It's that time again! Time to prep for another grueling month of writing, editing, and creating! It's time for Camp NaNoWriMo, July edition!
I had an absolute blast back in April during that Camp month. I felt like I worked my fingers to the bone, but it was so worth it to complete the month and see the progress that I made. I was able to crush April with a whopping 50,081 words, and I cannot wait for July 1st to roll around so we can do it all again!
My project is already set up on the website! Take a peek at what I am going to be working on...
That's right! Its book 3 in the Thistlewood Witches series! This novel will follow Savannah, our green witch/kitchen witch as she learns about the secrets and mysteries behind her heritage, finding love with someone that she could never have imagined, and fights against those who are willing to steal the forest around her.
I am so excited to start working on this story. Savannah's story was one that slowly came to me over time, weaving its way into a perfect little romance that's just waiting to blossom. Savannah's story goes in a bit of a different direction from both Sydney and Alexis, so we shall see where the writing takes me!
One thing that I did back in April was make a word tracker to color in as I wrote. Filling in that page with all the different colors of leaves gave me a lot of joy, and this time, I wanted to do something very similar.
It took me a bit to sketch it out at first, but here's my pretty petal word tracker! Each petal represents a thousand words, and as July progresses, the flower will get fuller and fuller until it explodes with color! I am so excited to see this thing filled out at the end of the month, and it has really given me a lot of motivation for pushing forward. If I ever start bullet journaling (which I am going to try in 2022), then I'll be making word trackers like this for every month of the year! There's just something about them that inspires me to push forward and see the month through.
With my story plotted and ready to go, I am just counting down the days until July 1st hits. I want to write Savannah's story so bad, and its going to be a great treat to spend a month in her head and heart, watching her love story unfold!
Before I start today's post, I want to take a moment to say Happy Juneteenth!
Today we celebrate the end of one of the most horrible and bleak periods in US history, and to see it finally recognized nationwide makes my heart sing.
Black Lives Matter. I love you all!
The wheel of the year is turning again, and this time, the northern hemisphere is heading into the Summer Solstice!
I love this holiday, mostly because I love the warm, sunny days of summer. There is nothing in this world that energizes me like warm air, sunshine on my face, and a big, beautiful tree to sit under and enjoy the shade. Before we moved, every summer day you could find me hanging in my hammock in my backyard or swimming at my friend’s pool.
And the summer solstice has been a favorite holiday of mine for years!
Midsummer, Midsommar, or Litha is the celebration of the longest day of the year. During the summer solstice, the sun will have its longest time in the sky. In some pagan lore, this is the time when the horned god reigns supreme and the earth is at its most green and lush. The sun celebrates triumph in the sky over the darkness of night. The holiday itself is considered a fire festival, with many people burning candles and enjoying the warmth of a late night bonfire.
The summer solstice falls somewhere around June 21st, sometimes a day before or after, depending on the year, usually between the 20th and the 23rd.
For this year, me and my husband will be celebrating the best way we know how: hikes and cooking! During the day, I’ll be brewing sun tea by adding a few tea bags of choice (I’m thinking a lovely black tea with lemon peel) to a tall mason jar of water. All you have to do to make sun tea is leave the jar in a bright, sunny location and let nature do the rest! Sun tea is a slow brew that yields a delicious, rarely bitter tea, and was one of my favorite drinks as a child in Appalachia!
Once the work of the day is done, we are heading out to the forest. I love being out in nature and a holiday like Litha calls for communing in the forest. In case of rain (which is, sadly, a risk this year), we will be staying inside and watering our plants with moon water that I collected at the full moon before last (not the eclipse!). I’m thinking about making a flower chain for my bookshelf as well.
For a meal that night, we have opted to grill up some fresh salmon and fresh veggies! We’re going to be grilling asparagus, tomatoes, onions, and broccoli to go on the side of our lemon-soaked fish. And for desert, I am making a variation of honey cakes by following this recipe. I have never tried it before and I am very excited to give it a go!
And, of course, the husband will be enjoying mead while I sip on a bottle of watermelon wine while we light out candles and enjoy the rest of our quiet, wonderful evening.
Can you tell that I love Litha?
I hope that your summer solstice is as enjoyable and loving as mine is shaping up to be. Snack on some fresh fruits and veggies! Light a candle or settle in around a bonfire! Put flowers in your hair and turn your face up to the sun!
Until next time, my friends!
Have you heard of Kindle Vella?
