November Writerly Goals

Another new month is upon us, and I’m so glad that autumn is in full swing. I love days where I can open the windows and work at my newly redone writing space while the crisp air brushes over my skin! Fall is the best season, in my opinion.

autumn leaves

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Sorry not sorry for the gratuitous autumn photo! Before I get into my new goals for this month, I’ll recap last month’s goals and how I did. I set three goals for October: to finish the first round of edits on The 12 Dates of Christmas, update my website, and to continue book marketing for The 12 Dates of Christmas. I am happy to report that last month went really well!

I finished the first round of edits, finally! That round did take a while because the manuscript was written in third person, past tense, and I changed it to first person, present tense. That, and I made other edits, like rewrites of scenes and deleting and adding scenes. I also made the updates to my website that I wanted, and for the moment, I am happy with it! I did make more of an effort with book marketing, though I still am not an expert by any stretch. It’s a process, and I’m still learning. But I’ve done more to get the word out about The 12 Dates of Christmas!

So, what are my writerly goals for November? Again, I made only three goals. The holiday season is coming up, and there’s no reason to stress myself out or set myself up for failure by making too many goals. Plus, with the release of The 12 Dates of Christmas fast approaching, I need to concentrate all my efforts on that project.

My goals are:

  • Begin a social media marketing blitz
apps blur button close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I spent a couple of hours last night making social media graphics to post across my platforms, and I plan to use Hootsuite to schedule posts throughout the month. I need to continue to get the word out about The 12 Dates of Christmas, and very shortly, I will be releasing presale and on-sale dates, and continuing to post the book cover. Yesterday, I released the first chapter here on my blog and will repost links every week. If you haven’t read that post yet, just scroll down to the post right before this one! I’ll also be posting some of my favorite lines from the book throughout the month.

  • Complete the second and third round of edits
ballpen blur close up computer

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This one’s a doozy! I think (hope) that these rounds will go faster than the first round. Once I get feedback from my CP and my beta readers, which will be soon, I will make those edits, and then one last draft will go to editing. Once those final edits are done, the manuscript should be ready for publication. It’s a very ambitious goal, but it HAS to get done!

  • Write the book blurb
gray mug on top of piled books

Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

I am so looking forward to writing the blurb! Although trying to condense your book’s plot and characters to 250 words or less can at times be frustrating, it’s also kinda fun! I have an idea in my head of how the blurb will read; I just haven’t put pen to paper yet. Or more accurately, fingers to keyboard.

I have a busy November ahead of me for sure, but I’m looking forward to it!

 

 

 

Read Chapter One of The 12 Dates of Christmas!

Hello, friends! Below is Chapter 1 of my upcoming YA holiday romance, The 12 Dates of Christmas. Enjoy this sneak peek!

 

Chapter 1

 

Daniela

There is a perfect seat to sit in at the movies. Some people know this, and some don’t. Most don’t care. I always buy tickets on Fandango early to ensure this cinematic perfection. The perfect seat is in the middle row of the theater, centered in the middle of the screen. Hopefully, without someone annoying on either side of me, but of course, I can’t control that. At the movies, in the perfect seat, is my happy place.

I, Daniela Bellamy, am an unabashed, hard-core fan of romantic comedies. Unlucky in love myself, rom-coms are my shining beacon of hope for what will one day come. A meet-cute with an impossibly gorgeous guy, who I maybe hate at first because he’s a “bad boy.” But we’re always thrown together by unfortunate yet hilarious circumstances, and we slowly fall in love. That’s only one of several rom-com tropes, but one of my favorites. Probably because I’ve never dated a bad boy, but from what I understand, it’s a rite of passage. I can ‘t wait!

Thinking of my gorgeous future bad boy, I shove a handful of popcorn in my mouth, then hear the familiar laugh coming from my right. That high-pitched laugh is unmistakable. It’s my best friend Rachel, which means that my other best friend, Sadie, is in tow. What are they doing here? They’re supposed to be indoor rock climbing with Sadie’s twin brother, Sebastian. I made up an excuse to get out of rock climbing so that I could come to see the latest holiday rom-com. I’m about seven seconds away from being busted. Dammit!

Yes, Sadie and Rachel are my best friends in the world. We’ve known each other all our lives, and yet, I’ve never confessed my secret shame to them.

