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


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.


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…
    • IMG_6208.JPG
    • 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


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?



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.


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

Wakeup time: 5 am
Word count: 4036
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!
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.


Wakeup time: 5:49 am
Word count: 3,022
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
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?

Stuart White commentary on Jason Seare Series by Scout Semmes – Post #1

Welcome back guest author, Stuart White!

Stuart White

Stuart White

In this post he’s commenting on the chapter one, book one of the Jason Seare series, From Where I Lived by Scout Semmes.

J.Semmes Author avatar

Stuart, thanks so much for taking the time to comment and make suggestions!

Reader: Spoiler alert!!! If you haven’t read the chapter first, you might want to HERE.


Guest Post by Stuart White:

My first, instant and perhaps most important response when I read this was – I WANT TO KNOW MORE!

 Now that’s good, obviously. My curiosity has been aroused, my interest tickled. Who is Jason? Why has he been shot? And by whom? How did the earth get in this state? Who is this Rachel he’s desperately – if hopelessly – trying to meet. And when is this scenario set? How far in the future?

 And Laina the girl on watch? Who is she? Who are the werewolves? Where have they sprung from in this apocalyptic world? Is she (they) baddie or goodie. How is she connected, or will she be connected with Jason?

 And that’s a cute opening line, “Jason hadn’t seen the sunlight in two years.” Wow, that means something bad, and we soon learn what it is, that the sun is blacked out from a volcanic eruption and there are no alternative energy supplies because the green lobby made them redundant when they found the Mesh. I rather liked the idea of the Mesh too, a good idea and somehow very vivid and believable.

So hopefully you grabbed the reader – it grabbed this one. And, if I could, I’d go even farther. I’d re-write, or re-tweak the opening to make it even MORE dramatic. When he’s staggering along, perhaps add more graphic description, more adjectives. Make us see that stumbling, sun-starved bleeding figure in all his romantic misery.

And that song he’s singing, is that…the one from West Side Story?  “On the street where you live?” If so I like its incongruity, that a modern kid in an apocalyptic future, shot and wounded – and he’s singing a Broadway show tune.

I felt some things needed a little more clarification though. Is Laina a werewolf? I got the impression she was – or if not, was a human who got on with the werewolves. You talked about the ‘elders’ letting her play with them, and then the elders making a decision on location, like the American South rather than the Northern wastes or Canada.

I wasn’t quite sure if the elders themselves were werewolves. Now it may be that the confusion is deliberate, if not it just needs to be rejigged a little, to make it clear if Laina is human or werewolf.

 You say it had been a long time since she’d seen another “human, alive at least.”

OK, that could mean she was human too, or that she was a werewolf who simply hadn’t laid eyes on a live human for a while. And if so would she then bite them, as werewolves do?

 If you’re not saying that, and I’d understand why, it has to be phrased slightly differently to allow us to get a glimpse of WHY?

 But you leave both passages on a cliff-hanger note and that’s good.




I’d be tempted if it were me to write a little bit more for both segments. Bit more color, bit more description of this bleak awful world. But I’d add this. Any writer will look at someone else’s work and see it a different way, want to add or subtract or change.

 I think this generally speaking is a damn good opening that grabs the reader by the cojones and hopes his heart and mind will follow.

You’ve set the scene and told us concisely in a very short time that we’ve got a new apocalyptic world with no sunlight – and the world has – presumably tribes – of werewolves.

 You’ve also introduced what I presume are your two main characters (for now). One seems about to expire, the other is about to encounter – something?

That alone shows great skill. The reader knows what kind of world they’re in now. A bleak world, with a possibly dying man (I’ve no doubt he’ll be saved) and an odd feral girl if not a werewolf herself, certainly on friendly terms with werewolves.

 And you’ve done that in about – I’d estimate – six hundred words.

 Not bad. Good start!!




Jason hadn’t seen sunlight in two years. Now, he stumbled through the darkness, his bare feet catching on rubble. What was left of an Oaktown neighborhood surrounded him, shadowed by darkness and clouds of ash. Pools of dirty gray water were frozen solid and he skidded, barefoot, on them as he continued down the row of burned out shells and skeletons of structures.

Nothing remained now but the ruin that followed the clouding of the sun and subsequent collapse of civilization as it was. A civilization built upon an energy source they thought to be limitless but disappeared when the eruptions started and the volcano ash coated the air and filled the atmosphere. No sunlight could get through an atmosphere sealed tight with volcanic ash. All drilling stopped decades ago. Oil and gas had gone the way of whale oil. Drilling had been considered just as barbaric. They had been so enlightened, setting up the Mesh. The mesh had been invisible to the naked eye, but covered the entire world in a blanket of netting that gathered energy from the sun. But their enlightenment couldn’t stop the eruptions of volcanic ash.

Jason dragged himself along. Shivering and stumbling through the dark. Naked and bleeding. In a low voice, choked by ash, he sang to himself.

“On the street where you live…” He choked out what he remembered of the song. He used to have a good voice, or at least Rachel thought he did. But she had always thought the best of him. She was the only one he would ever sing to. Before he met her, then after she was gone, he would only sing when he was absolutely alone.

On the street where you live…

The song drifted in his memory. A frolic from a bygone era of top hats and musicals.  He recalled nothing but that one line of song and hiss failing consciousness repeated it in an endless loop as he limped toward his final destination, naked to the waist and shoeless. The darkness followed him, like a vulture waiting for the inevitable. He walked, oblivious of the sharp rubble he stepped over. And with each step, blood gushed from a gaping gunshot wound in his side.

Swaying as he stood, he paused and spoke, his voice cracking. He smiled at an imagined conversation and his lip split. Blood poured down his chin as he smiled and nodded. He mumbled incoherently as he held a conversation with the memory of someone who was more than likely long dead.

“Thanks for asking. Rachel’s waiting for me. Gotta go. ”

Jacon continued on, mumbling to himself, “Just going home to meet her now…just have to get there…”

His breath was coming faster as he struggled against time and blood loss. The freezing temperature and his wound dragged at him, threatening to pull him down. But he pushed on, down to the end of the neighborhood. He tried to call out, but his voice failed and he whispered,

“Almost there Rachel. Wait for me…”


The fog had settled low in the forest. Laina hardly should have called it a forest, for that was long gone. But old habits die hard.

High in her perch on the mushroom cap, surrounded by a jungle of assorted mushroom-like plants, she recalled what the forest had been like when she was only a girl, living with the werewolf pack, kept away from the outside world.

She had been allowed to go with the other children into the woods to play and to run, to have some other place to frolic besides inside the compound where the elders frowned on anything less than diligent work even from children. But here, in the woods, she recalled the feeling of freedom.

She sighed and took a quick sip  from her water canteen. It was warm, almost too warm, with the radiated heat from her body. She wondered why the Werewolf pack would have settled so far south in the United States, in the Southern heat, when their body heat was several degrees above the average human’s. They could easily have settled in the colder states or even crossed the border to Canada and lived in the wild. But who was she to question the wisdom of the elders…a smile quirked at her lip.

She had volunteered to be a “watcher.” To be in the mushrooms that had replaced the forest when the trees had died from lack of sun and long since been carted off. she recalled seeing the trucks from the human town from her camp, pulling down and carting off the trees to be burned. A last effort to supply heat and energy to the nearby town after everything else had been used up.

It had been a long time since she had last seen a human. Alive at least.

Suddenly, her senses tingled in the stillness. She breathed low and deep. Concentrating. Searching the ground below. Something was coming.


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.