Magicsmith

Looking Back

Since December marks the end of the year, I’m taking a look at the year as a whole rather than just the last month.

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2018:

  • Signed my first book deal
  • Attended my daughter’s first piano concert
  • My daughter lost her first tooth
  • My nephew was born
  • Visited Seattle for the first time
  • Reviewed 32 books

 

research

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 1: A Drop of Magic- Spent most of 2018 in revision, but has become better for it. Should be published in 2019!

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- Written in 2018, this book has already been through several iterations, and will likely go through several more before it’s ready to hit the shelves.

The Price of Tomorrow – Written, edited, beta read, and queried… but not signed. From the agent feedback I got, I’m thinking the current market just isn’t so good for a YA sci-fi book. I think I’m going to shelve this project for a little while and see how things develop outside my little bubble.

Magicsmith Book 3: Faerie Forged- Started writing Faerie Forged, but haven’t gotten very far yet. This will be my major focus for the beginning of 2019. It’s due to the publisher at the end of summer.

Other Projects: – I’ve been brainstorming / working on the pre-writing for a middle grade adventure for my daughter. I’ve taken a break from short story writing because I’ve been so busy with other projects lately, though I’d like to explore some short story ideas that have been bouncing around my head. I’ll also be teaching a short story writing class at my daughter’s school in February, so wish me luck with that! I’m hoping to get Hannah edited in 2019, and probably it will get quite the overhaul after this long hiatus.

 

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED IN 2018

I honestly have no idea… Lots and lots.

 

reviews

One of my goals for 2018 was to read and review at least 30 books. That may not seem like a huge number to some of you, but piled on top of all the reading and assessing I was doing of my own writing, it was a substantial hurdle for me. I’m happy to report, that I was able to achieve that goal. 🙂

Here are a few of my favorite reads from 2018:

And here are some great books I read on the craft of writing:

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

 

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ON THE HORIZON

On my TBR shelf:

November Recap

I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving!

In honor of the holiday, here are the TOP 10 THINGS I’M THANKFUL FOR:

  1. FAMILY
  2. HEALTH
  3. LAUGHTER
  4. BOOKS
  5. CHAINMAILLE
  6. SNUGGLES
  7. SUNNY DAYS
  8. SNOW
  9. MUSIC
  10. YUMMY FOOD

For many people, November is all about writing. NaNoWriMo anyone? But for me, it was all about editing. I did actually consider writing the first draft of Faerie Forged this month, but the scheduling worked out better if I edited book two first. Besides, while NaNoWriMo is terrific for people who need outside motivation to stay on target with their goals, I tend to work better without the added stress of someone else’s deadlines. So, I spent the entire month of November editing Courting Darkness, and I’m happy to report I got it done. 🙂

The last week of November, and these first few days of December have also been crazy full of chainmaille as I get ready for a craft fair this weekend. Hopefully I will be able to sell at least a few pieces and do a little advertising for my etsy shop. If you’re interested in my chainmaille, you can find my shop HERE.

The final piece of news for November is that my daughter lost her very first tooth! We’re super excited. Alice wrote a letter to the tooth fairy asking for a pocket knife under her pillow, and she totally got it. 🙂 Yeah, her tooth fairy rocks.

 

research

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 1: A Drop of Magic- My editor is still reviewing the last round of revisions. I should be hearing back in the next week or two.

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- November was all about editing Courting Darkness, and I’m happy to say I finished. This book finally ready to be read by people other than me!

The Price of Tomorrow – Still waiting to hear back from agents.

Magicsmith Book 3: Faerie Forged- This is where all my effort will be focused for a little while. Well… that and surviving Christmas.

 

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED THIS MONTH

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The most interesting thing I learned this month:

Human ashes must be mailed “priority express.” Postage label 139 is used to ship cremated remains domestically through the postal service.

REVIEWS

Since I spent most of every day this month reading Courting Darkness, I didn’t spend much time reading other books. As such, not a lot of reviews this month.

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

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ON THE HORIZON

Still on my TBR shelf:

 

December is already underway, and that means the holidays (and time off from school) are right around the corner. I’d like to say I’m going to get at least half of Faerie Forged written this month, but let’s be realistic. I’m going to have a 6-year-old running around the house keyed up on cookies and presents, not to mention visits to and from relatives. I’ll be happy if I get even a third of it written. 😉

See you in the new year!

October Recap

Happy Halloween!!

