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June 2014

McGovy’s #BGBlitz Goal & Playbook

It’s great to see all the posts for #BGBlitz. Mine is a little late, but that’s okay because now I can give you a goal and an update.

My #BGBlitz goal is to finish Book 2 of my contemporary series. I’m almost a month in and I have ~15,000 words. That’s not the 30k I’d like it to be, but it’s because I’ve also been editing Bk 1 to make it shiny and bright. I think it’s mostly shiny now. Maybe.

So, from here on out, I’d like to write Book 2 in 8 consecutive weeks and have a completed rough draft very close to Labor Day. I’ve written books in two months before, but with month long gaps in the middle to promote this release or pause for the entire month of December due to holidays and birthdays. Caveat: My rough drafts are normally about 65k words. I do A LOT of beefing up with round 1 edits. It’s just how I write.

McGovy #BGBlitz Goal: Finish the rough draft of Book 2 by Labor Day.

McGovy #BGBlitz Playbook: Write at least 1,500 words a day with a stretch goal of 2,000 per day.

I find personal accountability helps me a lot when it comes to keeping to my daily writer time. If you see me tweet about a #1k1hr, it’s because I need to hold myself to it that day. Sometimes I text a writer confidante and say, “I’m going in.” An hour or so later, I report out with what I’ve accomplished. This ‘play’ keeps me from getting side tracked with emails or internet fun times.

Lori mentioned Book in a Week last week and it sounds like an effective tool. Do you have any tips or tricks to help reach your daily word goal? How do you stay focused and write every day?

1 Comment

Bad Girl Nominee from Jenna P: Ms. Fiona Gallagher

It wasn’t easy for me to narrow down my long list of bad girlz, so first I came up with a list of criteria that emulates the very definition of bad to me.  And here it is….

  1. A bad girl must speak her mind, even if it’s the unpopular thing to say.
  2. A bad girl laughs in the face of those who tell her she can’t.
  3. Leather skirt or ratty jeans — a bad girl rocks it because her attitude is what makes her be noticed.
  4. A bad girl knows exactly who she is and isn’t afraid to be that person.
  5. A bad girl recognizes her weaknesses, and then stomps all over them.
  6. A bad girl could survive on her own, but realizes a party is much more fun with friends and loved ones.
  7. A bad girl does what she has to do.  Period.

So, it’s my pleasure to nominate Ms. Fiona Gallagher from Showitme’s hit — SHAMELESS as my Honorary Bad Girl!

fiona1For those of you who don’t watch SHAMELESS (which — SHAME on you, because it’s fantastic!), Fiona is played by Emmy Rossum.  As the oldest of the 6 Gallagher children, she’s been dealt the task of raising her brothers and sister because her alcoholic father won’t do it and her bipolar/drug addicted mother abandoned them.

fiona-family   fiona-family2

Fiona’s not rich.  She can’t afford the best of anything.  In fact, Fiona’s family is about as white trash as they get.  But to me…Fiona has class.  (There’s two things I thought I’d never say in the same breath!)

fiona-fuck   fiona-beer

 She drinks.  She smokes.  She curses like a sailor.  But she loves her brothers and sister, and will do whatever necessary to make sure they survive.  Whether it be working at a bar, shoveling the shit from broken sewer lines, or selling marijuana from an ice cream truck.  She’s given up every one of her own dreams so that her family can eat.

fiona-bury      fiona-cashfiona-L

 And it’s not easy.  Her pride is her biggest obstacle.

fiona-cry   fiona-argument

But she finds a way to survive, just like we all do.

fiona-door    fiona-friend

Even finds a way to smile every now and then!

fiona-steve

Bravo, Fiona Gallagher!  You are an Honorary Bad Girl!

 

 

8 Comments

Book In a Week

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that at one time or another, we’ve all let our writing take a hiatus. At times, even taking the trash out becomes more important than sitting at the computer and writing.

Maybe you’re going through one of those times right now. You want to write, you know you should write, but for some reason, here you sit reading this blog instead. And I’m truly thankful for that. Never stop reading blogs. 🙂 However, if this is your seventy-fifth blog today, I’ve got a suggestion for you. Find one, two, four, or six writer buddies and do what we call, “Book In a Week” (BIAW).

