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For the Love of Words: Q2 Wrap-Up and a Look at Q3

Y’all, I can’t believe it’s already July and that the year is halfway over. 2017 has been a fantastic year in terms of producing manuscripts, but in terms of my personal life, it’s been a bit rocky. In addition to being a writer, I’ve worked full time but lost my job back at the end of 2016. After looking for a new job for six months, I’m finally happy to have landed at a major tech company.

3rd Quarter Goals

That’s not the important part of this, but it is a pretty exciting part of my life. The important part is that we’re finally at another quarter, so I want to update everyone and set some new goals for Q3.

Quarter Two Goals and Recap

It’s amazing how much everything can change in three months. 90 days. 12 weeks. I had a few simple goals this past quarter.

Finish the first draft of Hit List – I finished this one! It’s a little shorter than I wanted for a first draft, but it’s nice to see where the ending of this “First half” of the series is. Even since finishing this draft, I’ve rediscovered things I want to add in the edits. But going back to edits on this book rely a lot on the next goal.

Start edits on Justice & Lies – I started edits and I’m almost done with a draft of edits, but the truth is, I need to go back at least one more time before I send it to my editor.

There’s a supercharged plot in Justice & Lies, and I want to make sure that I really dive into that and do the story correctly – both to those who live it in real life and the characters in this book. It’s a finite balancing act, and I know it’s going to take time.

My last goal for the quarter was to read six books.

I definitely started six books, but to be honest, I think I finished one, and it was one in a series I was already reading. So this time, I’m going to list all the books I want to read this quarter.

QUARTER THREE GOALS

Finish Justice & Lies – Finish this dang draft. I’ll probably put away for a few weeks and just take a break from writing when I do finish writing it so I can get some clear eyes. Hopefully, by August, I’ll be back to editing it. Once that’s done, I’ll be sending it to the editor to check it again.

Start Hit List edits – Hit List needs a bit more work, just because I haven’t looked at it as long. There’s some international travel in it, so I’m going to check everything I can to make sure that’s it’s accurate.

Possibly start planning my NaNoWriMo novel – I’m planning to do NaNoWriMo this year and I already have a novel idea in mind. It’s a story I’ve had in my mind since high school, but never knew how to fully attack it. I’m hoping to do so this year. Fingers crossed. Hopefully, at the end of September, I’ll start planning.

Read all the books – My new job has some down time where I’ll be able to read a lot, so I’m planning to take full advantage of those breaks to read. I’m finishing up Big Little Lies – which is freaking fantastic, but I’ll be adding more books to the plate. I want to mix it up with a variety of fiction and nonfiction.

A few books I’m planning to read this quarter:

  • Who Killed These Girls?: Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders by Beverly Lowery. Turns out this cold case happened about three miles from my house.
  • Settle for More by Megyn Kelly.
  • Poison and Prejudice by Chelsea Field
  • The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
  • The One with all the Writing Advice by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

I don’t think it’ll take me all three months to read all of this, but you never know. Either way, I’m excited for all that Q3 holds!

 

For the Love of Word: Q2 Goals

This is a new series (inspired by Kristen at well-storied.com) to the site. Every quarter I’ll break down my writing and reading goals so you know what’s happening behind the scenes and we can share some new books together!

For the Love of Word: Q2 2017 Goals

In future updates I’ll break down what I have read and what I accomplished in the past quarter, but since this is the first one, I’ll start out with my goals.


MY GOALS

Finish Hit List. Right now, I’m finishing up the first draft of the fourth Cassie Morgan book, Hit List. I’m about halfway through the draft and hope to finish in the next week or two. This is the final book in the “first” part of the book series, so I’m spending more time closing plot and lines and making sure the ending is satisfying and makes sense.

After I finish Hit List, I’ll loop back around to start edits on the third book in the seriesJustice & Lies. I expect my edits and rewrites to take about a month and a half to two months, so I’m hoping that I’ll finish by the beginning of July. I suspect these two projects will take at least three months to finish, which will cover the quarter.

Lately, I’ve slacked on reading, and I need to get back on track. For reading, I’m hoping to read at least 6 books in the next three months, hopefully more. I’m currently reading a few different books, including Eat, Pray, Die. The book has a sequel I’m hoping to read after. I have a few other books after, and as I finish each, I’ll be sure to add book reviews here and on Goodreads.

I’ve always found that being open with my goals publicly helps me accomplish them more. So in July, I’ll be back with an update!

