Category Archives: the daily grind

2011 in review and what 2012 will bring

2011 was, in most ways, probably the best year of my life so far. It’s the year that I accomplished so many of my goals and lived, ever so briefly, the very moment that I have always defined as my perfect moment. (For those who are curious, it was when I was floating on my back in a pool in Florida. I was sunning myself during our Disney World vacation, while my love– my crush since I was 13 years old– and my kids played next to me. On a trip that my writing paid for. It was the culmination of every childhood fantasy I’ve ever had. It was AMAZING.)

It’s been almost an entire year to the day that I started this crazy adventure. My goals were simple at that point; finish a novel and become an indie publisher. Mission accomplished.

My life has changed so much from where I was at this point last year. I moved across the country, I married my love, I was able to pay the bills with my writing…

It’s the ways that I haven’t changed that concern me the most. I’m still very much a terrible self starter. I work on things when they excite me and when they stop being exciting, I stop doing them. I’m easily distracted. I’m unorganized.

So that’s where I decided to start when I made my goals for 2012. This year was great, but I want to make next year even better. Some of these goals aren’t writing related, of course, but that’s ok.

1) Stick with my production schedule all year (end result should be 6 novels by the end of December)

2) Write a total of 4k words a day divided between different projects

3) Become a bout ready member of my roller derby team

4) Run the zombie 5k in March

5) Stick to a regular running routine up to and beyond that 5k

6) Write a screenplay (this one is a just for fun experiment with no expectations that it’ll go anywhere)

7) Blog regularly (I’m shooting for 3x a week)

8) Go ghost hunting

9) Host a party at my house (this one might seem lame, but I’m actually a little skittish about the idea of being responsible for something as ambitious as a real party)

10) Finish the project I’ve been thinking about (It’s secret for now as I try to figure out the details and whether or not it’s feasible at this point)

I’ve actually set up a list on Curio where I’ve broke the long term goals like my production schedule and blogging into months so I can see how I’m really doing. I should probably even go as far as weekly checks, but that’s a level of detail that I’m not really thrilled to mess with so I’ve just trusted I can hold myself accountable by the month.

Anybody else make any goals for 2012 you’d like to share?

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The most interesting job in the world

I’ve spent a lot of time this week working on the outline for my upcoming project, known at this time as F My Afterlife- although that name was chosen when I was going for a more playful tone. Things have gotten downright macabre in ghost-land during the course of plotting so I’m not sure if that title will fit anymore.

When I say “some time” I mean every day for a week and a half from 8am when I wake up to 9 or 10 o clock at night. I bought some books* on the craft that I’ve been reading while I plot, literally reading for a few minutes and then stopping to add or rewrite scenes accordingly. I’ve been learning a lot this time around. I have been making liberal use of post it notes on my wall to remind me of things like prior to the midpoint the characters are reacting, it’s only after that point that they finally start to take action. Just simple reminders, but they help me keep things on track.

I can’t imagine spending as much time doing any other job. I never thought that I’d find something to do with myself that would literally have me wanting to spend my every waking moment thinking about it. Granted, it becomes more of a grind once the planning stage is over, but there’s no part of writing that I actually hate or even dislike. Well, maybe promotion, but I’m out to find out if that step is even necessary.

What really made me consider my opinion that writing is clearly the most interesting way to earn a living ever is the nature of some of the conversations I’ve had because of it. I IM with my love most of the day, especially when something in my plotting has really caught my imagination. At that point it’s an invitation to send him an elaborate run down of the plot so far, how the characters tie together, and why this new idea is solid gold. I’m guessing that for him none of this is nearly as fascinating as I think it is, but the fact that I’m literally creating something that didn’t exist until I thought of it is heady stuff.

If you are someone who is sitting on the fence about indie publishing, I’d highly recommend you give it a try. Based on my highly scientific presentation of why writing rocks.

Unrelated, but worth reading, I found another article about the KDP Select program. I know Mark Coker isn’t unbiased, but he makes such good points. The one thing I hope will come from this is that for the 90 days that the authors who opted in are tied to Amazon exclusively, those of us who didn’t will see more sales on our books in other places.

*book list courtesy of Ecto’s awesome Amazon feature:

“Story Engineering” (Larry Brooks)

“Story Structure Architect: A Writer’s Guide to Building Dramatic Situations and Compelling Characters” (Victoria Lynn Schmidt)

“How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense” (Carolyn Wheat) (I literally bought this one out of desperation the other day when I realized my story was taking on some mystery tones)

“Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time” (Jordan Rosenfeld)

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I’m back!

