Earlier this month I talked a little about writing and organization and I am now figuring out what I can personally change to get my own writing more organized. First off I have developed a spreadsheet to help me track my daily and monthly writing and words. This way I can see concrete proof of what I do each month, the progress that I am making. I am going to have a spot for my blogs, am going to count the words in each project I am working, see what kind of work that I am actually doing.
I am also going to attempt to outline a little more on each of my upcoming projects. Maybe not in depth outlines, but I want to have some general scenes already worked out as I begin writing. I want to see if this helps me write more and faster. I have a day job, health issues to worry about, a husband and extended family, art, basically a busy life and I want to learn to optimize my writing time since I have so many stories that I want to get out into the world.
I am also starting to track my social media work, which is something that is indie authors need to do in order for people to discover our work. I am working on marketing more. I am trying to build towards more success. Revamping my writing and marketing processes are just one more step in bettering my life, which is my main focus for the rest of this year and beyond.
As I continue to revamp and better my life and my health, that of course means that I need to look at and improve my eating and exercise routines. Now if you have read my blog before, you may know that I have had many health setbacks and have had to restart my fitness routines over and over again. Well I guess the important part is that I keep dusting myself off and starting over, which is what I have been doing this past month.
First off, for the diet part I have been doing intermittent fasting. Now I don't want to get any messages saying that I am starving myself or how unhealthy it is. I have done my research and this method of eating not only works well for people with health ailments and it seems to be working really well for me thus far. I used to have stomach issues if I ate too early or too late. Those have virtually disappeared. I have lost 8.5 pounds, which is amazing as I have not seen the scale budge since my hysterectomy. I still eat enough and no foods are off limits, though I am trying to eat more mindfully and eat healthier more often than non-healthy. That's it. It's simple and something that I think that I can personally live with for the rest of my life.
As for the exercise part of my revamp, well that is still a work in progress. I have started off slowly as U have had a recent physical setback. So right now I am working on walking more. I am getting at least 30 minutes most days of the week. I feel that is a pretty good start and I am slowly adding, trying to get back to 10,000 steps or more per day. I know that I will get there, it just takes time. I am again concentrating on health and something that I can do for a lifetime, not trying to look like a supermodel in my 40s. I am also starting to add yoga back into my life and feel so much better for it. I am starting slowly, but soon I will have incorporated yoga into my life at least three times a week.
I am hoping that these small but sustainable changes are what I need to get my health back on track. These are also issues that I will be talking about in the vlog that I am starting soon on Youtube. Let me know what you think and how you stay healthy in the comments below.
Amara’s move home is anything but fun: with her mom recovering from a cancer diagnosis, her only goal is to find a job in her field and support her family. But once she lays eyes on Travis Holt, she realizes her time in LA might be a lot more tolerable if she could use him to take her mind off things.
For Travis, there’s only ever been one rule: stay away from his best friend’s sister. And it wasn’t a problem until Amara moved back west all grown-up and sexier than sin. When she comes strutting around his gym every day, it’s impossible to keep his eyes—and hands—off her.
The one-off fling Amara imagined isn’t possible with a God like Holt. And once Eddie finds out, they’re suddenly cast into the turbulent waters of Something More, the unfamiliar terrain where Amara has to confront whether she can truly support someone whose career is the antithesis of everything she’s worked for in the non-profit world.
BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breaking-the-rules-ember-leigh/1127102016
The elevator doors opened at the top floor, and he moved but froze before his foot left the elevator. His towel. Downstairs, slung over the back of the chair in his bedroom. Fuck. He needed it, and he should go back for it.
But Amara was there. Alone. Naked, probably. And just as gorgeous as ever.
Maybe he should abandon the towel. Pretend like he didn’t care, didn’t need it.
He pushed the elevator’s Down button. Definitely needed the towel.
As the elevator descended, he gnawed the inside of his lip. She was probably changed by now. How long did it take someone to get into a bathing suit? Seconds, these days. Besides, what did he care about Amara’s naked body?
Nope, that didn’t help things. Guilt roiled around inside him. He couldn’t have these feelings for Eddie’s sister, even if they were strictly physical. He needed to act like—and believe—she was no different than any other girl.
The doors slid open, and he hurried toward his door, fumbling with his key in the lock. It opened with a quiet whoosh, and he stumbled toward his bedroom.
He rapped his knuckles against it. “Hey, you in there?” Turning the knob, he pushed on the door. No response.
Pushing farther, he let the door swing open a little. He peered inside, eyes adjusting to the low lighting of the bedroom.
Amara’s full, naked backside greeted him, all curves and roundness, gorgeous lines and sweet caramel. His jaw dropped.
She looked over her shoulder at him, the fuck-me eyes back out to play.
