CAMPNANO WIP

What do I even choose?

I could work on my Zahra wip, the one about magic and shapeshifters and zombies. My first draft is finished, but there are some plot holes I need to patch and a whole lot of revisions to make before I sent it to more betas. This is a standalone. This one is closer to being finished than the others, buttttt…

Then there’s my Tinker Bell retelling I’ve been dying to get back to. Tinsley is stuck in an mmorpg and must stop Pan, a non-playable character, from escaping into her reality. This is halfway written. About 30k in I got stuck. Now I need to figure out how the story ends, or at least how to get there. (Yeah, yeah, J.M. Sullivan, I know you’re waiting on this one!)

And then there’s the original Fae story I’ve written and re-written. I tore it apart after starting it in 2012… boy, did my writing suckkkkk back then. So many holes in this story now. I have a beginning, a few scenes, and an ending. I have the ending of book 2 done, and know where book 3 is going.

There are a few short stories I could work on, post to wattpad as freebies. OR, I could come up with something completely new and work on it. So, what do you think? Zombie Voodoo, Tinker Bell, Fae, Shorts, or New? Help me pick! I’m so torn.

I’m not sure how much time I’ll be able to dedicate to campnano, but I’m going to do my best. I’ll be editing someone’s wonderful wip in July as well. If you’d like to join my cabin, send me your username, I’ll add you to the #witlingwriter cabin!

Decisions, decisions…

Let’s do a poll on twitter @halynnbooks

 

My Writing Zone

Finding time for everything I want to do in life is hard. I’m a mother, a wife, an editor, a daughter. I have pets and a new home to care for. My littlest is two months old, and I’m just now bouncing back from his birth (which is amazing considering the trauma I overcame with my first). I have a toddler who keeps me on my toes. You might as well call him my “work-out routine” because I’d probably never leave the couch if it weren’t for him. I give myself 100% to all of my jobs and it’s exhausting, but I love it. So, today I thought I’d share what motivates me to write and edit since I was asked recently what helps me get “in the zone” to accomplish my writing goals.

Writing and editing are me. I have hobbies and things I enjoy doing other than reading but writing and editing make me feel like myself. This is so important after becoming a mother. So many parents lose themselves, their passions, sacrifice their dreams and jobs for their children, and after the hardship of recovering from birth the first time around I had to find something that was ultimately MINE. Writing and editing are mine.

When my toddler was around one-years-old, I decided I desperately needed to have something that reminded me of me, something that made me feel like myself again. So, I started beta reading, and loved it. I loved it so much I decided to start critiquing manuscripts. Then I learned about Camp Nano a little more and finished my own manuscript in a month. I felt on top of it all. My son was old enough to play alone for a while during my work hours–and I can set my own work hours which is awesome.

But things are more difficult with two. I don’t get to nap when baby naps because it’s a rare phenomenon when both babies are asleep at the same time. I have to stay up after everyone’s gone to bed if I want to get any of my own writing done, which I usually don’t do right now. I focus on getting editing done during the week. I set realistic goals (I divide the number of words in a document by the number of days I have ’til my deadline) and meet them. I add a few extra tasks on to this, like free first chapter reads and edits to bring in more clients or to help authors out who can’t afford an editor. And moreover, I’m still expected to take care of the house (which isn’t the priority right now).

So, what keeps me motivated and what keeps me in the writing zone? How can I do all of this and not be burnt out? I prioritize. Obviously, my kids take top priority. The little one sleeps off and on, so I take moments when he’s asleep to write things like this blog post. Writing this helps me wake up, gets my brain churning before I dive into reading or editing. My toddler spends the morning playing alone, watching cartoons, or playing learning games on his kindle, so I have a little time to think–sometimes. Sometimes, shit hits the fan. Sometimes no one sleeps, everyone is crying, whining and screaming. Sometimes the laundry has piled so high I feel like it will take years to complete. Sometimes writing takes a back seat, and that’s okay. I stay in the zone though. I’m never not thinking about my book, and the edits I must do for clients. And when I get the chance, I take notes on my phone, so I don’t forget the ideas I have.