Dirty feet and super hero poses in the backyard. It's pretty much everything I've always wanted for the minions.

Hi guys!

I have reliable internet connectivity again. Finally. It’s been a challenge living through my iPhone. I basically used it mostly for drive by Twitter updates and the occasional Instagram upload. As someone who’s been an internet addict for years, it was rough, I won’t lie.

The timing was pretty bad since I found out that as of August 1st I was voted an Indie Rockstar. (They’ve picked the 6 contenders for next month’s Rockstar so check those out!) I was literally so excited to find out, but I haven’t been able to do a bit of promotion to capitalize on it due to my extreme reluctance to type anything substantial on a virtual keyboard. I hate those things with a burning fiery passion, but that kind of seems like a topic to explore on another day.

You’d think that with all this non internet time I’d have accomplished something productive around the house, but nope. We’ve still got tons of boxes sitting around to be unpacked. Not to worry though, friends, they’ll be unpacked or stored by the weekend of the 28th for sure.

One of the things that’s been keeping me running around all crazy-like has been securing a venue in which to marry my love. I found a nice couple who are both ordained ministers and who host weddings in their (very pretty) backyard. They are low key and, best of all, they weren’t booked. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a 27th wedding date since they’ll be out of town, but the 28th is close enough, I think. I mean it’s really just a symbolic thing anyway since we started dating on the 27th two years ago.

The other really interesting thing to happen while I’ve been gone (besides our move, of course) is that July ended and now I can share my numbers for the whole month. Well, in the case of the good stuff it wasn’t a full month, only from the 9th on, but you know what I mean.

I didn’t keep very good track of I Wish… it was actually pretty demoralizing to watch it languish between #70k-#100k all month. So I stopped looking pretty much entirely. Looking at it now I can’t seem to find a good way to look at the totals for July, but as near as I can tell it was less than 100 copies. Owies.

I HAVE been tracking the GT stuff, of course. That’s where the money is right now so it’s a lot more interesting to me. I didn’t quite sell 500 copies (460), but I’m still really happy with that number. I’ll post a more detailed breakdown on the other blog, but we’ll just leave it at my YA stuff is definitely more of a labor of love than a hope of getting rich anytime soon.

So far this month I’ve sold 16 copies of I Wish… That’s pretty close to where I was around this point last month. I wish I’d been able to really take advantage of the rockstar promotion. It’s like finding the Golden Ticket and watch the wind blow it out of your hand and send it cartwheeling down the street. Major bummer. I’m working on a guest post for the site though so maybe that will get some new eyes pointing my way.

So upcoming in my little nest (fun trivia: there is a house in Atlanta called Wren’s Nest. Cool, right? I’m totally going to check it out soon.) you can expect a photo heavy post about my new house and neighborhood. Don’t expect totally cute décor at this point though. We tossed almost everything to get the smallest possible moving truck (and event then it was god awful trying to maneuver it with the car on the trailer behind it… my love got stuck by driving into dead end parking lots I don’t even remember how many times). We’ve gotten a lot of new furniture and dishes and whatnot, but almost nothing in terms of knick knacks and the sorts of things that make a house really adorable. And I’d know because at this point I’ve watched what feels like 36 consecutive hours of HGTV while nursing my internet withdrawal.

Another thing I’m trying to do is set up a week of Interview and an Excerpts and YA Indie Carnival to make up for the weeks I missed. 

Somewhere in the middle of all that, the wedding, frenzied unpacking/organizing so that the in laws don’t think we live in a storage unit, and general life craziness I’ve got to carve out some writing time for the sequel to I Wish… Luckily I have it more or less outlined so it’s just a matter of applying butt to chair and working on it.

That’s kind of tricky. I wrote all of book 1 upstairs in my bed while curled up under the covers. It was January and it was really cold at the time so that was actually a pretty awesome way to write. Friends, believe me when I tell you that Augusta, Georgia is most assuredly NOT cold in August. I haven’t quite found my ritual writing spot yet.

You have to be careful about that sort of thing, I think. It quickly becomes habit forming. I write all my GT stuff on my desktop because that’s where I keep all my files and cover images due to it being the computer that has Photoshop installed. I’m not sure that I’d easily be able to write any of that stuff anywhere else.

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For my non GT stuff I’m thinking I might try using the screened porch. I know it’ll be both hot and cold at different points, but I think during the spring and fall it would more than make up for it by being really awesome. I love being surrounded by the outdoors, assuming nothing can bite me  and that I’m not in direct sunlight.

The primary problem right now is that I don’t have a desk up there, but I’m hoping that some thrift store stalking might yield a nice wicker desk or maybe even a wooden one that I can use temporarily. I’d love a retro school desk. /Love!

