Editing #Nanowrimo2015 novel – Editing day #2

Scout Semmes here! Writing early this morning

After doing the #makoveryourmornings course with @crystalpaine I’ve been in the habit of getting up early and I want to get up early to finish my book! Today, I went through my manuscript and made templates for each character. They are still blank. All I have is the character’s name, but I will be able to go back and fill in the details later.

My #nanowinner2015 novel in Scrivner

My #nanowinner2015 novel in Scrivner

As you can tell in the side bar, I have separated 8 chapters so far as I’m going along and I have A LOT of characters that I need to flesh out. But I’m really LOVING this program. You can also see that the main story is in the top pane, but I can still manipulate a character template in the bottom. This has already been incredibly helpful as I go through. I’m making notes on revisions too as I go.

Day with #firstbaby

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Husband, @knightsbayne had a guy’s day today, so it was just me and my little man. We did great! He usually cries when daddy leaves, but today I guess he wanted to spend some time with mommy! Yay! Daddy is usually his absolute favorite person. But today he spent an awesome day indoors with mommy.

We did a lot of activities after I got back from the grocery store. We ate lunch and he actually said eat. : ) He’s still learning to talk and communicate his needs. He’s doing super super well!

He likes his quesadillas that mommy makes for him. It’s corn tortillas, buttered, with melted cheese between them on a skillet. Nothing super fancy or complicated. Thank goodness! Did you notice I’m referring to myself in third-person? LOL #mommyproblems

He loved coloring today! He usually doesn’t have that much of an attention span for that, but today it was rainy and cold outside, so we opened up his bag of markers and got to drawing. He kept saying, “I did it!” Super, super cute.

#firstbaby, my 3-year-old toddler, fell asleep finally on the couch after I had tried to get him to take a nap for an hour. He also pooped his diaper right before falling asleep lol. When I walked by, tiptoeing (no small feat with me being 32 weeks pregnant with #secondbaby), and smelled that, it was in that awkward deciding moment…

My thoughts: Change his diaper and risk waking him up? Or let him sleep in his own poop?

Ah, #motherhood. When you have to make the hard decisions. I did go ahead and change him and by the grace of God, he went back to sleep. I tried to sleep with him, since I had been up since 5:45am after a late date-night last night with husband @knightsbayne. I don’t know why I couldn’t fall asleep…I at least rested for about an hour.

After we woke up, we played and had dinner. We read Narnia tonight for about 30 minutes. He wandered off after listening quietly. He was super quiet, so I followed him to his bedroom…

#firstbaby put himself to bed! He was down at 8:45pm tucked himself into his covers. It is 10pm now and he only just actually fell asleep after playing with his toys for a while, but he was ready to get into bed without any fuss at all. Considering how much he has resisted going down for naps and bed time for the past few days, I was shocked. Especially since he had a late 2 1/2 hr nap today.

Grocery shopping and couponing

Sure, you might not think it’s all that glamorous. But hey, a writer has to eat! And as a writer about to quit her part-time day job, it’s even more important to score those deals baby! It took me about two hours this morning to sort through gathered coupons from the past two weeks and pull the ones I needed for the #Kroger mega sale. Many thanks to @krogerkrazy for all their hard work to gather deals for me to look up! It saves me SOOOO much money and time to have a blogger specifically for my favorite store, especially since she does the unadvertised deals which few bloggers do.

I also made a list for Albertsons to get the sale produce. Apples, onions, carrots, tomatoes, pears and bananas. I consider anything $0.99/lb and under a good price for produce.

My #kroger haul today included stocking up on diapers for #secondbaby! Ended up spending $40 on two bags and two boxes of diapers for both boys. Saved myself about 50% on diapers thanks to coupons, sale, and a Huggies catalina generating at #kroger for diapers!

We also needed the normal stuff, toilet paper (scored @ $0.21/per roll!), cereal ($0.89 per box), Tide laundry detergent pods ($1.50 each bag), bread (FREE Friday coupon, NLA), discount canned pumpkin ($0.49/can), discounted Heinz gravy ($0.69/jar.) Also got some salad making stuff: lettuce, cucumber and spinach.

Also, scored a sweet deal on our favorite pasta sauce, Classico, which is usually the more expensive brand of sauce. I stocked up 5 jars for $0.99 each! We has just used up our LAST jar of pasta sauce when my husband @knightsbayne made me some delish spaghetti the other night. Just in time!