What keeps me motivated to keep writing even when I can’t meet my goals is knowing writing and editing are mine. My computer is mine. I have a safe space with my writing buddies to brainstorm and chat–even if it’s not about writing. They keep me motivated by talking about their stories, talking about writing styles and rules, etc. Just talking about writing keeps me in the zone. I’m always itching to get back to my phone or computer even for just a moment because writing, #witlingwriter, and inkscript make me feel like me, and it makes me a happier person in life knowing I can still be appreciated for my talents and for being myself.

If you’re struggling to stay in the zone, remind yourself why you write. What are your long and short-term goals? How can you make them more reasonable, more realistic, so you can meet them? It may take longer than you hoped. You can’t always do it all and expect not to be burnt out. So, do what you can, even if it’s writing a few sentences a day during your lunch break. Be thinking about your work often, what excites you about it, what will excite readers. When you’re excited about your writing, you want to write. When you’re defeated, you procrastinate and feel like it’s not worth your time.

A few tips:

In your manuscript, find the last place that truly was a joy to write or excites you and start there. That might mean deleting everything you’ve written after that point. I know, scary. If you need to cut your paragraphs and save them on a separate sheet, do it. But I usually just toss it and start fresh. It turns out better the second time around.

Take some time away from your manuscript. Get a second pair of eyes on your draft. Pay for a manuscript critique. Brainstorm with other writers. People watch or read a book. Do something creative. Go for a walk. Read about writing.

How do you stay in the “Writing Zone?” Can you share some tips on how to get back in the groove of writing when you’re feeling defeated or feel yourself procrastinating? (And remember, not everyone can write every single day).

(It took me four hours to complete this blog post between babies. I probably have typos. This is my writing life.)

My Writing Journey Began…

…when I wrote and illustrated my first story in Kindergarten. I think I still have it somewhere. The only reason I remember it is because I drew the dragon rescuing the princess from a tower. Not my best work. From there, I wrote a LOT of papers for school–I’d rather write an essay any day of the week than take a waste-of-time standardized test. I was a shit test-taker. But give me a paper to write and I more-than-likely aced it. Art classes in high school and dance in college gave me a neat perspective on the way I look at the world around me too, as did minoring in Religion. All of my experiences throughout my life have led me to where I am today as a writer and editor, and I’m thankful for them.

I thought about writing for my university’s newspaper, but I was too dedicated to my sorority (Phi Mu) and too busy with homework to find the extra time to take it on. It might be one of my biggest regrets. I did, however, start journaling a lot during college. About everything and anything, mostly my relationships with different people. Writing was always the easiest way to express myself. It’s always been easier to write how I feel vs. saying it because organizing my thoughts is clearer on paper than in my head.

After college, 2012, is when I started my book review blog. Since then, I’ve re-written most of them (some are missing because I switched sites–why I did this I’ll never know). That’s when things took off. I started communicating with a variety of authors, reviewing books for them, chatting with them about their goals, careers, and finding out how they got to where they were. I’ve followed Hugh Howey since he released each portion of  WOOL. I have the originals. I follow his blog, his process, his advice often. I was able to talk to David Forsythe about his writing process and pick his brain when I was working on my first WIP. I’ve on more than one occasion spoken to, encouraged, and written reviews in exchange for books from Lizzy Ford. This is when I knew I wanted to be an indie author and self publish. Who knew it was even possible? It was exciting. Then WOOL exploded, and Hugh continued to share the ways of his success. I was thrilled for him and for all the possibilities for myself and others. So, I continued my book reviews, made connections, blew up Twitter a few times and found my writing buddies #WitlingWriter and the supportive writing community.

My first WIP, a Paranormal Romance, was/is a flop. It’s a mess. I started it when I started my blog and didn’t really know what I was doing or how to organize my writing. I pantsed it and it failed. So, I took a break. A long break. I kept reading, kept talking with authors, kept doing reviews, kept writing, but shelved my WIP. It’s still collecting dust, nagging me and sad I’ve moved on to more successful WIPs. Maybe one day I’ll get back to it. This taught me what I should have already known…I’m a planner.