Anyway, that’s what’s going on here these days. I’m going to try to catch up on all the balls I dropped, but I’ve still got so much work to do before I’m anywhere near where I need to be. I’m glad to be blogging again though. I never realized when I started how much I would end up enjoying the whole process, but it turns out I’m a big fan.

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I’ll be back (soon)

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We found a house in the historic Summerville area of Augusta. It’s really quite cool. We moved our stuff in last night, but we won’t move ourselves in for a couple of more days.

I’m happy to finally have a place to settle. It’s been a little crazy making to not have a clue where we were going to end up living.

Now I know we’ll move in around Monday so hopefully we’ll have working Internet within a few days of that. I’m hoping to be a real presence online again within this next week. I’ve done what I can via phone, but I’m pretty terrible at keeping up.

Anyway, lame post, I know. I hate to leave my poor little blog so neglected. Expect tons of photos and a return to regularly scheduled blog features when I get back.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. I’m off to visit my aunt and cousins. I haven’t seen them since they moved to Georgia themselves, years ago. I haven’t lived near family in ages so this is very exciting to me. Yay!

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

Just a quick post to explain my absence the last couple of days and for those to come.

Most of you are aware that I’m in the process of moving across the country to Georgia. I’m keeping super busy with that and after tomorrow the computers are getting packed so my interaction is going to be limited to my phone which is a piss poor substitute for internet bliss.

I have a pre recorded post going up tomorrow, but that’s probably going to be the last you hear from me until sometime next week. I have a guest post up at Indie Author Rockstar today.

I can still send and receive emails, they’ll just be short to reflect my hatred of phone typing. Hit me up at wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com. I will probably check twitter too, I’m not sure I can stay away for an entire week, but I’m not sure how chatty I’ll be.

Umm… I’m trying to think if there’s anything else to say, but all I can think of is loading some books onto my Kindle so I guess I’ll go do that now. Don’t forget me, guys. I’ll see you soon!

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Homemade Cherry Limeade

It’s hot where I live. Like super “I want to tear off my own skin so I don’t feel the heat” hot. Like a lot of the houses around here, we don’t have a real AC. We do what we can with a swamp cooler. I can’t really describe the mechanics of this method of cooling, other to say that it’s not as effective as central air and that if you aren’t careful, mold grows everywhere from the constant moisture in the air.

We don’t even have our swamp cooler on yet, I’d rather deal with the heat than battle mold all summer. It’s been in the high 80’s here since March and lately it’s been almost unbearable.

Yesterday I got the craving for a cherry limeade. I know a lot of places don’t know the joy of a Sonic drive in, but I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing more thirst quenching than a Route 44 cherry limeade in the summer. So I decided to see if I could mimic the same at home and possible keep myself from going broke as I drink gallons of the stuff.

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It’s a fairly simple little recipe. Does it taste much like the original? Meh, close enough. I’m just not that picky.

*Sprite

*Cherry sno-cone syrup

*Lime juice

Pour the Sprite over ice and add the cherry and lime to taste. I don’t measure anything so sorry I can’t be of more help.

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Catching up

Hey guys.

It’s been a few days without a peep from me and I was starting to get antsy. So I just thought I’d do another personal “what I’ve been up to” type of post.

Firstly, I was looking at my site stats yesterday and I checked out the search terms that bring people to my site. I’ve come to really enjoy seeing that people are looking for me or my book. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing that, to be honest. It’s incredible.

In that regard, it was business as usual, but then I saw that someone had done an… unusual search. Well, I’ll just let y’all have a look at it for yourselves.

vagina search

The herpes search, although funny, isn’t legit. Someone from #pubwrite actually did that one when I said it’s the search I would have expected given my topics of conversation on Twitter. But the search for my vagina? That’s the real deal, yo. Can you imagine? I wonder what they thought they’d find? To the best of my knowledge there are no photos on the interwebz of my lady parts.

On the other hand, my gyno did tell me that my vagina was hot once. True story. That’s why if I ever get around to writing Wren style erotica (tag line: Erotica so funny it’ll tickle your funny boner) I’m totally going to name it “My Gyno Says I’m Hot & Other Naughty Stories Gone Terribly Wrong” Copyright me, just now. If you see someone else trying to use this most awesome of titles just know I was robbed.