I had already cooked for myself for the week using what we had in the pantry. See my recipe reviews HERE

But, we have plans for everything I bought. I mostly practice very loose meal planning because my son is a picky eater and my husband mostly likes to cook for himself.

The red pasta sauce will end up in spaghetti and on pizza. I use a slightly different recipe, but @crystalpaine has a recipe for breadmachine pizza dough. I roll mine out, top with cheese and pepperoni and sauce, etc. before I freeze, but I do make my own frozen pizza.

The white Alfredo sauce I plan to use for a chicken alfredo and spinach pasta for an at-home date night with @knightsbayne. Nice thing about the recipe is it is totally a freezer meal!!!! I love this recipe by The Virtuous Wife.

We’ll be eating a lot of salads because I’m trying not to gain more weight than I already have with this pregnancy. Stocked up on fruit for snacks and for #firstbaby who eats fruit at each meal.

Exercise

I am SOOOO sore from yesterday’s workout that I could barely move my legs this morning. So, I’m taking today off. I’ll get back to it tomorrow though!

Editing #Nanowrimo2015 novel – Editing day #1

Last night, I was too tired to get much of anything done on my novel. We had a very long, but productive day.

Accomplished yesterday:

  • Spending time with my husband
    • I will absolutely admit that my husband is head-and-shoulders hands-down a better cook than I am. Totally. So, my husband cooked for me last night. Yay!My husband made us an awesome tuna steak and shrimp dinner. My parents, for Christmas, gift us with food we would otherwise not be able to afford. Like TUNA STEAK. Omg. So delicious. my husband made this marinade concoction for the steaks and I ate almost the entire thing. It was amazing. Also, my husband can boil shrimp like nobody’s business. So, we had an at-home movie-and-dinner date after the little guy #firstbaby went to bed. : )Husband @knightsbayne and I are obsessed with the Amazon Prime tv show, The Man in High Castle. I love alternate realities, dystopian of course. This one is one of the best I have ever seen! Anyone else a fan? No spoilers!!!!
  • Getting food ready for the coming week
    • I have been experiencing pregnancy-induced pleurisy, so I’ve been trying some home-remedy type foods. Since, you know, I’m pregnant and can’t take ANYTHING. So, I’ve made this Indian spice tumeric chicken recipe, with a little modification. I subbed coconut milk for chicken broth and diced tomatoes for tomato sauce. I’ve never made it soupy before. I usually just omit everything but those ingredients. This time it turned out like soup. I also made it in my crockpot. Delish…
    • I also made this lentil taco recipe in my crockpot yesterday omitting just the salsa. Also amazing. Beef seems to aggravate my condition, but I LOVE burritos. So this seems to be a great alternative. I had this topped with cheese in a  tortilla yesterday. A+
    • I tried making my own pita bread in my bread machine using a recipe that wasn’t exactly FOR a bread machine. Eh…They didn’t come out with the big air pockets I was looking for, so I’ll be trying this recipe later. What’s good Indian food without pita bread? I love pita bread, so any excuse to eat it. Also, I don’t know what it looks like in your area, but in Louisiana at least, premade pita bread it SOOOOO expensive. That’s why my quest for a good recipe.
    • You probably noticed that I love my crock pot and my slow cooker…a lot.
  • Getting the house cleaned and ready for #secondbaby
    • My husband and I are doing some organizing and purging of our bedroom to make way for our #secondbaby crib. We cleaned up A LOT yesterday, so the spot for our baby’s bed no longer looks like this…
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    • Sure, it’s not finished yet, but it’s progress! We’ll moving the cabinet soon and have space for #secondbaby in our bedroom!
  • Spending time with my #firstbaby, my three-year-old
    • I try to do fun and educational games with my three-year-old. We played and went for a walk yesterday after he INSISTED that he did not need a nap. Then, promptly at 6pm, fell asleep on top of me. His bed time is at 8pm, so of course we had to keep him up and awake for 2 hours. Oy! Children, so contrary. LOL
  • Excercise!
    • I tried out this preggy exercise video. It uses yoga and pilates (which I have never tried before) and seems like a doable routine for very pregnant me. (32 weeks guys!)
  • A little writing time
    • By the end of the day, I was pretty tired and sore from my new exercise routine. But I managed to get a little work done on Scrivner in the form of playing with the character templates. Hopefully, my writing time will be more productive tomorrow!