A wave of panic washes over me. What do I do? I can make like I’m putting my purse under my seat. It’ll be five minutes at least until the house lights go down, and I’d still have to get out of here when the movie is over without being seen. Like a rat in a cage, I’m trapped with nowhere to go.

“Daniela?” That’s Rachel, clearly confused. Then, “What the hell?” That’s Sadie, who sounds outraged. They scoot by a mother and daughter pair sitting at the end of the row and take the seats on either side of me. “Hi, guys!” I try to sound nonchalant, even though I’ve just been caught in a lie.

“Don’t ‘Hi, guys’ us,” says Rachel. “You’re supposed to be volunteering at the food bank.”

Not only did I lie to my two best friends, but I used a charity to do it. I’ve probably earned a special place in hell for that. Thinking quick on my feet, I say, “Yeah, I was, but I got a call from someone saying they had enough volunteers for today, so they asked if I could come on Friday instead.” Another lie, of course. Sometimes they really come quickly to me. I do volunteer regularly at the food bank, but I’ll really need to step it up a notch to make up for this. Karma doesn’t play around. “Why are you two here? Aren’t you supposed to be indoor rock climbing with Sebastian?”

Sadie huffs. “My stupid brother forgot that he promised my mom he’d help out at the store. The doofus actually forgot that it’s the day before Thanksgiving and that mom needs him to unload boxes.” Stupid and doofus are the two main words Sadie uses to describe her brother. Sebastian is six feet three inches, a football player with muscles for days, and has a movie star smile to boot. Those are the things he gets from his British father. His almond-shaped eyes that look like pools of melted chocolate, as well as his good manners and book smarts, come from his Chinese mother. Sebastian is about as far from being a stupid doofus as you can get. Sadie inherited all those things too, except the height and good manners. At only five feet two inches, she does martial arts and boxes and absolutely does not take crap from anyone. She’s tiny but fierce and rough around the edges. I’m surprised Sadie isn’t the one at the store throwing boxes around.

Rachel speaks again. “So, why this movie? I’d have thought you’d see that new sci-fi blockbuster thing. The one with all the human cloning. Do you even like romantic comedies?” Since I’m a math and science whiz, my friends assumed years ago that science fiction must be my favorite movie and book genre. It’s not, and I’ve never corrected them. A girl needs some form of escapism.

I took a deep breath, let it go, and look between my two best friends. “Okay, I never told either of you this, but I love rom-coms. More than love. It’s more like an obsession. I watch them all the time.” Rachel and Sadie say nothing for a few beats. Rachel breaks the silence first. “Why did you keep that from us? It’s not a big deal or anything.”

I open her mouth to answer, but Sadie cuts in. “It’s not a big deal, but I didn’t take you for the rom-com type. You’re always Miss Sensible. And no offense, but rom-coms are kind of silly.” This coming from the girl who’s into action movies with massive explosions that the main character inexplicably walks away from without a scratch. I’m about to point out to Sadie that she’s about to watch one of those “silly” movies when she cuts me off again.

“I know, don’t say it. This one practically dragged me here,” Sadie said, jabbing a thumb in Rachel’s direction.

“Not all rom-coms are silly.” I’d taken a bit of offense at Sadie’s comment. I’ve never made fun of the type of movie Sadie is into. Not out loud anyway. “Besides, my own love life has been a hot mess. And you two know I’ve tried. Apparently, I’m just missing that thing that a lot of girls our age have. That flirty, almost effortless way with guys. Maybe by watching these movies, I’ll learn a little something.” What I don’t say is that I really don’t want to go off to college romantically challenged. Of the three of us, I’m the least experienced. Rachel has been dating her boyfriend forever, and Sadie, well, she’s the hit it and quit it type. They have different approaches, sure, whereas I have no approach at all. The house lights start to dim, and I wiggle down in my seat and get comfortable. “You two better get to your seats. The movie’s about to start.”

As the coming attractions start to roll, Rachel whispers, “Oh, no. We’re staying right here.” The theater isn’t that crowded, and evidently, those two seats weren’t sold. So much for enjoying a little “me” time.

Even though it is now dark in the theater, I swear I see Rachel and Sadie exchange a look.

***

When the movie is over, the three of us walk into the lobby, right by the enormous Christmas tree. I think what I always think when I see a Christmas tree before Thanksgiving: would it kill you to wait until after Thanksgiving to put out holiday decorations? As soon as Halloween is over, boom, the Christmas decorations are up. I like Christmas as much as the next person, but that’s ridiculous. Thanksgiving is so overlooked.