It’s basically a challenge that you and your group write as many words in a day as you can, for seven days. For my BIAW friends, here’s how we do it and why it’s so helpful for us.

GOAL-You set a personal goal and a group goal of how many words you’d like to write in seven days. Be realistic with your goal. Let’s face it, life happens, and sometimes you don’t get to write as much as you’d like. However, don’t set an easy-peasy goal that could be accomplished in fifteen minutes a day. Challenge yourself.

WRITE-You write as many words a day as you can. For us, we don’t allow editing. It slows down the production and creative processes. So we write lots and lots of ugly, ugly words. Just kidding. They’re beautiful first draft words.

LEADER– You need to elect a leader or you can volunteer to be the leader. Every morning you send a quick email to your leader, stating how many words you wrote the day before. S/he records everyone’s individual numbers and sends out a total to the writers, stating who wrote the most words. The leader also encourages and commiserates as appropriate. 

CHALLENGE-As we see everyone’s daily word count, there seems to be a natural competitiveness activated in our writer brains that has us striving to write more.  It’s fun to see your name as lead writer for a day. 🙂

ACCOUNTABILITY-There is something to be said about accountability. Sometimes things come up that get in the way of writing, but when you’re in a BIAW challenge, the last thing you want to do is come up with excuses for not writing. It’s easy to make up excuses to ourselves, but it’s a little more difficult to put it out there for your writer friends to see. I decided to lie on the couch and watch TV all day. I went shopping and bought shoes I didn’t really need to keep from writing. I had a fight with my sister, so I was on the phone gossiping about it all day.  You get it. Even though these things have probably happened to us, we don’t want our peers to see how easy it is for us to be distracted from our writing dreams. 🙂

At the end of the week the leader tallies up all the totals, and if everyone worked diligently to achieve their individual goals, you could have a grand total (depending on the group size) of 45,000, 65,000 or even more words. Equivalent to A BOOK—in a week!

If you haven’t tried “Book in a Week,” let me encourage you to give it a shot. It truly does get you motivated and keeps you writing. Isn’t that what it’s really all about?

Remember to Dream Big!

Lori

9 Comments

Welcome our New Bad Girlz!!!

pink-champagneBad Girlz Write is thrilled to Welcome 3 new Bad Girlz to the blog!!!

Frances Fowlkes

Laura Trentham

Brighton Walsh

It’s with more giddiness and anticipation than is probably healthy that we announce our new bloggers. Please give them a warm welcome. Beginning September 1st, there’s more Bad Girlz for your blogging pleasure!

WOOO HOOO GLITTER BOMB!!!

confetti

5 Comments

Word on the Street

Well, I’ve done it, Bad Girlz of the World. I’ve  started a street team. I know. I know. I was leaning away from establishing a street team in my last post on this subject. But, I changed my mind. Or rather…a phone call with my agent changed my mind.

Let’s have a moment of writer honesty, shall we? Gather ‘round, pour yourself a mimosa, and let’s chat. Four short months ago, I was a debut author. Let me phrase that another way. Five short months ago, romance readers had never heard of me. Four short months ago, they (maybe/hopefully) noticed my first book. Three short months ago, they (maybe/hopefully) noticed my second book. And, less than one month from now, I want them to notice my third book. It’s an issue of discoverability—a big word that makes every new author quake in her boots. But, there’s no need to shake it in your cute boots unless you want to, because discoverability will happen with the help of a street team.

With my sudden change of heart about setting up a street team, what did my agent say to change my mind on this subject? Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Do I need a street team?
Her: It couldn’t hurt.
Me: But, do I need one?
Her: (…I’m going to summarize here because I’m pretty sure she had bullet points involving bookseller online algorithms, the validity of book recommendations when they come from people who are not me, and the realistic reach of my social media.) Yes.

The next day, I established The E. Michels Sparkle Society. (Link for shameless promotion here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/emichelssparklesociety/ ) I created a Facebook group since that seemed like the logical thing to do. I invited friends to join the group. Then, I sat there at my laptop, admiring my creation while thinking thoughts. Thinking what, you ask? What the hell do I do now? I don’t know anything about running a street team! I’d heard readers want the group to offer a forum for open chat about the author’s books. So, I posted a few pictures. But, how often should I post? And shouldn’t there be promotion and goodie giveaways at some point?

