Setting Writing Goals

I really haven’t been a person who sets goals. I mean I set them but the follow through is lacking.

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I love writing. I could do it everyday. Immersing myself in enchanted worlds with unique characters that spring to life from my mind is fantastic. I have six novels I have written. That’s pretty good since I started a couple of years ago. But there is a problem with those six novels…

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They aren’t finished.

I never edit or revise. I move on. Most of you know that since I talk about it a lot. So I’m trying to come up with a solution to this problem. I need to set goals. We all know goals are hard. How can we stick to them? I recently had a writer’s brunch at Writer’s Atelier where Ella Martin discussed goals. She pointed out that the wonderful author Victoria Schwab has a unique idea on how she sets up her goals. It starts with STARS and a calendar!

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Each star represents a goal. You can use any colors! Who wouldn’t want a star? So I took that idea and went with it. Here’s what my goals look like so far for February.

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I not only have writing goals but other goals as well. The Red star is for the gym, the Yellow for pages on editing, the light blue for words when writing,and the purple exercise- anything outside of the gym. Now you can see my goals on the gym aren’t so good. Gym is hard, especially waking up at 5:30 am. But the words and pages are everyday. Every time one goal is finished I get to put a star up! It’s exciting! Seeing those stars on the calendar makes me feel like I have accomplished something, because I did!

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For the first time I’m sticking with a story and finishing it. It’s a revelation that I hope will keep me on track to one day query an agent!

How do you set your goals? Do you have a process to keep them stable?

Love Tawney

The Passenger Review

I love a good mystery. And this one had a whopper in the beginning. It was slow and confusing at some parts but I had to finish it. This book left me thinking about it. Wondering about the character and the end. Which is a good thing!

passenger

Let’s take a look The Passenger by Lisa Lutz.


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  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 1, 2016)

In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.


 

Tawney’s Review:

The beginning starts off with a bang. Tayna’s husband mysteriously died, so instead of waiting for the police, she runs away. She changed everything about her from the color of her hair to the drinks and food she eats.

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She goes through so many identities that sometimes it’s hard to keep track. So many personalities and names. Tanya used past associations the help her make these new identities and is on the run, so we don’t have time to understand who they are. It’s when she meets a woman named Blue that she recognizes herself in this stranger.

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I loved Blue. She added depth and mystery to an already thrilling plot. I would have liked to have more of her in the story. Lutz does a wonderful job at bringing Tanya’s present and past together. The last part of the book kept me reading and intrigued. I wanted answers and we get a fulfilling conclusion.

There were some elements I had a hard time with. All the name changes of the protagonist and it was a bit slow in some parts and repetitive. But I was hooked halfway through when revelations were revealed. I wanted to understand Tayna or her many names of Jane, Amelia,Debra…. She was a great character. She’s determined and resourceful. But I felt we didn’t really get to know her as well as we could.

Lutz does a wonderful job at adding tense moments where the reader doesn’t know what could happen with the characters. Her description brought to life the setting, putting the reader right in the thick of it all. And the ending? It was really fulfilling. We got the answers and it left me thinking about the book. About the characters and what had happened.

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Should you read it? Yes! The Passenger is worth the read. It’s a fun, decent thriller that’s pleasantly hypnotic.

                                                                    starstarstar

                               Order your book today!

                                                                                       amazon 

Thank you to SIMON AND SCHUSTER for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review!

Look Out Wednesday: Into the Dim

I’m a huge Outlander fan.

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AWWWWW the hotness of Jamie!

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I love time travel! So the book we spotlight today fits perfectly in the time travel genre. It’s an outlander for teens! Let’s take a look at Into the Dim.


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  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 1, 2016)

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. And she’s alive, though currently trapped in the twelfth century, during the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Passing through the Dim, Hope enters a brutal medieval world of political intrigue, danger, and violence. A place where any serious interference could alter the very course of history. And when she meets a boy whose face is impossibly familiar, she must decide between her mission and her heart—both of which could leave Hope trapped in the past forever.

Pre-order your copy today!

                                                       amazon 


 Can’t wait to read this one!

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Love Tawney

 

 

Release Day Blitz: Starflight Giveaway!

We’re excited to be part of Starflight’s launch day!

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I have been a sci-fi geek since I was born! Maybe not that far, but the stars have always been fascinating to me from Star Wars to Fifth Element to Firefly.

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Melissa Landers new book STARFLIGHT takes us across the galaxy in a thrilling adventure! Today we’re excited to have Melissa take over the blog. She also has a special treat, an international giveaway!


Hey there, booklovers!