If you imagine writing as a journey through hills and valleys. Right now, I’m slogging along the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This month I’ve been doing a final read through on A Drop of Magic before returning it to my editor. Normally, I can read forever, slipping into a sort of reading trance, lulled by the rhythm of the words. But, reading my own book, I have to be constantly on the lookout for typos, consistency errors, etc. I can’t relax. It’s exhausting. Plus, I don’t have the “What’s gonna happen next?” that keeps people reading. I’ve read this book a hundred times. I know exactly what’s going to happen next. *sigh* All that aside, I did manage to finish my read through and get the manuscript sent off. Plus, I think the book is a lot stronger thanks to all the changes I made, both requested and impromptu.

Hermione-Alice

 

Other than that, I carved a wand and knitted a scarf so my daughter could dress up as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter for trick or treating. The robe was courtesy of her grandmother.

 

Also, our trip to the Mindbender Mansion at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for my mother’s birthday was great fun. As always, there were too many people for my tastes, but then, anyone besides me is really too many people for my tastes. The puzzles ranged from easy to nearly impossible, providing a great challenge for all levels. There were a couple of the larger attractions that we didn’t do because they were swarmed with the aforementioned people, and there was a good deal of waiting for other people to finish before being able to attempt certain puzzles, but all in all it was a good, mind-bendy, time. I would highly recommend stopping by before the exhibit closes if you are in the area.

research

 

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 1: A Drop of Magic- This book is back with the editor for the next round of review. I made considerable changes to it, hopefully making the story and characters stronger in the process. Now, it’s back to waiting. So… much… waiting…

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- I’ve started editing the next draft of Courting Darkness, mostly making necessary adjustments based on changes I made in book one.

The Price of Tomorrow – Still waiting to hear back from various agents, including the one who requested the full manuscript. I’ve also sent out a second wave of queries, which means… you guessed it… MORE WAITING!

Magicsmith Book 3: Faerie Forged- Finally ready to get back to work here. I contemplated using this project to participate in NaNoWriMo, but I’m not so good at working at somebody else’s pace. Also, you may note the spelling changed on this title. More people liked faerie than fairy for the fae, though it was close.

 

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED THIS MONTH

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The most interesting thing I learned this month:

2017 tied for Denver’s deadliest year in a decade with 56 homicides. 2018 is on pace to break that record.

REVIEWS

I finally managed to knock some books off my reading list. Not easy when most of my days were spent reading my own work.

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

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ON THE HORIZON

Currently on my TBR shelf:

 

I’m looking forward to getting back to the writing part of writing. Not that reading and revising aren’t fun, but I’m eager to get more of my books to a stage where people can actually read them. Beyond that, November heralds the beginning of the holiday season, which means food, family, and lots of distractions. Hopefully I can stay focused and get my work done while still enjoying this time of year.

September Recap

Oops, I’m a little late in posting this, but my days have just been so crazy lately! September was a good month for me from a writing perspective, and I’m feeling pretty darn good about myself. My pitch session at the RMFW writers conference was a success, resulting in a request for pages. I’ve also received a full manuscript request for The Price of Tomorrow from one of the queries I sent out at the beginning of the month. One of my short stories has passed the first round of judging in the Writers of the Future contest and is now in the semi-finalist phase. I also received revision notes for A Drop of Magic from my editor and started work on her recommendations to make my story even better.

Whew! With all this querying and editing, I haven’t gotten much of a start on my third Magicsmith book, but I should be wrapping up my revisions soon and then it’s full steam ahead!

 

research

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 1: A Drop of Magic- Yep, I had to put this one back on my current project list because I got the revision notes back from my editor and this is what I’ve spent most of the month working on.

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- This book is on hold until I finish the revisions of book one, since there are some adjustments that will carry through the series.

The Price of Tomorrow – My pitch at the RMFW conference was successful, meaning the agent requested the first twenty pages of my manuscript. Since then, I have also sent out queries to about eight different agents and one has requested the full manuscript for consideration.

Magicsmith Book 3: Fairy Forged- As with book two, I’ve put this on hold until my current tweaks to book one are finalized.

Short Stories- I don’t usually include news about my short stories in these updates, but I’m excited to report that one of my stories, titled Where Flowers Bloom in Winter, has passed the preliminary judging for the Writers of the Future contest. Yay me! That means it will be either a semi-finalist, finalist, or winner. Fingers crossed. 🙂

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED THIS MONTH

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The most interesting thing I learned this month:

If a dead body is unclaimed, either because next of kin cannot be found of refuses to take responsibility for the body, the deceased is offered first to medical schools for scientific use. If the body is unfit for such use, it will go to a subsidized funeral home or crematorium for disposal.