The discovery of Beta-Reading was the beginning of my editing career. I realized what I was actually doing was critiquing manuscripts–going far beyond the call of a regular alpha/beta. Why didn’t anyone tell me I could make a career out of this? I would have started doing it a long time ago. So, I started talking to editors. I took some tips and advice from the amazing Jeni Chapelle (@jenichappelle) to learn how to set up my business, and chatted with Ryan Campbell (@r.r.campbell) on many occasions since he was in the process of starting his own editing business as well. I offered free critiques and beta-reads for testimonies. And, finally, I started my editing business and got my first few paying clients. I was thrilled, and still am. Thrilled when an author sends me a request for an edit, thrilled when they send me their manuscript, thrilled when I finish my edits, and thrilled when they send me an awesome testimony or publish their book. Even more thrilled that I’m making  a career out of it. I’m getting paid to read! My dream-come-true. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

As far as my own writing, I’m working on it. Editing takes a lot of my time now, and I love it. I also have two little buddies I take care of 24/7, so I’m a tired mommy. But last summer I was able to start and finish Zahra, my zombie fantasy, manuscript during Camp Nano. Now if I could only find the time to edit it. I’ve gotten through the first few chapters, had a few betas check it out for me, and revised a little. I’m ready to get back to it, but struggling to find the time. I published a barely edited, short-story on Wattpad you’ll have to hunt down to read. I’ve also started working on a Tinker Bell re-telling I know a few followers are waiting to beta-read, but this one is taking a little longer to finish than Zahra did. I’m not giving up though!

I’ve always loved reading and writing. I’m excited to see where it takes me next, who I’ll meet along the way, and I’m still determined to self-publish Zahra at some point. For now, I’m enjoying editing and supporting the writers and authors, who I’m honored to be able to assist. Thank you to all of you who have helped me get to where I am. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Cover Reveal! Soulmated: Fighting Fate by Shaila Patel

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ENTER TO WIN: ARC of FIGHTING FATE & $25 Amazon Gift Card

 

FIGHTING FATE Summary

Empath Liam Whelan is determined to protect Laxshmi “Lucky” Kapadia, the girl he loves, at all costs–even if it means breaking her heart to keep her alive. Stopping the joining cold means Liam’s life is in danger from the Soul Seekers and the ruthless Minister Gagliardi who now has designs on Lucky. Liam has no choice but to find the strength to fight his desires, fight the joining, and fight fate.

After the unthinkable happened, Lucky’s “hallucinations” have been working double-time. Heartbroken and plagued by doubts, she meets a man who gives her a mind-blowing explanation for her predicament. Her apparent savior provides her with an escape from her hell: run away with him or return to her drab existence and watch Liam move on with her heart in his hands. All Lucky ever craved was to be in control of her own fate, but when her only choices fight against her heart, can she find the strength to battle for what she wants?

SOULMATED: FIGHTING FATE – EXCERPT

(Joining of Souls Book 2)

Under the cover of her porch, I returned her bag to her. We moved apart. With the connection broken, she let out a shuddering sob. The pain of separating from her hit me square in the chest. I wanted to hold and comfort her, but I was already making a dog’s dinner of this just by being here. This would set her back—set us both back.

She turned away from me. Her hand shot up to her mouth, and her shoulders shook. I instinctively stepped forward, but all I could do was curl my fingers into my palms to keep from touching her.

“I miss you so much, Liam,” she said, the words choked out between hoarse cries. “I’m sorry. I know I’m not supposed to be weak.” She slapped away her tears and turned to face me. A bolt of lightning cracked nearby. I couldn’t stay. The tingling was pulling us together like it was some sort of magnetic current.

“You’re not weak. I miss you too, Lucky.”

Her eyes grew cold in an instant. The fury of the sandstorm I sensed from her made me gasp, and I stumbled back. “Jaysus, Lucky.” We were crossing interpretations again. I was reading her emotions as air metaphors instead.