Since I had no idea what I was doing, I asked a friend who’d been on street teams before. She said to post things to the group to be reposted by members a few times a week. She said I also need to have the group tag me in their posts so I can see what’s happening. And then, I can send signed copies of my books and sparkly gifts once things get moving in the group. I admit, there are still quite a few gaps in my knowledge. *eyes Bad Girlz of the World who know all the things about all the things* Maybe together we can figure it out?

I’m really excited about my new street team on multiple levels. I’m looking forward to getting to know my readers and I’m looking forward to finding more readers. It’s a win/win situation! So, if you have the debut author-how do I let people know I exist-blues, consider starting a street team.

Have you been involved in a street team? Do you have a street team? I would love more information. Please comment with your experience so we can help one another. 

~ E. Michels, whose 3rd book, HOW TO LOSE A LORD IN 10 DAYS OR LESS, releases on July 1st.
Pre-order your copy today!
A bad girl has to try, right? *winks*

12 Comments

I Love the Eighties by Megan Crane: I Loved This Book, Y’all!

Today, i’m giving my occasional post series Bitching About Books a warm-fuzzy flip. While Bitching is just that: bitching in general, when I say something nice, I do want to be specific. A few things to mention first: this (and any other book I choose to review on this site) is a book that I have purchased for my own pleasure-reading purposes. The books I select may or may not be new releases, or romance, or even by someone still alive. I’ve never met the author, and my opinions are mine simply as a reader. That being said, when I find a book I really like, a little fangirling is called for…. So let me just say….I loved this book, y’all!

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00050]

 

Why I loved it: If you’ve read this blog long enough to get any sense of me at all, it’s obvious. Hello…it’s a romantic comedy where an obsessed fangirl time-travels back to 1987 and meets her ultimate rock star crush! There may be things out there more “me” than that, but I’m at a loss as to what they are. Jenna Jenkins is a thirty-something employee of and 80s video channel, which fosters her borderline-unhealthy obsession over the Wild Boys and especially Tommy Seer, the singer who died in a tragic and mysterious accident back in…you got it…1987! When Jenna time-travels back, she finds herself still at work, but this time, the videos are current, the band is together, and Tommy is alive, but will die in a few months if she can’t stop the person trying to kill him. That is serious, y’all! I mean, if you time-traveled  back to the time when your favorite singer was cute, available, and down to party, you’d be busy enough just boning the dude….amiright???? But Jenna’s got to save Tommy’s life!

Things don’t go as planned since she’s not really his type, and in his eyes, she’s a complete stalker groupie nut-job. From the future. And Tommy’s an asshole to Jenna at first. He makes no bones about his opinion of groupies. But save him, she must, even if he hates her. This is where the story veers from any insert-self fan fiction into reality (or as much reality as the awesome premise will allow). Tommy’s treatment of her is crushing at first. Not only are they not soul mates like she’d envisioned her entire life, she doesn’t even like him. Jenna feels frumpy and inadequate. She’s found herself smack-dab into her ultimate fantasy, and it’s not at all how she’d dreamed, and Tommy’s persona is a complete fake.

But, as they get to know each other, they get closer. When mysterious accidents keep happening too close to Tommy for comfort, he suspects that someone is trying to kill him. As the attempts on Tommy’s life escalate, it becomes harder and harder for Jenna to protect him without revealing the truth he’ll never believe. When he finds out, it devastates their relationship. But Jenna doesn’t care. This is what really sold it for me: her love for him is so deep and multifaceted: the real Tommy, his persona, his music, and all the potential he has to be the artist he truly wants to be–she must keep trying to stop Tommy’s murder if she loses him and her own life in the process.

This book is fun, funny, ridiculous in a great way, has fun with gender stereotypes, and is touching and very heartfelt, too.

What I didn’t love: The cover wasn’t eighties enough! There was a real opportunity missed regarding the tightness of those jeans. And I wished, just for Jenna’s sake, that she could have gotten some better eighties clothes to wear. She spent the entire time frumped-out in Facts of Life Sweaters. I wished she could have gotten herself into some Robert Palmer girl stuff just once. Then again, I guess that’s how we know Tommy fell for the real her. Just sayin’.

 

And now, let’s do an illustrated version!