 

Coming in 2017

I can’t believe that 2017 is already here. 2016 was a tough year for me, so I’m glad to see a new year finally here. Last year, I had some big aspirations to publish two books. Then I landed a day job in politics and that was the end of that.

Coming in 2017

In 2016, the only book that came out was Double Played, the sequel to The AssassinWriting and finishing Double Played was an incredibly different experience compared to The Assassin. 

This next year though, I will be putting two books out, with the first one being Justice & Lies. And I’m so excited to share with you the summary of the book!

Winter in Washington, D.C. is the perfect time for a serial killer, or two. Special Agent Cassie Morgan and her team are on the lookout for two men leaving behind a slew of dead cops in their path. As the bodies continue to pile up, Cassie struggles to stay focused thanks to one big distraction:

Brent Rossett’s trial.

Cassie knows she’ll be telling the world a few lies when she takes the stand, but one bombshell confession is soon forgotten when a woman shows up murdered near the courthouse. All signs point to the crime being the Assassin’s, but he has the perfect alibi: his trial.

Now the FBI must deal with a copycat killer, and everyone is watching and waiting for him to come after Cassie. While trying to solve her own assignment, Cassie constantly finds herself in the middle of the copycat case and she’s realizing she might have to make the ultimate deal to finally put an end to the mob’s obsession with her.
In addition to Justice & Lies, I’ll be releasing Hit List, the fourth book. Both of these will probably come out late-summer or early-fall. I’m currently going through and writing both books as one giant book because Hit List picks up just days after Justice & Lies ends. I’m so excited for these two books, because they fit so well together and they’re really the next step from The Assassin and Double Played. 
After both books are out, I’m hoping to work on some stand-alone series at the end of the year (maybe NaNoWriMo), including Super Ordinary, a book I first wrote back when I was a junior in high school. It’ll be fun to dig into that one and how the story has changed in the past few years.
2017 is shaping up to be a promising year, and I’m hoping to really give new life to my book series.
I hope y’all have had a wonderful New Year, and here’s to 2017!

 

Behind the Scenes 2016

Last year, right before the release of The Assassin, I participated in a link-up of sorts, “Behind the Scenes.” Now that it’s been a year and 2016 is wrapping up, I thought it would be fun to revisit this and do it again.

Behind the Scenes in 2016

WHERE DO YOU WRITE?

I work at home, in my little office area. I spent a good part of this year writing in coffee shops in Austin. One of my favorite shops is right on the lake, which is a great back drop.

WHEN DO YOU NORMALLY WRITE? NIGHT, AFTERNOON, OR MORNING?

I spent most of the year writing at night. Lately, I’ve been writing in the mid-morning after going to the gym.

IS THERE A CERTAIN SNACK YOU LIKE TO EAT WHILE WRITING?

I try to drink water, but don’t be surprised to see me with Dr Pepper or a glass of wine in the evening.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU WRITE A NEW NOVEL?

It usually takes me a month and a half to three months to complete each draft. Still hard to tell how long it takes me to complete a whole novel.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WRITE?

Yes, or I listen to writing podcasts while writing. I typically stick with music because I don’t need to pay attention to the music. Podcasts are a little more info-based and require more attention.

WHAT DO YOU WRITE ON? LAPTOP OR PAPER?

Laptop. If I can’t do it on my laptop, I’ll take my iPad and work in Scrivener there.

IS THERE A SPECIAL RITUAL YOU HAVE BEFORE OR AFTER YOU WRITE?

No, but I need to start developing some for pre-writing.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET INTO THE MOOD TO WRITE?

I still don’t have an answer to this! I think being in the middle of a great plot is what makes me excited to keep writing. Sitting down to pick up and continue on a rollercoaster ride is always fun.

WHAT IS ALWAYS NEAR THE PLACE YOU WRITE?

A drink, probably my planner, and my phone.

DO YOU HAVE A REWARD SYSTEM FOR YOUR WORD COUNT?

Keep going for more words.

IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS THAT OTHERS MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT?

It’s amazing how one year changes everything. I’m currently planning the “ending” to the series (I’ll be taking a break to focus on some other things). What I have planned pre-break and post-break are very different tones of a similar story in the series. I’m excited for people to get their hands on these!

I can’t believe that 2016 is almost over. In two and a half weeks, a new year will be here, and I am so excited for what it has in store. 2016 has been an extreme year, so I’m ready for something new!

TEKSAS