Goals: June 2018

Time keeps passing; I keep struggling to catch up. The good news is I managed to accomplish my May goals … mostly.

In May I set these goals:

  • THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY REVISION: I worked on this as much as time allowed, but there are still six chapters to go. Even so, I feel good about the massive rewriting we accomplished, so I’ll give myself a CHECK.
  • ALASKA ESSAYS: I definitely worked on these. There is definitely more work to do. I’ve hit a slower phase of my side of the work while the content editors do their revisions, but essays for me to review still trickle in. Someday I hope to announce that this book is ready to be published, and that will be a happy, happy day!
  • PUBLISH LIGHT AND SHADOW: CHECK–or at least, it’s up for pre-order here. Order it early and make an author happy. The actual publication date turned into June 5th, but I really couldn’t have squeezed it in by 5/31. The print version may take a tiny bit longer, but I’m ordering the proof tonight.

My goals for June are:

  • FINISH THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY REVISION Six chapters! I can do it!
  • ALASKA ESSAYS As the work comes in, I do it.
  • THE EIGHTH OCTAVE REVISION Tamara and I want to get this one ready to publish, hopefully before the end of the summer.
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Light and Shadow

The pre-order is up for the Light and Shadow ebook, coming June 5, 2018.

Click the image to pre-order on Amazon! More details coming soon.

If you haven’t read the book description yet, feel free to hazard a guess about who the new narrators are for Book Five in the comments. If you get it right, you might get a prize …

lsnewmaster

Light and Shadow now has its own page here on my site, too. Check it out!

Goals: May 2018

April was another busy month. I only gave myself a few goals but it quickly became clear I wasn’t going to achieve even those few. Next month, smaller bites.

In April I planned to:

  • FINISH DAUGHTER of FORTUNE REWRITE: this one keeps holding me up. I’m actually tabling this project until I can completely finish a few others. I’ve ben feeling like I’ve spread myself too thin.
  • ALASKA ESSAYS: I got through my second revision on the essays. They aren’t “done” yet, but my progress was consistent, and I got through what I hoped to get through. CHECK!
  • APPLY LIGHT & SHADOW feedback and prep for publishing in May! CHECK! I have the formatted version loaded up on my kindle for its final read through. Its publication date will be Thursday, May 31st!

May goals:

  • THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY REVISION (this is co-writer work as Eden Reign, but this will be the main bulk of my writing work this month, so I’m including it here.
  • ALASKA ESSAYS A never-ending story…
  • PUBLISH LIGHT AND SHADOW!

This morning I’m writing from Ashland, Oregon, where I’m visiting on a road-trip with my husband and my two dogs. We’re off to Bend next. I’m still spending a few hours each day on writing projects. I haven’t managed to take a single picture yet, otherwise I’d post one!

Goals: April 2018

I thought I was being clever by keeping my March goals short and sweet, but even so, I struggled to meet them. Sometimes life just gets too busy and it’s hard to stay on top of everything. The big wrench in the works for March was my Alaska Essays project, which I had thought was nearly done, but then late in the game needed another revision. For a book of nearly 150,000 words, another revision is a big deal and quite a few hours of work. I guess that’s what I get for leaping to the conclusion that it might be done.

Anyway, my exact goals for March were:

  • FINISH DAUGHTER of FORTUNE REWRITE: No check. I made progress, but I did not finish. I guess it will roll over into April.
  • FORMATTING PROJECT- No check. This one got cancelled entirely.
  • FINISH ALASKA ESSAYS- No check. I did, however, make solid progress on a final and unexpected revision.
  • FINISH LIGHT AND SHADOW TWEAKS/READ THROUGH and SEND TO BEAT READER(S) CHECK! At least I got one.

April Goals:

  • FINISH DAUGHTER of FORTUNE REWRITE: One could say the saga continues.
  • ALASKA ESSAYS: I like to think I’ve learned my lesson about using the word “finish.”
  • APPLY LIGHT & SHADOW feedback and prep for publishing in May!

If you haven’t checked out my first co-written book, River Running, writing as Eden Reign with Tamara Shoemaker, you can get it here.

