Daily Writing and Goal Setting

I’m so lucky to be an author. Writing allows me to tap into my creativity. It stretches my mind.

(It drives me bonkers.)

I can do a writing binge and type my fingers off attempting to put everything whipping around inside my brain onto the page. But, I can also have terrible bouts of nothingness where words Just. Won’t. Happen.

 

At my local RWA meeting, we were asked to write a goal that we would try to reach by the end of three months. I chose a goal I think I can achieve which means I didn’t go for something easy and I didn’t reach too high for fear I might just give up. Do any of you feel like that when you set goals?

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So, this post is essentially my–> How I am going to achieve this goal (OHMYGOD what did I agree to do) list.

1st up: I will attempt to write 3 thousand words at least 5 days a week.

Next. I will turn off the television/netflix/streaming/tablet– anything distracting– from ten in the morning until 2 in the afternoon.

Also, I WILL NOT SELF EDIT each and every scene I write.

Finally, I will follow a loose outline– so I can’t complain about not knowing what the heck to write.

So, I guess that’s a bit out of order. I think I need to write the outline, before I start the daily word count thing.

Well, then, that should give me well over 20k words by the second weekend of April.

I’d take bets in favor of me completing this goal…and would understand those who’d want to put the money in the HAHAHA Christa you are delusional box. But, I can’t, I think that might be a conflict of interest. Plus, you should keep all your money to buy other things like books. Or just to save it, you know.

Now. It is time to settle in my comfy chair and close my eyes. And, hope a story comes into my mind.

Hint–it’s the Kan Asma Princess Anastasya’s story. And, it is going to be one helluva ride.

Maybe I will add a word count ticker, just to keep me honest.

Or not.

Thanks for stopping by.

Christa

 

When you type The End!

I did it! After a 5 year hiatus–thanks rebellious body– I have started a new series and finished two books in it. The Kan Asma Vampires series is going to be coming soon. This is an exciting moment for me. I feel almost giddy. These vampires are truly like my own family, minus the fangs and biting and stuff.

A few things happened when I wrote those awesome words.

First, there was EUPHORIA—

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Then there was a bit of PRIDE:

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I’m pretty sure I CONGRATULATED myself:

 

 

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I felt a bit ADORING:

 

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Then I got ready to start flexing my author muscles and begin the editing WORKOUT:

 

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Then a little WORRY crept in:

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There might have been a little DOUBT floating around my thoughts:

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But I squelched that and got myself back to the YIPPEE I DID IT phase of finishing a novel (2 actually):

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Blurbs to come. And, hopefully, publishing details to follow soon!

Christa

Inspiring Myself: Day 3

Well, I am still working on the scene from yesterday. I spent a lot of time searching for images and not as much time writing. Before I knew it, my kids were home from school and the afternoon rush had begun.

So today I am not going to go overboard on the image searches. I will only search for one photo and it will be my proverbial carrot to finish the scene I am working on. This “carrot” is going to be highly sensual and embody the scene that comes next.

It involves a tight space. A wall. And the romantic couple engaged in something sensual.

(This should be easy. Easier if I turn off safe search mode, too. Probably could be time consuming. Okay must limit myself to searching for only 15 minutes. Right now it is 12:02. I have until exactly 12:17 to get this post done and back to writing.)

Ready. Set. Go……

 

 

 

 

 

wallsensual

 

Oh and because I am nice, here’s a bonus picture:

 

wallhandkiss

 

Okay. Now I really have to get back to the scene at hand, erm, I mean, the scene I’m writing.

Share your sensual wall kiss images if you can find one that you like–operative word there is 1.

Christa

Inspiring Myself Day 2

Wow, yesterday’s inspiration seems to have done the trick. I wrote 7 pages and finished the scene that so needed completing. Mind over matter? Or Subject matter over mind? Hmm.

Today we must think of inspiration for one of two scenes. There’s dastardly and bad. And, there’s naughty and sensual. The romance author in me wants to go look at pretty sensual photos of a couple in complete abandon. The realist in me says get to the difficult stuff, first, then you can play.

So, as I drag my feet to Google Image Land, I reluctantly decide we must search for the bad stuff.

Search Tags: Eerie parking garage, man in the shadows, daybreak–hey that’s a no-go for vampires, evil bad guy (who is sexy), men in suits talking–that can be sexy too…

Alright, now on to the searches. Like yesterday I will post my top favorites and get to writing.

