Sunday, December 30, 2012

My 2013 Goals

Stuck in the back of my desk drawer, I found a journal I started in 2011. I’ve always kept a journal, though I didn’t always write every day in it, and this one reflects that. This journal was started on January 1, 2011 and it actually ended on April 17, 2012. It was interesting to look back at what I was thinking and read about what was going on in my life. The really interesting thing was on January 1 of both years, I had written my goals for that year—2011’s goals were long, but 2012’s were shorter. There were similarities in the goals and differences. And there were a few goals I had totally forgotten about. And as always there were some goals I succeeded at and others that I failed miserable to do.

So what do I want to accomplish in 2013?

Complete and publish at least three books.                                                                              
This is going to tie in with the next goal, but I really want to try to write and publish three books this year. I think it’s doable. Summer will really help with this, because school’s out for the summer, so I have a lot more free time to write. I’ve got one week left before I have to go back to school in January and I’ve already started writing a new book about two days ago and I’m already got 6000 words on paper. I must be crazy, but I want to see how close I can get to finishing the first draft before I have to go back to school.

Write faster and more efficiently.                                                                                        
I’ve have increased my writing. Right now, I’m averaging between 500 – 1000 words a day. During the week days my writing tends to be closer to the 500 mark because I work full-time as a junior high school teacher so when I say “go back to school” I mean I have to go back to work.             

A typical school day for me is to get up around 5:00 a.m., feed the kitties (If I don’t get up when the alarm goes off, they do things to get me up.), get a cup of coffee or two (I’m the only one who drinks coffee in my house.) try to eat something for breakfast (I’m not much of a morning person, so often my breakfast goes with me to school and ends up as a snack between classes.), teach until lunch, eat lunch (I typically eat in my room so I can work on whatever needs to be done whether it’s personal writing or school lessons. The kids also know they can come in and work on homework, read, or just talk.), teach until end of school, go home, fed the kitties (They’re at the door waiting for me.), fix supper, clean up, talk with hubby and son, maybe watch a TV show or watch at it, do laundry if needed, work on writing stuff, and go to bed sometime around midnight.

I want to start writing closer to 1000 words or more daily and to have it to be cleaner, more error free. I know, I know…practice, practice, and more practice. Right? :)

Continue outlining ideas.
With an outlined idea/book, even if I don’t immediately start writing it, I’ve got the story down and can go back and work on it when if finish the current project. My problem is I have too many ideas floating around my head. If I don’t get them down and organized, I sometimes lose them as other ideas float in.  When I was reading my goals from 2011, I wrote about outlining a story about Red based on the Little Red Riding Hood tale. I can’t find any notes anywhere about the idea, and the memory of the idea? POOF! Have no clue. I’m hoping I’ll come across something in a notebook. I keep idea notebooks, but so far haven’t seen anything about Red yet. Fingers crossed.

Work on promoting myself.  
This is something I’m still really clueless about. I’m learning, and I know learning sometimes takes time. I’ve done some interviews, giveaways, and quest posts, as well as have had a few reviews. Obviously, I blog and Twitter. If you have any ideas or thoughts, let me know. I need all the help I can get. 

Come up with some interesting blog topics.
I want my blog to be interesting, and not just interesting to me. I hope I’ve done that with some of my topics have been interesting to you. I’m always open to ideas too. 

 Get my website updated and keep it that way.
 I really do a much better job keeping up my blog, and I need to focus some of my energy on my website. It’s one of those things that I just need to sit down and do.

Get my office cleaned and organized.
This has been one of my goals since 2011. The sad part? I have tack boards and other stuff sitting in the middle of the room ready for me to put up, but first I’ve got to clear out the boxes of stuff lining one of the walls. I haven’t gone through the boxes since we moved in and most of them contain old teaching stuff that I’ve used over the years. Key word—OLD teaching stuff. I’ve got to start tossing stuff into the trash and the recycling bins. I just keep putting it off. Ridiculous, right?

