NaNoWriMo 2022 Update – 20 Days In

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Here’s the second of my accountability updates for this year’s NaNoWriMo…

And things between days 10 and 20 did not go so well.

Day 11 I only added 1000 words to my total, but this wasn’t really an issue at the time as I was still on course to hit the month’s goal, which influenced my next decision. Days 12 and 13 were a Saturday and Sunday, and I’ve been trying to limit my screen time over the weekend in recent months. So, I made the conscious choice not to switch on my computer, and to be fair, I do write more in the week than at the weekends anyway. I thought I would easily make up the deficit. However, I then hit a snag. Technology failed me for 3 days, so no words added then either. That means 5 days straight and not a single word written. Sigh.

I had managed to close the gap by the end of Day 20, between where I was and where I would like to be, but I was still around 4000 words short of that target.

Unlike my first update, my contemporary romance novel is no longer the sole focus of my attention. Hitting that bump in the road knocked my concentration a bit, and so some of my other ongoing writing projects got a bit of time and effort spent on them. I do hope to return to the novel before November’s out though…

Hopefully days 20 to 30 will be kind to me…we shall have to see.

Are you joining in with NaNoWriMo this year? If you are, how are you finding it?

NaNoWriMo 2022 Update – 10 Days In

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Here’s the first of my accountability updates for this year’s NaNoWriMo…

And things are going surprisingly well after 10 days. I’m where I need to be if I’m to hit 50,000 words by the end of month. Interestingly though, my focus has shifted slightly compared to what I thought I would be working on this month.

My contemporary romance novel is still the centre of my attention, and I think it will be for the whole month, rather than turning towards some of my other ongoing writing projects. (We will have to wait and see).

I’ve found that not only am I am enjoying writing this story (no surprise there! – why would I be writing it if I didn’t like it?) but I am also enjoying editing it as I go along (something I don’t often do), whilst simultaneously planning some of the later unscripted chapters. This is not my usual writing process, but I am having so much fun flitting between the different aspects of crafting this novel.

Fingers crossed, the next 10 days will be as fruitful and enjoyable as these have been. I’m guessing that will all depend on whether I stay on target to reach my goal.

Are you joining in with NaNoWriMo this year? If you are, how are you finding it?

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2021 – Update

An update on my Camp NaNoWriMo Project, accompanied by random yet soothing photos…

Not surprisingly, given my easily distracted mind at present, I haven’t written a poem and piece of flash fiction every day of July so far for my Camp NaNo challenge. I have however, already smashed my writing goal and have a combined total of 15 new poems and pieces of flash fiction.

My goal was 3100 words in total. I’m currently at 3510. Yay. My aim at the moment is to take the pressure off, to not make myself write on this project if I don’t feel like it. I have been writing other things (I’ve being planning a couple of novels and writing chapters for a handful of WIPs), and I do feel this is enough, which is new for me.

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Usually, I’m determined to push myself, to ramp up the pressure, until I have completed such-an-such a thing, for the simple reason I said I would do it, and if I didn’t, I would feel the failure considerably for not having done so.

So, am I going to have 31 poems and 31 pieces of flash fictions written by the 31st? No. But that’s ok.

Perhaps I would feel differently if I hadn’t hit the word goal? May be. But it doesn’t matter. Along with accepting that I am not going to complete this challenge in the given the timeframe, I’ve decided to turn this into a longer term project. This collection will have a combined total of 62 poems and mini stories at some point in the future, I just don’t know when.

And I’m content with that.

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I’ve been away, thinking… (an update)

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Thanks everyone for your patience. I took an unexpected blogging break at the beginning of April. My intention had been just to slow things down for a few weeks, coinciding with a hiatus over at Whispers and Echoes, but it was clear I needed to do a bit more than that. Sometimes, you need to stand back from everything and just breathe and have a think about what you’re doing and where you’re going, and what you want to be doing, all without the pressure of committing to anything. And I decided to give myself the time and space to do that.

So here we are six weeks later…Is the blogging break over? More or less.

Although I’ve not been blogging, I have been busy doing other things, many of which are related to the blog. The only one I’ll mention now is about starting a found poetry series, using classic works of literature. The first one is inspired (if that’s the right word? Perhaps utilising would be better…) by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which I’ll start posting later today and continue daily until Friday.

I’ve also been writing (of course!), and been working towards finding my historical romance novel a home. I’ll go more into this and the journey of this story another time, but in between putting together submission packages, I’ve started on the first draft of the book which follows on from it.

My favourite part of the writing process is writing the first draft. I don’t often deviate very much from my first draft once it’s committed to paper / screen, so it’s here where I find the magic happens. There’s something very exciting about seeing the story unfold for the first time and witnessing how your characters respond to what’s going on around them. What’s you’re favourite part of the writing process?

