Wrapping up Willow Soon

We’ve got just one more week worth of episodes of Past Forward. I hope you’ve enjoyed our summer of reading program. I’m curious to get feedback on which series (HearthLand or Past Forward) everyone prefers.

This week we’re on Episode 25 and Episode 26 of Past Forward.

If you’re willing to help share this with your friends, please consider doing one or the more of the following:

Please, step on over to Amazon and download them! And please, even if you’ve previously downloaded these episodes, grab ’em again.  Some have been updated. For those who are Kobo or Nook readers, email me.  I’ve got you covered. *please note: links to my books are affiliate links and as such, I may receive advertising compensation from Amazon.

Like our Facebook Page/Post
Tweet this giveaway
Pin the covers on Pinterest: Episode 25 and Episode 26.
Download Episode 25  and Episode 26.
Comment Request:
If you’ve read through all or most of both Past Forward and HearthLand, which series do you prefer?

Double-Duty Monday

Well, it’s been a smoky week down here in the desert. Which means I’ve been holed up in a hotel so I can breathe. And that also means, I got a bunch of work done while I was all by my lonesome. I posted a bit of a challenge on Facebook for anyone wanting to guess how many words I could get down during my stay. Stay tuned for the winner to be announced!

So, this week, we’re on Episode 25 and Episode 26 of HearthLand.

Oh, by the way, Episode 31 of HearthLand is free as well. (All 3 episodes will be free through Wednesday)

*please note: links to my books are affiliate links and as such, I may receive advertising compensation from Amazon.

If you’re willing to help share this with your friends, please consider doing one or the more of the following:

Please, step on over to Amazon and download them!

Like our Facebook Page/Post
Tweet this giveaway
Pin the Cover for Episode 25 and Episode 26 on Pinterest
Download Episode 25  and Episode 26 on Amazon.

 

Have You Willow-ed Lately?

Hopefully you’ve “Willow-ed” a lot this summer as we’re working our way through all of the episodes of Past Forward, from start to finish. We’re actually getting reasonably close to wrapping it up now, as summer is starting to wane.

This week we’re on episode 23 and episode 24 of Past Forward.

If you’re willing to help share this with your friends, please consider doing one or the more of the following:

Please, step on over to Amazon and download them! And please, even if you’ve previously downloaded these episodes, grab ’em again.  Some have been updated. For those who are Kobo or Nook readers, email me.  I’ve got you covered. *please note: links to my books are affiliate links and as such, I may receive advertising compensation from Amazon.

Like our Facebook Page/Post
Tweet this giveaway
Pin the covers on Pinterest: Episode 23 and Episode 24.
Download Episode 23  and Episode 24.
Comment Request:
Do you still carve out time to read when summer’s over?

 

A Forgotten Truth Winners!

I did the drawing for it tonight because, well, it’s out and people might not want to wait forever to read it if they won.  So here are our winners.  The three winners of free copies are:

Emily Sue
Andrea H
Melynda

And the grand prize winner of the whole series:

Alysia!

Please check your inboxes for an email from me!

Thanks for participating and for all you did to help spread the word about my books!  I  have a LOT of winners to draw for in other promotions and the newsletter.  I’ll try to get to that this week, but it’s a crazy busy week, so it  might be one more.  If so, sorry!

For the Homesteader in You …

Can you believe it? Summer is starting to wind down, down, down. Time flies when you’re traveling and writing and editing … oh my! How about you? Did your summer fly by or did it seem to drag on and on? Hopefully these fun weeks of HearthLand and Past Forward made the days all the more enjoyable. I know I’ve loved writing the newest episodes of HearthLand.

Oh, by the way, Episode 31 of HearthLand is now available, too!

This week we’re on Episode 23 and Episode 24 of HearthLand.

If you’re willing to help share this with your friends, please consider doing one or the more of the following:

Please, step on over to Amazon and download them!

Like our Facebook Page/Post
Tweet this giveaway
Pin the Cover for Episode 23 and Episode 24 on Pinterest
Download Episode 23  and Episode 24 on Amazon.

Comment Request: Did your summer fly by or drag on and on?

Tools for Writing Effectiveness *snicker*: Part One

This could be subtitled “Or how I trick myself into being productive.”

People often ask how I “get so much done.”  Now, a lot of times they’re also asking about housework (hint: I subscribe to the “lived in” school of housekeeping),  homeschooling (toss the books at ’em and tell them if they need help to holler) and a few other things like you know… cooking, shopping, sleeping (I do a LOT of that, despite rumors to the contrary.  I just sleep at odd hours compared to most).

But in regards to writing, they usually  mean, “How do you write and publish 50 books a month?”  Well, first, I don’t.  Second, I never have, and third, I published so many in the beginning because I’d been writing them for ten to twelve years.  So  I had a LOT done (still have some done and not yet in print!)

But I clearly have ADD.  I’ve taken every test I can find and always score crazy high on it.  Let’s just say my parents were geniuses at teaching me to cope, because I never realized that everyone didn’t have some of the issues I had as a kid.  I definitely had ADD and serious sensory issues.  Did you know not EVERYONE cannot think or function if the seam on their sock isn’t perfectly across the toenails or the heel is slightly twisted–even just slightly?  The hours of torture my mother put me through, making me finish the page of math problems before I could fix my sock…  I thank  her for it now. I wanted to bawl like a baby then (totally not allowed, and I’m glad).

I digress–probably further proof of that ADD thing, right?

