Monday, June 18, 2018

From the Writer's Desk -- Summer's Here!



I can't believe I haven't been back here since April.  I got busy. And my computer screen decided to work intermittently, with long periods of not working. Then friends of mine bought me a round-trip ticket to Orlando for a long weekend. And...

If you miss too many days or times of doing something, it becomes infinitely easier to continue not doing it.

Time management has not been my friend the last few months. On the good side, summer is here, officially this week, and R has a job and has met new friends through the job. S/he is getting a ride home from work most nights. So, I have more time to myself.

I have been writing though. That's a good thing. I've been writing long hand -- I posted pictures on my Instagram (you can find me there as Simone.Anderson7 .)  I finally got it all transcribed this past Saturday, in thanks mostly to my writing group's write-in. But, it means that my 70K word book will be 100K words. There is no getting around it. And I'm not sure that 20K is enough to tell the rest of this story. I'll write it until ends then I plan on doing a quick revision before putting it aside for 3-4 weeks, then do a complete revision. I've been wanting this finished for months now, I really want it done by the end of this month. To do that, I have to write 1150 words a day. Completely doable. If I want it bad enough.  I'll continue to post my daily accountability pics on Instagram and will check in again next Monday on my progress.

In the meantime --

Goal:
     30/31 Writing Days
     450/465 Minutes -- 7.5/7.75 Hours
     7,500/7,750 Words (250/15 Minutes)

April's Numbers --
     20 Writing Days
     900 Minutes/15 Hours spent writing
     8,122 words written (the most so far this year)

May's Numbers--
     14 Writing Days
     315 Minutes/5.25 Hours
     2,755 Words

So - April overall was a win and May wasn't, but I made a huge amount of progress, so I'm thrilled.

So far in June, I've only written 7 days. So, there is room for improvement.

I can't wait to finish this story.  I want to submit it to my publisher this fall.

Blessings,
Simone.
 




Monday, April 16, 2018

Work-Life Balance

The best bosses I've had at the day job understand and practice a work-life Balance. Even when pursuing a dream, that work-life balance is necessary. As writers, it's easy to forget that we need to balance work - our writing and life - time with friends, family, pets. There is also the underlying guilt that accompanies that time - I should be writing or a good writer is always writing or thinking about writing.

This past weekend has been sort of a forced re-balancing. Because if you don't re-balance willingly, your mind and body will make you. One way or the other. I had every intention of writing Saturday - because I really do like seeing all of the boxes filled in. But I didn't. I stitched. I crocheted. Then I babied my arm and shoulder for the rest of the weekend. I may have partially torn something - muscle/tendon/ligament deal - in my arm. Which means repetitive motion hurts. A Lot. Sunday was spent being nice to my arm and pouting because I couldn't do any of the things I find relaxing. I did write for about 15 minutes before I went to bed last night.

I'm hopeful that this means good things ahead for me.

Blessings,
Simone.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Re-establishing My Writing Habit

It's not a routine. Not yet. Routines have set schedules and steps that are followed. But I'm firmly on the path of re-establishing my writing habit. And that is a huge deal!  I've been writing stories since I was 10.  I even wrote a letter to an editor of a publishing company, who actually wrote me back. I didn't intentionally stop writing, but I let it go by the wayside. It became less important, the thing I was willing to give up to do this or that. Because it was such a part of me, I didn't realize that I would have a difficult time writing habitually again.


I use my Bullet Journal to track my writing. After several weeks of inconsistency, I think it's starting to pay off, because now I DON'T WANT to write a 0 under minutes or miss coloring in a box. I may only write 15 minutes still, but I'm writing every day. That is important. It establishes or re-establishes a habit. That habit is what will help me attain my goal!



This is part of my monthly habit tracker. I like seeing all of the boxes colored in.It shows me that I'm doing what I feel I need to be doing.




This is part of my daily spread. Simple. Easy. Works for me.  I set up the week ahead of time. I go in daily and update my tasks and goals. At the end of the day, when I plan for the next day and fill in my logs and trackers, I fill in the number of minutes I wrote.



Yes, we went to see Black Panther yesterday. It was as good as everyone is saying it is.  I can't wait until it comes out on DVD so I can see the words I missed.

Blessings,
Simone.

Monday, April 2, 2018

From the Writer's Desk - March Wrap-up

March was an...interesting month. We'll go with interesting. I got a promotion at the day job. That brings more money in, which should lighten the financial stress enough to free my brain to do what it needs to do, which is write. But with the new job and a new boss (at the same time) means I'm doing double the work. I'm also working more hours. Which negates the whole extra money less stress part. For now.