And that’s my update. I’m going to go and start my poetry series, and then I had better get working on the next 52 prompts for the Weekend Writing Prompt, as the one posted on Saturday was the last prompt of year 4! I can’t believe how long we’ve been doing this, but I hope everyone is still enjoying it! After that, I have a fair few blog visits to make, and comments to catch-up with.

Take care,

Sammi

Happy New Year, Somewhat Belatedly ;-)

Like most people on planet Earth, I’m glad to see the back of 2020. What with the pandemic, and then flooding to hit our village on Christmas Day (thankfully the floodwater stopped about three feet from our front door, but not all those who live locally, as well as in the villages both up and downstream from us, were as lucky), 2020 felt somewhat mentally exhausting.  Which is why I’ve been quiet for a while online.

It’s going to take me a while to get caught up with comments and posts and responses to the WWP, but I will get it done.  I’ve a few writing projects on the go at the moment which is where I am focusing most of my energy (the final read through of my Historical Romance Novel, the finishing touches to The Winter Ghost, and a bit of editing for The Dreamer), all of which I hope to complete this month, just in time for Wattpad’s Open Novella Contest to open again in February.  I failed at it last year due in no small part to poor time management and thinking I could commit to more projects than was actually possible (if you know me, you’ll know that is an ever-present obstacle!).

This past weekend, I rewatched The Lord of The Rings movies, which is always a joy, but specifically to celebrate J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday. I remember the first time I read the books. I was about 10, and from then on, Middle Earth has been an obsession for me, as it has been for many.  If you follow my book review blog, Sammi Loves Books, you will know last year I started reading the seven books that make up C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.  Currently, I’m on book 5, but I have a sneaky suspicion those remaining books will be set aside for a while as I pick up LOTR – I’ve already been thumbing multiple copies.  I keep telling myself it’s only because I want to look at the maps – which I do as I love maps – but I know it’s only a matter of time before I start reading…and then everything will stop until I finish it.  And I don’t mind; I find it inspiring.

Do you have any reading or writing goals for this year? Do you have a book obsession?  Indulge yourself and tell me all about it in the comments…

Wishing everyone all the best for 2021!  Stay safe and take care,

Sammi x

Season’s Greetings and All the Best for 2021

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and words of encouragement this year.  It has, we all know perfectly well, been a strange one…

But whether you’ve joined in with the Weekend Writing Prompt, talked NaNo goals with me or wished me well with my writing (yes, my historical romance novel is complete! Woohoo!), it’s been appreciated. I’ve been quieter than I would have liked these past few months, and keeping up with blogging has been a struggle, but I endeavour to do better in 2021 🙂

I’ve enjoyed connecting with new blogging friends and enriching friendships with old ones. I find so much inspiration in your blogs, writing, art, photography and creativity, and know you will continue to inspire me into 2021 and beyond.

Wishing you the brightest and most blessed Christmas and all the best for 2021! Be kind, especially to yourselves.

Stay safe and take care,

Sammi x

Checking in…a quick update

It’s been a while since I last shared an update. Here goes…

Blogging Break

a random photo…

For a little while I’ve been planning a bit of a blogging break.  Trying to keep up with blogging (on three websites), with writing and editing my WIPs (of which, I accept, I have far too many), submitting work to various places and searching out venues to send it, social media and wattpad, as well as everything life has to throw at us…well, it’s just too much, and in some instances I am failing completely (I’m looking at you Wattpad…).  Hence the need for a blogging break, to give this brain of mine a bit of a rest because it needs it.  It will also give me the time to think about which projects would benefit most from my energy.  A little bit of focus and clarity can go a long way…

This means things will be a little quiet around here for the next few weeks.  I will however, schedule the next few Weekend Writing Prompts…

The Winter Ghost

Last week I made this announcement on Wattpad / Facebook:

This is just a quick update to say that yesterday I put the finishing touches to the final edit of The Winter Ghost. Woohoo!
This little story has come a long way since I wrote the first draft as part of 2019’s ONC. The finished manuscript doesn’t look much like the version that’s posted here – it’s been restructured, extended, there are maps…With the help of some fabulous beta readers I’ve really tried to make this story the best it can be.
Since it can be hard to find a traditional publisher that accepts fantasy novellas, I’m probably going to publish it myself, and with that in mind, I’m going to unpublish the first draft posted here, but not before 13th September 2020. That should give anyone reading it the chance to finish it – or those who have yet to read it, the chance to read it from beginning to end, should they wish.

