New Year Goals: Big and Crazy Style

It’s that time of the year again! New Years Eve, traditionally the night of taking stock and setting resolutions.

If you’ve been by my blog for a few years, you’ll know I don’t do resolutions, though. I set goals. And on my other blog, I check up on my progress every three months to see how I did. December’s check is here.

Today, I’m also taking stock of what I did this past month as part of my Big Dreams Bloghop. Most of the goals I set also go toward my long term goal of earning $7500 royalties per month every month.

Sign up here

But first: What I did in December. Honestly, not a ton. Mainly I rested, but I did make some good progress on editing Birds vs Bastards. 

Now, here are my goals for 2014. And yes. I know that this is insanely ambitious. But the way I see it, if I get a quarter of my goals done, I will still have achieved a lot.

Reading:

Read 75 books.
Read more William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and other classics.

Writing:

Research relevant time periods and facts for various works in progress.

Finish:

Drafts:

The Countess
The Wedding
Daniel
War of Six Crowns 4
Optional: One other on my to-do list

Rewrites:

Gray
Opsies and Lysties
Twisted
Robin
Optional: One other on my To-Do List.

Edits:

Eden’s Son
Bound
Otto

Query/Submit:

War of Six Crowns 3
Birds vs Bastards
Any two of the “Edits” projects.

Publish:

War of Six Crowns: The Heir’s Choice

Blogging:

Make a point of visiting every follower and commenter on both main blogs.
Weekly posts on my War of Six Crowns Blog.

Life:

Weigh 65kg by end March.
Maintain weight for the rest of the year.
Fence.
Do yoga.
Do more exercise in general.
Eat healthily. I.E. The minimum refined carbs.
Do other arts. E.G. Paint. Needlepointing.
Get involved with people with similar interests to me.
Get back to singing regularly.

That’s it from me. Have any big goals you want to share? Please feel free to join my bloghop. Otherwise, just let me know in the comments. 

Happy New Year, awesome people! May your 2014 be filled with blessings and joy.

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And the winners are…

Hey all! I’m busy painting my guesthouse, so I’m only dropping in to let you know who won copies of The Vanished Knight. 

Without further ado, the winners are:

Brandon Ax 
and 
Laura Clipson

Congrats!
If you’ve missed out on this round, never fear. There’s always Amazon. 😉

Since the death of her parents, Callan Blair has been shunted from one foster family to another, her dangerous secret forcing the move each time. Her latest foster family quickly ships her off to an exclusive boarding school in the Cumbrian countryside. While her foster-brother James makes it his mission to get Callan expelled, a nearby ancient castle holds the secret doorway to another land…

When Callan is forced through the doorway, she finds herself in the magical continent of Tardith, where she’s shocked to learn her schoolmates Gawain and Darrion are respected soldiers in service to the king of Nordaine, one of Tardith’s realms. More than that, the two are potential heirs to the Black Knight—Nordaine’s crown prince.

But when the Black Knight fails to return from a mysterious trip, the realm teeters on the brink of war. Darrion and Gawain set out to find him, while Callan discovers there is more to her family history than she thought. The elves are claiming she is their princess.

Now with Darrion growing ever more antagonistic and her friendship with Gawain blossoming, Callan must decide whether to stay in Nordaine—where her secret grows ever more threatening—or go to the elves and uncover the truth about her family before war sets the realms afire.




‘Tis More Blessed Giveaway

Hey all! As promised, I’m giving away The Vanished Knight. Thing is, since it’s my birthday tomorrow, I’m giving away not one, but two e-copies.

To see who else is giving away books today, go here.

All you have to do to win is leave a comment with your e-mail address. I’ll announce the two winners on Monday.

For those of you who don’t know anything about The Vanished Knight: 



Since the death of her parents, Callan Blair has been shunted from one foster family to another, her dangerous secret forcing the move each time. Her latest foster family quickly ships her off to an exclusive boarding school in the Cumbrian countryside. While her foster-brother James makes it his mission to get Callan expelled, a nearby ancient castle holds the secret doorway to another land… 

When Callan is forced through the doorway, she finds herself in the magical continent of Tardith, where she’s shocked to learn her schoolmates Gawain and Darrion are respected soldiers in service to the king of Nordaine, one of Tardith’s realms. More than that, the two are potential heirs to the Black Knight—Nordaine’s crown prince. 

