#NaNoWriMo Update. What Exactly Am I Working On? #Goodquestion

The story I’d planned to do for NaNoWriMo was a fairytale retelling featuring dragon shifters. I’m not going to tell you which fairytale yet because that project is still on the docket and I’m not quite ready to drop that info, especially not when the writing of it keeps getting pushed back. It was supposed to have been completed earlier this year (much earlier) but it hasn’t happened yet.

So, anyway, that project got bumped for one that I thought up during my lunch walk on November 1st. Yes, the day of NaNoWriMo I up and decide to change my project. That thought was terrifying since there’s a limited time to get 50k words and I didn’t even have a plot for this book. That’s normal since I’m a pantser, but usually I have SOME idea of what’s going to happen. Here, again, I had two characters and that was it, but as the story began to unfold, everything started falling into place. By the end of Day 9, I had over 36k words. As a rule I don’t write on Sundays (I need the break and I consider it work), but I also took Saturday off too. My mind would not let me concentrate on words.

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Now, I still have no idea how long this book is going to be, but the plot is coming together nicely, and I think you’re going to love it. The cover is ready to be revealed, but I’m going to wait a bit longer. So, be looking for that reveal in the coming months!

But the best news of all? I completed NaNoWriMo last night with just over 50k words! And still the story isn’t complete, so now to try and finish it by the end of the month. It’ll take a lot of work, but I think I can somehow manage it. But we’ll see. It’s been an adventure, and while bits and pieces show themselves as I write, I love being just as surprised as those who will read it by the twists and turns.

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I’m slowly decorating my apartment for Christmas, which has only helped add to my love of writing, mostly because I love writing by Christmas tree light. So, decorating is a must. In the meantime, I’m going to be writing like crazy to get this story finished! Keep a lookout for cover, blurb, and release details in the coming months! (And I hope you enjoyed the above teaser…I wrote it in a car, but quit because writing was too hard with all the bouncing.)

Updates…lots of updates to come

New Year’s resolution for 2019: Keep up on this website! I always have lofty goals for it, but they never pan out as I’d hoped they would. So, next year I’ll be trying harder to focus on this site. Until then, updates from this year are going to be coming your way!

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In the meantime, today is Evergreen Christmas’s release, and I’m so excited about it! Jolly’s book turned out different than I expected, but it’s oh so Jolly. To celebrate, I rearranged my living room furniture to prep for Christmas decorating. Hopefully I can start that tomorrow. It truly is my favorite time of year. So far only the tree is up, but it’s not decorated at all. One of the best aspects of the winter is that it’s dark early and I can turn on my Christmas tree and have that be my main source of light when I write. This is one of the major reasons my best writing is done in the winter. (As of today, the tree’s location has moved, but I wanted it up, so I made room for it.)

Another update is that I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this month, and so far I’m killing it! Last night I had just over 36k words written in 9 days. It’s been a while since I’ve written that quickly. We shall see if it continues. Maybe today I’ve written 200 words, but I’ve been busy with the furniture moving. I haven’t said much about this book, other than it has a dragon and a phoenix. More will come when I know more about where this book is going, like if it’ll be one book or multiple. It wasn’t the original NaNoWriMo project, but I’m glad I decided to switch to it.

Well, this one will be short and sweet. More to come soon!

My body hates me…

So, a few years ago (before I started writing again), I was an avid exerciser. Well, that quit shortly before I took up the addiction that I call writing. Since then, I’ve been a couch potato and an even worse snacker and chocolate addict. I’ve been wanting to start exercising again, and today I finally made it happen. Hopefully it’s here to stay!

This morning I woke up early and spent some time doing some small exercises on my Wii Fit Plus (which I love, by the way). Tonight when writing was going slow, I decided to hop back on it and see what I could do. I’m quite a bit disappointed that I can’t keep up with how much I could exercise before I quit. I want to be able to do it all like before, but I keep reminding myself that I can build back up to it. When I first started last time I was in pretty much the same position, but I kept going and didn’t give up. I was in great shape and ate healthy. Now I need to start that journey all over again, but I can do it!