REVIEWS

Not a lot of reviews this month, mostly because I didn’t have a lot of time for reading between the conference, editing, querying, and the usual responsibilities of life and raising a six-year-old.

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

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ON THE HORIZON

Currently on my TBR shelf:

I’m nearly done with the revisions on A Drop of Magic, so that will be my first priority in October. After that I will have to decide between doing a round of editing on Courting Darkness or working on the first draft of Fairy Forged. I’m also eager to hear back from my various queries for The Price of Tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to a family trip to the Mind-bender Mansion exhibit at the science museum this coming weekend and, of course, Halloween at the end of the month. My daughter is going to dress up as Hermione Granger for trick-or-treating, so that should be fun. I’m thinking I might be Prof. McGonagall to match her. 😀

Until next time, cheers!

August Recap

Well, summer is coming to an end and fall is just around the corner. Alice is back in school, which means more time for me to write. Yay! Though, I have to say I’m pretty proud of my progress over summer break.

I’m also another year older, and what a year it’s been! A new nephew, my first publishing deal, the fist anniversary of my blog, and a lot of great memories. 😉 There’s plenty of exciting stuff on the horizon too, so here’s hoping for another great year! Without further adieu, here’s what I got done over the past month:

research

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- I’ve finished the second draft! Currently, my agent is looking it over to provide developmental notes, after which I will start fine-tuning.

The Price of Tomorrow – After saying this book was done… I changed my mind. Yeah, I do that. I thought of something that would strengthen one of the characters and, hopefully, make the book stronger as a whole. So, I wrote, and edited two chapters to replace some I already had, adding several hundred words to the story. Having done that, I’m now confident (again) that this manuscript is ready for querying. I intend to start by pitching it at the CO Gold writer’s conference. I need to get practice at this whole in-person talking about my book thing.

Magicsmith Book 3: (Title TBD) – I’ve started writing scenes for book three, the tentative title of which is now: Fairy Forged. What do you think? I’d love to get some feedback, so drop me a comment below. 🙂

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED THIS MONTH

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The most interesting thing I learned this month:

You can make yourself sneeze by staring at a bright light… Who knew?

REVIEWS

I started this month by reading a writing book titled GMC. It had been recommended to me previously, but hadn’t made it to the top of my reading list until Debra Dixon, the book’s author, became my editor at Bell Bridge. I figured I should read what she had to say about writing if she was going to be editing my stories. I’m happy to say, I loved her take on character creation. 🙂 Animal Dreams was recommended to me by a friend, and Steelheart was just for fun.

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

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ON THE HORIZON

Currently on my TBR shelf:

September brings the annual Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold conference. Wow, that was a mouthful! I’m excited to attend informative classes and learn as much as I can. I’m also terribly nervous because I hate being around so many people. I know most authors say they’re introverts, but as far as I can tell they all like getting together for lengthy discussions and comradery way more than I do. Just the thought of that many bodies makes me feel sick. But, I will persevere! And I’ll let you all know how it goes once it’s over and I’ve crawled back out of my hole after an appropriate period of recovery.

Courting Darkness Second Draft

Summer is drawing to a close, and with its passing I’ve moved on to the next stage of my book! I’m happy to announce I put the finishing touches on the second draft of Courting Darkness today and am moving on the the critiquing phase. This means, for the first time since its conception, my manuscript will be in the hands of readers other than myself. Hopefully I’ll get lots of great feedback so I can continue to strengthen my story as I polish it up in round 3 of the editing process.

On that note: If you are interested in critiquing this manuscript, shoot me an email. I’m always looking for good critique partners with whom to exchange work. 😉

July Recap

I can’t believe July is gone already!

My month has been a blur of hiking, camping, swimming, play dates, classes, bike rides, music, writing, reading, and editing. I joined my father for his birthday on a trip to inaugurate his new camper. It was an interesting experience. Apparently there’s a lot to know about a camper before you get it running smoothly, but everything worked out fine and a good time was had by all. I also got to catch up with some friends that, despite living an hour away, I only see about once a year. My early mornings have gotten slightly less early as my fatigue increases, but I still manage to work for an hour or two before the rest of the house wakes up. Once school starts again, we’ll *all* be waking up early.

research

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- I’m a quarter of the way through the second draft of Courting Darkness, and happy to report the editing is going smoothly. I should be able to finish the current draft before the end of August, at which point I will be looking for a critique partner to work with before the third revision.