At the end of March, technically, the middle. My birthday is on the 17th - St. Patrick's Day. That was the deadline I set to get Behind the Masque done, at least the first draft. It didn't happen. I knew at the beginning of the month it probably wasn't going to happen because of everything happening at work. But, on my birthday I decided I was going to write on my lunch period. Instead of cross-stitch. Which is relaxing, but not helping me get my book written.

My goal is always to write 15-minutes a day. I'm trying to re-establish my writing routine. Which is very hard when you've been away from it for any length of time. Writing at lunch gives 15-30 minutes to write. I write long-hand. Scribbling notes in the side and in my writing journal for things I need to take of or deal with when I go back to do revisions.

This weekend I finally transcribed my hand-written pages into typed pages. Doing some revising as I went, including adding an entire scene. It works for me. For now. Writing processes evolve over time and with need.

By The Numbers:

Goal --

15 minutes a day for 31 days (average should be 250 words per 15 minutes)
* 31 writing days
* 465 minutes or 7.75 hours
* 7,750 words

Actual:

* 7 writing days
* 285 minutes or 4.75 hours
* 3,702 words
 
I would really like to be at 1,000 words a day, which would put me at about 90,000 words for the first quarter. But, I didn't make it.

Quarterly Numbers:

Goals:
 
* 90 Writing days
* 1,350 minutes or 22.5 hours
* 22,500 words (ideally, 90,000)

Actual:

* 19 writing days
* 17 hours
* 12,065


It works. Not where I want to be, but I'm getting there.

Blessings,
Simone.



 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Hope for Pulse - Choices


This anthology is available now from MLR Press to benefit the victims and their families of the Pulse Club shooting that took place in Orlando, FL on June 12, 2016.  All proceeds go to Equality Florida.

Contributing authors include: Jacy Mills, Rose Anderson, Allison Wonderland, Megan Linden, Nina Schluntz, Victoria Zagar, Lisabet Sarai, Mark Wade, Pelaam, Lynn Townsend, Stephani Hecht, A. Sangray Black, S.A.Garcia, Neil S. Placky, Jena Wade, Simone Anderson, Xondra Day, Barry Brennessel 


Hate Will Never Win

From the ashes of tragedy, hope will survive. When faced with hate, love will survive. The constant balance of positive and negative is something that lives in all of us.

This group of authors has generously donated their time and talent to help us focus on the positive and not the negative-- endeavoring to give some strength and hope to those that remain.

My contribution is Choices 
 

Monday, March 5, 2018

From The Writer's Desk - Time to Re-FOCUS

I love these old desks  with all of the cubby-holes and drawers and spaces. I would love to have one in my house. Although, I think I might prefer a reproduction so I won't be afraid to use it. The craftmanship on these is gorgeous.

I've allowed myself to get distracted with all of the shiny and the worry and the stress from everywhere else, which is affecting my writing and most importantly, my desire to write. It's hard enough to find the energy and desire to write with the venom and hatred that seems to be showing up every where without the added distraction of hobbies or day job stress.

I did manage to write 2. 25 hours - yeah, except, it was only on 2 days, not 15 minutes a day. The idea of a lower goal like 15 minutes a day is actually to help me re-establish my writing routines. Setting time aside during the week - like an appointment didn't seem to help this time. But, I'm going to try it again. Hopefully, it'll work. Or help.

GOAL MET! I did manage 2 hours of research for Behind the Masque. Yeah! There is more research and decisions to be made though. :)

This week's goals:

* Write 15 Minutes a Day.
* Spend 2 Hours on Research for Behind the Masque.

Do you have goals? Weekly? Monthly? How do you stick to them?

Blessings,
Simone.


Friday, March 2, 2018

Midsummer's Dreaming



Blurb:
 
Hayle St. James’ refusal to continue living a lie when he is confronted by his family about being gay finds him on the back of a motorcycle riding through a forest in the middle of the night. What he finds will either make everything worthwhile or break his heart.
 
Leife O’Neill has finally found the perfect man. A man who loves him for him. Hayle is everything he could want in a partner. Too many things stand in their way. On the night that Leife wants to declare Hayle is his, reality and responsibility collide with anger and jealousy and more than one heart is on the line.
 
Stopping in the middle of the forest to make love under a full moon seemed romantic, however, Hayle and Leife quickly learn that they are not alone and not everything is as it seems. One man watches and waits for the opportunity to confront the man he loves, while another is forced to face the consequences of his actions…



Excerpt:



“Is it true?”

Hayle St. James blinked and looked across the dinner table at his father. Anger and hatred washed across his father’s normally stoic face. Hayle’s stomach bottomed out, dread weighing him down. Dread rushed through his veins as he processed his father’s question and hoped he was wrong. “Is what true?” Hayle asked, swallowing around the lump in his throat.