She barreled toward me, her hands balled up, apparently unaware of the effect her anger had on me. “You have no right to miss me. You left me!” She beat her fists against my chest, and I had to grab her by the wrists to stop her.

“Are you thinkin’ this has been easy for me?”

She wriggled free from my grip. “Whose fault is that?” she yelled above a roll of thunder. I didn’t want her to see the pain on my face, so I turned away, holding myself up on the white, wooden railing. The whirlpool of her anguish surrounded me, making my head ache.

I took a deep breath and lowered my voice. “Lucky, I broke my promises to you. For that, I’m truly sorry. But I had little enough choice. None of that changes my feelings for you.”

“I’m not The One, so it’s time to move on. Is that it? Regardless of how you feel? Of how I feel?” Her voice cracked. “You’re a coward.”

I heard her fumbling for her keys. She’d be inside soon, and I’d rather be fighting with her on the porch than be without her.

“So where next, hmm?” she asked. “North Dakota? Vermont? Ooo, I know. You should go to India. You could play this game for the rest of your life!”

I turned to face her. Her sarcasm was brutal, but I deserved all that and more.

She tried to unlock her door, but the keys slipped from her grip. She stooped to pick them up, but her fingers were shaking so badly, she dropped them again.

“Dammit!” She crouched a second time and sucked back another sob.

I swept down and set my hands over hers to steady them. Taking the keys, I unlocked the door, followed her inside, and bundled her in a blanket from off the sofa. Lucky didn’t protest. We stood there, dripping water on her mum’s carpet, staring into each other’s eyes. Grabbing fistfuls of the covering around her neck, I gently rocked her, tugging her closer, fighting the craving to kiss her. My breaths came out fast and shallow, and only clinging to the material with both hands kept me from sneaking a touch of her soft skin. If I didn’t leave now, I’d stay because I didn’t have an ounce of the strength she had. Maybe I was the coward she’d accused me of being.


About the Author: Shaila PatelShaila_Patel_3x4.5[5776]

As an unabashed lover of all things happily-ever-after, Shaila Patel’s younger self would finish reading her copy of Cinderella and chuck it across the room because it didn’t mention what happened next. Now she writes from her home in the Carolinas and dreams up all sorts of stories with epilogues. A member of the Romance Writers of America and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she’s a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. SOULMATED, her debut novel and the first book in the Joining of Souls Series, was the winner of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards for Young Adult. Book 2, FIGHTING FATE releases April 2018. She loves craft beer, tea, and reading in cozy window seats—but she’ll read anywhere. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red light or gushing about her favorite books online.

Represented by: Agent Amanda Leuck of Spencerhill Associates

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Start Reading Book 1, SOULMATED, today!

Given a 5-Star Book Review by H.A.LYNN

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All eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan—an Irish royal empath—wants to do is stop the frustrating search for the elusive girl destined to be his soul mate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and give the couple legendary powers, painting a bullseye on Liam’s back—and hers.

All Indian-American Laxshmi Kapadia wants is to free herself from her traditional mother’s ultimatum: graduate from high school early and go to medical school, or have her marriage arranged. Neither allows her to pursue her dreams of a career in dancing or of falling in love.

When Liam moves in next door to Laxshmi—a non-empath, he’s immediately drawn to the purity of her emotions, and she sees in this charming Irish boy a future with the freedom to follow her heart. But Liam’s father will never consent if she’s not The One. And Laxshmi’s mom won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. But hiding their relationship can’t keep them from becoming targets of a dark and ancient group determined to destroy the soulmated.

What will these two risk to choose their own fate?


ENTER TO WIN: ARC of FIGHTING FATE & $25 Amazon Gift Card


Would you risk death to join (I mean metaphysically, of course!) with your soul mate?

 

Editing Hiatus

Dear Writers and Authors,

I will no longer be taking requests for edits before May 2018, due to our family welcoming our second baby boy on March, 16, 2018. Please feel free to contact me to schedule future edits, but understand this is tentative. Any current project agreements will be completed as expected. Good luck with your writing!

-Heather Ann Lynn