Progessive Weekend

Memorial Day weekend has been excellent! I got more editing done than I usually get in an entire week! I love marathon writing/editing where it becomes a snowball effect and you can’t stop. What seems like five minutes turns into five hours of intense literary abandon. For example, I spent almost two days straight editing a 22-page chapter (yes, 22 pages).

In addition to my next book’s edits, I also sated my other creative endeavors by making a nice little Hello Kitty-themed sleeve for my Kindle 3. I used a great tutorial at this website. There’s even a printable version of the instructions!

Hello Kitty Print Kindle 3 Sleeve

Homemade Hello Kitty Kindle 3 Sleeve

Camp NaNoWriMo!

I came, I donated and I feel great! I can proudly say that NaNoWriMo has been the magic behind my fervent literary endeavors. One can only begin to understand the wonders of NaNoWriMo. There’s something¬† about the event that turns me into a writing fiend, unable to stop the creative madness.

Camp NaNoWriMo Logo

Camp NaNoWriMo coming August 2011!

I love the Office of Letters and Light for what they stand for, what they’ve done and what they continue to do for so many communities around the world. So, naturally, when I heard they were going to be doing Camp NaNoWriMo in August, I got more excited than a kid during Christmas. I have a few projects that I will be working on this year, all of which will be done during NaNo-themed events.

With Camp NaNoWriMo coming up, I’ll also be utilizing my NaNoWriMo blog again to post my progress and thoughts. I think it’s fun, helpful and motivating to read about other participants’ endeavors in their blogs, and how they overcome obstacles during the month-long challenge.¬† Feel free to follow my NaNoWriMo journey on Twitter, too!

Two indie authors I wanted to spotlight in particular have just released debut books within the past few weeks. My friend Teresa has just released her debut children’s book, Summer Jackson: Grown Up, published by HarperCollins and on sale now at major book retailers! She will also be doing a booksigning at Books of Wonder on June 18th. I am so proud and happy for her and wish her nothing but success! Another awesome author, Tiphanie Thomas, whom I’ve met online, has also released her debut romance book entitled, Heart Stealer. I don’t know why, but I’ve seen Tiphanie as an inspiration.¬† All of the things she’s done since the release of her book in April has motivated me to follow in her footsteps. Her book has received nothing but high praise since its April debut. As a fellow self-pubbed author, I’m learning a lot just from reading about her own experiences in this scary, but exciting world of literary abandonment.

Nearing the home stretch of the novella edits. Some character interviews are to come soon!

May: New Plans & Projects

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Goodreads giveaway! There were exactly 1,234 people who signed up! Coincidence? Sign of great things to come? I certainly hope so! This was my first giveaway for my debut novella, and I hope to do more of them in the future. Many people have added the book to their to-read list on Goodreads, which is always motivating for me.

Sales in April were more than I could ever hope. I am still staving off the aftereffects of publishing it! I don’t think this feeling ever goes away. Currently, I’m looking to do a little more marketing in and around my small town. Book signings seem to be few and far between here, so it may be a great opportunity to set something up in the coming months.

At long last, I’ve managed to finish the first draft of my next novella, which I’ve also changed the title to “Firebrand.” I am now going through the first round of edits, which I’ve, for some strange reason, been enjoying very much. Maybe it’s due to the fact of getting over that initial obstacle of completing a first draft. I’m estimating a good 3-4 months before the book is polished enough to be published.

I’ve also decided to test the new site, bookcountry.com, with an excerpt of the first chapter of Firebrand to see what sort of feedback I would get on it. I can honestly say the site has exceeded my expectations. I’ve received lots of advice and feedback, as well as connected with new friends to help me in my literary endeavors. The website is very well-made, and I was admittedly skeptical about using it after the harsh criticism I read about on Kindleboards. Book Country is a lot like Critique Circle, but I think Critique Circle has more extensive features. I like the inline critique option that Critique Circle has, which really allows you to go in-depth with your feedback. Conversely, Book Country just gives you space to type your overall critique (but you can go as detailed as you like), depending on what the author has requested (ie: plot, characters, pacing, etc.). Overall, I think I will use both Book Country and Critique Circle respectively depending on what sort of feedback I’m looking for. Both have been very helpful with improving my writing. If you’re on Book Country, please add me!

One particular program that I’ve started using to edit my new novella has been AutoCrit. I can’t begin to explain how helpful this program has been. I’ve used it mainly for getting rid of overused/repeated words, cliches and bad writing habits I never realized I had. I’ve used AutoCrit in conjunction with a thesaurus and watched the story transform and improve ten-fold. The program really forces you to think and tap into your creative ability, which is what I really love about it. The program is free to try out, and pricing starts at $47 for an entire year. This is, perhaps the most worthwhile literary investment I’ve made thus far. The only gripe I have about AutoCrit is that it’s not a stand-alone desktop program, so you will need to be online in order to use it. You copy/paste excerpts of your manuscript into the program and it spits out the errors.

If you’re looking to improve your writing skills, I highly recommend this program. Check it out here: www.autocrit.com.