For the Love of Word

For the Love of Words: February Recap + March Look

I know I’m a few days late with this post, but happy beginning of March! While January was a stellar start to the year, February seemed to sputter out in the writing department. The reading, however was pretty incredible.

For the Love of the Words

 

February Recap


Books I Read

While my goal was to read five books this month, I read nine. Almost double my goal. The five books I had on my list were all done by February 16th (I keep track in my Day Designer!), and I found myself wanting to read something familiar. My final list of books I read in February was:

 

Now the last five books were all in a series, The Heather Wells series. There were two main reasons to turn back to a series I’ve read multiple times. Reason 1: After so many dark books, I wanted something a little more lighthearted. Heather Wells is a murder mystery series, but Meg Cabot is a chick-lit writer and there is definitely that in these books, too.

Reason #2: I wanted to get back into that lighthearted mind frame as I planned my stories. Of course, I ended up just reading the books instead of utilizing them for the right frame of mind. Oh well.

Given that these were re-reads, I clearly love those book series, but what about the rest of the books?

Well, I’m still loving the In Death books, even nine books in. So those are solid for me.

The Woman in the Window was a two and a half day read. I wasn’t sure how I liked it, but after a morning at work where our systems were down, I read more than half the book that morning. It had some interesting turns, but there were a few times I wanted to throw the book at the ridiculous plot twists.

Bonfire, though, was by far my least favorite read of the year to this point. And that’s a shame because I was really interested to see how Krysten Ritter did with debut but I didn’t connect with any of the characters and the main character was a bit ridiculous for me.

Nine books is a lot of books to read in twenty-eight days, and looking back, I could swear that I read Holiday in Death back in January, not February.

Books I Wrote

In February, I finally finished my draft of Hit List. Then I started working on Airtime and Alibis, my short story. Though I suspect that it won’t be very short. It’s been a struggle, trying to get everything figured out – the plot, the story, the tone, the characters.

It’s a challenge, but I’m loving it.

March Look


Books I’m Planning to Read

Happiness for Humans will be an interesting read for me. I picked it up at the local library totally based on the cover, because I loved the technology aspect. The premise sounds good, and since I read a lot of dark books, it’s good to sprinkle in some happiness!

 

The Wife Between Us is a book I snagged in my Book of the Month subscription box and it has patiently sat on my bookshelf for a few months until I was ready to read it.

I only have about 50 pages left of The Bride Wore Size 12, so that practically doesn’t even count. After, I’ll dive back into In Death after finishing.

Given that I gave myself a full year to read this book series, I might have it all done by June. These books are definitely fast reads.

Books I’m Writing

I want to finish the first draft of this short story. I know that if I sat down and gave myself a weekend, I could probably knock most of the story out. I’m just lacking the focus lately. After I finish the first draft, I’d actually like to write the second one. Ideally, I’d like to write three of these short stories and release them back-to-back later this year.

Given that it’s already March, I’m not sure how well I’ll do.

Even if my writing is struggling, I’m so happy to be back into reading. For a long time, I didn’t read a lot, but reading is what started my love of writing. Reading is a wonderful feeling, always.

For the Love of Words: January Recap + February Look

Another month has come and gone and we are fully into 2018 now. My fingers have finally adjusted to reaching for the “8” instead of the “7” on the keyboard and I’ll admit, I’m rather impressed by how well the new year started out. In terms of writing and reading, I did better than I expected going into the month, so I’m hoping that momentum carries through to February.

For the Love of Words: February

Books I’m Reading

As always though, I want to start with a recap of January. During the month of January, I had four books that I wanted to read.

I read all of these, finishing The Woman in Cabin 10 over this past weekend. Knowing that I was still going to keep reading, I picked up the next book in the In Death series, Holiday in Death. I’m about a third of the way done with that book, so I’m including it in my February list.

The first three books were all in a series, but Vengeance in Death was my favorite. The main character and her husband were pitted against each other and there were a lot of scenes that broke my heart in a strange way.

