Weekly Update: September 24th

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you are all having a great Sunday and that you all feel rested and ready to start your week with lots of energy. Last week was a really good week for me. I haven’t reached a “great” peak yet, but I know one is coming soon. They keep getting better and better. Overall, life is starting to settle and my creativity is starting to return, which has been wonderful. And it hasn’t just been returning in the writing area, either. I pulled out my pencils and sketchbook this week for the first time in ages.

Writing

This week, in the Writing World of Jessica Cauthon, I have finished coming up with all of the writing prompts for the 2018 edition of The Daily Prompt, and I have almost completed the outline for “The Road to Prosperity,” an urban fantasy novella idea that sprang up from looking at my horrific draft of “The Wickerman.” I have pulled “The Wickerman” from publication, and I will be re-releasing it under “The Road to Prosperity” once I have rewritten it and edited it. The Daily Prompt 2018 will show up as monthly and quarterly installments starting in late December.

I was hoping to get the first full draft of “Enchanted Melody” (formerly known as “The Siren’s Song”) down on paper this week, but that story just won’t let me spit it out on paper. After four false starts, I approached it from a screenplay perspective and worked out the issues that I was having with the dialogue. I am going to try to flesh it out from that screenplay format this coming week, but these characters are wrestling me, so I don’t know how far I will get.

I will also begin working on the monthly prefaces for The Daily Prompt 2018. I want to give my readers a bit more than just 28-31 prompts each month in their monthly editions. Maybe tips on getting into a writing habit or something along those lines.

Reading

I finished Betrayal and Blackbird Fly early in the week. If I had not been so creatively-inclined this week, I would have continued into the next selection of books on my list, but my mind was churning this week. I had to create.

This week, I am reading Blood and Justice by Rayven T. Hill and Blood Skies by Steven Montano. After taking a few minutes to read through a few reviews and the book blurbs, I think I may enjoy both of these books this week. We will see how that goes.

Art

Art! The section I have been so excited about. I started drawing again this week. Other than a few concept sketches (and I mean rough ones) of costumes and clothing for a book I am still working on, I have not drawn anything steadily in years. Like, since college. In high school and college, I would fill up sketchbooks almost as quickly as I filled up my writing notebooks. Over the years, my desire to draw waned. I was happy to pick up my pencils and sketchbook again this week, even if it was just a standard #2 pencil and a piece of computer paper. Just the process of putting the pencil to the page and letting it decide where the lines went was quite therapeutic.

I spent a lot of time while I was drawing and doodling this week thinking about all the things that I create on a daily basis that could help others similar to me (writers, artists, readers, extremely overwhelmed parents, and so on). Each week, I set up pages in my bullet journal that help me remember what I must do each day and the things I would like to do each day. Each month, I set up an entirely new notebook with template pages that I designed to meet my planning needs. I’m sure others could find them useful, especially my fellow bullet journalers.

I also have an entire notebook dedicated to the steps that I take to plan out and prepare a novel. Worksheets, small “discovery” assignments, checklists of what I need before I can even think about pressing the “publish” button, etc. Other writers may find them useful.

And last, but not least, for the snail mailers and whimsical writers, I have folders of stationary pages that I started designing back in high school to use on the notes that I passed so that my intended recipients knew who it was from and I never had to sign my name. People may be interested in some of those as well.

Now, I haven’t decided yet if I am going to simply share them here on my blog or if I am going to open an Etsy shop or something along those lines to sell some of the digital files, but it’s a project that does greatly interest me, so I will be brainstorming on that this week as well. I will keep you all updated as I make decisions.

Some digital products will need to be specifically for income purposes, though. My kids and I do have to eat.

What Are You Reading?: September 23rd

Wow! It’s hard to believe that another week has already gone by. It feels like it was just September 1st for me. It has been a busy week in my house and home office, but all of that is for tomorrow’s update. Today, we are pulling the next two books off the shelves to read for the upcoming week.

What are you reading this week?

Betrayal by Jean Rabe and Blackbird Fly by Lise McClendon flew by quickly for me. I don’t know if it is because I became immersed in the stories quickly or if I’m getting back into reading like I used to. Either way, I finished those two books much faster than I have finished any of my previous reading choices for this year.