He pulled the door shut, heart pounding. Leaning his forehead against the door frame, he gripped the door handle so hard, his arm shook. Don’t go in there, don’t go in there, don’t you fucking dare go in there.
“Sorry, Amara.” He struggled to make his voice clear. “I thought you were done. Forgot my towel.”
“It’s okay.” Her voice came out muffled through the door. “Like you haven’t seen a naked body before.”
He drew a low, shaky breath. True, he had seen plenty of naked bodies before. None that he’d wanted to ravage as much as hers in recent times, though.
The handle turned, and the door swung open. He didn’t move—couldn’t move—from where he leaned. The glimpse of her nakedness had stolen his strength. He was useless now. Amara looked at him, grinning mischievously.
“I’m almost ready.” She gathered her hair to one side, looking him up and down.
Heart still pounding, his gaze careened over the soft arc of her hip as it transitioned from thigh to waist. He knew what she was hinting at. He could taste it like a shark near blood. He’d eat her up—all of her. From head to toe. He gulped.
But she’s off-limits. “That’s a pretty fancy bathing suit.” He sauntered past her, struggling to keep his eyes off her as he walked past.
“Don’t you like it?” She stuck out a hip.
He allowed himself to look her up and down again. It was a one-piece with most of the center cut out. It had only a strip of fabric connecting the breastbone to the pelvic area, which meant it highlighted unnaturally the hourglass curve of her body.
“It’s nice.” He meant to continue to the chair where his towel lay draped, but his feet wouldn’t take him away from her. He gritted his teeth, unable to keep the beast of desire at bay any longer.
“Oh, that’s your only opinion? Just ‘nice’?” She lifted a brow.
“You look sexy as fuck, Amara.” His voice came out low. She grinned, pulling her hair into a small bun. He reached for her hand, stilling her. “Leave your hair down.”
She did as he said, blinking up at him with a sexy type of honesty, as if she waited for him to lead the way.
He dragged his fingers down the side of her arm. “Be careful with this.” His hand smoothed over the curve of her exposed hip, and her breath hitched. He cinched her body to his, vision going spotty for the briefest of seconds. “It’s powerful.”
She laughed a little, but it faded fast. She danced her fingertips up the sides of his arms, making his cock twitch.
“So are these.” She trailed her hands over the arcs of his biceps, the heat of her breath against his chin. He brought both arms around her, making his muscles bulge; she fit like a puzzle piece.
He hovered his lips over her forehead, desperate for contact but liking the prickling tension of withholding just a little bit longer. He pushed his hands over her hips.
“Can I test out the suit?”
She nodded. “We better make sure it passes muster.”
He drew a ragged breath as he palmed the taut melons of her ass cheeks. He pressed her into him, rocking his hips in a lazy circle. She had to feel his cock by now.
“Pretty nice.” His voice came out almost a growl, and he dipped his head to nuzzle the sweet hollow of her neck. She inhaled sharply, just as he sensed the front door opening.
He stilled. The front door opened and then shut. He swore and dropped his hands. She cleared her throat, stepping away from him, reaching for the pile of clothes discarded on the bed.
“Holt, where you at?” It was Lex. “Dude, we need the ice.”
Travis rubbed his face, trying to efface the lingering memory of Amara’s perfect ass cheeks singeing his palms. “I’m coming.”
Amara arched a brow.
Travis opened his mouth to say something, but had no idea what. Sorry, you’re too fucking hot? He headed out into the kitchen, where Lex pulled a bag of ice out of the freezer.
“Starting with Jack,” he said, as though this explained everything. He followed Lex out of the apartment, Amara’s scent still whispering through him.
They boarded the elevator, and the spell broke. This was turning out to be the delicious nightmare he’d envisioned—denying the simple urges he felt for Amara while in front of her overprotective brother, almost overruled by carnal desires at every turn.
She was too hot. And she felt too damn good in his arms.
This was a lot of trouble already.
Pre-Order Now for $0.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo
Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young. A native of northern Ohio, she currently resides near Lake Erie with her Argentinean husband, where they run an Argentinian-American food truck. In addition to romance novels, Ember also writes travel memoirs and occasionally updates a couple of blogs. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga yoga, hops around the world, and eats lots of vegetables.
I'm starting up the Ask the Author part of my blog once more. Please leave me your questions and I will do my best to answer them. I just ask that you keep the questions writing or book related.
I am happy to announce that I am back to making art. In fact I have even agreed to be part in two upcoming art shows. One is a Halloween themed show on October 20. The other is an 80s themed show set for November 10. Both will be at the OT Circus Art Gallery in Downtown Albuquerque. Below are the event links from the FB pages. It would really mean the world to me if some of my Albuquerque friends can make it to show some support and have some fun at the same time. I have most of my pieces for the Halloween show ready to go, though I may redo one or two. I am just working on sketches for the 80s show now. Tell me what you think of the gallery below. I need to narrow my Halloween pieces down to three plus one for the raffle that will be held that night. I need your input.