“Don’t play dumb with me boy!” Elliot St. James shouted, pounding his fist on the table. “You know what I’m talking about. You’re the same as the Royce’s oldest boy. An abomination!”

Fear settled in Hayle’s chest and made breathing difficult. “I’m not an abomination,” he replied, trying to keep the apprehension and pain from his voice.

“Are you one of those sex-craving deviants? An affront to God?” Elliot demanded. “Get down on your knees and swear you are not a homosexual—that the rumors I’ve heard are false.”

“Being gay isn’t wrong or evil,” Hayle answered, hedging his answer. He didn’t want to admit to his father what he’d known since practically the beginning of puberty, but hadn’t accepted himself until a couple of years ago. His father’s reaction was most of the reason
he’d never came out to his family. Why he’d never planned on coming out to his family. Why only a handful of people knew the truth about his sexuality.

“It is a sin against God and nature,” Elliot said. “Confess it and repent, or deny it, and we will forget about it.”

Hayle stared at his father then turned his attention to his mother and his younger brother and sister. How easy would it be to deny the truth? To remain hidden, to keep the love and affection he had from his family. What would it cost him? Hayle squeezed his eyes shut. His lover’s words came back to him. Never be ashamed of who you are, of who you love. Being gay isn’t evil or wrong. If anything it’s different, but not wrong. Leife O’Neill had captured his heart and had won his trust. Taking a deep breath, praying he was making the right choice, Hayle shook his head. “No.”

“No, you aren’t gay. Good then you can stay away from¾

“No, I’m not evil. I won’t confess to something that isn’t wrong.”

“You’re making no sense boy,” Elliot ground out, hatred and disgust evident.

Hayle took a deep breath and prayed for strength. “I’m gay, not evil.”

His mother gasped, his siblings broke down crying and his father’s face turned red with rage. “You¾how¾what¾” he sputtered.

“I’m gay. I’ve always been gay,” Hayle said quietly. “I’m not evil or sex-craving. I simply prefer men over women.”

“He can be fixed, can’t he?” Hayle’s ten-year-old sister Anya asked. “Can’t he, dad? You can fix him.”

“I’m not broken, Anya, I’m different,” Hayle replied.

“Don’t you speak to her! You’ll corrupt her. Turn her from the church and the family,” his father said before turning to his siblings.  “Anya, Kyle, go to your rooms. Now!” he ordered.

“God will fix you,” Kyle said with all of the belief and confidence of a twelve-year-old as the pair left the kitchen.

“You will renounce it this instance!” Elliot demanded.

“Renounce it?” Hayle asked incredulously. “This isn’t citizenship or religion. It’s biology. My beliefs haven’t changed. Nothing about me has changed. I’m still the same person I have always been.”

“You will renounce this abomination or you will get out of my house! I will not have a sin against God in my house!”

“I am not a sin. I’m a person. I’m not evil or an abomination,” Hayle exclaimed, standing. Why couldn’t his family accept him? It wasn’t like he was serial killer or child molester or did drugs or alcohol.

“Get out of my house!” Elliot St. James yelled, leaping up from his seat, the chair clattering to the floor behind him. “If you don’t straighten out and ask for forgiveness you’re no son of mine.”

“I haven’t done anything wrong,” Hayle protested.

Pain shattered his face, taking his vision out of focus. The force of the blow sent him stumbling back into the corner of the kitchen counter. Wood pierced his skin through his t-shirt. His dad stepped closer, trapping him. Blood trickled down his back as the countertop dug farther into his flesh.

“Elliot, stop!” his mother Laura screamed.

Hayle’s hand automatically covered his eye and cheekbone where his father had hit him. Hayle squeezed his eyes shut and slowly opened them. His world was crumbling around him. Hatred showed in his father’s eyes before he retreated to the living room.

“Give him a couple of hours to cool down. Pray about it, pray for God to rid you of this,” his mother said. “How could you do this to him? To me?” She looked from him to the direction his father had gone.

“To you? Do you honestly think this is a choice?” Hayle asked. “Do you think I wanted this? That I haven’t prayed to be straight? But I’m not. Nothing is going to change that. And I haven’t done anything to you. I didn’t renounce you, dad, the church, or anything else.”

“You have to leave. I can’t have him angry and hurt. And this,” she waved a hand over him “needs to remain clear of Anya and Kyle. Go see the pastor. He will know what to do,” Laura said, looking back to the living room.

“I’m not broken mom,” Hayle said quietly.

“You need to leave. This is his house.”



Midsummer's Dreaming is currently available from Resplendence Publishing.

This is a stand-alone book that is part of the As We Like It Anthology.