Honing My Craft: Writing on This Blog!
While I refused to make resolutions this year, I’m determined to reach individual goals. I know, I know, it’s the same thing, but not in my head. It’s a psychological mind trick for me. If I call it a resolution- the first time it’s broken, that’s it, I give up. If I call it a goal, in my mind, it’s never broken, I’m always working toward something, striving to be better.
One of the things that are imperative to me is honing in on my writing skills. With this is mind, my goal is to accomplish this through several activities and blog about them to you guys. I can’t think of any better way of getting better at something than practicing it, can you?
When I first started writing book reviews, I was terrified. At first, they were very simple, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to look for in books, what made a book well written. So, I started researching about book reviews, stalking (I meaning following authors), and book blogs to figure out the world of book reviews. I googled it. I google everything I want to know.
Now, I’m on my third full-length novel. What do I do to improve my skills you may ask? I’ll tell you! One thing is, I read books outside of my genre, as well as my genre. I read books that are known to be well-written works of art, break them down and study what makes them extraordinary. Another thing, I’m constantly looking up topics of interest on the internet that I have questions about and getting books about writing.
Advice for anyone who wants to start writing is this, START. Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back. Just write, start small. Write your feelings out in a journal, and read. It’s very important that you read if you want to write. The more you read, the more likely you are to develop an eye for what makes a piece good reading material. Pay attention to word choices and sentence structures on books that are known to be well written.
Lastly, find a great editor. They’re worth their weight in gold. I have a list of a few on my resource page; I use Flaming Pen Editing for my books. This isn't only about spell check and punctuation, so you need to get someone who knows what they are doing.
These are only a couple of things that you can do to improve your writing skills; I'm aware there's multitude of others. Please comment below with your tips!
Thorns & All,
Hey! Greetings from Texas where everything is bigger. I hope everyone had a blessed holiday season and are looking forward to a new year filled with possibilities. The new year has always been a time of renewal. I know I've said before, last year was so bad, that this new year has to be better. I'm sure my year wasn't that bad in reality, but it always seems to be the worst at the time when I am going through something. So, this got me thinking about R E S O L U T I O N S! Do you make them? Do you keep them, if so, for how long?
According to my QUICK research this morning, only about 45% of Americans make resolutions. That number seems low to me. Everyone I talk to always has at least one thing that they are going to make a resolution to change. Here is what I found in my research to be the top resolutions of 2015:
1. Lose Weight
2. Get Organized
3. Spend Less, Save More
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5. Stay Fit and Healthy
6. Learn Something Exciting
7. Quit Smoking
8. Help Others in Their Dreams
9. Fall in Love
10. Spend More Time with Family
These are all good things to do or quit doing! I've had one or more of these over the years myself. How long I kept my resolution in any given year varies, most of the time, if I have a partner in crime with the same goal, working on it with me it tends to last longer. Let's take losing weight for instance, when I have a friend or loved one taking actions with me, I do so much better staying on track. We communicate with each other about what we are doing to achieve our goals and celebrate each other with every milestone achieved. Isn't that what a resolution is anyway? A goal?
I decided that I'm setting goals for the year and I'm not going to call them resolutions. Too many times I've made resolutions only to break them in a week. Then, I end up saying to myself, oh well you already broke it now, no need sticking to it! Yeah, great attitude to have, right?
So yeah, setting goals. Sigh. EYE-ROLL. If I really want to achieve these goals that I'm going to set, I need to write them down, right? At least every management class I have ever taken has always taught me to write down your goals! Not just a general goal like "I'll be a better person," but instead, it needs to be Specific - "I will volunteer one hour a week," or whatever you goal would have for being a better person.
Make it Measurable- "I will volunteer at the SPCA on Tuesdays at 1:00 pm." I sometime write down steps if I have a big goal or project I'm working on.
Make sure your goal is Attainable- If you can't do that Tuesday at 1:00 pm, choose a different time that works well for your schedule. If you are setting a fitness goal, start out smaller and work yourself up to your goal.