Take better care of my health.
Over the last seven years I’ve managed to lose over 100 pounds, but I’ve got a lot more to lose. I need to exercise more. I’m working on cutting my portions, and making smart substitutions. Some days are easier than others. And I know there’s no quick fix. It’s making changes and turning those changes into habits. I’ve created a number of good habits over the years, but I’ve also let some slip. I can’t do that anymore. The weight has to come off, and it starts with me. 

I don’t have a long list of goals, but they are, at least I think so, pretty big goals. They are all doable. I just have to set my mind to achieving them.

Friday, December 28, 2012

What did I accomplish in 2012???

One of the writing groups I'm on posted a question to the members about what goals did you accomplish this year. I've already been thinking about my goals for the new year, but this post got me to thinking about what I've accomplished.

What did I accomplish in 2012?
  • I published my first book, Guardian of Atlantis. I finally took the leap and published the book myself. Yes, I'm an independent author. I'm proud of myself. For years, I've sent out queries to agents. I've even had requests for manuscripts, but in the end was always turned down. I believe in my writing abilities, even if others don't. Even now, I get off comments from family members, friends, and even strangers. I had one person ask me if I went to a copy center and had them copy and bound my manuscript so that I can sell it. But even with these comments, I'm really proud I finally published my writing. When I held the first copy in my hands, I actually cried because my dream was now a reality.
  • I went on to publish two more books, No Rest for the Spirit and Other Ghostly Tales and just recently, Wrath of Hades which is book 2 in my Children of Atlantis series. In some ways it's still surreal. I've got three books out. I actually outlined and wrote Wrath of Hades this year. I feel I did a better job editing this book too.
  • I taught myself a way to outline a book that works for me. One of the things I realized toward the end of 2011 was I needed to figure out a better way of outlining. The sad part is that I've taught outlining in school, but it was when I started really trying to do it with my books, I didn't realize just how much I didn't know. I spent months reading everything I could find about outlining on the Internet. I've got books about writing and outlining on the shelf in my office. I soon realized one method wasn't going to work for me. I took what I learned from the classes and online groups like Write Workshop Chat about tag-lines (thanks Candy Havens for the group and classes!!!), information about plot that I found at How to Write a Book Now and everything else that I've learned through various online classes, groups, and books and I came up with a method that works for me. It consists of writing a tag-line, then a plot, and then a chapter by chapter outline. I work out the holes in the plot before I start even start writing the story. My finished outline is detailed. If you read it, you have the complete story from start to finish without all the little details. The outline is not ridged or set in stone, but it lets me know where I need to take the characters, yet has enough flexibility that if the characters suddenly go in a better direction, everything still works--especially when characters say or do things that I really didn't plan for them to do.
  • I started this blog. I've followed various blogs over the years, but never really thought I would do it myself. What do I have to say that will be of interest to anyone? Self-doubts are a real pain! But here I am.
  • I learned how to tweet. My son is the one who set me up with Twitter. He said if I was going to write and blog, I needed to learn to use Twitter too.
  • I, as of last night, have three outlines ready for me to start writing. I've got so many story ideas in my head that some days it's a really crowded place. LOL! I decided to utilize my vacation time from school to work on the outlines, and now I've got two outlines for a new series (it'll consist of two books and a couple of novellas) waiting for me to reread and fix any holes that are there. The only person, besides me, who's read them is my husband, and his words when he finished reading them was to tell me to start writing. Oh, and don't worry. I'm working on the idea for the next two books in the Children of Atlantis series.
Of all that I've accomplished this year, the biggest thing is I allowed myself to dream and then made that dream a reality.  Are there more things I want to do? YES! And in the next blog or two, I'll talk about my goals for the new year. But until then, what did you accomplish this year?

Monday, December 24, 2012


Bright lights twinkling
Silver and gold sparkling
Christmas joys to you!

