The Coileáin Chronicles

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Maybe This Time

Happy New Year, everyone! May it be somehow better than that dumpster fire known as 2016.

This is my now-traditional start-of-the-year post in which I lay out my big goals for the coming year. (note: these are just the broad, ultimate goals. The breakdown as to how I might actually accomplish said goals does exist, but for brevity’s sake, I don’t share it in this post.)

Usually, this post begins with a recap of how well I did with the goals from the year before, but we’ll be skipping that portion this time around. Mostly because I have a lot of the exact same goals. Mostly because I failed to accomplish them the first time around.

But it’s okay. I’m totally cool with it. Really.

no-it-not-okay-gif
Well…maybe not.

Onto the goals! First up, as always, is…

The Writing Goal

Publish Second Nature.

As it was featured on various social media sites multiple times over the last year, you may remember this picture:

20160101_152815 (Medium)
It was taken on the first of January 2016, and marked the start of my editing process. Turns out, I can post it again today because I. Am. Still. Editing. Part of this is because of the amount of time I was forced to take off last year, but a larger (and much more important) part is that I’m not yet happy with it. I can’t put out a book I’m not happy with, so that’s that.

As of this post, I have nine scenes across five chapters still awaiting my attention. Four of which I have absolutely no idea how to improve to my satisfaction. (There’s a woman in my critique group who believes I have some kind of manuscript dysmorphia. Which is probably a blog post in itself.) The other scenes are, in theory anyway, easier fixes. Just time-consuming.

At any rate, finishing these freaking edits once and for all is Priority #1.

Then I’ll worry about the rest of it. (Except that’s kind of a lie. I worry about everything all the time.)

I’m aiming for a May 30th release. I know that’s only five months away. And I know I’m probably just going to end up watching as it sails on by, but I have a book fair event scheduled for the start of June, and I would really love to have Second Nature ready for that event. Again, I don’t know how realistic a goal this is (It’s not. At all.) but go big or go home, right?

The Reading Goal

Read 40 books this year.

This goal just keeps shrinking and shrinking. I used to set much larger reading goals, but keep on falling short. Last year, I only managed to read thirty-something books. Low thirties, even. Not my best showing. I must improve in this area.

The Fitness Goal

A few years ago, I was actually in a good fitness routine. Regular work-outs, actual willpower when it came to oversized baked goods, that kind of thing—and I was healthier and happier. (I think. It’s been a while.) And then, something happened. I don’t remember what the something was, but I fell out of the habit, and it’s gotten worse since I’ve been living in this ridiculous, entirely-too-warm, swamp state Florida. (I do not like to go outside in Florida. I like to sit in front of my air conditioner and weep.)

Hence, my goal is to get back into that fitness routine. Some way, some how. Probably not jogging, though…

Ann on Jogging

The De-Cluttering Goal

This is probably pretty self-explanatory. There’s way too much clutter in certain parts of the house (i.e., the rooms I happen to inhabit. I don’t know why.) and I would like to change that. Or, at least improve on it. We’ve been in the Florida house for almost two years now (whimper…) and I still have a bunch of stuff in boxes. Which means I could probably get rid of all of it. Most of it. Well, maybe just some of it.

Anyway, it’s time to get organized and whatever. This goal, I like to think, will become Priority #1 once Second Nature actually makes it to the proofreader. I’ll need something else on which to focus then…

We’ll see how it goes, I guess.

Well, except for the books and weaponry, of course...

Well, except for the books and weaponry, of course…

And on that note, I am outta here. Those edits will not complete themselves. I should know…I’ve certainly waited long enough for that to happen.

Did you set any goals for 2017?

The Year of Doing Better (The 2016 Edition)

Happy New Year, everyone!

This is my now-traditional post where I lay out my goals for the brand-new year. I have a lot planned for this year, partly because I like to set myself big and challenging goals, but it’s mostly because I had a pretty terrible 2015, where goals were concerned.

I now feel the need to make for that.

So here we go…

The Writing Goals

1. Publish Second Nature.

If you follow me on other social media sites, you may have already seen this picture:

20160101_152815 (Medium)
That is my manuscript—all 841 pages, and 325,000 words of it. I’m aiming to edit approximately 60 pages a day (Naturally, I’m already behind) with the hopes of getting it into the hands of the beta readers in February (Do you hear that, beta readers of mine? I’m coming for you…). After that I don’t know. There’s just darkness and some dragons (Name! That! Reference!) but should we get through the darkness and the dragons, we’ll working toward publication.