I’m a writer, so why am I telling you this? Because it’s important to take care of all aspects of your life. I’ve let writing take control of too much of mine. I need to take at least a half an hour every day to build a healthy me. (And I need to stop being lazy and cook decent meals). Keeping balance in our lives will create healthier versions of ourselves. I really am addicted to writing, and so much of my life has suffered for it (especially the kitchen-anyone want to keep me company while I tackle that mess?). Now I’m putting everything back in place little by little. If I don’t, I will go crazy.

In May I’m running a 5k with my sisters. That has helped motivate me to start this process all over again. I’ve run two 5ks before, and I loved them. I really am not a runner at heart, but I love the feeling I get when I finish, like I’ve truly accomplished something. That is kind of the way it feels when I have a book go live.

Well, my break is over. Time for a few more planks, lunges, and squats. If you don’t hear from me again, my body revolted. Night all!

Where have I been?

That is a good question! And the answer is: busy. A lot has happened since my last post. I had big plans for where the website was taking me, and then the worst thing that can happen to a writer with big plans happened: I got burned out, bad. For 2-3 weeks I couldn’t even write. When I was finally able to write again, I couldn’t even think about marketing without high stress and near panic attack taking me, so I avoided it and just kept to writing. Slowly I came out of it until now. There are still a few things I won’t touch yet, but my spark is back! And I’m determined not to let it happen again. Therefore, when I feel myself starting to burn out, instead of pushing ahead like nothing is wrong, I’m going to slow down. (I should point out that my day job adds a lot of stress to my life, and any book stress just adds to that and overwhelms me).

In the meantime, I’ve had several book releases! If you haven’t followed me on social media about these releases, let me tell you about them! “First Christmas” released last July, which is when the burn out started. “Cookie Christmas” released last November, followed by the long awaited “Redemption” in January. “Freedom” releases in two weeks and a new favorite, “Gargoyle’s Kiss”, is scheduled for release next month.

weregal bookscapeThe Weregal Chronicles first trilogy got a cover makeover and I love the new covers! I participated in a few author signings in my hometown of Hale, MI last year, and we’ll see if I can fit one in this year! My hometown is very supportive and I can’t thank them all enough. I was also able to attend an author event in Kalamazoo, MI in the fall, The Great Lakes Book Bash, and this time I went as a reader with my sister, Melanie. We had so much fun meeting and getting to know so many great authors.

Well, I think that’s all the big news for now. I’m going to update everything before I leave the site (I hope). I’ll be back again soon!

-Heather

Planner vs. Panster

There are three different types of authors: the planners (plotters), the pansters (fly by the seat of your pants), and those inbetween. I am an inbetweener. When I can, I plot out the major points of what needs to happen to keep my brain focused on what needs to happen and when, just so I don’t forget anything. The panster part comes in when I have holes between these plot points and don’t know how to get from point A to point B. I know my characters will know how to get there once I reach the point of this “black hole” in the plot. Every time they get me through.

However, they also know how to throw me a curve ball. Like today, I’m working on “Redemption”, Book 4 of The Weregal Chronicles, when who should show up? Not one, but TWO new characters! I did not see that coming. All of a sudden a car door opened and here they are! What car? Who knows! There wasn’t even supposed to be a car!

This new little scenario now fixes parts of the plot where I had holes, so it worked out well! It’s also not the first time that this has happened to me, and it won’t be the last! Several of the best ideas for the books have come through pantsing my way through each novel and watching as the characters change plot points or add to them, or just throw me a curve ball.

I know that it sounds weird that the characters do this, but honestly, they’re the ones telling the story. I’m the one who’s writing it down as they tell it.

Well, back to writing for me! Got to figure out where these new characters came from and where they’re heading!!

Attention: Change Ahead!!