On my first try, Google rewrote my search as Erie Parking Garage. Nope Google. We are not in the Midwest here. We are in Los Angeles. I want eerie.

Scratch eerie. Only a few popped up and they were all copyrighted. So, changed search to “scary.” Seems a lot of people post photos on the internet of their scary, almost vacant parking garage snapshots. Here is one that I think captures this scene, well….
 photo dark_garage_sm.jpg

 

Oh yes, something bad is going to go down in the parking garage. But, what we need now is the actual villain. On to the next image search: A man in the shadows.

Oh, I like this one:

Man in shadows

 

 

 

 

 

And this one:

man in shadows hiddleston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay Sunrise over West Hollywood is a bust. Every photo is not open for sharing and the rights belong to the photographer or stock sites. I found one that works and it is sunrise over Los Angeles. This shall do just fine…

sunrise

 

 

 

And finally, gentlemen in suits. I am sure there must be something perfectly delicious that would work for this scene inspiration. Let’s search.

Wow, this is the hardest search yet. The images I am seeing don’t fit. However, it is helping me to shape the way I see the scene in my mind with every return of a smiling gaggle of men in GQ suits, hippies and boy bands.

Alright it has been over an hour. Have you felt time ticking away? I have. I must get to the manuscript and do my writing before the day slips away from me. So, I concede, the last tag of three men in suits, talking seriously, is not going to magically appear in any image search I do. So, in conciliation I am posting three photos that are fairly close resemblances to the three males in this scene.

Ivan Komar

Ivan Komar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aleksi Komar

 

Aleksi Take 1

 

  Sevastian Komar

Vastian by NirLavi-4

Well then, it is off to write now. Do you have any ideas for image tags that will bring actual results in those searches I had such trouble with? Please share.

Now, I have a dastardly scene to write.

Onward.

Christa

 

Inspiring Myself!

I am so close to the finish line with Sevastian and Thalia.

So. Close.

I know what is happening next in the story. I know there’s going to be a supply closet used for some interesting moments between Sevastian and his female. I know that there is still going to be something dastardly afoot. I know what is going to be the turning point of everything the female is experiencing. I know what is going to occur right before I type the words: The End.

But…Those are all fragmented thoughts in my mind.

It is difficult to admit that I have struggled for several years completing this story and the one before it: Mated in Treason. I am sure I could list my reasons here but I do plan on doing that in a separate post…someday. The biggest issue I have come up with is lack of creativity. I  WANT IT TO BE PERFECT

Side note: Does anyone else struggle with this perfection affliction?

So, in order to combat this debilitating road block in my writing I am going to post daily inspiration for some of the scenes I am working on. In a way, it could be a bit of a visual teaser and also a way for me to connect with these parts of the story. Feel free to add pictures to inspire me, too. The more the better.

Today I am working on a pivotal scene.

  • My heroine is a bundle of nerves.
  • My hero is a bit at a loss at how to fix a situation.
  • They are relying on each other for comfort and encouragement.
    • (Right, this media journey might be harder than I expected, I don’t think a Google image search will be turning back anything worthwhile with those tidbits.

Okay, so maybe I should use some tags.

  1. Tag 1: Romantic couple and comfort

Oh Wow. There’s a ton of them. Here are my top three favorites:

holding hercontemplation holding hands

Aren’t those lovely? They really define the emotion of the scene I am currently writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those images are quite provoking. The colors and images leap off the screen with different tones and messages but they all say one very important thing: Togetherness.

AHA So, this scene should definitely have more of the H/h sharing an intimate togetherness while they face the road ahead.

Well, then, on to the writing.

See, this inspiration thing just might do the trick.

T-minus 4 chapters to go.

Up next…dastardly things! Bad guys. Bad news. Bad situations. Think about tags for that one and do share. I would love to see your image results for today’s tag… Romantic couple and comfort. And Tag ideas for tomorrow’s visual inspiration.

Thank you for stopping by.

Christa

All images were found on a Google image search. No copyright infringement intended.

Where research took me:

I love research. It is one of my favorite aspects of being an author. Learning about foreign lands, historical events and various cultural traditions always excites me. Recently, my research has taken me to diverse places and some of it was exotic while others were a bit creepy. Today I want to share a few of these research jaunts with you so you can have a glimpse into some of the things I am working on currently.