2. Complete first draft of Full Circle.

Full Circle is book three in my fantasy series. There’s currently no real plan for it because the events of Second Nature blew the original plan to smithereens. So this year will be about figuring out a new plan and getting the damn thing written. I honestly don’t have a lot of faith that I can accomplish this goal this year, given the other writing goal that’s in play, but I’m going to be working on it anyway, so why not make it a goal?

The Reading/Blogging Goals

1. Read 50 books this year.

I really dropped the ball on the reading goal last year. I had a goal of 60 books, and only managed about 32. My personal worst, by a long shot. This year. the number is set at 50 in order to accommodate that whole “publishing a book” goal I have. I will admit, though, it kind of makes me feel like a slacker.

2. Be better about reviewing the books I read.

I used to do this all the time, but for some reason I fell out of the habit of doing so. I need to correct that. There’s really nothing more to be said.

3. Be better about updating this blog.

My reading and reviewing were not the only things to be neglected last year. My Pet Blog was woefully ignored, so I’d like to get back to my old blogging schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday, with Fridays being set aside for guest posts. So if you’re an author out there with a book or two or twelve that you’d like to promote, please let me know! Otherwise, I might have to talk about all the TV I watch.

The Fitness Goals

1. Walk, run, or bike at least 750 miles this year.

Another goal I neglected last year. Don’t want to do it again. I’m not off to a very good start, but I can totally catch up. Probably.

2. Eat healthier.

I add this goal to the list every damn year. I have yet to accomplish it. But perhaps 2016 will be my year. Probably won’t because I have zero willpower where cake is concerned, but it makes me feel better if I at least say I’m going to attempt it. But stranger things have happened, so who knows?

I do. I know.

And on that happy note, I’m going to sign off for the day. I still have a good 700 pages to read and edit. I wonder how many highlighters and red pens I’ll go through. Place your bets below!!

Come On, Get Happy

Some time toward the end of last month, I managed to do something that I quite honestly never thought I would do.

I finished writing Second Nature.

So, you may be wondering why, if such a momentous occasion occurred, you didn’t see a post filled with some choice Happy Dance gifs such as the following:

Moses Supposes His Toeses Are RosesLeslie Knope Happy DanceJimmy Fallon Dance
And maybe just one more (because I can never resist using this gif when it suits the situations…)

Drunk Ron Swanson
Doing posts filled with Happy Dance gifs has become my habit/tradition upon the completion of a draft. Well, maybe ‘habit/tradition’ is too strong a word/phrase. I mean, I did do it that one magical time that I actually managed to finish a draft, but I didn’t do that post this time. So maybe it’s not a habit or a tradition or anything else.

But whatever you call it, or don’t call it, I didn’t do it this time.

Because, here’s the thing: When it comes to the finishing of this monster novel of mine (and at 325,000 words, it really is a monster), I’m feeling more like this:

Stephen Colbert Unimpressed
Maybe I’m just tired. Or sad. Or both.

Or maybe I’m just not happy with how it turned out.

I mean, I know it’s the third one. Of course it’s the third one. The other two may be contributing factors, but the truth is that I am not happy with how it turned out. I just think I screwed it up.

Now, if I came on the blog and talked about how pleased I was with my work, you’d all be running for the hills trying to escape the invasion of the body snatchers, or whatever, because me being hyper critical of all I do or don’t so (*coughcough* exercise *coughcough*) is just what I do. Along with being sarcastic and worshiping at the altar of Joss Whedon.

But I did the Happy Dance post before, so even if I wasn’t particularly pleased with what I had written (and given that I’m still me, you know I wasn’t), I was pleased that I had done the writing. I was pleased to have written.

This time…not so much.

And it’s stupid, too, to feel this way, given that the manuscript in question is in its first draft. First drafts don’t have to be good. They just have to be written. They just have to be done, and I did that.

So why am I not happy about it?

Right now, it’s sitting in a drawer where it will remain until I decide to look at it again. It’ll be a month, at least. Probably two. Maybe three. Maybe I’ll never look at it again.

Probably not that last one.

Time away between drafts is a good thing, I think. It allows one to look at a story with fresh eyes, which makes needed edits much more obvious and clear. It is my hope that time away will not only give me those vital fresh eyes but will also get me to that Happy Dance place (I don’t know why I keep capitalizing Happy Dance. It just happens.).

I want this story to be good. Better than good, even. Or, as good as I am capable of making it, I suppose. This story contains my absolute favorite character, and I want to make sure I can do her story justice.

So I’m waiting. Patiently, as only I can.

Sam Winchester Waiting

The Good, The Bad, The Funny

A recap of my week:

The Good


I am somehow cruising through Camp NaNoWriMo. After two weeks of barely keeping pace, I am now days ahead. Days. As in more than one. Four days, to be exact. Now, of course, that I’ve announced it to the world I’ve completely jinxed myself and will spend the next 15 days without a single story-related thought in my head.