But when the Black Knight fails to return from a mysterious trip, the realm teeters on the brink of war. Darrion and Gawain set out to find him, while Callan discovers there is more to her family history than she thought. The elves are claiming she is their princess. 

Now with Darrion growing ever more antagonistic and her friendship with Gawain blossoming, Callan must decide whether to stay in Nordaine—where her secret grows ever more threatening—or go to the elves and uncover the truth about her family before war sets the realms afire.


Can’t wait for the prize draw? You can get The Vanished Knight at these following resellers: 

50 States of Pray: South Africa

Lord God, Father,

Tonight, the night before Christmas, I want to thank You for giving us Your Son. The truth is that His short life on Earth was a game-changer. Your love for us goes so much deeper, so much further than we can even begin to imagine, and without that love, my life, everything I could possibly achieve… everything would have been meaningless.

Thank You, Lord, for the many blessings you’ve sent my way, and across the way of my loved ones. And thank You for the many opportunities You gave for us to bless others. I pray that next year, I’ll learn how to use those chances even better.

Tonight, I want to pray for my country, still settling into a new era now that President Mandela has joined You in heaven. I ask that those appointed to lead our nation do so to the best of their ability. I pray that You guide them, Lord, and guide each of us as members of the nation to find ways to build it into something even stronger, more united than it is today.

I also ask that you be with people who lost loved ones this year. Christmas is a difficult time when those we love are missing from the feast. Please wrap them in Your love, and be with them in noticeable ways as their wounds heal.

Lastly, I want to pray down Your blessing on my family, my friends and their families and friends, and theirs. And theirs. Lead us, strengthen us, and open our eyes to the amazing things You do for us.

I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Amen.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life

John 3:16

Just a short Christmas wish

Hey all.

Today’s a weird date for me. Today, the 27th, and 29th, are the only days this week that aren’t someone’s birthday or Christmas. (Mine’s the 28th, by the way.) My mom’s was yesterday.

But I figured that you’ll all be busy visiting with loved ones from tomorrow if you’re not doing so already. So tonight, I want to wish you a blessed Christmas.

May you have a wonderful, happy time with your loved ones and may you remember what an absolute blessing that is. 

Other than that, I’ll be by tomorrow night for a Christmas prayer, but I’ll take Christmas day and Boxing day off to be with friends and family.

God bless you all!

X

My new realization on "Show vs Tell"

Man, I thought I’d have time to post yesterday, but a friend got married and me, my gran and my mom did the flowers for her.

Being a total novice at flower arranging, I thought it’d be easy. It wasn’t. We spent most of the past two days standing, and believe it or not, those arrangements are HEAVY. Add to that the fact that it was a garden wedding with no shade and at the hottest part of a summer’s day, and it all adds up to exhaustion.

But today I’m a bit more relaxed, putting up my feet and reading my new crit partners’ WiPs and suggestions for  mine.

One WiP I’m critting got me thinking about something interesting. We all know about the “rule” show don’t tell. And if you’ve been writing and reading about writing long enough, you’ll know why this “rule” exists.

It draws the reader in more, letting him/her experience the story as close to the same way as the character as possible. Doing that, the reader gets sucked in, which is something any fiction writer worth his/her salt should want.

There’s something else I realized just now, that I thought I should share. Showing events rather than telling gives us as writers more scope in a story. It gives us more depth.

Let’s say, for example, that the main character’s mother died at a young age. You as writer could mention it briefly and let the story progress (telling) OR you could show the effect the mother’s death has on the character. So how does this open up the story more?

By exploring something you would have just mentioned, you might find the internal conflict you didn’t know you needed. You might even find a subplot that makes the main one stronger. You might even find a solution to a plot hole in a surprising place.

So showing strengthens a story in more ways than the conventional wisdom states. Don’t miss a chance to expand your book’s horizons, just because a scene doesn’t seem to fit the plan. It might just be the difference between a good read and a great one, and leaving emotions un-shown is just one huge missed opportunity.

Have you found an unexpected but perfect story element by delving deeper into something a character just mentioned in the rough draft?