First up:

If you haven’t heard our exciting news, Vivien Jackson and I have contracted another sweet Regency for Ellora Cave’s Cotillion Christmas series. This story was a challenge to write mainly because our hero was not your typical British aristocrat. No, indeed not. He hails from India. So, you can imagine my excitement at hunting down information to include in the story. Some of those aspects were extremely intriguing and sometimes I found myself lost in the early 1800’s far away in Bengal. One of the distracting research jaunts I took while gathering details for A Christmas Scheme took me to Regency era India.

Fort William Kolkata:

Fort William 1760
There are many interesting locations in Fort William. Also, the history of the British colonization there is extensive. Here is a glimpse of places, events and people that I researched for A Christmas Scheme:

  1. Richard Wellesley
  2. William Carey
  3. Fort William College
  4. Saint Peter’s Church
  5. Fourth Anglo-Mysore war

On top of our Hero’s native land we found ourselves knee deep in snow during a cold winter at an English country estate. Vivien and I mused many different aspects of this Christmas setting and that came with a Google image search so that we could imagine the way the estate looked, the various entry points and an important building that plays a role in our romantic couple’s interactions. There were fascinating links about architecture including gables and eaves, gates and latches, corridors and libraries that enthralled me.

What to wear in winter!

What to wear in winter!

And, don’t get me started on fashion for men or women, British or Bengali…I’ll spend way too much time finding every last detail from stitches to cloth because I want our story to be accurate to the Regency period. I will say that I really enjoyed learning the cultural words for Bengali clothing. I think I spent an entire day on Google Books trying to find the correct word for trousers in Bengali. If you want to know, check out A Christmas Scheme when it comes out in November 2014!

 

 

 

 

Bite me.

(Thank you Stefan Salvatore for that fangtastic segue.)

It is always fun to switch from the Regency to my vampires. The Kan Asma Vampires series has a race of people who have extensive histories. This allows me the opportunity to research a plethora of things. In my current WIP, Gunnar is not of the typical Turkish decent that the majority of Kan Asma people come from. He is half-Viking and I had fun looking up the history of trade and shipping routes, language and customs as well as names from Scandanavia. But, the aspects of the Kan Asma culture that I really enjoy researching are always those from the Abkhazian rites and traditions. Though I don’t hold to these rites completely, my Kan Asma vampires have roots with this culture and they’ve adapted many of the ceremonies to fit their own rituals. Recently I looked up a few things that will be included in Gunnar’s story.

  •  Birth traditions, wedding ceremonies, death rituals all tied into the Kan Asma mating rites and the Goblet Ceremony Circassian Wedding
  • Metal work and weaponry daggers and gold goblets
  • Food glorious food…kan asma food

Oh, and after a very long time trying to figure out an integral scene I finally found what I was looking for and it turned out to be something I never expected.

Leeches. leech
(Yes, I did spare you the icky disgusting real photos because they make me cringe!)

Well, there you have it. Can you imagine living inside my brain on research? It is full of random things like Bengali pants and creepy worm-type creatures that suck blood.

Now, I am sure there is something else I am supposed to be researching today.

Oh yeah, The Viper Room! Google here I come.

Have a great week everyone.
Christa

Christmas Traditions: Caroline

A Christmas CarolineThe second short story released in the Christmas Traditions Cotillion from Ellora’s Cave is my very own story, co-written with the stellar Vivien Jackson: A Christmas Caroline.

Writing this story was an incredible adventure that took us on a research journey that often had us excited by new and unique discoveries from the Regency period during Christmas.

Blush sensuality level: This is a sweet romance (kisses only, no sexual content).

Lady Caroline Selwyn’s world centers on her father, so when she receives dire news of his health—two days before Christmas, no less—her first thought is to weep. Her second is to make this Christmastide the best he’s ever known. She rummages in memory for festive traditions, plans charades, purchases bean cakes…and acquires an affianced husband. Oh, not a real one—what she does is convince Papa’s physician to pretend an engagement, for just a few weeks.

Doctor Samuel Avery can hardly credit his complicity in this madcap deception. Whatever was he thinking? But it does seem to improve the comfort of the earl, and his own sisters are in alt at the idea of his impending nuptials. And he has admired Caroline for so long, the role of her betrothed is easy to play. In fact, the scheme seems in every way perfect. Except that it is not true.