So if you want to read the original draft, you’ve only a couple of weeks to do so.  You can find the story here:

With this story now completely completed, as I mentioned in the announcement, the next logical step would be to release it out into the world.  This will be one of my main priorities for the next little while.  If I can find a traditional publisher who accepts fantasy novellas I will consider submitting it to them, but it’s highly unlikely, and so I will probably publish it myself.  There is going to be a lot of hard work in my future, but it will be exciting also, I’m sure.

Submissions

I’ve had a few pieces of work accepted recently. A couple of poems and some short fiction.  It always feels good to keep my list of publications ticking over, albeit slowly, even if it’s just for confirmation that someone somewhere thinks my work is ok and maybe…hopefully…enjoys it.  I’ll share more on these closer to the time they become available to read.

WIPs

As I’ve already said, I have more WIPs than I think any sane person should admit to…My goal at the moment is to make enough progress on some of these projects to at least give them a complete rough draft, just to see what’s looking promising and what needs a lot more work.  With others, I’m trying to be sensible and mark at least some of them as “On Hold”.  The problem I have is, as soon as I put a WIP on that list, I’m struck by a level of inspiration that I can’t ignore…Sigh…

Current projects I’m actively working on are:

  • an as yet, not ready to be revealed, historical romance
  • The Dreamer – An Andromache Jones Mystery novella
  • Oathbreaker and other books in the series / world
  • The follow-on to The Winter Ghost

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe.  What projects are you working on at the moment?  What plans do you have for the near / distant future?

A Little of This, A Little of That

I must apologise for my lack of presence around the blogosphere in recent weeks.  I’ve been a little preoccupied with offline projects.  How I envy all those who can blog daily and juggle four or five WIPS! 😉  Anyway, I thought it might be fun (for me, if not for you) to let you know what I’ve been up to…

What have I been working on?

A couple of weeks ago I finished my revisions for The Winter Ghost, my paranormal fantasy mystery novella (gosh, that’s a mouthful!).  While I’ve been letting that sit quietly for a few weeks, I’ve returned to The Sacrifice and The Summoning, a novel-in-progress that centres on my amateur witchy sleuth, Andromache Jones.  Having not worked on this in over a year, my progress is slow but steady, and when it’s time to go over The Winter Ghost again later this week, I’m determined to keep this project ticking over.  I would love to have the first draft completed in the next couple of months, if I can…but…

Beta Readers

My main priority at the moment is The Winter Ghost, and the next novella in the series.  If, when I have another read through of TWG this week, and my alpha reader thinks it’s good to go, I am hoping to ship it out to half a dozen or so beta readers to see what they think.  If you would like to volunteer as a beta reader, I would love to have you read this story, so please get in touch!

Weekend Writing Prompt

Please know, that while I’ve not been commenting on responses to the WWP, I have been reading and liking them.  So if I liked it, I read it.  Some of you may know that I suffer with anxiety, including social anxiety, and sometimes I do struggle with leaving comments, especially if there’s a lot to leave; it just gets too much for me.  I’m not deliberately ignoring anyone or think that your writing doesn’t deserve a comment, it’s just the way I am and some months are worse than others…

Submissions

It’s also been a while since I submitted any of my writing to magazines / journals / anthologies.  The last piece I submitted was a short story to an anthology back at the beginning of November!  So that’s another thing I’ve been working on.  So far, three pieces have been sent out, and one of them has been accepted!  Woohoo!  Fingers crossed for the other two.  Submitting my work is another thing that effects my anxiety, especially when there’s been a big gap between submissions.  My aim is to try and reduce that gap so that it has less of an impact on it…

Whispers and Echoes

It’s been a while since I closed submissions to Whispers and Echoes – eight months, I think.  This long a hiatus wasn’t my intention at all.  In fact, I had planned to reopen to submissions back in January.  However, I was mulling over changing the format to one that required a little less time and commitment (but no less love!) and that issue seemed to take a while to resolve itself.  But it has now, and I’m pleased to say that I am opening submissions again on the 1st June!  Yay!  And everyone reading this is being favoured with advance notice.  If you do wish to submit to the journal, head over to the Whispers and Echoes site (I’m still putting the finishing touches to it – what do you think to it?) and check out the submission guidelines – and if you want to submit early go ahead!  I’m hoping to see the inbox fill up with your work 😉

I think that covers everything, at least writing-wise.  How’s everyone’s writing going? Let me know in the comments.

If you made it through to the end, thank you so much for reading and enjoy the rest of your week!

Where I’ve Been and What I’m Doing (an update post)

Things have been a little chaotic here since the beginning of July.  It all started with my attempt to write the first draft of a short novel in a month, and ended with the (hopefully) final edit of a poetry collection – but there were many exciting things in between.  So, by way of an update post, I thought I would share a little of what I’ve been up to.