Is your goal Relevant? Relevant goals are realistic but will still push you to grow. As much as I'd love it, I'm not going to sell one million copies of Love Me ~ Without Regret on it's release day this month. (My shameless plug :-)) Making sure you set yourself up for success gives you a greater chance of reaching that goal. If I sell ten copies on release day, I'll be a happy new author. My philosophy is hope for the best, prepare for the worst and expect nothing and you'll never get hurt. Does that make me a pessimist? I guess some might think so, but I believe it makes me a realist.
Time-Bound- Being time-bound means that you set a set frame for your goal. Your goal is for the next day, week, year, or five years.
My goals as of right now for 2016 (Time-Bound): Write at least two books. (Specific) Love Me- Through the Storm and Love Me- a Little Naughty
My books are about 80K words each = 160,000 words / 52 weeks = 3,074 words a week / 7 days a week = 440. So now I have a magic number of words to write each day! Is that doable? On most days I can, but that's defiantly a doable number per week.
This doesn't take into account every thing else that goes into publishing a book but, I also didn't list that as my goal. I wanted to keep it simple! I have more goals in my new career as an indie author and in my personal life too, but I just wanted to break one down for you (and me).
Do you have any goals or resolutions? Do you have any good tips about how to keep goals? Is there something you would like to see an article written about? Comment below and let me know. I'll be teaming up with other authors this year to bring you more giveaways and hopefully interesting topics of discussion.
Thorns & All,
This book Gah! I loved this book! The author really sucks you into the story and makes you jealous of all the time Bailey gets to spend with Cash, your new book boyfriend! Definitely one for the favorites shelf! - Kris Hack, author of The Ascent Series
Couldn't put it down. I love a good romance and this book has that and more! Steamy enough in the right places. Cash and Bailey are great characters, and granny and papa are straight out of every southerners life, whether they were actually YOUR grandparents or not. This book offers real southern charm on every page. It puts you right back home on the end of a dirt road! Renee congrats and I know your Granny and Papa are looking down on their girl with pride. - Amazon Customer
Watch out for the next big indie author! Love Me Like That, by Renee Kenned,y is a "pull you in and take you for an emotional ride", kind of book. The lovely Bailey, torn between what she wants to do with her life, and the responsibility she feels towards her grandparents, resonates within us. Added to her turmoil is the sudden appearance of the new neighbor, a man she is drawn to, but doesn't necessarily fit in with her future plans.
While the main characters, sassy Bailey and strong, but compassionate Cash, make the story a true romance, Kennedy also pulls us into the lives of Bailey's best friend, as well as her grandparents and neighbors. I have my fingers crossed that this means we will learn more about this warm family in future books.
If you like your romance with some southern sass and true-to-life drama, I highly recommend "Love Me Like That." - Maggie Adams, author of The Tempered Steel Series
This debut novel by Renee Kennedy is an amazing story of romance. This story has what all girls dream about when they are little. A Prince Charming who will sweep them off their feet with words you can't help but fall in love. However when we get older, a little (or a lot) of spice and kink is what really we want. Finding both those qualities and now you have your Fifty Shades of Prince Charming all rolled in one. Who wouldn't want that?!
Bailey wants nothing more than to leave behind the country bumpkin life she has grown up in. She thinks by dating Hendrix and becoming the perfect socialite that he wants her to be will make her dream come true. Only she starts to see the real Hendrix once she tells him she has to move in with Granny and Papa to help take care of them. Hendrix treats her like garbage and only wants her for one thing.
Cash and his mom move in across from Bailey and her grandparents. He witnesses how terrible Hendrix treats Bailey. He wants nothing more then to show Bailey what it is to be treated like a woman. Sweeping her off her feet is one thing, but putting her over his knee and smacking that sweet a** is all he can think about.
After an emergency with Granny, Cash is there to help while Bailey is out. It is then that Bailey sees how Hendrix really is. Cash doesn't waste a moment. He is determined to win the heart of this little woman who has snuck up and stolen his heart. The romantic side of Cash is totally swoon worthy. However, it is those hot sensual scenes and not your typical vanilla relationship, that steams up the pages!