Goals for 2016 – Becoming a Writer WAHM

By Morgan Paige Allain aka The Inkling Girl

Artwork By Morgan Paige Allain aka The Inkling Girl


Hi! This is Scout Semmes. 

The new year is only two hours away at this point. I’m so excited for the new year, 2016. This is the year of change for me and my family. We are taking a leap, my husband  especially is taking a leap of faith…in me.

This year, after #secondbaby is born in March 2016, I will be a WAHM (for those who don’t know this acronym, it’s Work at Home Mom). My husband believes in me, so much, that he wants me to write from home instead of working part-time. I’m so excited for this new stage of my life. I don’t have to start from scratch either.

In November 2015, I participated in in #Nanowrimo2015, so I’m working with 50K+ words of story. This is a lot of “something” to work with . My awesome husband also bought me Scrivner!!! I’m incredibly excited and I’m writing in the program RIGHT NOW. It’s something that I have been wanting for so long, to be a writer. And I have an opportunity to be a writer.

My writing goals for 2016:

  • Write 30 minutes per day, 4 days a week
  • Post one blog post every 2 weeks

I’ll be posting about my progress with #editing my book from #nanowrimo2015.

What are your writing goals for 2016?

NaNoWriMo Winner 2015

I won #NaNoWriMo!

I won #NaNoWriMo!

This year, after trying since 2008, I finally won #Nanowrimo. It was a long hard month, but after 7 years of failed attempts, I was able to finish. It felt so amazingly wonderful to know, even if it is absolutely terrible, there is a completed 50K book waiting for me on my Google docs.

My husband @knightsbayne was absolutely my cheerleader for this venture along with my very good friend Stuart White. It helps to much to have people to encourage you, especially when you don’t feel like going on.

I would sit at my computer some evenings (and 5am mornings) and just wonder if it would be worth it in the end. But my husband, by turns (helpful)slave driver and lover/cheerleader would always encourage me to sit my butt in the chair and get ‘er done. Even when I was a day behind. I can tell you, facing that blank page in mid November was very difficult. After skipping a day, because I was just feeling so sick, I was facing completing over 3K words in one day in order to stay on track. Word sprints did help, but mostly it was just sitting down, sometimes with a timer, and not letting my fingers stop going on the keyboard.

And Stuart White was always incredibly encouraging telling me what a great job I was doing despite obstacles like pregnancy, husband sickness, toddler’s sickness and my own weekend where I felt like I was so sick I was going to curl up and die.

Thank you also, to my wonderful local #nanowrimo participants who welcomed me to their write-in. : )

Now, it’s on to editing. Happy writing!

Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! – How to get an idea for your novel

GUEST POST:

Welcome back to, Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! By Stuart White

Stuart White

Stuart White

 More on Stuart HERE

Stuart continues his tips on how to decide…Where do I get story ideas for my novel?

CONTINUED FROM,WHAT IS YOUR NOVEL ABOUT?

YOU’RE NOW SAYING YOU DON’T HAVE A GIRAFFE-LIKE CREATURES TYPE IDEA, BUT YOU’D STILL LIKE TO WRITE A NOVEL. SO WHERE CAN YOU GET A GOOD IDEA FROM?

You can get your ideas by remembering this principle:

Learn and inwardly digest.

Most stories of any kind can be novels.  Movies or TV series start with the thought: WHAT IF?

Here are 5 famous “What if?” examples: 

* What if there were a lonely English kid who ends up in an incredible school of magic?

Answer: Harry Potter.

* What if an alien somehow got stranded on earth and was befriended by a young boy?

Answer: E.T.

* What if there was a rootless, disaffected ex-Military Police officer who went around America somehow righting wrongs?

Answer: The Jack Reacher novels.

* What if a disaffected spy and renegade Admiral decided to give himself up to the FBI and help a new young profiler solve mysterious crimes?

Answer: The Blacklist.

* What if a demented sea captain was obsessed with capturing a great white whale that had taken off his leg?

Answer: Moby Dick.

GET THE PICTURE?

And aside from ‘what if?’ – there’s history. History is littered with amazing vignettes that can yield incredible potential novels.