RRfinalMASTER11.23.18 ebook

 

 

Goals: February 2018

Well, last month was one of those months when all my plans went through a huge re-organization about a week into the month. The main reason is that two of my projects, River Running and The Eighth Octave, officially became projects written under a pseudonym I share with my co-writer. We have decided to publish these co-writes under the name Eden Reign, and the first Eden Reign book, River Running, will be coming out on March 6th!

If you’d like to stay up to date on those projects, please become a follower of Eden Reign over at: https://edenreignwrites.wordpress.com/

From now on, my updates and goals about those projects will appear on Eden’s site.

So, last month I set theses goals:

  1. WIND WINGING or THE EIGHTH OCTAVE REVISION with Tamara- I don’t think we’ve decided which co-written book we’ll focus on next. NO CHECK: we started this, and only lasted about an hour before we realized what we really wanted to do was clean-up and finalize River Running for publishing. So that’s what we did instead.
  2. DAUGHTER of FORTUNE REVISION-CHECK. I read through this and made a big master list of what to do on my big rewrite next month.
  3. FORMATTING PROJECT- I have a formatting project booked for this month that I’ll need to fit around other activities. NO CHECK–the author wasn’t ready. Instead I formatted River Running for publication, and it’s quite beautiful.
  4. ALASKA ESSAYS-CHECK. I have a master formatted document in hand, now I just need to deal with formatting and inserting the images, which is a big job.
  5. NOTE: My editor was able to get me the line edits for Light & Shadow back throughout January, so in addition to the work above, I managed to swim through line edits for Light & Shadow in January–which is great, since I had planned that for a February goal.

February Goals:

  • DAUGHTER of FORTUNE REWRITE-I plan to make my way through the list of changes I made last month.
  • FORMATTING PROJECT- I expect the formatting project from last month will come in sometime this month.
  • ALASKA ESSAYS-My goal is to have them all finished with a master draft ready for review by the end of this month.
  • LIGHT AND SHADOW TWEAKS- I have a list of about eight bigger fixes that I need to address from the lines edits. Then I’ll grind out the ebook version and upload for a “flow read” on my kindle!

 

Here’s the final River Running cover, plus a link where you can pre-order the kindle version!

RRfinalMASTER11.23.18 ebook

Goals: January 2018

There’s nothing like ringing in the new year with some writing goals.

Last month I hoped to accomplish:

  1. RIVER RUNNING REVISION with Tamara- CHECK  We are nearly through, just a few more comments and issues to resolve.
  2. LIGHT & SHADOW REVISION- CHECK Finished this in good time and I’ve sent it to some readers.
  3. WRITE NEW BOOK IDEA- CHECK As expected, I didn’t get very far, but I did make some progress.
  4. ALASKA ESSAYS- CHECK This project is coming along, and I hope to be nearly finished by the end of next month.

In January, I plan to do the following:

  1. WIND WINGING or THE EIGHTH OCTAVE REVISION with Tamara- I don’t think we’ve decided which co-written book we’ll focus on next.
  2. DAUGHTER of FORTUNE REVISION- I figure I may as well get a head start on the  rewrite for Tales of Blood & Light Book Six while I await comments from readers of Light & Shadow.
  3. FORMATTING PROJECT- I have a formatting project booked for this month that I’ll need to fit around other activities.
  4. ALASKA ESSAYS- I’m going to make a big push on the organizational edit for the Alaska Essays volume, and hopefully get it into it’s final, ready-for-formatting state.

Cover Treat of the month. Another Eighth Octave idea:

TEO

 

The Top Ten Books I read in 2017

I went into 2017 aiming to read diverse fiction books and non-fiction. I definitely read diverse books, though I failed to read many from earlier eras.

I also set out with the idea that I was going to use my reading as an escape. I’d been feeling pretty down at the end of 2016 after Election Day. My therapy for my disappointment was reading whatever I wanted during 2017.

Looking back over the books that really left an impression on me in 2017, it turns out most of them weren’t escape reads, though I did read quite a few I would consider as such.

As ever, my reading list is comprised of books I read in 2017, not necessarily books published in 2017. See my entire 2017 reading challenge here.