I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce the release of STARFLIGHT, the first in a brand new sci-fi series from Disney-Hyperion. I originally pitched this story to my editor as “Overboard” (one of my favorite romantic comedies) meets “Firefly” (an amazing show that was tragically cancelled after one season). STARFLIGHT follows the misadventures of Solara Brooks, a penniless felon who indentures herself to her high school nemesis, Doran Spaulding, in exchange for passage to a new world. But when Doran’s memory is temporarily erased, Solara convinces him their roles are reversed—that she’s the master and he’s the servant—and leads him onto a renegade spaceship, where intergalactic shenanigans ensue. STARFLIGHT is very different in tone from the Alienated trilogy, but the story is still filled with all the things I love: humor, heart, and adventure.

starflight 2Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but
it’s not like the law has ever been on her side.
Still, off-world tra
vel doesn’t come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school.
The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara’s heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe.
It’s been a long time since Solara has believed in anyone, and Doran is the last person she expected to trust. But when the Banshee’s dangerous enemies catch up with them, Solara and Doran must come together to protect the ship that has become their home-and the eccentric crew that feels like family

 

What do reviewers have to say?

“Get ready for blast-off! Action-packed and utterly addictive, nobody writes like Melissa Landers. A smart, satisfying romance set in a vividly detailed world, Starflight was just plain fun!” –New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman

“Teens will be bracing themselves during the swashbuckling action scenes. A great choice for fans of raw sci-fi action, reminiscent of the lawlessness presented in the television series Firefly.” –School Library Journal

“A lively tale of romance, space pirates, conspiracy, and made (as opposed to genetic) families.” –Booklist

 

If you like your sci-fi adventure served with a side of romance, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of STARFLIGHT today. It’s now available in stores and online.

Amazon * B&N * Book Depository  * IndieBound

 

To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a STARFLIGHT swag pack, complete with custom nail wraps, bookmarks, and a mini poster! The giveaway is open internationally. Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.

Best of luck, and happy reading!

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https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/08007cc346/


 

starflight 3About the Author:
Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information or just to say hello, visit Melissa’s blog.

Burning Midnight Review

Today’s book was a great surprise to me. I really enjoyed it!

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I thought the concept sounded interesting and wasn’t too sure how I would feel about it. The book had been on my nightstand for a while. I admit I wish I read it sooner! But the book turned out to be very enjoyable! Today’s book is Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh.


burning midnight

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (February 2, 2016)

Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent.

No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.

There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.


Tawney’s Review:

The spheres showed up without warning. They range from different colors (blues, greens, yellows, reds) and there are certain one’s that are rare, like the cherry red. Those who burn the spheres, taking the sphere’s power, obtain new abilities. Some can become smarter, faster, prettier. Sully collects the spheres and sells them for a cheaper price than most people. When he meets Hunter, a girl who can find any sphere, they collaborate together and find the most rare of spheres, a Gold. But this gets the attention of Alex Holliday, a billionaire who wants all spheres. He chases them from Mexico to India to obtain the rare spheres they find.

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The world Will created was very interesting. It was the modern world but with a little element of mystery. The spheres. It was a great concept that had me hooked on the first chapter. What were they? Why were they here? It had a very Indian Jones vibe with hunting for the spheres all over the world, because each sphere brings a certain price.

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The characters were diverse and fun. Sully only wanted to help his Mom out since she recently lost her job. He cared about her and his friends. He puts their needs before his. Hunter was a little hard and unreadable. I didn’t really like her at first. But you soon find out that she has no family and why she hunted these spheres. Sometimes she drove me crazy on her decisions that would affect the others. Dom was Sully’s best friend and just a fun guy to read. Mandy was a kick ass chick. They both brought comedy to a thrilling adventure, which kept the book fun.

Burning Midnight was fast pace and fun. Every page flew by and I loved the different settings that the characters found themselves in. I had thought I figured out what the spheres were but the ending surprised me. It felt a little rushed and I would have liked more detail, but I liked the turn of events. It was a creeptastic ending! Will was vivid with his discretion and I could visually see every detail he described. I had fun with this book.  It’s a standalone and those books are refreshing. I don’t have to wait for the sequel so it all tidied up in a nice way. I don’t have to wait a year or two to find out what happens next. I’m finished and satisfied. Those type of books deserve a read.

I do really want a sphere now though…..

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Should you read it! Yes! A standalone book with adventure and an unexpected ending. It’s a great sci-fi novel that was a solid read.

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Order your book today!

 amazon 

Thanks to Random House for sending a copy. In no way does this affected my opinion.

Look Out Wednesday: Girl Against the Universe

 

It’s time for our weekly post that spotlights upcoming books we can’t wait to read!

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Today’s book spotlight is a book that sounds intriguing and fun. A girl with bad luck, the boy who wants to help…it sounds sooooo cute! Let’s take a look at Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes!

 


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  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (May 17, 2016)

Maguire knows she’s bad luck. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. But then on her way out of her therapist’s office, she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star, who wants to help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away, but staying away may be harder than she thought

Pre-order your copy today!

                                                                amazon 


 

About the Author:

 

Hey, I’m Paula. I write stories about flawed characters with good hearts who sometimes make bad decisions.