The Woman in Cabin 10 left me with mixed feelings. It picked up in the end, but I wasn’t a fan of the main character. Part of my distaste for her was definitely because she has the same first name as me. So, when I didn’t like the main character to begin with, discovering we had the same name made me like her less because I don’t want to be associated with the character. She became better in the end, but I felt like there were options the author could have taken to expand upon things in the story.

I will say, with The Woman in Cabin 10, despite the weary beginning, I finished this book in about three days, so that’s always a good sign.

In February, I’m actually upping the book goal to five. I’m already a third of the way done with the first book, so I’m feeling like if I keep reading at the rate I’m going, I can read more. Yes, I realize that at five books, that’s more than a book a week. So what’s on my reading list this month?

The last two books are ones I picked up with The Book of the Month, which is a subscription box for books (you can get $5 off your first box by signing up with this link).

I think my reading goal was to read 25 books this year before I found the In Death series. If I read that whole series just by itself, I’ll have easily passed that 25 book threshold.

Now, let’s talk about my writing so far.

Books I’m Writing

I’m almost done with Hit List’s current draft. As in I’m planning to finish it today or tomorrow. After that, I have no intention of going back to the Cassie Morgan Series until April, at the very minimum. I need a creative refresh, something to shake it up.

So over the next two months, I want to write a series of novellas, I’m thinking closer to 20,000-30,000 words instead of the 70,000 words that I’m doing for Cassie Morgan. Most of February will be spent developing a plot and really taking my time before I jump in and start writing. When I first started working with Cassie Morgan, I was thirteen, so the idea of plot didn’t quite sit in my mind. That was 11 years ago and this is my first attempt to plan a series all the way through.

I’m hoping to do three short stories, but with the option to keep going if I want to do so later on in a few years.

There’s so much going on in my head and in my bookshelf, I really do hope that the rest of this year continues in the same direction. The next 28 days are going to fly by and I hope your month is full of fantastic reads, too.

 

For the Love of Words: January 2018

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I know we’re already more than halfway through the first month of the new year, but I figure better late than never. Last year, I started doing quarterly updates on both my writing life and my reading life. Now that I’m reading more and more every month, I wanted to challenge myself to do these updates monthly. This month is a little bit different since it’s the new year, but first I’d like to recap the last quarter of 2017.

For the Love of Words: January 2018

I had a list of six books that I wanted to read in the last quarter, and I think I actually read all but two of them – and then some.

Settle for More by Megyn Kelly

Poison and Prejudice by Chelsea Fields

Who Killed These Girls? by Beverly Lowery

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

The One with all the Writing Advice by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

I read all these books except The Stranger Beside Me and Who Killed These Girls? It was my intention to read both, but at the end of November, I actually got caught up in a new-to-me book series, which is what I’m currently in the middle of reading.

During Thanksgiving weekend, I picked up a book that I’d had on my bookshelf, Naked in Death. The book was written by Nora Roberts, using a pen name, J.D. Robb. Before this, I had never read a Nora Roberts book, but I loved it.

In December, I read the third and second books, Glory in Death and Immortal in Death. After that, I went to the library and checked out four books, but only read one of them because I wanted to come back to the In Death series.

So as a final recap, the books I read over quarter four:

  • Settle for More
  • Poison and Prejudice
  • All the Missing Girls
  • Hardcore Twenty-Four
  • Naked in Death
  • Glory in Death
  • Immortal in Death

Given how busy it was at my day job, I’m pretty happy with that end list. I do most of my reading during down times at work, so the busier it is, the more my reading suffers. I’m trying to get back into the habit of reading right before bed. Call it one of my New Years’ Resolutions.

Now that we’re halfway through the month, my reading list for this month is a work in progress. I’m continuing with the In Death series. There are over forty books in this series, and I’m hoping to have them all read by 2019. I know, I’m crazy.

This month, I’m doing three of the books and then adding a different mystery novel to the mix.

I’m about halfway done with Ceremony in Death so I’m going to need to step it up a little bit if I want to finish all these books by February 1st.