This week, I am reading Blood and Justice by Rayven T. Hill and Blood Skies by Steven Montano. Both of these books were recommendations that I picked up because they were both having free book deals and I figured “why not?” Neither of them are really in my list of favorite genres, but I am always willing to give a book a shot. If I find that I am unable to finish them simply because they weren’t my cup of tea, then I won’t leave a review for them. No harm, no foul.

So, those are the two books on my reading list for the week. And I also just realized that I haven’t updated my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2017 in a while, so I should probably take a few minutes to get that handled. I like having my Goodreads reflecting the same information as my blog.

What are you reading this week?

Cover Reveal: The Daily Prompt 2017: October Workbook

The Daily Prompt 2017: October Workbook is coming soon!  With thirty-one brand new prompts, October 2017 is packed full of story seeds.  This monthly collection is scheduled to arrive in the Amazon storefront on September 28th.

Book Review: Sworn to Transfer

Sworn to Transfer by Terah Edun

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I read through this entire series this week, so I will be reviewing this book for it’s own merits and then comparing it to the first novel in the series.

The story was much better this time for me. I was drawn into it, and I was able to overlook most of the writing errors as long as they were not so glaringly bad that I felt the need to pull my hair out. It still needed a lot of editing work, and I found a few scenes that felt unnecessary to me. I read through them several times to see if I missed something, but I could never find anything that those scenes added to the story other than word count.

I learned a bit more about the characters in this novel, and they began to take more shape as real people, but, at the same time, they kept contradicting themselves (both in this novel and from things they did in the first novel). There were several instances where Ciardis did something or put herself in a situation that a real person with her same attributes and characteristics would have never done. Acting out of character, so to speak.

The story is there, though, and it shows promise. It was a bit of a tough read if you notice every grammar issue or could not find the author’s writing rhythm, but the story can and will entertain you if you can look past those major issues.

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Weekly Update: September 17th

 

Good morning! I hope that everyone has had a great week. I’m here, once again, checking in with all of you to update you on what I have been doing all week.

This week was mostly about organizing, and though I am still in the midst of this project, I have made a lot of progress with it.

Writing

A small amount of writing was accomplished this week. All of it was barely more than flash fiction—500-1000 word scenes or glimpses into a character. I don’t know what I am going to do with them yet, but I have filed them away for later use.

The biggest thing I have been doing this week is organizing my writing. I’m bad about keeping my stuff together. I have notes in notebooks, notes in Word documents, notes in folders, notes on scrap pieces of paper that are crammed under the edge of my CPU. So, the first part of this week was getting all the papers and notebooks all in one place—the folders— and sorted by project. And the latter part of the week was spent getting all the digital notes sorted out in folders by project. I will merge the paper notes and the digital notes together when I start working on a particular project. I really don’t want to spend the next week or two typing all those scraps of paper in.

This week, I am planning on drafting out The Siren’s Song (finally!), and I intend to do some world building on a novella that I have in the works. I’m giving one of my previously-published short stories a full makeover and re-release as a novella. I loved The Wickerman when I wrote it, but I look at it now and I see the massive plot holes, the lack of description, and the rushed ending. So I pulled it from Amazon, and I am going to rewrite it, recreate the cover, and release it as the debut novella for Caroline Cauthon, my urban fantasy pen name.

Business

This week saw the completion of my home office. It is all set up, the desk is mostly uncluttered (a lot of partially finished projects that I want to get done before I start anything else), and it is set up in such a way that when I turn on my desk lamp, the light doesn’t travel past the work area, so it won’t bother the kids if I keep it on until midnight or turn it on at 3 AM.

The only area that still needs work is the top of my lateral file cabinet, but that is mostly just papers that I need to file away in my personal files. I have one notebook that is more personal than business, but I use it constantly and it really doesn’t have anywhere else to go, so it’s sitting on top of the file cabinet as well.

So, that was how my last week went. With my office set up, I should be able to sit myself down and make progress on a project or two. How was your week?

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