Come back Monday next week and Stuart will show you how to get inspired and dig up story gems from history. SIGN UP for the blog newsletter so you don’g miss a single post!

Purchase one of Stuart’s MANY works here…a FREE sample is available when you click through the link to Amazon.

 

Coffee Date with My Character

WRITER STATS (Monday):
Wakeup time: 5 am
Word count: 4036
GOAL: 25K
Playlist: Wake me up, Avicii
Last week I talked about how I was having trouble connecting with my female lead character in my novel. So, I’m going to get to know her better. Join us for coffee!
COFFEE DATE WITH MY CHARACTER:
Laina, my character from the Jason Seare Series, sits across from me, her hands around an aluminum cup of rationed coffee.
“Thanks for meeting with me, Laina. I was hoping I could get to know you a little better.”
“Not much to know, really.” She takes a sip of the coffee and closes her eyes. She moans in pleasure. “I don’t know how you got this…” She glances at the cup and lowers her voice, “…past compound security.” She licks her lips and sets down the cup. “This doesn’t even exist anymore unless you get lucky and find a stash. But that stuff so very valuable.”She sips again. “Especially for trade against things we really need.”
I smile and dig in the small knapsack I have brought. “Would you like sugar?”
Her eyes light up. “Now, that’s just magic.”
I slide a tiny brown packet of sugar under the table and our hands meet as she takes my offering. Her finger are almost too warm. But not a damp sweaty warm, a dry familiar warmth. Something you would be grateful for after coming in from snow sledding on a cold winter day still in wet gloves and boots. Warm to the bone.
“Thank you so much.” Cautiously, she opens the sugar packet under the table, pours in the sugar and stirs with the back of a fork. “I feel bad taking all this. I really have nothing I can give you.”
“But you can.” I reply.
She looks at me over the rim of her cup, question in her clear brown eyes.
I lean over the table, elbows and forearms against the rough wood of the cafeteria table. “You can tell me your story.”

Paranormal Romance Free Chapter!

NEW! Chapter on Jason Seare Series is up today! #Free #Paranormal Romance! Click the link to check out the revision and next installment.
Thank you for checking out my blog and my book! The Jason Seare Series is #Paranormal #Post-apocalyptic Romance. If Underworld and Children of Men movies had a baby, they would have my book! Not coincidentally, those are two of my favorite movies. Please feel free to comment, SHARE, and offer constructive criticism. I’ll be posting revisions and new chapters as I write.

Click HERE to see veteran author, Stuart White’s initial thoughts on my first chapter of Jason Seare Series, From Where I Lived.

WRITER STATS:

Wakeup time: 5:49 am
Word count: 3,022
GOAL: 25K
Playlist:
Crazy in Love – Fifty Shades of Grey, Sofia Karlberg

 

The Life of a Romance Writer – the dirty secrets

The Life of a Romance Writer
Wakeup time: 4:45 am
Word count: 3,022
GOAL: 25K
Playlist: Imagine Dragons, Demons
day 1
Please excuse my GIANT pink robe…so soft and fluffy. Disclaimer: Doubt if I will EVER wear anything else first thing in the morning.
The dirty details:
Struggling with writing about my female protagonist. I usually like my male protagonist better. It’s always been that way with everything I write. I think it stems from me having a hard time finding female protagonists I like when I read romance novels. There are some that I LOVE #JaneEyre, but I usually find it hard to identify with female protagonists in romance novels. I just don’t have the same all encompassing obsession with shopping for brand name shoes, applying makeup and friend drama. I know many women would be with me on this. @theinklinggirl [She’s the talented artist behind my gorgeous avatar]
J.Semmes Author avatar
It’s hard to find a female protagonist in a romance novel who likes jeans and t-shirts, keeping my kitchen sink clean and creative writing. Note: I just described what I  think of myself. Goodness knows other people would have a different description of me…
But, regardless, I made some awesome progress in my novel this morning. Well worth my ridiculously early wake-up time. I’m getting ready to post my next revision and next chapter in my novel, so stay tuned. Planning the next installment FRIDAY.
Inspiration for the day: @crystalpaine LOVING her series #makeoveryourmornings. I’m on #daytwo today and loving her gorgeous and inspiring course. Check it out! I do NOT get anything by promoting this, I’m just a fan. : )
BTW…Today is my anniversary of 4 years with my amazing husband! @knightsbayne He’s also a writer and #twitchstreamer You can check him out here. Who says opposites have to attract? Love my dude…<3
Who is your favorite female protagonist?