Now that we’ve talked about my reading, I want to turn to my writing. This draft has been hard. There are a lot of parts to the book I’m writing and I’m struggling to just stay focused. Because writing is such a long process, I’m finding myself distracted. After I finish this draft of Hit List, I’m going to take a break from the book series. I want to work on something new, but I’m not sure what I want that to be.

I was thinking I could maybe do a short story series, but I’m not forcing myself to make any decisions until I hit the end of this book. So for now, I’m kind of in limbo, running toward the end of the road.

For now, I’m trying to stay flexible on my writing.

Tell me, though, what are you reading this month?

For the Love of Words Q3 Wrap-Up and Q4 Preview

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The final quarter of the year is finally here and I’m surprised by how fast this last quarter went. I often find that I either read or write in high amounts, but I can never find the balance where I’m reading on a regular basis and writing on a regular basis.

For the Love of Words: Quarter 3 Wrap-Up and Quarter Four Preview

During my day job, I’ve had plenty of time to read as we’re coming to the end of a busy season. In fact, one book I read this quarter – I started and finished it all before I left work.

The point is, either way, my reading has gone way up and I hope to make use of it while I can. Now, if I can make use of my writing time, too, I’d be awfully productive. So let’s breakdown what I wanted to do in the third quarter.

QUARTER THREE GOALS

Finish Justice & Lies – Technically, I did finish it, but I made some pretty big adjustments at the beginning which means I’ll be doing at least one more round of working through the draft before I even think about sending it to the editor.

Start Hit List edits – I’m actually in the middle of this. During my rewrites and edits of Justice & Lies, I found myself with a pretty big opportunity to tie the two together and I took it. So I’m working through the draft, doing some rewrites and really making sure I give this story (being all four books) a solid ending.

Possibly start planning my NaNoWriMo novel – if I’m being honest, I’m not entirely sure I’ll even do a NaNoWriMo book this year.

Books I Read in Quarter 3

At the beginning of quarter 3, I was finishing up The Girl on the Train, which might be one of my top five favorite books that I’ve read this year. It was smart, dark and twisted, and I absolutely loved it. I’d love to eventually write a novel that holds that kind of suspense.

After I finished that, I started The Chemist, which is the newest novel by Stephenie Meyer (yes, she was the one who wrote Twilight). This one took a little bit longer for a few reasons. The book was almost 600 pages, but it really didn’t need to be. I also found myself annoyed with Meyer about halfway through the book.

Marketed as a high-suspense novel with a spy-thriller aspect, halfway through the novel decided it wanted to have romance! Which is fine, I love a good romantic-suspenseful thriller, but it felt haphazard in its attempt.

Because the book was a bit of a struggle, I went for something I knew I’d love after – a reread of a series. The Fox and O’Hare Series by Janet Evanvoich and Lee Goldberg is a fun, cozy mystery series that my mom and I have both read.

I found all five books (The Heist, The Chase, The Job, The Scam, and The Pursuit) at Half-Priced Book for a great deal and grabbed them all. And then it took me less than two weeks to read them all and I finished about two weeks ago.

After finishing the series, I didn’t pick up a book for a few days, but now I’m reading All the Missing Girls. I’m only about twenty pages in, but I’m enjoying it so far.

I know that I made a list of books I wanted to read and didn’t get to, but I’m hoping to tackle them this quarter.

A LOOK AT QUARTER 4

WRITING

Finish this draft of Hit List – I’ll probably finish this soon and I’m hoping to give it time to breathe after.

A short story- While my original intent was to write Super Ordinary between editing, I’m not quite ready to take on another full novel. I’m thinking a mystery short-story will be a great month-long project before I go and visit The Cassie Morgan Series again.

Plan out my schedule for 2018. – Since I didn’t release anything this year, I really want to be smart about my planning for the upcoming year. I still want to release both books back to back, but I don’t know what will happen after that. I’m excited to see what I come up with after.

READING

Settle for More by Megyn Kelly

Poison and Prejudice by Chelsea Fields

Who Killed These Girls? by Beverly Lowery

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

The One with all the Writing Advice by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

Leave a comment down below and tell me what some of your reading and writing goals are for the end of the year!

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!

 

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