Silence is Golden

Silence on the blog means I’ve been busy.

How busy?

I did the math and in twenty-one months I wrote 718,447 words and edited six manuscripts between three and fifteen times (the newest one only three times so far.) My last project totaled 105,689 words in fifty-three days. The most cumbersome one finished the first draft at 132,768 words. I’ve whittled it down to 123,787 in six drafts but it still needs more tidying up.

Do I have anything to show for all this work?

The satisfaction of knowing I can now fast draft.

Larger than life characters living in my mind.

Massive amounts of notes/research/photographs/mood music.

Some amazing critiques from writing buddies.

A few rejection letters.

Several “we want to see more” notes.

And patience, lots of (anxious) patience.

If you’ve followed my journey on social media or elsewhere, you’ve probably heard that I’m working on a historical Gothic series for adults. That’s what these hundreds of thousands of words are for, that’s what has caused my housekeeping skills to lapse, and my brain to forget other things. I’ve been living, breathing, and following these characters through the Edwardian Era in the Mobile Bay area for almost two years now and I look forward to the time I can share more with everyone.

For now, you can see sneak peeks at some of the inspiration for the characters and settings on two Pinterest boards. And on Wednesdays from my Twitter account I participate in #1linewed, which shares one line from a work-in-progress based on the chosen theme for the day. So check there for tidbits from these characters. (This week, August 16, the theme is “song.”)

Here’s to hoping all this blog silence turns to many books for you to read in the months and years ahead. And, of course, extra information and news can be found when I send out a monthly-ish newsletter.

And, as a side note, check out this fabulous list by The Grateful American Foundation for Best Books for Kids. (Hint: FORTITUDE is on there!)

A New Avenue

One aspect of being a professional writer is getting out of your comfort zone. Public speaking, business calls, and adding more outreach to an already public podium (you can find me on carriedalby.com, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest…) have become part of my life.

Starting in July, you’ll also be able to hear from me directly in your inbox. I’m in the process of building a monthly newsletter, which might take the place of one blog post a month, but I’ll still post a few of those each month, too. I’ve added a nifty NEWSLETTER page on my dot com where you can go to sign-up for the mailing list, but you can also click HERE to join.

Literary News

Literary News

My literary newsletter is free, shareable, and will feature stories behind my novels, highlight what I’ve been reading (in case you don’t follow me on Goodreads), and other tidbits. Basically a shiny version of what you might find on all of my various sites, compacted into a easy to read e-mail. Sound good? Be sure to sign-up soon so you won’t miss an issue.

As always, if there is ever a topic or question you’d like me to cover, feel free to comment, send a message, etc. to let me know.

Liebster Blog Award

I was tagged/nominated by R.K. Grow, a fellow writer on Twitter @tolkien418, for a Liebster Award. Thank you!
Liebster Blog
The Liebster is awarded to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. The conditions that go with being nominated are:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you;
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator and create 11 questions for your nominees;
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserves to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen;
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

My questions from R.K. Grow are:
1. Twizzlers or Red Vines?