A Blush® Regency romance from Ellora’s Cave

Available now: Ellora’s Cave | Amazon | All Romance e-Books

March Joy Challenge Day 3

The Joy-Dare for Day 3 is to find three blessings in things that you wear.

 

Luckily, wearing things happens all day long. And, I know that there are some special things that I wear that are blessings and that bring joy.

 

 

1. For my birthday my oldest gave me a necklace that touched my heart. She bought it with her own money and planned for the delivery date after I left for San Francisco. It is a pendant necklace that has the storybook from Once Upon a Time. That’s my favorite show. And every time I see the necklace it brings a smile of joy to my face.

2. It might seem like a typical response for this challenge but it is something that touches my heart and means so much to me, so number 2 is my anniversary band. It is the exact cut of the diamonds that I like and the gold band is shiny but simple. I got it for my tenth anniversary. We are nearing year 17 and the ring is still as beautiful as it was when hubby first put it on my finger.

3. After that sappy little joy bringing item, the third entry will probably seem ordinary. I’ve never had boots before. I thought my disability would make it difficult to walk. But for Christmas and then again on my birthday I got boots. And I love them. They make me feel pretty and stylish and taller. That combination brings me joy.

Day 4 Looks like a huge challenge: 3 gifts that are hard to give thanks for. I promise that I won’t choose PMS as one of the entries.

Is there anything you are wearing that brings a smile to your face?

Blessings.

Christa

March Joy Dare: Day 2

The challenge for Day 2 is to find three things that are joyful and the color green.

I thought this would be a huge challenge.

But, I was optimistic. Here’s what I found:

1. First thing in the morning of Day 2 I found a green thing to be joyful for–coffee, specifically Green Mountain. For my birthday I was given a big box of my favorite flavors: Spicy Eggnog, Gingerbread and my most favorite French Toast.

I thought that number 1 “Green-Joy” was quite simple to find so the next one should be a piece of cake. However, the day began in a rush and there were many frustrating and stressful moments. For several hours, I forgot completely to look for the green challenge. Closer to the afternoon as we were leaving Los Angeles, I remembered that Carmageddon 2013 was tying up the freeways right where I was heading. My next driving choice ended up being the catalyst for my second “Green-Joy” challenge.

2. I was about to get on the freeway when my daughter said she was hungry. Figuring that I could find a place for a quick snack, I bypassed the freeway entrance and took a city street. Unbeknownst to me, that decision saved me hours of horrendous LA freeway traffic. We sailed down the city street and missed all the congestion. On top of that, we had straight green lights for many miles. It was a joyful drive home.

 It took a while for me to recognize the third of my green joy moments. It happened when I went to tuck my oldest into bed. I was sitting on her bed and just talking with her when something caught my eyes.

3. I have to smile as I realize this is a green-joy blessing. Crocodiles and alligators, oh my. But, those stuffed animals and other knick-knacks are my daughter’s favorite animals. They define who she is–unique, creative, driven, and artistic. I know it sounds strange, that a crocodile collection can show all those descriptions but how many little two-year old girls like crocodiles instead of dollies? Mine did and still does at age 14 going on 15. She even won a collection award at the fair. Whenever I see a crocdile or alligator, it reminds me of the special and wonderful girl that I’m priveledged to be the mom of.  (The following is a photo of her collection.)

The challenge for Day 3 seems like it should be a simple one. It has to do with something you wear.

Has anything green brought you a blessing of joy today?

Christa

Finding Joy in March

I have taken the joy dare for the month of March. It is part of a greater challenge that helps you find 1000 joyful things in your life throughout 2013.

The first day of March, we’re asked to find 3 events/things at 3pm. These are the joyful moments that I was blessed by:

1. Right about 3pm we found out our dancer daughter had booked a great commercial that she was so excited to be chosen for.

2. My mother-in-law unexpectedly brought over a tulip bowl that is left inside the house and they bloom right there in the bowl.

3. My family told me that they would be taking me out for a special birthday dinner at the Pirates’ Adventure.

Having a time that is designated for acknowledging a joyful moment in my life helps to ground me and shows me that there are many small things that happen that shape who I am.

Day 2 is an interesting challenge. “Green” is the keyword.