stories broken down into episodes, as a way to share more Free Content for you lovely readers.  Since I’m an author of Erotica, some episodes filled with 18+ material will be posted as a link only. All of the posts will be located in one place on the Menu above.

The first series I’d like to share was the novel I wrote during the last NaNoWriMo, which despite reaching the 50k word goal, I never completed. I’m hoping to finish it here. I’d also like to make this a regular event, to keep my muse from getting rusty – so, here goes!

Introduction: Thief of Dragons is an Alternate-Earth, Erotic SciFi Fantasy. (Yes, I make up my own genres).

Thief Of Dragons

Thief of Dragons: The Echelonites of Cauldex

Episode 1

They say the universe is infinite.

With her forehead resting against the cool metal of yet another space station, Roehn Cayen stared into the vacuum of space and disagreed.  To her, the universe was very small and focused.  Confined to the only galaxy she would ever know, and the planets within that all shared the same inexcusable flaw.

These abandoned space stations had once served a greater purpose, allowing ancient astronauts to study all of that infinite vastness. Now they were loosely governed shelters for the galaxy’s unwanted. Those extreme misfits who’d been shunned for failing the greatest at meeting their society’s standards. Forced to live away from their homes, their families and any shame they’d brought to both.

Roehn’s home planet, Cauldex, was no exception to the guilt of such an unjust practice. They had their own set of laws, traditions and beliefs everyone was expected to adhere to. At birth, all Cauldexian’s were touched by the Divine, allowing their Echelonite to appear.  Known as companions, they were a symbiotic entity that bonded with their host’s blood and gifted them with their natural attributes. But as their name would suggest, the Echelonites had been used for centuries as a way of keeping the classes segregated. An indisputable way to recognize someone by their bloodline, status or trade.

All royalty had the Echeclonite of the Dragon, for example. Nobles were broken down into different Houses, but Griffins were the most elite. All fisherman had the Osprey, all handmaidens the Dove, and so on. Even long after the monarchies had fallen way to modern governments, the Echelonite had never changed. Royal Armsmen had become hired muscle and personal security, yet were still bound to the Bear.

Roehn’s noble bloodline was that of the Black Dogs of Cayen, but unlike her twin brother, she’d been born without an Echelonite. Snubbed by the Divine, she was a shocking and horrific abomination to her family. She’d been smuggled off planet by her nurse as an infant, and for the past nineteen years they’d lived in obscurity. Trying to survive on overcrowded space stations with the rest of the outcasts, living off rations and stolen goods. Forced to work as mercenaries or smugglers just to scrape by.

Over the years, her nurse had shown Roehn how to trick her blood into casting whichever Echelonite she wanted.  A craft that had been strictly outlawed eons ago. That had led to scores of Cauldexians being publicly executed for practicing the Forbidden Arts. But as with all things outlawed, the knowledge had never been lost, merely passed down to each new generation in secrecy.

Now, Inglid was dead and it was time for Roehn to return to Cauldex to show her family the tremendous mistake they’d made. Through legal means or sincere regret, her family would accept her. They would let her back into their House and not-so-loving arms. Then, Roehn would have her revenge.

“Hey,” Reiter was suddenly right behind her, earning himself a fist to the chest for the mild fright. “Shit, that smarted!”

“What do you think you’re doing?” Roehn fumed, unconcerned. “We already said goodbye last night. I told you that I didn’t want any sappy, crybaby issues from you this morning.”

Taking a deep breath, Reiter held his hands up in an offer of peace, but his expression had her gut turning uneasily. He had the look of someone bearing news they wish they didn’t know. They’d all seen it too many times to have developed any kind of armor against it. In the space stations, outcasts had never been granted the luxury of innocence or the supposed bliss that came with it.

“What?” She pressed.

He glanced around the loading bay, before giving her an apologetic look. “You know that new group that just came in last night?”

Roehn had heard about them, but she’d been too busy preparing for her departure to make it to the mess hall for the evening rations. Her response was a hesitant nod.

“I overheard them talking about Cauldex,” Reiter stammered. “Roehn… I-I think you should talk to them before you board that supply ship.”

“I don’t have time, Reiter,” she snapped, his tone causing her to panic. “I’m leaving as soon as they’re done unloading. Just tell me what you heard.”

“It’s about your family,” he barely managed, turning partially away from her and rubbing his face. “They said… Fuck, why do I have to be the one to tell you?”