Neither. Licorice isn’t my favorite and black licorice is even worse.
2. Do you have a current WIP? If so, tell us about it.
FORTITUDE: Dauphin Island, Alabama teen Claire O’Farrell and her best friend, Loretta Davis, get caught in the middle of the racial tensions of the Spanish-American War camps in Tampa, Florida during the summer of 1898.
3. What is your favorite punctuation mark?
The—em—dash.
4. If you could pick the songs for the soundtrack of your novel what would they be?
The soundtrack—complete with YouTube links—for CORRODED, the novel I’m currently querying, can be found here.
I’m only about one third of the way through the first draft of FORTITUDE so it doesn’t have a soundtrack, just a “Fortitude Groove” playlist on my iPod. It has 121 songs with the majority of flavors being Irish-Celtic, country/blue grass, and soundtrack instrumentals that evoke the emotions I hope to create in the reader. For now, I listen to it on shuffle when writing, researching, or just getting in the proper mood.
5. What are three words that describe how you feel about writing?
Vocation
Joy
Anxiety
6. What is your favorite genre to read and why?
Middle Grade, especially those books geared for readers ten years and older. It can be contemporary, historical, fantasy, whatever—I’m just in love with the coming-of-age theme that is prevalent in literature for late childhood and the teen years. Part of that is because I’m still searching for where I fit in. I haven’t found my social niche, but at least now I’m comfortable with myself—usually.
7. What music do you listen to when you write, if any?
Music plays a HUGE part in my writing, but which music I listen to when writing depends on the story. I have over eight days worth of music up/down loaded into my iTunes account from a wide variety of genres. I gather music to fit the mood I wish to create when writing, then I painstakingly chose a soundtrack to mesh with the scenes of the novel as it progresses. This is something I’ve done since I began writing over twenty years ago. See question #4 for a sample.
8. What is your writing goal this year?
My immediate goal is to finish the first draft of FORTITUDE by my birthday (May 3.)
I also hope to hear at least one positive response from my queries about CORRODED in the meantime.
9. Laptop or desktop?
Laptop, but I use it on a desk/table/counter top with a full size keyboard and mouse whenever possible.
10. How do you stay motivated?
MUSIC—I’ve noticed if I don’t take time to listen to my music (as opposed to my kids’ stuff or whatever is playing around me) I lose inspiration.
BOOKS—Reading books by people whom I admire and hearing about them getting recognition for their efforts is inspiring, too.
GENEROSITY—The humility and generosity of some of the authors and musicians I respect the most is incredibly motivating. (See my posts on Fantabutitus.) I want the chance to pay-it-forward so I need to be writing successfully to do that on a higher level.
11. What is the primary focus for your blog?
Literature: both my own and other peoples.
I usually blog about reading and writing, though I often take themes from my novels as blog topics.
Seldom, I’ll post about my family or homeschooling—without it dealing with books—and even rarer do I mention current events.

So, now for awarding the next generation of Liebster Bloggers, and please don’t take offense if you have more than 200 followers—not all the blog have those stats public. If you don’t know these bloggers, take a minute and check them out.

http://www.ihaveaspergers.webs.com/
http://onconservatism.blogspot.com/
http://leeannward.com/blog/
http://www.tamratorero.blogspot.com/
http://www.meleesaswann.com/
http://joycescarbrough.blogspot.com/
http://www.prestonnorton.com/
http://stephanielawton.com/
http://www.teacakesandwhiskey.com/blog/
http://israelparker.com/
http://wyzreads.wordpress.com/

And here are your questions—looking forward to reading the answers!

1. What gets you going in the morning?
2. Morning person or night owl?
3. If you could pick one, what book would you want the world to read?
4. Do you prefer TV shows or movies for entertainment?
5. Is your blog your main writing project? If not, tell us what else is in the works.
6. What is your favorite place to catch up on news—print, online, web, etc?
7. Peter Rabbit or the White Rabbit?
8. What’s on your desktop wallpaper right now?
9. Radio or your own personal music selection?
10. Best or worst concert experience.
11. Fiction or non-fiction?

It’s Been a Month

I haven’t blogged in over a month now. I’ve thought about it a few times but life rolled on without typing.
Haven’t read any blogs in about two weeks. Will skim through and check-up on a few right now.
Hadn’t checked Twitter or FaceBook in over 48 hours until just a few minutes ago. And that was AFTER writing half a page in Chapter Twelve of Corroded.
My birthday is less than a week away and most goals will not be perfected by then. But I’m much better off than I was a year ago.
Look for an updated blog/ramble next week….

I Did It!

