Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Challenge Complete, Contract Signed, My Cowboy Finals, and Spring Is On The Way

Raritan Bay and the mouth of Whale Creek as seen from Cliffwood Beach's Middlesex County side. 

It was a busy, though short month--and fortunately a mild one as far as the weather goes. Our little part of the world got plenty of rain, which is fine with me because I didn’t have to shovel any snow. The snow fell a few times, but the weather was so warm it all melted quickly. There were several incredibly lovely days and whenever the sun is shining I enjoy going outside to take photographs at one of our wonderful parks or at the beach. I'm always looking for another scene to put on canvas--the photo above might be one of them.

I am happy to say I finished the JerRoWriMo writing challenge. In fact, I finished two days early. For now the title of the book I worked on is Home Somewhere. It’s a contemporary romance and needs a ton of revising, but writing it was lots of fun. I had the basic plot and characters planned before I started the challenge, but much of it was done in the seat-of-the pants style of writing—which for me is a glorious delight. Some writers like to have everything carefully worked out before they start writing. I just like to let it rip—and the challenge helps me do that by forcing my internal editor to keep out of my way. I held myself accountable to write enough words everyday to get to the finish line.

There were days when I didn’t get many words down. My mother-in-law wound up in the hospital and then went to rehab. Friends bought hubby and I tickets to see a show with them. (It was a fun show!) And we went house hunting with our daughter and her husband. Still, several dreary, rainy days were a boon to my word count. The weather helped me even the score for the days when I was unable to get much writing done. In addition, hubby (God bless him!) is not a stickler for an immaculate house and we frequently go out to eat, which is a big help when it comes to writing.

While I’ve never made a lot of money from all my writing, I have received some accolades, which have been very, very sweet. The Cowboy’s Miracle, which won 3rd place in the Ancient City Romance Writers' Heart of Excellence Reader's Choice Award also became a finalist in EPIC's eBook Awards. It's not a Pulitzer Prize, but it gives me joy. 😊

Most of all, I am happy to say I've signed a contract with the Pelican Book Group for Patriot's Courage, which is the third sequel in my Patriot books' saga. 

Oh yes--and spring is coming. The daffodils are daring to reach toward the sun as are the chives and my beautiful Lenten roses.  Along with spring comes EASTER! I can hardly wait to sing all the Alleluias!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Another Writing Challenge!

I’ve written a quite a few books—not as many as some authors—but the ones I’ve written are important to me. I wanted to write them. I had a story to tell and I wasn’t happy until the book was finished. All along, I have been self-motivated. I set goals for myself. I hold myself accountable for writing every day. I don’t watch television, I don’t play games, and there’s lots of dust in my house. Nevertheless, I am not a hermit. I go to writing workshops, I crochet with my prayer shawl group, and I have fun making oil paintings. Hubby and I enjoy the company of our friends. I like to try new recipes, but I enjoy going out to eat as well. My daughters aren't far away and we see each other often.

Like many others, I’ve found there is no end of things to do even though I have been retired from teaching for quite a while. I am busy. I have a schedule, but sometimes that schedule intrudes upon my writing time and I wind up not getting as much done on my work-in-progress as I would like.

However, the New Jersey Romance Writers hold an event every February they call JeRoWriMo—which stands for Jersey Romance Writers Month. During the month of love, everyone who signs up is encouraged to write 30,000 words. Cheerleaders offer accolades to the writers who report in every evening to note their day's word count.

A similar event occurs in November--National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, but the challenge there is 50,000 words and it's in November. Thanksgiving happens in November as well as other Christmas preparations. I've never attempted NaNoWriMo because I doubted I would ever succeed.

But what happens in February? There's winter, where gloomy weather often makes a perfect writing day for me. There's also Valentine's Day, a great holiday where I get treated to dinner at a restaurant. No cooking for me! No cleanup! Plus there are gifts of chocolate. It's great to write while eating chocolate.

Also in February there's our Presidents' Birthday holiday, Ash Wednesday, and Lent. In other words, there are few social events. It's a great time to put other things aside and pump out words. So far, this month I've put down 16,451 words on a book I initially began writing five years ago, but set aside to write something else.

I have too many ideas. 😜 But it's fun. I'll be doing some spring cleaning in March, but for now it's time to write.