Bailey cannot imagine a life without Cage in it. Why did it take her so long to realize the Hendrix was not what she wanted out of life. He was an evil person with an even uglier soul. Cash was the light that woke her up and keeps her smiling everyday. I can't wait to see what Lizzie and Clay's book will bring. Renee has created an amazing story of romance but kept it nice and spicy to all our inner kinks! -Rosie G.
Renee Kennedy did a fantastic job on her debut novel. Love Me Like That couldn't have been a better choice for this book title, as the main character battles with who she is and who she thinks she needs to be. The relationships between Renee's character's makes me miss home and the wonderful people there. Bailey's love for her family grips your heart strings and makes you empathize with her; while Cash gives to the need within Bailey and the desire to be who she truly is. I love books that I can emotional connect with and Bailey hit is home. Fantastic job Renee! - Kay Lindy, author of the Fearing Series
While this story is a romance, it is so much more. At its core, Love Me-Like That is an all encompassing love story centering on love of family and friends as well as romantic love. There are two romantic love stories in this book. Granny and Papa are more in love after a lifetime together than they were in the beginning. Bailey and Cash are finding their way as they start a relationship. They want to have a relationship like Granny and Papa-- A Love Like That.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved reading Granny and Papa's story. Too often, older people aren't portrayed as fully developed characters in love. In this story they are. Refreshing. Bailey and Cash are refreshing as well. They are common, everyday people who actually get to know each other instead of simply being in lust. They are building a solid foundation to anchor their love through the years ahead. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of sizzling hot chemistry in their relationship!
Love Me-Like That is well written and hooked me from the beginning. While it is a standalone, I would love to see another book centering on Cash and Bailey. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
I do have one complaint. I wanted Hendrix to get what he truly deserved. He got off way too easy.
Definitely read Love Me -Like That. It is a true Love Story. - Special Angel
I found Renee Kennedy's debut novel to be entertaining as well as full of depth. At the heart of every fulfilling romance is a spunky heroine and a to-die-for hero and Renee Kennedy delivers hands down, with sweet, sensual country girl, Bailey and handsome true southern gentleman, Cash. But what really made this story for me is the supporting characters. Within the romance of Bailey and Cash is the love story between Bailey's grandparents and how they shine the light for Bailey as she faces some tough choices and hard truths. Love Me Like That is wonderful read with a depth not often found in the plethora of YA/NA romances. I will be looking forward to Renee's next book. - Ruby Merritt, Author
After turning forty a few years back, I noticed several changes in myself. Not only the physical changes that we all laugh about but in how I view the world. I know as we all grow up and mature, we see things differently, and I did too. This reflection came to mind today when I got giddy, like the teenage girl, I was in high school, over getting my first review on Goodreads. I realized how long it's been that I've been giddy- I'm that teenager kind of giddy today!
Thinking on all of these changes, I hope now that I'm a kinder person than before. Not that I was unkind, but I see the world though new eyes. Some of this is thanks to my son Brett, who is openly gay. Accepting his lifestyle and choices have made me more aware and sympathetic to equality.
I know more comes from just learning to let things go. There are so many things that really doesn't matter, that seems to really upset people. Voicing that all over social media is not what I ever intend to do, but if it's your thing- I won't judge. See that above paragraph, that has also taught me not to judge people.
Saying all of this, I'm happy to be over forty. I'm rather chilled out and enjoying life. Do I wish I still had the energy of my twenties, eh maybe. I rather not worry about it because it will just empty my joy bucket.
What has made you giddy lately? Have you change with age? I would love to know.
Thorns & All,
I'm so excited to finally be able to share my release date for my novel with you guys! It still seems so far away but, I picked a special day to release this novel. Love Me ~Like That is a special book to me, not only because it is my debut book but, it has a true story inside.
In Love Me ~ Like That, the grandfather tells Bailey, his own love story with her grandmother. This is my grandparents actual love story, I grew up hearing this story all of my life. Actually, their story is what inspired me to write this book.
My Granny and Papa had an epic kind of love for each other that can't be described in just a few words. I think they were the true definition of soulmates. I've always admired their relationship and if you take the time and do me the honor of reading my book, you will see why.
This is why I chose December 8, 2015 as my release date. This was their anniversary and I can't think of any better way of honoring them and keeping them close to my heart.