Here is the band, Duran Duran The Wild Boys. Awww! So cute! Like kittens, but sexy! Which one is Tommy? Whomever floats your boat. There’s a bunch of ’em to choose from.duran duran 1981 a

But…..! Your favorite favorite dies young when you are still a kid!! Noooooooo!!!!

girl crying gif

 

 If only, there was some way to…..

Cher Turn Back Time (1)

But something suspicious is going on…

simon le bon

Oh no!! Look out!!!

view to a kill

So you gotta….

Grace-Jones-View-Kill_610

Damn Straight.

To conclude, I wholeheartedly recommend I Love the 80s. Anyone who doesn’t enjoy this book probably doesn’t like fun. Megan Crane, you are awesome.

Love, a new fangirl,

Syd

4 Comments

Imagine It’s Your Best Friend

Imagine your best friend started going on about her writing woes. She can’t stick with a manuscript. She never finishes anything. All her ideas are stale. She doesn’t write enough per day. She just plain sucks.

What would you say?

Chances are, it’d be something along the lines of, “No! You’re doing so great! I loved that last thing you wrote! I know you can do it, and it’s going to be awesome.” Maybe, if she really were slacking, it’d be more along the lines of, “Okay. Fine. Then what are you going to do about it?” Followed by, “You’re great! I believe in you! I know you can turn this around.”

Either way, the bottom line is that we would never let our best friends put themselves down without either helping to build them back up, or offering to help them get their asses in gear.

So why do we let ourselves do it?

I had a text conversation with my critique partner recently, where she asked me how things were going. I told her, but in and amongst all the little status updates, I mentioned how worried I was about this manuscript actually being terrible, and how discouraged I was by this, and how put off I was by that. She did what any bestie would do, and reassured me that I was making great progress and all my fears were likely unfounded, and that even if they weren’t we’d work together to get the wrinkles ironed out.

I took her reassurances with a grain of salt and changed the subject, asking how her stuff was going. She went on to express her own doubts about how her project was going, and I immediately chimed in to tell her that of course everything was going to work out, because she’s amazing.

Apparently, even my lack of self-awareness has its limits. How quickly did I go from bemoaning all my own problems and assuming the worst about myself to yelling at her for doing the exact same thing???

The great, wise Amy Poehler put out a video a couple of years ago wherein she counseled a viewer on how best to combat body image issues. She first advised the person to be grateful for the things about her body that are amazing and that she can easily be proud of. She then told the person to talk to herself as if she were her own best friend.

It’s a trick us writers could stand to adopt for ourselves.

So I’m challenging myself, and all of you: Whenever you get down on yourself, imagine what you would say to your best friend if she were saying all the stuff you were thinking.

I have a pretty strong feeling you wouldn’t accept that self-defeating crap from her. So let’s not dare accept it from ourselves, either.

8 Comments

The Guide to Critique Partners & Writer Confidantes

Since I’m dropping off Lil’ Man at 8:15am tomorrow and beginning the 2014 #BadGirlsGetaway Weekend at approximately 8:20am…tina amy dance

I thought starting my series on critique partners and writer confidantes was quite timely. I hope to continue this guide in the months to come and I would love everyone’s input. For now, I’ll begin with only my top 3 tips to keep this from becoming an opus.

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of about critique partners already, but I will expound on one simple fact: 

You need Critique Partners (CPs) and Writer Confidantes (WCs) if you’re going to survive the publishing industry with your sanity (somewhat) intact. 