But they’re there at the moment, and I hope they stick around for the rest of the month. Seriously, I have no idea how this is happening. I have no idea where my 30,000+ words thus far have gone in this manuscript. I’m also starting to suspect that 50,000 words will not be enough to finish this story, but that’s a different post for a different day. Let me say this, though:  Second Nature is now over 730 pages long (11 pt font, 1.5 spacing, or roughly 282,000 words, if you were curious).

I never thought I’d look at Effigy and think ‘short.’ Never. Not once.

Speaking of Effigy, it’s been almost a year since that novel was released into the wild. Its official book birthday is next week (Monday or Wednesday, to be as exact as I can in this case.). I’ll be putting the e-book edition on sale then, provided I don’t forget and I can figure out how. I’m also contemplating doing some Effigy-themed posts during this time. So, if there’s an Effigy-themed topic in which you may be interested in reading, please feel free to mention it in the comments.

The Bad


I still live in Florida. I’m still unemployed. I keep checking the want ads every day, but still, no one is hiring a sarcasm specialist. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time…before the college kids go back to school and some store is desperate enough to take on both me and my attitude. Fingers crossed!

The Funny

These videos:

(Please note, the second video contains a not-insignificant amount of profanity. That’s probably obvious, as it’s right in the name. Anyway, it’s NSFW. Or suitable for people who don’t find profanity as amusing as I do. (Yes, I am incredibly mature like that.))

That’s going to do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great weekend!

Music of the Night

A while back, I had an idea that in an upcoming scene I wanted to write that a character of mine would be singing a song. Or, maybe not a song exactly. Originally, whatever this brilliant composition would end up being was supposed to be something like a childhood rhyme that girls might recite on the playground while jumping rope, or something that would be accompanied by an intricate hand jive. “Miss Mary Mack”- esque,  if you will, but darker and potentially creepier. You know, something that would fit in the world of my novels.

So I spent some time following that decision brainstorming lyric ideas, but nothing really took. I had an opening line that I was fond of, but nothing to follow it. Then last week (Last Wednesday, to be exact), Camp NaNoWriMo helped me get to the point where I kind of had to start writing that scene in which the song/rhyme was needed. I couldn’t put it off any longer.
If you follow my author page on Facebook, or my Twitter feed, you may already be aware that I had spent the majority of Wednesday afternoon working on this song—just the lyrics, mind you—because by then, the concept had fully become a song. If you were curious, me working on a song looks an awful lot like me wandering around the house (and possibly Large Mart and the Dinn Wixie (just try to crack that clever code—go on! I dare you!)) trying to think of words that rhyme. Fortunately, none of those words were ‘orange.’
Eventually (thankfully) it clicked, and I successfully wrote the lyrics to a (very short) song.
When I sat down to write those lyrics into my manuscript that night, I started to sing those lyrics to various melodies because that’s just how my brain works. Then I broke out the iPad piano (I miss having a proper piano. That is all.). Then I decided that I just had to write down the music to accompany my lyrics.
Back in high school and early on in my college career, I wrote a lot of music. A lot. But I hadn’t done it a good long while. So long that I had no idea where any of my blank staff paper might have been. (Some day, I will finish unpacking all of my boxes…but it is not this day.)
So, like a crazy person, I made my own:
A sample draft. I need a better eraser.
It was such a productive way to spend a night.
Especially because after I finished the first song, I went right on ahead and wrote a second song. (Who needs to write words anyway?) The second song is about the loss of innocence and demons and dying. So naturally, it ended up as a jaunty-sh jig-like thing.
Because that’s how my brain works.
Anyway, I spend the entire night and most of the next day singing my two brand new songs (That one dog is really glad he’s deaf.) because they were stuck in my head and I was kind of excited about them. In endlessly doing so, I slowly realized that my songs bore a striking slight resemblance to songs I had heard before. Only I couldn’t figure out which ones.
It took me a while to work it out, but Sunday morning in the shower, it finally came to me:
and
So…..It’s possible I won’t be winning a Grammy any time ever. The next drafts will be better. Or maybe they’ll sound like Bon Jovi. Time will tell.
But the whole song-writing experience left me feeling surprisingly good about my WIP. I’m keeping pace with Camp NaNoWriMo, and while there’s definitely some heavy revising in my not-so-distant future, I’m not hating the story as much as I was last month. This is not to suggest that I won’t be in the opposite state of mind next week, or even later on today, but at the moment, I’m happy with how things are going.
How unusual.
That’s going to do it for me today. I’ll try to do better the next time. Until then, all.