The Price of Tomorrow – I’ve made the necessary changes to Price of Tomorrow based on beta reader feedback, including writing an all-new epilogue that I feel ties up the ending much better. I have one late comer to the beta group whose input I should hear soon. Otherwise, this book is good to go! 🙂

Magicsmith Book 3: (Title TBD) – I’ve completed the outline for book three and wrote down about a million title ideas, none of which have stuck. I think I may pick my favorites (and hopefully a few I haven’t thought of yet) and post them in a poll to see what you all think of them. Other than that, I sketched out a few scenes and have been fleshing ideas about how the conflicts in book three will carry over into the remaining books of this series. There are a few triggering events that snuck into my outline that make me really excited to see how they play out in books four and five. Yeah, I know, I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED THIS MONTH

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The most interesting thing I learned this month:

The second part of the Russian Wedding Dance on piano. Never been much of a music person, but at 35 years old I’m learning the piano in my spare time so I can help my daughter audition for a duet. Funny where life takes you sometimes.

REVIEWS

As promised, I finally finished Infected and managed to post the review. Obsidian Son had been popping up on my radar for a while, so I decided to give it a whirl. I’d been eager to read Etched in Bone ever since it came out, but I was saving it for when I was in the right mood. I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve also been reading a lot of craft books, as well as spending a lot of time reading my own work since I started editing Courting Darkness.

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

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ON THE HORIZON

Currently on my TBR shelf:

August is another busy month. Honestly, is there any other kind? We’ve got a lot to cram into the next three weeks before my daughter heads back to school, a big first-grader this year. I should have more uninterrupted time to work on my writing once she’s out of the house on a regular basis, though our evenings will still be filled with dance, music, and gymnastics classes. We’re also supposed to have some house guests this month, though we haven’t finalized plans for that visit. My birthday is at the end of August. As such, it’s often drowned out by all the other busy happenings, but I think I’ll invite my family over for a taco bar and some ice cream. I’ve earned it. 😉

June Recap

Happy 4th of July!

June has been a busy month. My little girl turned 6 years old on June 1st! We celebrated with a whole weekend of birthday parties. The second weekend was taken up with a three-day backpacking trip to the Great Sand Dune in southern Colorado. You can read all about that and see pictures here. There were dance recitals, barbecues, play dates, bike rides… Yeah, summer is definitely here. 😉

Despite all of these many distractions, I am ecstatic to report that I have FINISHED COURTING DARKNESS!!! By finished, of course, I only mean the first draft, but still. The story exists somewhere other than my head, and I’m very excited to free up the extra space for MORE STORIES!

I hope your summer is off to a great start as well.  🙂

 

research

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- Draft one is DONE! It was a lot of early mornings, but I managed to do it. *Happy dance*

The Price of Tomorrow – I got back responses from *most* of my beta readers, so it’s time to tackle a few more changes and polish it up. I’m debating whether or not I want to start querying this book while I’m so busy with my other series or not. We’ll see.

Magicsmith Book 3: (Title TBD) – I didn’t manage to work on this book in June beyond stray thoughts and daydreams, so July is going to be all about pinning down the outline. Hopefully, come August, I’ll have a solid framework for the story.

 

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED THIS MONTH

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The most interesting thing I learned this month:

It’s illegal to carry a blade longer than 3.5 inches, or any ballistic knife, in the state of Colorado. I also learned a ballistic knife is a knife where the blade can be detached and shot from the handle. Crazy!

REVIEWS

The first two books I read this month were a breeze. I finished both in a few days apiece. Then I started on Infected and, well… Let’s just say it broke the pattern. The review for that one will be out next week.

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follows my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

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ON THE HORIZON

Currently on my TBR shelf:

July brings fireworks and backyard barbecues, as well as another camping trip. I’m looking forward to taking a little breather now that the first draft of Courting Darkness is done before I jump into editing.

Courting Darkness, draft 1

It was a lot of really early mornings, but I did it. I’ve completed the first draft of Courting Darkness!

I made a list of stray thoughts and details as I wrote, things that need to be tweaked or added, and I’m going to start right in on that, but I wanted to take a moment here to jump for joy. (It’s hard to dance and shout when the rest of the house is still sleeping.)

I’m excited to get right back into it, and to continue the story in book three. Here’s hoping July is as successful as June!