Picture courtesy of

Sunday, December 23, 2012

And tomorrow's Christmas Eve

In a lot of ways, it's hard to believe but tomorrow's Christmas Eve. A lot of people I know are either traveling today or they're going to be traveling tomorrow. If you're in the group that's traveling this year for the holidays, I hope you and your friends and family have a very safe trip. And if your traveling only involves a run to the store for last minute items you need for Christmas--be safe. The roads are filled with traffic and the stores are crowded with lots of holiday shoppers. I had to go to the grocery store earlier this morning and it was already crowded with early morning shoppers. I went early because I was hoping to avoid as much of the crowds as possible, but wasn't quite so lucky.  But at least I was able to get in and get out fairly quickly.

So, no I don't have a Sunday Work In Progress teaser. Wrath of Hades is out in both ebook and paperback. And I've already started working on outlines for several ideas.

Over the next couple of weeks, keep watch on the blog. I plan on adding a page or two that may be of interest. I've also have got to get my website updated. I may take it down temporarily until I get it changed. It's not exactly the way I want it. I'm also thinking about everything that's happened this year and what I want out of the new year.

So for the next few days, have fun, enjoy your friends and family, eat some good food and cool treats, rest, relax, watch some Christmas movies, and listen to some Christmas music. But most of all have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Ramblings

It's been a busy week, not just for me but for everyone!

My new book, Wrath of Hades (book 2 in The Children of Atlantis series) came out this week. The story picks up about four weeks after Guardian of Atlantis ends.
The back of the book says:   Being the Guardian of Atlantis doesn't make life any easier for Raven Weir.
The consequences of her actions haunt her, her unreliable powers put her and everyone around her in danger, and Hades is doing everything he can to destroy Raven's life so he can take back her soul and gain control of Atlantis.
 Wrath of Hades is available at Amazon in both ebook and paperback, at Kobo as an ebook, and at Smashwords as an ebook. Sooner or later it will be available at Barnes and Noble.
Check it out!!! Buy the book or ebook!!! (I'm not ashamed of that outright plea.)

I'm trying to improve my blog. I've already updated the Children of Atlantis page, and I've got a Children of Atlantis blog. Take a look if you haven't already. I'm planning on adding  a couple of more pages, so keep watching for them. I'm spending the next month outlining several ideas, including the next book in The Children of Atlantis series and a trilogy loosely tied into the Grimm fairy tales. In the next couple of weeks I'll be putting up some information about the projects.

With Christmas just days away, I've been thinking about my mom's cookies. My mom's been dead for a long time, but I still miss her, especially her cooking around the holidays. I've just finally come up with a cornbread dressing recipe that tastes almost like hers, but the one recipe I haven't been able to duplicate is her sugar cookies. Mom didn't have many recipes written down and this was one of them. When she made them it was a touch of this, a little bit of that, or enough of that until it feels right. If she rolled the dough out thin, the cookies were crunchy, but if rolled thick, they were soft. She made some really good cookies. When I was in elementary school and you could still bring homemade stuff for parties, some of the kids would ask me to bring her cookies. There were never any left at the end of the parties. But the recipe, unfortunately, died with her. I do miss them.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wrath of Hades ebook at Amazon

Wrath of Hades, Book 2 in the Children of Atlantis is now on sale for only $2.99 at Amazon for the Kindle.

Wrath of Hades starting to go live

Wrath of Hades is starting to go live.

In a day or so it will be available at
  • Amazon in both ebook and paperback
  • Barnes and Noble in ebook (paperback will take a little longer)
  • Kobo in ebook

Currently you can get it at Smashwords.

I'm excited!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) #7

Okay guys, this is the last Work In Progress that's going to happen this year, because the wip I'm working on will be published this week. That's write Wrath of Hades will come out this week. I'm reading through the proof right now trying to catch any last minute errors before I give the final approval and send it to publication.

After Wrath of Hades is out, I'm going to take the rest of December and January to outline several ideas, including book 3 in the Children of Atlantis series.

Here's an excerpt from one of Raven's journals.