Change AheadHello! And welcome to my website! After thinking long and hard about what to do with it, I’ve decided to change it up a bit. Right now I’m using it as I do my social media sites as a place to drop my book info (like sales, new releases, KU updates), and that’s not working for me. By the time I post the updates all over social media, the last place I want to put it is my website for another promo dump. So, with that being said, I’ve decided to change up the format a bit and share my writing experiences, as sort of an author’s journal. If you want the behind the scenes of my books, tips I’ve found along the way, and struggles that I’m going through, then this is the place! I can’t promise to offer anything massively insightful, but at the least some of it should be entertaining. 😉

So to start this off, I want to talk a little about “First Christmas”, my upcoming novel. If you don’t know, it’s available for preorder right now and releases on July 8th. I’m super excited for it! For more info, check out the “Books” tab.

When I set out to write a Christmas novel, the one stipulation I had for myself was that I wanted it to be different. So many of the Christmas books and movies out there either are retellings of the same Christmas story or one of the “we have to save Christmas” types. Maybe I haven’t read a wide enough genre, but those seem to be the big hits, especially if the story is based at the North Pole. I wanted to avoid those storylines at all cost.

The edition that is being published isn’t the original. I was about 25k words into the story (so about a third through it) when I decided that the direction the story was heading wasn’t what I wanted. It had a depressing and angry undertone because of some events that took place right at the beginning. For that reason, I trashed all of it but one scene (which found a home in the next edition) and started from scratch. Same characters, new plot. The further along the new story went, the better it became and the happier I was that I’d chosen to junk the first try.

As a writer, this can happen a lot. At least to me. It’s depressing to have wasted those hours on the first edition when I could have been so much further to the end if I hadn’t changed my mind. However, it was necessary. It didn’t feel like a Christmas story, which was what I was shooting for (obviously). I was fighting the story, and the story was fighting me. I have this happen a bit as I write, but it’s usually small scenes that I have to dump and start over, not thousands of words I’ve spent hours working on.

With a new plot and some character tweaking, I was ready to roll on the next edition. The story wrote smoother and I was able to have much more fun with it. New, more fun character traits began to appear, and the Christmas spirit was able to come out of it. Now, there is some action in it. It’s not all happy and joyful (after all, there are dragon shifters and you can’t have a dragon in a book without some form of action), but for the most part there is a happy spirit about the book. I was also able to throw in some family friendly themes about what is important in our lives, which I hadn’t been able to do with the first edition.

Overall, I love this book much more than I did when it first began. It could be that some events that happened in my life when I first began the beginning influenced the tone of the book. An unpleasant experience in my writing career occurred about the time the story was in its beginning stages of writing, which could be part of the cause. If that’s the case, then I’m glad I dumped the first edition, shedding it like an old skin and getting the taste out of my mouth, as they say.

If you get a chance to read “First Christmas” after it releases, I hope you enjoy it! I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas music and watching plenty of Christmas movies to keep me in the spirit. I do wish that was out of the ordinary for me, though, but it’s not. More on that later!

Well, that’s all for now, folks! Tune in again for more behind the scenes info on my writing!

YA Scavenger Hunt #15

Scavenger Hunt GraphicI’m super excited to be a part of a HUGE group of YA authors who are doing a massive scavenger hunt! The event is hosted by authors in An Alliance of Young Adult Authors. Please see the rules for the hunt by going to The YA Shelf. Basic rules are that each author has a key word on their site. Grab each of the key words for the story and enter them for a chance to win!

Before I give my keyword, here’s a little about me!

I write YA Paranormal Romance, and the stories focus on different shifters. My debut series, The Weregal Chronicles, features tiger shifters. The first book in the series, Perfect Scents, is FREE on all major retail sites! My next release, First Christmas, features ice dragon shifters and releases July 8th.

On a personal level, I have the best writing companion ever, my Pomeranian, Gunney. I’m a chocolate addict, and I love the cold. Hikes are the best, and music is amazing!

Now for the part you’ve all been waiting for! My Keyword is:

STARS.

Yay! There it is! But wait!!! There’s more! Right now I’m having my own giveaway as well. To win a $5 Amazon Gift Card and a set of ebooks, check out this Giveaway.

And there’s more! I’m also having a giveaway on my Facebook Author Page! Check it out to win an ARC copy of my next release, First Christmas! https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fheatherkarnauthor%2Fposts%2F1846718058913006&width=500“>Arc Giveaway on Facebook

Your next stop is #16: Rob L. Slater