  1. You need more than one Critique Partner.  As you and your CPs grow in your writing and begin to publish, your schedules will get busier. What happens if you only have one CP, your manuscript is ready for that second set of eyes, you’re under time constraints, but your CP is in the crunch time of a deadline? Or on a three week vacation through Europe? That puts you up stinky creek with nary a paddle. Also, a third opinion is often necessary. You love a certain scene or moment, but your CP doesn’t think it works. If you have another CP, you can get their input and make an informed decision. Options and opinions are good. Acquire a few quality CPs. You’re going to need them, and they’ll need you.
  2. CPs and WCs do not have to be one in the same. Sometimes these roles overlap, but that’s not a requirement. Your closest WC in the world may not be one of your CPs. Case in point, I have several writer confidantes who I talk with re: our writing, the joys of it, the issues we’re having, the business of writing and how crazy we feel on a daily basis. I trust these writers; we respect and value each other’s opinion, it’s an awesome personal and working relationship, but we don’t critique for each other. Don’t assume, just because you have a writer BFF, that you’ll make great CPs. Sometimes it works that way, other times it doesn’t, and that is oooookay.
  3. Test the waters before committing to a CP. I recently found a new CP and we really clicked. She writes in my genre so I asked, “Hey, will you read over my first few chapters and let me know your thoughts?” As soon as I got her partial critique back, I knew I wanted her to critique the whole thing. Had it not been a good critique style fit, it was only a few chapters and we would’ve remained WCs – no harm, no foul. Once she finished her WIP, she requested the same of me. I critiqued 30 or so pages, returned them and then, a week or so later, she asked me to crit the entire manuscript. It was a good CP fit for both of us, but we didn’t dump an 80,000 word novel on each other first thing. Don’t manuscript dump on anyone, not even your CPs of years, but we’ll discuss more about that later.
tinaamysunglasses

There’s absolutely no reason for this gif besides the fact that I’m hyper giddy about BGW wkend and I just wanted to use it. 🙂

What about you? Do you have a gaggle of critique partners or just a few? Do you have writer confidantes who don’t critique for you? What’s the #1, most important thing you’ve learned about your CPs or WCs? Do you want to throw petals at them and sing their praises? Because that’s normal. I feel that way all the time. 😀 Please, share your learnings and feels with the class.

8 Comments

It Takes All the X’s and O’s

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m what you might call a “pieces” person. I see things broken down into their tiny parts, all turning together to make a monstrous machine work its best. It’s how things make sense to me, in all aspects of my life. If I didn’t break everything down, I would surely get overwhelmed by the mountain of To Do’s I have. So when I sat down to write my #BGBlitz Game Plan, I approached it in the same piece by piece method.  All the X’s know what O they’re going after, and that QB is going down!

Jenna P.’s #BGBlitz objective:  To write my next manuscript in ten weeks.

X1. Perception, perception, perception.

I’m not gonna lie; this seems like a hopeless feat.  Ten weeks?  It took ten months… times two…to write my last manuscript.  How the hell am I going to pump out 95,000 words in ten weeks?

I’m going to trick myself into thinking it’s not that bad.  Write an entire manuscript in 10 weeks? Highly impossible. Write 10,000 words a week? Unlikely. Write 1,500 words a day? Definitely doable.  I got this!

X2. Stick to the schedule.

Some people can’t survive without their to do lists, and I can’t survive without my schedule. I think this is another perception, really. If I can show myself that there are, in fact, enough hours in the day, then I have no excuse to fail. So, I’ve charted out the hours, figured out my summer work schedule, planned for the summer gymnastics hours, asked my family to make a few sacrifices, and I’ve got something I think will work!  I won’t bore you with the details….but it’s a work of art.

X3. Accept that the bed might not get made.

I’ve made myself a promise: For ten weeks, I’m not going to feel guilty about the house not being perfect. I’m going to set a few chores for my kids, talk to my family about expectations, and called in a few favors to get by. We will survive.  Dust bunny’s, defeated.

X4. Sacrifice a personal day or two.

As doable as 1500 words a day sounds, I know how easy it is to fall behind. If that happens (and I’m sure it will), I’ve given myself permission to take a “me” day to get caught up. I have plenty of time banked, and am fortunate enough to work in a career that allows me some flexibility.  Now is as good a time as any to use it!  Besides, writing is kinda like a vacation anyway.

X5. Limit my querying/internet/twitter stalking to two days a week.

I once spent fifteen minutes zooming in on a picture an agent had uploaded to Twitter that happened to have her computer screen in the background JUST to see if they manuscript she was reading was mine.

Admit it…you’ve done it too.

Besides the glaring fact that this is borderline obsessive, it’s a waste of time! What would I have done if it would have been my manuscript?  Nothing!  So as hard as it is for me to “turn off the porn,” (A little FRIENDS reference for you all there) I gotta do it. It’s a heavy distraction.

So there’s my game plan!  Not glamorous by any means, but like I said – I need to see the pieces.  All my X’s and O’s are gunning toward the QB.  Let’s DO this thing!

What’s your #BGBlitz game plan look like?

Keep Writing! – Jenna P.

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