Jason Seare Series: About Chapter One

Hello friends! This is Scout.

I’ve posted my first portion of my novel!

It’s a Dystopian/Paranormal Romance novella. Is that a genre? Well, it is now…I’m aiming for a total of 25,000-30,000 words.

Let’s call it Chapter One. You can read it HERE.

I’ve tried to use some of Stuart White’s many awesome recommendations when it comes to writing a novel and I look forward to his comments. In this first chapter, I focused on getting and keeping the reader’s attention. Tried to use a “hook,” two actually, for the chapter.

I’ll be posting more as I write it, so stay tuned!

Please read, enjoy, share and comment below.

Three reasons I was up at 5:30am (and three reasons it’s super hard)

Today, I was up and awake by 5:30am. On a Monday morning. This may be the norm for many people, but I have struggled to get to this point. I have three reasons that it was hard for me and three reasons that I’m struggling to do it anyway. 

It’s super hard for me because:

1. I have a two year old whose sleep schedule is anything but regular. I volunteered to be the spotter for my son’s nighttime and super super early morning jaunts. I work part-time at this point in my life while my husband regularly works more than 50 hours per week. In order for my husband to get more rest, I take the crazy hours and get a nap when I can. This is the main reason I have struggled, for two years, to get into a morning routine.

2. I love to spend time with my night-owl husband. He is my best friend. He is more of a night owl. His “witching hour” for creativity (he’s also a writer) and life-in-general is somewhere between 10:30pm and 3am. I would (and have in the past) struggled to keep my eyes open at these times! My time is the morning. Going to bed on time in order to get up in the morning is difficult when there’s an “attractive nuisance” in the next room.

3. I Procrastinate. There is always something else that needs to be done. Some other reason for not sitting down to WRITE.

Three reasons I’m doing it anyway.

1. Personal Fulfillment. I love….to write. It’s been the juice that fuels my soul since I was very young. In fact, to remind myself of this, I still have the “book” I wrote when I was 7-ish years old. I’ll have to go pull out this embarrassing memento of my past and post a photo here. I remember reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck at the same age and thinking, this is what I want to do. It’s the reason I went to school for English and hung in there when I was reading page 300 THOUSAND of Madame Bovary at 2am and micro-sleeping every time I blinked my eyes. It’s the reason I took every creative writing course they offered for undergrads, submitted (and was published in) the campus creative writing publication and sighed enviously when I heard the graduate students for Creative Writing MFA talking about their latest projects. I would listen to them as we worked together at the campus writing center where I was also a tutor and got to un-gracefully knock knees under tables and bump elbows with those grad students. Not always by accident…

2. Financial Opportunity. Like anyone and everyone else in this world, I want a better life for my family. Even a small income from writing, if I could generate it, would make a big difference in when my husband will be able to retire. Which college my son will be able to attend. How much money I have to spend on fresh produce at the store. You get the picture.

3. Creating Catharsis for Others. The world that we live in demands self-control. A poker face. If you’re crying at your desk at work, you could get fired. Sure, there are so many arguments about why you might get a pass on this…but in the real world, if you show weakness, you will be eaten alive. So, shove down your emotions and get on with your day. Hold back the tears and the fear and work harder. Move faster. Focus on the job. So much gets pent up inside of us we’re on the verge of a national emotional breakdown. At least, that’s what it feels like to me. For me, I need an emotional release through art. Catharsis. Books, movies, artwork, music…they evoke emotions that draw from us what we hold back, down and inside. What corrodes us from the inside out. I have felt the sweet release of this magic emotional healing in so many stages of my life. When I was sad because my grandfather died. When I was stressed out because we were moving out of state. When I was feeling down because a friend blew me off. Through writing, I aspire to create for others a little of what I have been given.

There are so many reasons why I don’t have time to do this. But I’m going to write romance anyway.

What are you making time to do?

NOTES:

Awesome resources for just about anything you need in self-help/self-improvement and finances/business:

http://moneysavingmom.com/tag/how-to-develop-a-routine

How to Set Yourself Up for a Productive Day