I survived Blog Free February, with the bonus of not using social networking sites. But to be fair, I must list my infractions.
I cheated day one, February first, only to check Laurie Halse Anderson’s Live Journal site to see if she posted about Blog Free February since she didn’t over the weekend. She’d posted, calling for her readers everywhere to decrease their internet time to increase their creative productivity. I was geared up and wrote two and a half pages that day—more than twice my regular amount.
February tenth I received a message from from our dear old Facebook stating that my BFF from elementary school was requesting friendship. I went to that acceptance page only. Then, I sent an e-mail to tell her I wouldn’t be on FB until next month.
On February eleventh a cousin tagged me in a photo on pesky FB and one of my sisters and another cousin commented on the photo. I gave in to the curiosity and looked at the photo page and was rewarded by a black and white group shot of more than a dozen cousins from a family reunion circa 1982. And yes, I did leave a comment that it looked like I was pulling out a wedgie.
February nineteenth a BFF from middle school requested my FB friendship so, once again, I logged on to the friendship request page only. (Blog Free February didn’t mean I had to ignore my BFFs.) And while I was there I went ahead and friended all the other people who had requested I add them over the last few weeks. Yes, I had ignored many other FB requests.
And the results of my month long effort. Drum roll, please…
I doubled the productivity of my most successful writing month (since I’ve kept track of my page counts last fall.) More than tripled my average writing page count per month. I actually wrote while the kids were all awake during the day and after they were all asleep several times. I’d been limiting myself to nap-time only writing for some silly reason.
I’ve listened to more music than I have in the last few years, partly due to my new iPod and iTunes account. With my complete music collection on my computer it’s easy to listen and find inspiration while working. Long live Mitch Malloy!
Plus, I increased my mileage for exercising. Since I wasn’t checking several sites first thing in the morning (and didn’t have half a dozen or more e-mails about follow-up comments on FB) I had more time to devote to my workout before the kids woke up.
I’ve decided what I can live without: TMI and information over-load.
Aside from hiding the apps on FB (which I’ve been doing for months) I’ll be hiding some people from my news feed to cut down on the time I spend catching up with family scattered across the states and close-to-my-heart-but-far-way friends. I think I concurred the need to scroll through every posting since last visit. But in case my OCD flares and I get the urge to do so, having less people on the news feed page will shorten the time doing so.
Twitter I was only checking once a day, but I could easily go a day or more without it. It’s diffidently a good networking tool so I want to keep it around.
As for blogging… I won’t try to post weekly but I’m sure I’ll blog at least once or twice a month. I’ll probably drop a couple of the blogs I’ve been following, too.
On a side note, I’ve been awake for several hours and haven’t checked FB or Twitter of any blogs. But I will as soon as I post this. 🙂

Gearing Up for Shutting Down

This past week I’ve slowed my social networking considerably. Didn’t check Twitter all weekend and only checked Facebook once a day—and I did not post an update each time. It’s been easy to slack off, but I had a busy week with appointments and errands. I was away from the house during my productive hours so I didn’t get much writing done, either. Plus, I had a last minute church lesson to prepare Friday PM-Saturday.
In total, I wrote my blog post and a little over a page on my WIP (Work in Progress). I barely squished together my seventh chapter to submit for my next critique group meeting.
News Flash: My birthday is a little over three months away. YIKES!
Since I decided to re-write my 2009 goals to be “Before I Turn Thirty-Four” goals, I really need to get focused on the personal deadline of completing my first draft, among other things.
I have goals in eight categories: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional, Social, Family, Financial, and Professional. My writing goals are “professional”, so I’m behind schedule on that. I’m halfway to reaching my physical goal—hooray for me!
Good progress on mental and emotional. Just about mastered the family goal—will need a new goal for the next year (the current one is a carry-over from the previous year). Been mediocre on the spiritual and social aspects, but I’m humble enough to admit it. And the financial front totally stinks—diffidently a carry-over for next year!
How have those of you that create goals been doing?
I’ll be taking notes of my productivity during February so I can see how it goes and will report back on the second of March.
Toodles!

You Want Me to Do What?!

My post last week sparked some interesting conversations. I had more feedback than ever before, thank you Megan for commenting so many times, including a response from Laurie Halse Anderson. LHA is one of my writing heroes—it was super generous of her to offer me advice. THANK YOU!
Besides LHA’s comment on my post (go back and read it if you haven’t) she added the ideas into her own blog http://halseanderson.livejournal.com/279838.html and is calling for a Blog Free February.
I am going to accept the “BFF” challenge—including NOT reading blogs—as well as take a hiatus from Twitter and Facebook. I’ll still use my e-mail and internet since I use both for conducting the businesses of life (critique group, financial, etc) but will do so sparingly.
It would be great if everyone I know takes this challenge so I don’t miss any news/tidbits as posted in said places. (Yeah, I know… fat chance!)
But for now, here’s the latest from my reading corner:
I’m reading The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale and laughing a lot during the evening hours. It’s an honest look at the inner workings of a religious wife/mother, with a ton of humor and fairytale-ish happenings. Charmingly deep. Deeply charming.
The daytime reading, besides scripture study, is The ABCs of Writing for Children complied by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff. The collected quotes make it perfect for stop-n-go reading while mothering the little princess, and princes, too.