“Reiter, please?” Roehn whispered, as her chest tightened with more dread and something worse. Something akin to how she’d felt upon trying to wake Inglid one morning, only to discover her nurse would never wake again. “Please, just tell me.”

The moment his face fell into mournful regret, she knew. “I overheard one of them recounting a recent victory of the Dragons. How they’ve finally reunited the cities by wiping out every last Black Dog-“

Whatever else Reiter said after that, Roehn didn’t hear. All of the blood rushed up her neck to muffle her ears and block out the sound of his voice. Her heart twisted sharply, and adrenaline spiked through her veins. It hurt. She hadn’t been prepared for that, but by the Divine, it fucking hurt.

Why? Her family had shunned and despised her. Her own father had plotted to murder her in her sleep! The pain could only stem from the loss of revenge. The theft of that closure she so desperately needed. That wasn’t the entirety of it, though. In that moment, Roehn realized that deep down, she’d been looking for something more than just vengeance. She’d been looking for a better explanation. She’d been harboring a grain of hope that at least one member of her family had mourned the loss of her all along and that she might actually have someone – her mother, brother, a grandparent – that loved and missed her.

Now, they were all gone. Wiped out by the Dragons.

Roehn’s legs buckled, and her body sank to the floor. When she became aware that Reiter had crouched down beside her in an attempt to gather her into his arms, she shoved him away.  She didn’t want his comfort. Pushing away from him, she sprang to her feet and ran blindly from the loading bay. Into the maze of corridors, where the first tears she’d ever cried for her family broke free.

© A.C. Melody

Continue with Episode 2

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NaNo Book Cover

Thief Of Dragons

Thanks to this helpful post over on queenofblank’s blog, I’ve spent the last 24 hours searching through the various Free stock photo sites and used Canva.com to create the book cover for my NaNoWriMo novel.  It doesn’t look anything like I’d envisioned, but I wasn’t going to pay for the photos I really wanted when the cover is just part of the fun for this annual challenge.

Canva.com is a great graphic generator, really easy to navigate and has all of the right options to help make whatever kind of graphic you need from e-book & Kindle covers to posters, banners, etc.  (I used their layering & transparency options to create my cover.)  Plus they have a ton of pictures and graphics either for Free or only $1/each.  So far it’s the best site I’ve come across for working on a tight budget!

Thanks to queenofblank for her post & hope this helps someone else out, too! (p.s. her cover is awesome, you should go check it out!)

We’re Halfway There!

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So today is the official Halfway Day mark for those participating in NaNoWriMo this month.  This is my first year taking the challenge and though I was nervous and quite unprepared in the beginning, I’m very happy with myself for sticking with it!  I don’t  know if it’s the pressure of a 30 day limit or what, but the writing has been going smoothly and I’m beginning to wish NaNoWriMo was every month, not just once a year.  I guess we’ll see if I still feel that way on the 30th. 😉

Happy Halfway Mark to all of my fellow NaNoWriMo participants!  Good luck & Good job on your individual successes!

Trudging Forward

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When all I feel like doing is hibernating…

One of the downfalls to this time of year.  Thanks to the end of Daylight’s saving, it always feels later than it really is and the mama bear in me just wants to cozy on down with the kiddos and not budge until Spring.  Unfortunately, that’s not how books get written!  I got sidetracked for a moment with the genealogy stuff, which has already become frustrating again, losing its appeal.  Does anyone here watch the show “Who Do You Think You Are?”

I love that show, but it also grates on my nerves, because like most family historians, I don’t have the money or means to just cruise across country and meet with a professional genealogist – whom, by the way – requires a retainer and charges by the hour like a freaking lawyer!   The minimal retainer for an Ancestry.com professional is a hot Grand.  Sorry, I must of left that wad of cash in my other pants….

Anywho, I’m kind of kicking myself in the keister for not partaking in NaNoWriMo this year.  I have a few stories outlined that I could have put to the test this month.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that I can’t still work on them, I just think it’s the psychological momentum of NaNo that makes it seem like your accomplishments are that much more spectacular (when we all know that writing is a major accomplishment in and of itself!)  Becauuussse, we’re human and therefore, mostly masochists who work better under pressure?? Yeah, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe it’s just the word counter thingy!

So, now that I’ve wasted 20 precious writing minutes here, it’s time to go make a decision.  SciFi or Supernatural?  Hmm, the damage I could cause on other planets… GrinningDevilEmoticon