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I went to the mall yesterday and bought some really kitschy, yet totally awesome accessories at a dollar store. I fancied up my ponytail with that feather thing and pretended that I was British and wearing an odd little hat. The bracelet has pictures of what I assume are famous Catholic folks. I feel vaguely like I’ll probably go straight to Hell for some sort of charge of blasphemy via tacky jewelry. I also picked up something like 4 bangles. I LOVE bangle bracelets so expect to see lots of them in pictures to come from this summer.

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Yesterday I also spent a good 20 minutes taking random photos of myself while I waited on the kids to get done with speech therapy. I figure that since I so willingly embarrass myself with bad photos, you guys can humor me when I take some that I don’t hate. Smile with tongue out

But just in case you were afraid I’d somehow gotten over taking terrible pictures, fear not. I asked my love to shoot a photo or two of me in our luxurious, inflatable, above ground pool (you know, so I can show you how we published authors live the glamorous life) and I looked terrible in all of them. So I give you the one I hated the least. Again with the familiar pouting, which as far as I can tell is my pitiful, painfully self aware smirk of awkwardness. I’m throwing in the glimpse of side boob for free. I’ve never met a swimsuit top that can contain all the angles of my wily breasts. If I’m not falling out the front or the bottom, I’m oozing out the side. Incorrigible little scamps, my boobs.

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Ok now, my eyes are up here.

In news not related to my vagina or boobs, I’ve got a couple of book related things to talk about.

Firstly, I received some really great reviews on a few different blogs. Check them out, I might be biased since they are about me, but they seem like some really great quality reviews… very well thought out.

BelleBooks says- “I fell in love with this book… it sets the reader up with quite a high expectation, and it does not disappoint!”

Writing Dystopia says-  “…the book moved fairly quickly but information was revealed very slowly.  This is what made it a book that held my attention.  I was always wanting to figure out what happens next.  Some twists were good, battle scenes were great, I loved it!”

Meaghan Ward says- “I Wish… is fast paced in the good way – I couldn’t put it down once I started it, because I had to know what was going to happen to Thistle.”

As mentioned previously, Ben Langhinrichs, of the Absent Minded Muse reviewed my book live via rhyming couplets as he read.

The next thing I wanted to mention actually comes from a suggestion that Meaghan made in her review… She mentions that without being able to flip back and forth in the Kindle, it’s really hard to follow who everyone is and how they are related. That’s totally understand able since there 13 witches in the Coven that are all mentioned by name at least once. As well as a double handful of other minor characters.

Since you asked, you shall receive. In the next couple of weeks I’m going to work on buying a domain and setting up a section or two that’s fully dedicated to the worldbuilding and characters of Desire. I’m thinking a wiki will be the best way to convey all the information. The hard part will be figuring out how to reveal things about each character without spoiling anything for people who are just starting the series.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or advice about switching a wordpress.com blog to a wordpress.org situation, let me know. And if you have any input as to what you’d like to see included in a wiki about Desire, or really just in general, leave me a comment or an email (wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com) and I’ll see what I can do to make that happen. It’d be awesome to turn this into the blog that fans built.

As for the last thing, I just thought I’d give you guys an idea of what’s on my plate right now, writing-wise. As it happens, quite a lot. I bought a calendar today to help myself set some realistic deadlines and yikes!

I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but I was going to work on an adult rom-com as my second project to give myself some space from the Desire books. I love the idea, but after rereading the first manuscript 3 or 4 times in a row during edits, I was pretty sick of it.

The thing is, I’ve had enough feedback I know that the second book is what everyone is interested in reading next. Nobody has said “Gee, Wren what’s the ETA on your unrelated project?” But 20+ people have asked about the sequel to I Wish… If that’s not a case of the people telling me what they want, then I’m a really bad sign reader.

So in an effort to give my fans (I have fans! Squee!) what they want, I’ve put my rom com aside and I’m working on the sequel. I’m working really hard towards a July 15th release date. So far I’m still on track to meet that goal, so that’s awesome.

I’m also committed to a couple of anthologies to be released later this summer. One is outside of my field as I’m trying to write some erotic horror. It’s ok to laugh, I’ll just wait until you’re done.

The part I think you guys will be more interested in is the YA paranormal anthology. The details are still being negotiated so I won’t tell you any specifics about it. What I can tell you is that I’ll be joining some of the hottest indie writers in the genre and that I’m going to be writing a story about Julia Carter’s teen years that will shed some light on her actions in I Wish… It’s a project I’m really excited about, both the story and the collaboration with such talented writers.

I guess this is enough aimless rambling. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far.

Edited for stupidity:

Oh my gosh guys, I forgot to remind you that tomorrow is the last day to leave a comment and win a copy of Addison Moore’s Ethereal books. Check out her interview and weigh in!

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