I’ve never thought of myself as pretty.
For one, my skin is too pale. I can’t tan, but I burn really well even with sunscreen, and believe me I use a lot of the stuff. My skin is not a good combination in the Texas sun.
And then there’s my black-blue hair. It’s too—too different. I can’t color it. I’ve tried a lot over the years. It just refuses to take the color. I can’t even cut it short either, because I end up looking like a poodle that stuck its paw in an electrical outlet. And I’m so sick of people, teachers especially, accusing me of purposely putting blue dye in my hair just to cause problems.
The only thing I actually like about my features is my eyes. Well, actually the color of my eyes. The blue is so unusual. I’ve never seen anyone with eyes just like mine. Most people think I’m wearing special contacts and I just let them think that. It’s just easier than trying to explain. It’s funny how teachers have no problem with colored contacts, but go nuts over hair color. Like I said, I don’t dye my hair, but what’s wrong with having pink, green, or purple hair? I just don’t understand.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Early morning visitor

Had a visitor this morning. Smokie wasn't too happy. She was making low growl noises and the other cat took a swipe at her through the window. Good thing there was a window.
I'm not sure what Bear was doing with his little peeking number.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Thoughts

You've probably noticed I haven't written many blogs in the past couple of weeks. Definitely not my normal self.


I've been working on Wrath of Hades (Book 2 in the Children of Atlantis series). I finished the revisions and now I'm working on line edits with a new edit partner, and we're on a deadline. The book will be out before Christmas.

I don't know about you, but i can't believe it, but Christmas is almost here. Where has this year gone? The past six months have flown by for me. Publishing two books, promoting them, teaching full-time, writing another book, and all the other daily stuff I do has filled most of my hours. Many nights I've only averaged 4-5 hours of sleep. I know...not good.

Yesterday morning I didn't want to get up. I could hear the wind blowing and there was a chill in the house. I wanted to stay in bed, warm under the covers, but I couldn't. There's two weeks of school still to go before we're out for Christmas break. But a front blew in last night and the temperatures dropped into the 40s(Fahrenheit) / 10s (Celsius). This morning it was just below freezing. I like cold weather, but where I live in Texas, cold weather doesn't stay for very long. By Friday it will feel like spring again. Snow is not a normal winter occurrence for me either. I get envious of people who get snow where they live, but I probably would change my mind if I actually had to deal with it on a daily basis.

I started looking at computers over the weekend. As much as I'm dreading it, I'm going to have to replace my laptop. I've had it for about ten years,and for the most part, it's been a really good one. About a year ago, I almost lost it, but I managed to fix the problem and kept it going . But now it's having problems again. Yelp, I think my Toshiba Satellite is slowly trying to die of old age on me. So what do I want? A laptop? An ultrabook? I'm not sure.
When it comes to features, I want:
  • a back lit keyboard,
  • a good battery life,
  • ability to run the programs like Word and Photoshop,
  • around 14 inches in size, and
  • at least 3 USB ports.
I'm thinking about staying with a Toshiba. And I have to keep the price in mind and on the low side. Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Teaser #6

 From Chapter 6 of Wrath of Hades

Raven folded her arms over her chest. “What gives with the Zeus look-a-like?”
Lee shook his head. “Is she always like this?”
“She is in the room. And she wants some answers.” It really irritated Raven when people talked about her like she wasn’t even there.
Professor Snyder sighed. “You two are definitely related. I really should have gotten a cup of coffee before we started this.”
“He and I aren’t family.” Raven raised an eyebrow.
“Afraid so,” said Lee. He leaned against the door. “Your Uncle Zeus is my father.”
“Great! Absolutely! Flipping! Great!” Raven rolled her eyes. “It’s bad enough I’ve had Meritus trying to kill me, but now I’ve got you?” She looked over at the professor. “And you knew about this? I thought you were on my side.”
“I am on your side. That’s why I had Lee come here so that he could teach you self-defense. Who better to teach you than Hercules himself,” said Professor Snyder.
Raven stared at Lee for a few seconds. “You’re Hercules?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“Is this some sort of game, where you win our trust and then try to kill me to get Atlantis so that you become daddy’s favorite child?”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gift Ideas: Some things I like that are $10 or less

We're all looking for good ideas to give our friends whether they are writers or not. So here are ten things that I like.

