Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I like stats!

I have to say, I'm kinda nerdy about this kind of thing. I really love reading stats on certain things, especially the publishing world and writing. I love when agents and editors post their stats on how many queries they receive and how many of those actual get requested and how many actually get contracted. Fascinating stuff.

I'm also intrigued by writers and word count, maybe because I do it too. I keep track of every word I write. I love to track my progress and see how long it takes me to write X amount of words. I like to impress myself. I like to know what I am capable of. I think all writers should keep track and see what they can do, and what they could do if they pushed themselves harder. NaNoWriMo taught me I can write far more than I thought.

My newest book, the second book in my Classy 'n Sassy series, titled Size Matters, which was contracted by Simon & Schuster for their Pocket Star imprint, was officially started on July 7th, not long after I received word that the book was officially under contract. Before that I had an outline, a very detailed scene by scene outline, and maybe the first scene written, but that was it. I'd always hoped to write the book, so I was prepared. ;) But I did have to alter the outline a bit before I started. And of course my summer was hectic this year, as most usually are with two kids home for the summer, so I didn't get a ton done before we went on our family vacation, and I don't think much of anything when we came home, with getting ready for school to start.

Anyhoo.... here are the stats:

7/7-9/4 (1st day of school): 19,527 words.

That was a period of 60 days, with an average of 325 words a day! LOL! But obviously I did not write for many of those days--only 19, actually. So, I averaged 1027 words on the days I actually did write. Whew! That sounds better! But still far below what I am capable of.

Once school started, I was on a mission. I had an official deadline of November 1st. I wanted the book done by October 15th so I had time to edit and perfect it. I figured out what had to be done to reach that goal (1500 word a day, EVERY day) and I put my fingers to the keyboard.

9/4-10/8: 54,027 words

At that point the book was not actually done, but I needed to take a break and go back and reread the whole thing before I could write out the end. For some reason, I can never ever plot out the very end.

So, over that period of time--35 days--I wrote on average 1543 words a day. But I did not write every day, even though I tried. Life certainly gets in the way sometimes. :) Of those 35 days, I only wrote on 25 of them. That's an average of 2161 words a day.

Over 54k in 25 days. Not too shabby :)

But I also must note the retreat I went on during that time. :) Every year my RWA chapter goes away to an adorable B&B for the weekend for nothing by writing. It's awesome. This year we brought in a speaker for a workshop, and that was really cool. So for those three days, I did get more writing time than normal. I wrote over 8500 words just at the retreat.

The end of this book was tough for me, so it took longer than I had anticipated. But I got it to my agent and she read it, sent it back with some minor suggestions. I made them, resubmitted to her, and she sent it to my editor at S&S last night :) Man, that felt great!

Fingers crossed my editor likes it!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Another Museful Monday installation!

Today I'm over at Sandra Sookoo's blog talking about professionalism online and sharing the story of the incident that irked me and spurred the inspiration for this post!

Click here!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Everything is bad....m'kay?

Seems every single day I see posts in my Facebook and Twitter feeds talking about something else that is bad for you.

Sugar is bad. Sugar substitutes are bad.

Milk is bad, unless it's hormone free.

Gluten is bad.

Carbs are bad.

Fried foods are bad.

Any and all packaged processed foods are bad.

Red meat is bad. Meat fed with the wrong food is bad.

Even vegetables and fruits are bad...the ones that aren't organic. And now even those are iffy. I read an article where a farmer stated that no produce is completely "organic" and the pests and diseases on produce grown without pesticides can be just as dangerous as produce grown with pesticides.

All I hear/read everyday is how everything is bad bad bad. Makes my head spin. I have no clue what is good anymore. And I really have no clue what is best for me, my family, our future. But everywhere I look are people and articles telling me what I'm doing is matter what I do.