0So the first tool I use to keep me focused and productive is my planner.  This is a Plum Paper Designs Family Planner (BTW.  I linked to the cover I purchased, but I did not get the monogram–just a plain cover–fine for men as well as women–just sayin’.) with a custom cover I purchased from Erin Condren (love PP planners, not a fan of their covers).  Note:  If you click the Erin Condren link and register an account, they’ll send you 10 dollars off your first purchase.  They’ll also send me a 10.00 credit after your purchase has shipped.  I use those credits to give away planners over at the Decluttering Junkie Blog. Note:  Links may be affiliate links and I may receive compensation from the company. :)

Here’s the original cover that I cut off, trimmed down, laminated,punched, and made removable so I can have whatever cover floats my boat that week on my planner.  😀

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This planner has the option of having pre-printed custom sections all along the left sides of the rows.  I opted to leave mine blank so I could write it in as I needed.  SO glad I did.

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Okay.  The first thing I do is I have these little sticky flags on my month at a glance.  I don’t usually write in these boxes.  Sometimes I’ll deck out a day for a release, but as you can see, I didn’t do last Tuesday’s release of A Forgotten TruthWhy?  I was too busy writing.  So… there you have it!

This is this week’s sticky results.  I can see, at a glance, what I’ve done.  As I do each thing, I move the sticky down into place.  For example, if I write 652 words today, I’ll move the 500 sticky onto today’s square.  If I write 3400 words, I’ll move the 3500 onto it.  I do the same for planning newsletters, blog posts, everything.  And at the end of the week, I put the total in my Saturday box.  This is always a bit odd, because the weekly view is Monday-Sunday and the  monthly view is Sunday-Saturday.  But I wouldn’t want a full CALENDAR to start on Monday.  That’d annoy  me since nearly every other calendar out there starts on Sunday.  And, I like my workweek starting on Monday and ending on Sunday because Saturday and Sunday are light days for me.

1So, this is the end of last week.  As you can see, I wrote about 12,400 words.  The reason it doesn’t add up to an even 12,500 is because I counted ACTUAL Saturday words and rounded to the nearest hundred.  I also put a summary  of social media stuff.  Believe it or not, Social Media is important to authors, which is kind of cool, because I love getting to know my readers better.  It makes them friends rather than just numbers of downloads.  I hate turning people into numbers.  Blech.

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Just a close up… nothing thrilling.

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Okay, so that’s what that looks like.  Just a way to keep track of what I’m doing each day. If I see not much changing, then I know I need to stop dilly-dallying, and get movin’!

Note:  If the sticky flags get de-stickified, I use my Tombow repositionable tape runner to re-sticky it.  Works like a dream.

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Here’s my daily planned work.  Sometimes I get ahead.  Others I get behind.  But USUALLY, I end up done by the end of the week.  Note that usually.  Sometimes, this gets repeated twice… or more.  Because life happens, you know?

4Okay, this is what the planner looks like on any given week.  This week had two big days on it.  AFT release and my ACFW meeting in Orange County.  That was a lot of fun, and while I got much done in planning a new book, I didn’t get any writing done at all.  Did meet a new friend.  Had a blast.  And I had lunch with my daughter–always fun!  If you’ll note, I added a note there for myself.  Get my son Chipotle.  He loves that stuff, and it’s 90 miles one way to the nearest restaurant.  Ahem.

Sometimes, these rows are JAM PACKED.  Other times, not so much.

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Last week was pretty mild.  Almost a breeze.  This week… whoa.  Not so much.  I have to be working on two full manuscripts at once while still keeping up with blogs and social media.  Oh… and my  Monday is a bit fractured by having guests over for half the day–belated birthday party with friends.

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Planning starts with these little beauties.  I LOVE these highlighters from Frixion.  They ERASE.  Seriously!  They’re AWESOME.  Look!

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GONE! WOOT!   I take those highlighters and section off my planner by book/blog/thing.  I also label those sections on the left.  Those are what come pre-custom printed if you want them.  But then you’re stuck with your genius ideas from six months ago when you get a new one. So you have to  make stickers, which is okay, but it does bulk up that side.  Just a thought there.

11Then I start filling in information.  I put barely anything in this picture because I don’t want to give too much plot stuff away *SPOILERS* 😉 , but all that empty space will have notes about what I’m going to write.

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Note: I planned to do this on Thursday but changed it to Sunday because that’s my planning day. Makes more sense to post it then rather than the middle of the week. Duh!

And that’s the daily use of the planner.  But I have other pages in it that I use.  I used to use the notes at the beginning of each month to plan out that month’s blog posts.  I do it SOMETIMES now, but not as much.  It looked like this when I got going (sorry, this is  an old picture. by the end of that month, those were mostly filled).

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Then I got smarter and started doing this!

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Look, I know it’s a bit juvenile or something, but I LOVE color.  LOVE it.  So, I make these pages pretty to make ME want to look at them. Others would see it and run screaming from the visual clutter.  And that’s okay!  That’s what this stuff is all about!  Making it best for YOU!

Okay, so I have a lot of tricks er, tips I use to maximize my effectiveness.  This is just one.  LOVE this planner and when I use it consistently, I’m much  more productive.  I tried doing this on digital things like Google Calendar, desktop apps, the works.  Never stuck to it.  This, I  have.  And I will.

Hush!

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click image to view larger–click again for even larger!

It’s always going to be about me controlling my tongue.  Learning to be quiet.  I blame my surgeon.

When I was 18 months old, I had surgery to correct my cleft palate.  That surgery left me with an INCREDIBLY nasal voice–almost incomprehensible.  My sister even beat up a girl who dared to mock the way I talked.  I’m pretty sure she didn’t get in as much trouble as she normally would have when Dad found out why.  😉

But the doctor told my parents, “Encourage her to talk. Most kids with her condition don’t speak enough to learn to speak properly.”

How he avoided a lawsuit, I don’t know.  My parents have never forgiven him.  😉

The mantra–the theme song–of  my childhood was, “Slow down and enunciate.”  If I had a dollar…