Today I thought that I would do another character interview, this time with Zanna from my romantic fantasy Quest for Redemption. Let the fun begin!
So Zanna, tell us a little bit about yourself, how do you want people to see you?
Well truth be told I used to be an elitist. Being born into the royal family of elves, the rulers of our realm, well it made me a little short sighted for a long, long time. Recently I had an epiphany and am trying to mend my ways, to make a difference, to make up for wrongs that I have helped commit in the past. Now I want to be seen as someone who is fair, someone who cares about all the races and wants to protect the good among us.
What brought about this epiphany? Rumor has it there was a romantic interest involved.
*blushing* I had already started thinking about my own personal path to redemption before, it started with a lively sprite that I met. However, I did meet someone who opened my eyes to so many things.
What is next for you? What do you see in your future?
I have many obstacles in my way, but I would like to say that I see peace and happiness in my future. One day I will become ruler of the magical realm and I dream of being a just one. And of course I want a family of my own.
As a continuation of my blog last Friday, I am continuing my pursuit to better my life and get my life together even at the age of 40. Sometimes that means making some hard choices. Recently I had to decide on a different career path for the day job. While I did enjoy my old job and there were many perks and great people, some of the actual aspects of my job were not good for my health. I need something a little easier on my body, something with normal hours. This was a hard decision for me to make, it meant saying goodbye to something that I am good at and the people involved. I have come to the point in my life where consistency is important to me. I am now in a position to have a normal schedule, to fit regular self care and exercise into my routine, to have scheduled hours for my writing work, to have a more normal social life. I feel that this is the best decision for me, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't a hard choice to make. But sometimes the hardest decisions to make are the best for you in the long run.
Lately I have been thinking about a starting a lifestyle vlog about life in general, but focusing on diet, fitness and organization. See I am 40 and feel like I am just starting to get my life together and I kind of want to explore that more. Sure this blog is mostly about books and writing, but I have to fit that into my life so I think it might be relevant. Most of this would be on a youtube channel if I do decide to vlog. Will anyone want to watch it? Probably not but I think that it could help hold me accountable, help me follow my own progress as I continue to try to better myself and my life. It's something new to keep me engaged with my own self improvement. So readers, would you watch lifestyle vlogs from me? Let me know in the comments.
A big question for any writer is when is my story done? How do you know that your story is done? How many drafts do you do before you consider your work ready to head out in the world? Do you use beta readers and if so, when in the process? Does having a deadline make it easier to send your word babies off to your editor or publisher? Do you get stuck revising so that you are never really finished?
I am going to attempt to answer these questions for myself here. Personally I consider my story done when I don't feel like I can make it any better at the moment. If as an author with my current skills and with three rounds of edits with my editor I feel that this is my current best work then yes, I am finished. As far as drafts, since I use word and track changes when working with my editor, I feel that my one draft is constantly evolving into the next draft. I make changes almost every time I get on the computer to work on a piece. I do use beta readers often, usually before I send it to an editor or publisher, kind of after I have self edited as much as I can. Having a deadline really does help me finish a project. Even when I self publish I give my editor a date by which I will get my manuscript to her and then tell her to smack me metaphorically speaking if I miss that deadline. It really helps and my editor is more than happy to get on my case to finish a story. This stops me from revising forever.
Personally I don't think that any story of mine is ever completely done, just as done as it can be at this moment. Sometimes you just have to stop revising and stressing and know that you have put out the best work that you possibly can as the author you are now.
This week I am focusing on lessons learned at Bubonicon and today I am going to talk a little about writing and organization. I attended a panel about work flow and this was one of the main topics covered. Stuff like the classic are you a plotter or a pantser, do you outline your work, etc. The panel was split on these subjects, but one thing that everyone stressed was that if you plot or not, if you like to outline or loath them, you still need some sort of organization to become a successful author.
Now I personally am a pantser who rarely outlines anything. I usually have a general idea of where the story is heading and know the ultimate end, but everything else is all a surprise to me when writing. It keeps writing fun for me, but that is not to say that I am completely unorganized. I might not outline, but I usually have some notes about scenes that need to take place. When it comes to writing series, I keep pretty detailed notes about what happens in each book so that I can keep expanding the world. I guess you could say I sometimes reverse outline books so that I can write a good sequel when the time comes. Reverse outlining is also a good way to see if something just doesn't fit in the flow of the story. That is one of the reasons I am considering doing this for all of my books, even stand alone ones.
To my fellow authors out there, how do you organize your writing? Do you plot? Do you outline? What do you think about reverse outlining? Let me know in the comments.
Author, artist, jewelry maker and all around creative person. I write in many genres and have a lot of fun doing so. Please take a look around and enjoy!