My stats:

Total books read: 103

Total pages: 36,334

Books by men: 36

Books by women: 63

Anthologies or co-authored works: 4

Fiction: 78

Non-fiction: 23

Poetry: 2

Indie-pubbed: 10

Books by minorities or people of color: 21

Books from 21st Century: 92

Books from 20th Century: 9

Books from other centuries: 2

My Top Ten, in no particular order:

1) The Moral Arc by Michael Shermer (2014): At its heart this is a hopeful book, and I read it at a time when I needed hope. I appreciated Shermer’s ambitious attempt to offer a philosophy of morality based in science and reason, although I do think at times he neglected to account for the darker angels of our nature in favor of focusing on the better ones.

2) Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (2011, 2014): In a year when “science” faced political and popular opposition, Sapiens stood out as a proudly scientific book full of interesting information about the history of Homo sapiens. I appreciated the information, but not always the tone of this book, which sometimes slipped into somewhat dismissive or over-generalized musings. That said, the profound and thought-provoking examination of the human species was worth the irritation. I also read the next book by this author, Homo Deus, in which he tries to predict the future of humanity, but I think he was at his best when firmly grounded in evidence, without so much speculation.

3) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (2016): One reason I love fiction is how a story unfolds on so many levels. This book is a beautiful example of layers—layers of time and history and memory and experience and how they come together to create a character’s story. This was one of those precious books in which the total effect was more than the sum of its parts. I don’t rank this list, but if I did, Homegoing would be in the spot of #1 for my 2017 reads.

4) The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben: After the self-important voices of The Moral Arc and Sapiens, The Hidden Life of Trees offered a delightful alternative in my non-fiction science reading. This was a book of passion, written by a forester with a profound relationship with his trees. I found myself utterly caught up in his joy and excitement as I read about the fascinating lives of trees. A breath of fresh air!

5) Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (2014): This book came highly recommended, but I was a little worried about reading it. I was already feeling a little bruised and battered by trying to talk about racism in America with what I’ll call racism “deniers.” I feared reading this book would only make me sadder. However, Just Mercy armed me with more concrete information, which is always helpful. I read this back-to-back with Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning. The two books taken together provided me with a deeper understanding of America’s enduring shame.

6) Missoula by Jon Krakauer (2105): I’ll read anything by Jon Krakauer. I appreciate his accessible approach and his genuine curiosity as he examines diverse topics. In the case of Missoula, I did fear the heavy subject matter (rape) was likely to depress me again in a social climate exploding with the misogyny that led to 2017’s #metoo scandals. But Krakauer did a fine job with this book, using a specific case of one city to show problems in how we attempt to deal with rape in our culture. I was a little startled that he his posited himself as unaware of the magnitude of this problem, but if one thing has come out of 2017’s turmoil, I’d hope it’s that no one is left unaware that one in four women experience sexual assault in their lifetime.

7) The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (2015): This was a fun read that blended the best of fantasy and Regency romance. I picked it up on a lark at the library because I liked the cover, and it turned out to be one of those books I simply couldn’t put down, right on through the next book in the series and a related novella. I look forward to the third installment.

8) An Ember in the Ashes/A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (2016, 2017): This is the unfinished fantasy series keeping me on tenterhooks, supplanting Games of Thrones and The Name of the Wind as the top “next installment” that I will devour in one night when it finally is released. Ember in the Ashes has it all: an exciting story, deep world-building, juicy intrigues, epic familial drama, diverse and dimensional characters, and a slow-burning romance with a love triangle. The only trouble is the release date for Book Three keeps getting moved further out…Sabaa, please. Stop listening to all that music and get that book written!

9) His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet (2015): This was another serendipitous find at the library, a random book I picked out for no particular reason except that I felt like reading a historical novel with a touch of mystery. I found a well-written mind-bender of a story that held me captive from start to finish. Thought-provoking, chilling, and intense, it transported me back in time in the same way Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood did, years ago.

10) We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2017): Ta-Nehisi Coates does not write to make you feel comfortable or hopeful, nor to provide solutions. But he’s a thoughtful writer, concerned with exposing the interior of his mind in the most precise way he can. I appreciate his embrace of the essay form and his painstaking explication of his thought process and his experience, and how the personal relates to the political in understanding racism in America. Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates asks you to listen in the deep way that only reading can train you to do.