So this is how I live my life- moderation. With anything in life, moderation is key. I'm not gonna give up sugar, cause I have a crazy sweet tooth! I'm not gonna give up dairy. I love cheese! I won't give up carbs and gluten cause I cannot live without pasta and bread and crackers! I won't give up friend foods cause they're damn tasty! I won't give up processed foods cause sometimes I need something quick and easy. I won't give up meat because I like it. I won't give up fruit and vegetables, because, duh, they're good for you. But I try not to over do it on any of these things. I don't let my kids eat potato chips every day for snack and we rarely have soda in the house. I don't buy canned soup or Hamburger Helper and instead find recipes for homemade versions. But I do occasionally buy Ramen noodles and boxed macaroni and cheese. It's a cheap and quick lunch. I try very hard to feed my family healthy low calorie meals that are good for them, but it doesn't always happen. We like to go out for pizza every once in a while.

Part of it is a financial thing too. Organic, carb-free, hormone-free, organic-fed, non-processed foods are not cheap. Our paychecks only go so far. I can't afford to double my grocery bill. And some weeks are tighter than others. So I do the best I can and keep the bad stuff to a minimum.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Yet another reason......

......why I love writing and reading romance........

I never leave feeling sad.

So, last night we watched Gatsby. I'd been wanting to see it for a while. I've never read the book or saw any of the other movie adaptions, but I did know a tiny bit about the story. It was a good movie with a good cast and lots of pretty things to look at. That era fascinates me. But the movie left me feeing sad. It did not end happily ever after. And I am starting to realize I crave that when I watch movies or read books. I don't like walking away sad.

Click away now if you haven't seen the movie or know nothing about the story.

Jay Gatsby is a complicated character with many flaws. He's mysterious at first, but then we get to know a little about him. He's a man in love, who has done a whole lot to make himself into the man he wants to be, the man he's dreamed of being, the man he thinks she deserves. Everything he did was for her. To prove he was good enough for her. I loved the scene when he was getting ready to see her for the first time in five years....the nerves. So adorable! My romantic heart went all a flutter :)

I liked Daisy at first....I felt sympathy for her. A girl stuck in a marriage, knowing her husband is fooling around and unable to do anything about it. She still loves Gatsby too, and my heart swooned, hoping they would figure it out and be together...finally.

But she didn't love him. Not really. She let him take the blame for killing that girl, a chivalrous act that backfired and got him killed. And she'd had no intention of being with him. She walked away scott free. Nothing he did was good enough for her.

The movie ended and I just felt sad.

This is why I love romance. Love always wins out. I never finish a movie or book and feel sad. There is far too much sadness in the world....everywhere I look. I want to believe that there is happiness in our world. A cynic will say romance stories are unrealistic. I disagree. I believe true love exists. It's not always easy, but it is there for those who want to work hard for it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book settings- Big City vs. Small Town

When I sat down and started crafting my first book, I naturally set it in a city setting, since that is where I grew up. It was comfortable for me. I went on to write a few more books, also set in cities. The fast-pace excitement of a city setting fit the story.

I wrote a novella and set it in a small town. I wanted to try it out. And I liked it. It was interesting to see the drama that unfolded with the quirky characters you find in that setting. The gossip mill never stops churning! It was addicting and I went on to write a few more books set in small towns.

There is so much to love about a book set in a city, especially if it's a well known major city, like NYC. I set my Karma books there. There is so much excitement in a big city, so much going on. There are all kinds of ways the setting can affect the plot and characters. I have been to NY a couple times, so I can envision it from experience, but there is soooooo much online about NYC that the research is so simple to do. When you set a book in a real city, you have to make sure the details are accurate and with a big city, it's very easy to do. And I think readers enjoy reading about these places. They may be places they might not ever get to visit in real life.

Small towns are so fun to write about. I tend to completely make mine up though, and the crazy quirky people who live there. There is a certain charm to a small town, quaint and cute, but that doesn't mean there isn't drama. My husband grew up in a small town, and I see how everyone knows everything about everyone who lives there. It's hard to keep things secret, and that can definitely add to the drama in a book.

Tonight I am hosting this week's #ChickLitChat on Twitter and my topic is city vs small town. What we love, what we hate, how where we grew up or live currently affects our opinions. Come on by and share your opinions!! 8 PM EST, use the hashtag to join in!