I got my start writing historical novels for a book development company. Then I wrote a fluffy YA romantic comedy called THE ART OF LAINEY. After that, I wrote a dark and twisty mystery called LIARS, INC. Those two books sold to the good people at HarperTeen, and since then I’ve finished another totally different story called VICARIOUS, which sold as a duology to Tor Teen. Mixing it up keeps things interesting for me. I’ve got five books out and another five on the way. My writing has been translated into eleven different languages, which is just about the coolest thing ever.

Follow Paula on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and her blog!


 

Edit Away!

Today we’re talking about editing.

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So many writers edit in different ways. How complex does it get? We’re going in detail of what we do to edit.


Kelly:

Editing? Oh boy. This is totally an area where I am striving to improve! I truly hate rereading my MS and finding a glaring typo or a continuity error. But one of the great benefits of my current internship with Entangled Teen Senior Editor, Kate Brauning, is that she has been providing a lot of training on effective editing.

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With my current WIP, I have been pressing myself to finish without doing lots of heavy editing. When I’m finished, I plan to use the three pass editing system. In this system, the first pass is for major developmental edits and is used to assess things like story, pacing, character development, etc. The second pass ensures that the major changes have been made and starts to address line editing issues. The third pass is for detailed line edits.

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But I think it can be really hard to edit your own work. Critique partners and Beta readers are such an important part of the editing process. I am so lucky to belong to a great writing group and also to know writers like Tawney and Kristin that I can approach for feedback. I think it’s a great idea to try to find partners with different strengths. In our group, we have a writer really gifted at creating active sentences and strong clean paragraphs. We have someone who is so awesome at spotting and filling plot holes and we have a writer who is the best at crafting emotionally charged scenes and writing internal dialogue. One thing I have noticed is that the more editing I do of the work of others, the stronger I become at editing my own stuff. So forging partnerships, real give and take relationships, is of critical importance.

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Also, if you can afford the services of a professional editor, I completely recommend this. I hired an editor to read the MS that landed me an agent. While critique partners can be a huge resource, they can also be limited in the time and attention they can give to your MS, because they have their own lives and projects. A good editor will devote a significant chunk of time to your MS only. Most good editors will do a sample page edit of at least five pages to make sure the relationship is a good fit. If you’re hunting for an editor, definitely use one that will show you a sample before taking your money.

For me, I have about three weeks left on my current WIP and then I’ll be back in the editing trenches. Happy revising everyone!


Kristen:

Editing? You want me to talk about editing? Please excuse me while I go hide under my desk.

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Editing is the hardest part the writing process. By the time I’m done with my story, I don’t want to touch it. My eyes are blurred to the point where the words run together and I don’t see my mistakes. I’m blind!!!! In my mind I think it’s perfect, but of course, that’s not true. Nothing is perfect. We are human. There will be plenty of mistakes (Plenty of red marks from your editor that will make you sweat and second guess yourself).

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Once the story is over you must get feed-back. This is where critique partners come in. They’re the best resources you can have because they’re you’re fellow writers and booklovers. They won’t sugarcoat their opinions and will give you the best suggestions they have to offer. They are wonderful. I use several critique partners now. I love them and value their feedback. Another option you is a professional editor. Research your editors and find one that you feel will help your story grow and become the masterpiece you want it to be. I’ve had several professional editors- both good and bad experiences. You just have to find that perfect one.

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Lastly, learn to let your story go. You’ll have to make changes, delete sentences you thought were perfect, and sometimes eliminate a character but it’s best for the story. I cry every time I edit. It’s stressful but in the end, the story is like a caterpillar. It goes through this rough cycle but ends up becoming a beautiful butterfly. Be strong. Let your story grow. Then release it so it can fly off into a reader’s hands.


 

Tawney:

As most of you know, I don’t edit. That’s why I brought this topic up today. I just move on to a new story thinking that one will be “the one” I edit.

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Right now I’m editing my first MS! I’m starting off by going through the story to make sure the elements of the characters and the plot are there. It’s YA fantasy so I really think this will take a lot of edits to get through. I’m soaking in the advice that Kelly and Kristen have given. I’m glad to surround myself with wonderful writers who support me. I definitely think that having critique partners and beta readers is a necessity to enhance your story. They see things you will miss. It will be refreshing to get the edits back and see what I missed and how I could make my story better.

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I’m going to continue to edit and follow Kelly’s and Kristen’s advice. Sometimes I feel like I should quit on this story because it’s the worst of the worst. But the first draft always is! It may take many edits and drafts to get this YA to where I want it to be, but I’m going to dive in and take that chance that this MS is going to be great.

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I’m going to set aside some time and edit every day. I’m not going to move on to that sparkling idea that is tingling at the back of my mind. No. This has to stop. I’m going to edit away!

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How do you edit? What is your process? Tell us! We would love to know how you edit!