  1. Starbucks gift card ($10) -- You can't go wrong with this. Depending on the drink and the size, the receiver of this gift can get 3 to 4 drinks.
  2. Bookstore gift card or a book off the person's Wish List -- I buy a lot of ebooks now, especially from indie authors. I've discovered some really good writers. Ten dollars can get you several ebooks, and you might just discover a new author you like. (Hint! Hint!)
  3. Pens -- There are all kinds and colors of pens to choose from. I know, I'm definitely a pen person. I love the different colors and styles, though light blue/turquoise is my favorite.
  4. Notebooks/Journals -- Notebooks and journals have come a long way from the Big Chief Tablets. Their bright and colorful and absolutely fun to use. Some writers use them for jotting down thoughts and ideas, while others write their first drafts in them.
  5. Variety packs of tea and/or coffee -- You can find a lot of good variety packs of teas and coffees in the grocery stores. Twinings is my favorite brand of teas.
  6. Coffee mug -- Ceramic mugs are the best. My favorite mug that I've been using for years is my HP and The Sorcerer's Stone mug. I'm so picky about it, when guests come over, I move it so no one will use it. If it gets broken, I want it to be my fault.
  7. Puzzles -- When I need a break to clear my head, I like to put together puzzles, 1000 count or better. If I really like the picture, I glue it together and frame it. I've got several winter scenes waiting for me.
  8. Movie theater gift certificates -- This is neat and gives the receiver a chance to get away for a couple of hours.
  9. Subway or Schlotzsky's gift card -- I'm very much a sandwich person and this makes a good quick meal (and leftover for lunch the next day) when you're busy or on deadline.
  10. Chocolates -- Okay, who doesn't like chocolates? You absolutely can't go wrong with this gift. My favorite is Ferrero Rocher Fine Hazelnut Chocolates and you can get an 18 count box under $10.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some of My Favorite Christmas movies

We all have favorite movies we like to watch over and over because we enjoy them or because the movies bring back happy memories.

Here are some of my favorite:
  • A Christmas Carol ( I like several versions but the one with Patrick Stewart is my favorite.)
  • A Christmas Story
  • The Santa Clause
  • A Miracle on 34th Street
  • The Polar Express
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • A Nightmare Before Christmas
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • You've Got Mail (I know it's not technically a Christmas movie, but it has that huge Christmas scene.)

I know the following aren't movies, but I like them anyway:
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Frosty the Snowman

What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cover Alert: Wrath of Hades

Okay, (takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly) it is...

Being the Guardian of Atlantis doesn't make life any easier for Raven Weir.

The consequences of her actions haunt her, her unreliable powers put her and everyone around her in danger, and Hades is doing everything he can to destroy Raven's life so he can take back her soul and gain control of Atlantis.

Wrath of Hades will be available around Christmas.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Teaser #5

 Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Wrath of Hades

“She’s not here.”

“Who?” Raven asked as she turned to look at the person speaking to her. The man was tall, but broad shouldered. His long dark hair was pulled back and tied with a leather cord at the nape of his neck. Raven frowned. He looked familiar.

“Meritus Myers. She’s not here. I’ve checked the building and so have several others.” He flashed a smile at her.

Raven paled. She took a couple of steps away from the man.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

He sounded genuinely concerned but Raven knew better. She knew it was his way of luring people into his trap. She wouldn’t fall for it, not like she almost did last time. “I’m onto your tricks. You may have the rest of them fooled, but not me. I know better. I know exactly who you are.”

The man frowned slightly. “I think you have me mixed up with someone else.”

Raven shook her head. “You’re not fooling me, Zeus. Or should I saw Uncle Zeus.” Raven tried to put some distance between them, but he matched every step she took.

“I’m not Zeus.”

“Right. What game are you trying to pull now?”