My strong opinion on retail holiday decorations leaves my mind as soon as we step outside into the crisp air of a late autumn afternoon. “Be honest, wasn’t that a cute movie?” I look at my friends, hopeful that they enjoyed it at least a little. And that they don’t think I’m a total twit for liking romantic comedies. They do get such a bad rap.

“I loved it! Unlike our dear friend here, I watch all kinds of movies. I don’t judge you.” Rachel smirks at Sadie.

Sadie immediately retorts. “Hey, I don’t personally see the appeal of rom-coms, but I’m not judging either.” She gives me a quick, playful punch on the arm. Rachel leans in to give me a quick hug and adds, “In the grand scheme of things, yours isn’t a terrible secret. It’s not like you run over puppies for fun on the weekends or something. That, we would definitely judge you for.”

I laugh. “Thanks, guys. I know it was a silly thing to keep from you, and I’m not even sure why I did.” I dig my car keys out of my purse and check my phone for the time. “Oh, I gotta go. I told my mom I’d stop at the store to pick up a few things for tomorrow.” I look at both of her friends and smile. “But, I’ll see you guys tomorrow night at our annual Thanksgiving sleepover, okay?” Every year on Thanksgiving night, after Rachel and I have stuffed ourselves with turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, we go to Sadie’s house for a sleepover. The first Thanksgiving sleepover was in sixth grade, and somehow it became a tradition.

Rachel

We say goodbye to Daniela, and when she’s out of earshot, I turn to Sadie. “My place? We’ve got some planning to do.” Sadie nods, and we head to my car.

Meet Jake Fletcher (AKA Bachelor Number One, The 12 Dates of Christmas)

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Jake Fletcher, the other love interest for Daniela, the MC of my upcoming book, The 12 Dates of Christmas. Like Evan, whom you met last week, Jake is also a decent guy. Feel free to get to know him a bit!

Here is a quick look at Jake, or his character aesthetic, if you will:

 

Jake CA

  1.  This is Jake. As far as Daniela’s love interests, he is something of a wildcard. Though physically he is her type, Jake is creative. Daniela usually goes for fellow math and science nerds. Musician Shawn Mendes was the inspiration for Jake.
  2.  He plays guitar, sings, and writes songs, and has his own band.
  3.  He volunteers at a dog rescue, and also his local food bank.
  4. Jake is seventeen the same age as Daniela.

Below are more important details about Jake, or his character sketch, or dossier, if you will:

(if you’d like a copy of the worksheet, it can be found here)

folder-146940_1280 (1)

  • Name:  Jacob Alexander Fletcher
  • Nickname: Jake
  • Birth Date/Place: August 17, 2002/Tampa, FL
  • Character Role: Secondary character and one of two (possibly three) love interests of Daniela, the MC

Physical Descriptions:

  • Age:  17
  • Race:  Caucasian
  • Eye Color:  Brown
  • Hair Color/Style:  Dark brown, short
  • Build (height/Weight): Tall with a muscular build/6 feet 2 inches/160 pounds
  • Skin tone:  Fair
  • Style of Dress:  Mostly casual, jeans, band tees, button-down shirts, engineer boots, Converse

Characteristics or Mannerisms:

  • Personality Traits: Confident but not cocky, nice and sweet (possibly too nice), a do-gooder Positive:  Articulate, Considerate, creative, friendly, open, vivacious Negative: Jealous, touchy at times,
  • Background: Lower-middle class
  • Internal Conflicts: Has a hard time trusting people. He actively works on getting better about it, but it doesn’t always happen.
  • External Conflicts: Because of a traumatic experience in his past, he is deep into volunteer work. Between that and his band, he has little time for dating and socializing.
  • Occupation/Education: High school student
  • Miscellaneous Notes: He’s a nice guy, possibly too nice, which may be a negative for some girls. He puts his hand behind his neck and rubs when he is nervous or caught off-guard. Has a megawatt smile and wholesome good looks.

And that’s Jake! Or at least the short version. You can get to know him better in The 12 Dates of Christmas, which will be released in November!

*release date to be revealed later 😉

 

Meet Evan Chapman (AKA Bachelor Number Two, The 12 Dates of Christmas)

This week, I’d like to introduce you to Evan Chapman, one of Daniela’s love interests in my upcoming book, The 12 Dates of Christmas. He’s a pretty decent guy, so please, get to know him a bit!