Kindle Vella is a new program rolling out for e-readers through Amazon, featuring episodic chapters of stories which are available to read with tokens. Similar to Webtoon and Radish. Amazon made the announcement about the program back in April, sending the author world into a buzz about it.
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to dip my toes into the Vella waters and see how it goes!
Honestly, I have always wanted to write an episodic series. I have a deep love for soap operas (blame my mother and her Days of Our Lives addiction), and I remember watching the wild, wacky Passions soap opera back in the early 2000’s. I honestly tried to never miss a show because the craziest things would happen if you looked away!
So, when I heard about Kindle Vella, my mind started turning with all sorts of ideas!
Now, as of this blog post, the program is still in beta and not yet available for readers, but writers can start uploading episodes, or chapters, of their works in progress. And I have started doing that with a side project novel called 11 Rules For Dating Your Mortal Enemy. When the program goes live, readers will be able to jump right into the enemies-to-lovers romance featuring magic, political intrigue, and two warring sister cities, with peace balancing on the shoulders of Lailah and Mikhal’s betrothal.
Once the program goes live, I’ll be posting ALL kinds of links to get you to the project!
And on my off time, I’ve been noodling an idea about a magical, wacky town filled with romance, drama, intrigue, sex, heat, betrayal... You know, a true soap opera! What a dream that would be to write a real soap opera, one episode at a time! And man, that sounds like so much FUN.
I think the Vella program is going to be interesting for authors and tons of fun for readers. I have my fingers crossed that Amazon will release it for readers soon, because I cannot wait for everyone to meet Lailah and Mikhal and watch their love story unfold, one episode at a time. And if you prefer to read the story in its entirety and not wait another week for a chapter, rest assured that once the story has concluded, I will release it as a proper ebook and paperback.
Come on, Vella! I’m ready for you!
I’ve got a lot going on in my little life. I’m juggling writing books, keeping publishing deadlines, writing both a blog and a newsletter, and juggling the schedule for a family that is larger than average. And though my husband calls me “super woman,” I wouldn’t be able to do it without a little help from my friends.
And my friends are my planner, my notebooks, and my kanban board!
Let’s start with my kanban board. It is nothing fancy, just a few boxes made of washi tape on the wall behind the door of my office. I use this to track my quarterly goals, breaking them down into manageable chunks. The top box is for things I need to do. The middle box is for what I am currently working on, and the bottom box is for everything that I have finished. We’re at the end of Q2 for 2021, and there’s still a few abandoned projects on the board, but I am pleased with my progress so far! The board will be “reset” on June 30th, and I’ll take down all the sticky notes, reassess my goals, and make some new ones!
So far, the kanban board has been wonderful for me. It’s very inspiring to look at and see the progress I am making, plus I can keep track of how multiple projects are shaping up throughout the quarter. The board helps me see the overall picture, while my planner and my notebook help me break down tasks in different ways.
I always keep a notebook at my side. Whether I am jotting down story ideas, character observations, little moments of inspiration, or taking notes on books about writing, it gets cracked at least 5 times a day.
And one of my favorite things to do each month is to make a monthly goal spread.
These goals are different from the items on my kanban board. While the kanban board breaks up tasks in bite-sized chunks, my monthly goals let me be more elaborate and dreamy. I aim high with these, and when I hit one, it is cause for celebration!
Plus, it is very inspiring to look back on past months and see my progress across time. The kanban board gets dumped every three months, but my notebook is here to stay.
And speaking of things to stay, I also have my daily planner. I’ve been treating it as a bullet journal, using the planner to document daily tasks, checking them off as I work. My daily planner also works as my family scheduler, keeping track of doctor appointments, events, birthdays, and days off from school.
My daily planner is absolutely my best friend. It lives right next to my writing laptop and I am constantly working out of it. While I may check off an item on my monthly goals every few days, and it may take me a bit to move a task on the kanban board, I am constantly checking off items in my daily planner. It keeps me on track with everything, from writing and posting blog posts, to when preorders are due to Amazon, to when to push my newsletter every two weeks! I also use my daily planner to keep track of my word counts every day, which I like to add up at the end of each month.
Next year, I will be transitioning away from a daily planner to a bullet journal, but that’s a post for another day.
Without these three modes of scheduling, I would be lost. It has taken a long time to perfect each method, but they work so well together that I couldn’t go without any of them!
What planning/scheduling methods have you tried?
Until next week, friends!
Just me, a paranormal romance author with big dreams and even bigger crushes!