Writing a Short Novel in A Month

As always, things never quite go to plan.  My short novel has turned out to be longer than I anticipated, but it’s been so much fun writing it.  I’ve been uploading the chapters to Wattpad and there are currently 27 posted.  I must say, the response to the story has been better than I could have ever imagined and I’m ever so grateful to those who’ve been reading it.

It’s been a week since I did any work on it, but hopefully that will change in the next day or two.

If you are interested in reading it or want to learn more about it, you can find Oathbreaker here.  Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts – your wisdom could help shape the rest of the story.

 

Stratford-upon-Avon

Another trip to The Bard’s birthplace.  Although the weather was still hot, thankfully it cooled a little for our few days away, otherwise it would have been unbearable.

One of the things we did this visit was take a boat tour up the river.  I took the photo of the church in which William Shakespeare is buried, from the boat.

 

 

Banbury

We drove through Banbury on the way to Stratford-upon-Avon, and having seen how lovely the town looked from the car, decided to stop on our way home.

Of course, those of you who know your nursery rhymes will have heard of Banbury:

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes

It was interesting to learn about the history around the nursery rhyme, and although there are many theories as to her identity and the time in which she lived, no-one is certain.  As for the statue, I’m not usually a fan as they often have (to my eye) strange faces.  Not so with this one; I thought there was something absolutely captivating about her.

Shrewsbury

A day and a night in Shrewsbury, a popular choice for time away in our house.

That evening, as the sun was setting, we visited the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury, where the photo was taken.  It was fought in 1403 between King Henry IV and Harry Hotspur leading a rebel army.  For a place where so many men lost their lives in the most horrific of ways, it’s strange to think how peaceful the place was…

 

Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle

This is one of my favourite places in the world.

Situated on the top of a hill, with England to one side and Wales to the other, Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle is a beautiful, evocative place.  It doesn’t take much of an imagination to find yourself transported back 3000 years in history…

As we explored the stones, rain was coming in off the Welsh hills, giving my photo a magical, moody, intense quality.

It was hard choosing the one photo to share, but I think this one captured our time there perfectly.

 

Lilleshall Abbey and White Ladies Priory

On our return trip, we stopped off at two ruined monastic sites, Lilleshall Abbey (in the photograph) and White Ladies Priory.

We have visited these sites on a number of occasions and each time they have astounded us with their impressive remains.

The atmosphere at each site conjures images straight out of Cadfael: monks and nuns going about their daily religious life, as well as making you wonder how those in residence must have felt at the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.  If you had never been part of the outside world, I can imagine how life beyond the walls could have seemed scary.

 

Wall / Letocetum

At Wall, there are the ruins of a small Roman town, on one of the main road arteries in Roman Britain, Watling Street.

The Latin name of the town is Letocetum.

The ruins here are of a mansio, where horses could be changed and lodgings for the night found, and a bath house.

It’s an amazing place to wander around, and a great source of inspiration for my historical fiction writing.

My Poetry Book

One of the projects I’ve been working off and on is my first proper poetry book.  Now, after much tinkering, I think it’s finished…Woohoo? Well, sort of.

The problem I have with my poetry is I can never tell if it’s any good.  So, I think the next sensible step is ask if there is anyone out there interested in beta-reading it for me?  Ideally, I would like to get it in front of a poetry publisher as I’m not sure I have the necessary skills to self-publish, and to do that it would be great to hear what other people think of it.  For more information, please check this out.

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology Update

First, let me apologise for disappearing off the face of the earth.  Things just seem to be so busy at the moment and finding the time to hang out on the blog is getting increasingly difficult.  Can someone tell me why there are only 24 hours in a day when I need at least 30?!

I’m about a month behind reading WWP responses, but I endeavour to catch up and read them all.  As I’ve said before, I might not get round to commenting on them all (though I’ll try), but know that if I like it, I read it and enjoyed it 🙂

So, let’s talk about the Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology.

Thanks to everyone who has so far emailed over their contributions.  I will soon start going through the emails to see what we have and which prompts still have no responses.  I’ve extended the deadline over on the submission guidelines to 10 August 2018, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets one more final extension, probably the end of September but we will see how things go.  It might not be necessary.

All anthologies need titles, so I have come up with a name for this one.  “Outcast and Other Words” – What do you think? I also plan to design a few badges should anyone wish to use them on their blogs / social media.

I’ve secured the wordpress site, but done very little to it at the moment.  When there’s something to see over there I’ll post the link.  The aim is to have the site read like an online book, with each of the word prompts from Year 1 serving as the chapter titles…

Well, there it is.  I know things are moving slowly at the moment, for which I apologise, but, when it all comes together, I’ll know it will be great.

Thanks everyone for joining in.  Have a great weekend!