Here is a quick look at Evan, his character aesthetic, if you will:

Evan CA

 

  1. This is Evan. As far as Daniela’s love interests, he is the slightly older wildcard. Actor Jeremy Irvine was the inspiration for Evan.
  2.  He is into boxing, mainly as a way to stay fit, but he also finds it cathartic, a release from everything going on in his life.
  3.  He is studying cybersecurity at an IT school.
  4.  At nineteen, Evan is two years older than Daniela.

Below are more important details about Evan, or his character sketch, or dossier, if you will:

(if you’d like a copy of the worksheet, it can be found here)

folder-146940_1280 (1)

  • Name:  Evan Joseph Chapman
  • Nickname: none
  • Birth Date/Place: April 21, 2000/Atlanta, GA
  • Character Role: Secondary character and one of two (possibly three) love interests of Daniela, the MC

Physical Descriptions:

  • Age:  19
  • Race:  Caucasian
  • Eye Color:  Blue
  • Hair Color/Style:  Golden blond, short
  • Build (height/Weight): Tall with an athletic build/6 feet 1 inch/165 pounds
  • Skin tone:  Fair
  • Style of Dress:  Mostly casual, jeans, tees, sweaters, sneakers, Chelsea boots, fitted jackets

Characteristics or Mannerisms:

  • Personality Traits: Confident but can also be standoffish. He has a good sense of humor but can also be awkward at times. Positive:  Adventurous, affectionate, dependable, disciplined, hard-working, mature, self-confident, sincere Negative: Aggressive (when need be), cold (at times), impatient, sly
  • Background: Middle class
  • Internal Conflicts: Is closed off until he gets to know someone; builds walls to keep people out
  • External Conflicts: Has a busy life with school and taking care of his elderly, ailing grandfather. Hasn’t had much time for socializing. Does have a stalker!
  • Occupation/Education: Technical college student
  • Miscellaneous Notes: He’s a nice guy, but not too nice. Looks like a “bad boy” but isn’t. Has a chin dimple and sports a bit of facial hair. Likes to stay in shape by boxing and hiking. Has a dead-sexy half-smile.

And that is Evan! The condensed version, at least. You can get to know him better in The 12 Dates of Christmas, which will be released in November!

*release date to be revealed later 😉

 

Meet Daniela Bellamy (MC, The 12 Dates of Christmas)

I’d like to introduce you to Daniela Bellamy, my main character from The 12 Dates of Christmas. I’ve spent a lot of time with Daniela over the past year, and I think she’s awesome. I hope you do too!

Here is a quick look at Daniela, as well as what she’s into. (in the biz, we call this a character aesthetic)

Daniela CA

  1. This is Daniela. In my mind, she is the wholesome-looking, girl-next-door type. She’s beautiful but doesn’t know it. Actress Bailee Madison was the inspiration for Daniela.
  2.  She has an obsession with romantic comedies.
  3.  Daniela is a math and science whiz and wants to study mechanical engineering in college. Robotics is her area of interest.
  4.  She loves dogs and has a golden retriever mix named Archie.

Below are more important details about Daniela. (in the biz, we call this a character sketch, or if you want to be fancy, a character dossier, and this one can be found here)

folder-146940_1280 (1)

  • Name:  Daniela Quinn Bellamy
  • Nickname: Dani, but only her parents and Sebastian (a close friend) call her that
  • Birth Date/Place: February 4, 2002/Raleigh, NC
  • Character Role: Main character and protagonist; most of the story is told from her POV

Physical Descriptions:

  • Age:  17
  • Race:  Caucasian
  • Eye Color:  Light brownHair Color/Style:  Dark brown, long and straight, though sometimes she does put soft waves in her hair
  • Build (height/Weight): Small and slender; 5 feet 3 inches, 110 pounds
  • Skin tone:  Fair
  • Style of Dress:  Mostly casual, skinny jeans, tees, sweaters, boots, Converse

Characteristics or Mannerisms:

  • Personality Traits: Shy and introverted, except in her small circle of friends. She takes schoolwork and herself seriously, but she does have a sense of humor and isn’t afraid to make a joke. Positive: Bright, focused, friendly, intelligent, kind, orderly, polite, rational, self-disciplined, warm, well-read Negative: Fussy (sometimes), some might find her dull, passive (sometimes)
  • Background: Upper-middle-class
  • Internal Conflicts: Wants a boyfriend but after failing miserably to find one, she’s given up on the idea. So, when she realizes she has feelings for someone she thinks is off-limits, she keeps it to herself.
  • External Conflicts: She’s awkward around boys, which doesn’t help her situation. She has to consider the feelings of someone close to her after she realizes who she wants to be with.
  • Occupation/Education: High school student, senior
  • Miscellaneous Notes: Has a knack for doing or saying something awkward. Looks at things analytically. Doesn’t wear much makeup; usually just mascara and lip balm. Likes to put her long hair up in a messy bun.

And that is Daniela! In a nutshell, anyway. You can get to know her better in The 12 Dates of Christmas, which will be released in November!

*release date to be revealed later 😉

 

Ta-Da! A Cover Reveal!

Drumroll, please! In this post, I am revealing The 12 Dates of Christmas cover!

group of people playing drums during daytime

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Last month, my newsletter subscribers got the first look at the cover, and now, I’m ready to share it publicly. I really like it and hope you do too!

So, without further ado, The 12 Dates of Christmas book cover:

CynFrazierBuck-72dpi-1500x2000 (1)

It’s cute, it’s simple, and I think it does a great job of letting readers know what the book is about. Yes, the title alone tells you that the book is set during Christmas. Along with the title, the mistletoe reinforces that it’s a romance, while the cover model clearly indicates that this is Young Adult. I wanted a simple, to-the-point cover, and this one was perfect. My thanks to http://www.selfpubbookcovers.com/andrewgraphics!

I’m so excited about the upcoming release of The 12 Dates of Christmas and can’t wait to share more with you!

 

My October Writerly Goals

Wow! September went by in a flash, and unfortunately, it wasn’t as productive as I had hoped. But life sometimes gets in the way and there’s nothing you can do about it except start anew. That’s why I love the start of a new month! But first, let me recap my September goals.

I did finish the final short story for A Sky Full of Stars and I did publish the second edition of the ebook which contains all three short stories. That is a huge weight lifted from my shoulders! With that checked off my list, I can now concentrate more on my current WIP.

I am so happy to say that the redecoration of my writing space is complete! I really love it and can’t wait to show it off. That reveal will be later in October!

I did very little book marketing for my WIP, The 12 Dates of Christmas. I only did two posts, maybe three. I have no choice but to count that as a fail. And like I mentioned above, life got in the way and I didn’t complete my first round of edits either. I’m disappointed in myself, but I’m not going to wallow. I’ll just commit to doing better in October!

On that positive note, here are my October writerly goals:

  • Complete first-round edits for The 12 Dates of Christmas
background beverage breakfast brown

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I will have to caffeinate and plant my butt in my new chair in my newly redone writing space, but I do feel confident! I’m already in the process of sendings chapters to my critique partners, and they have been so helpful that the second round of edits should go really smoothly. I just need to make sure I get the whole manuscript edited in October and in the hands of my CPs!

  • Ramp up book marketing for The 12 Dates of Christmas
person writing on white book

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

This is going to take some serious planning, but it’s a necessary evil. I’m thinking about taking a different tack, such as dedicating one or two days per week to book marketing. Knowing I have time set aside for it will help, and I hope it will quell my overwhelming sense of doom. I’ve said before how book marketing is a black hole of despair, at least to me, and that hasn’t gotten any better. But time dedicated only to book marketing will, I think, allow me to get better at it. Before I know it, I’ll be a book marketing guru! Okay, probably not, but if it gets any easier, that’ll be enough for me. And thanks to Hootsuite, scheduling marketing posts across social media is a breeze!

  • Update my website
yellow mug besides laptop

Photo by Content Pixie on Pexels.com

I’ve been so busy that keeping my website updated has gotten lost in the fray. For sure, I want to put some things related to The 12 Dates of Christmas there, and perhaps a Pinterest share button. Other things need updating too, so I need to set aside a day to get all of it done. Part of me wants to give my website a whole new look, but I’m not committing to that right now!

For October, I decided to limit myself to three goals. The editing and book marketing will both be time-consuming, and by only having three goals, I won’t feel too overloaded. That is something I need to start keeping in mind. With the holiday season right around the corner, I need to make sure not to spread myself too thin! I don’t operate very well under pressure!