My Top 10 Writing a Novel Posts from 2019

Since this is the beginning of the year, I thought I would recap some of my better posts about writing a novel from 2019. To read the actual post, simply click on the link after the opening paragraph.

Super Easy, Barely an Inconvenience

Six years ago, I wrote about the question why and how it can improve your storytelling. As in why are your characters doing this? Why are they going here? Why would he do/say/think that? (To read more, click here – and yes, this post is about how the YouTube/Screen Rant Pitch Meetings can help your writing.)

Finding time to write

Finding time to write is always my biggest challenge. In fact, I have written about this topic many times but since it is always a concern, I figure what is once more. And I am not the only one with this problem. Many authors who don’t write full-time struggle with this same issue. (To read more, click here.)

How long does it take to write a novel?

Many aspiring authors might wonder how long it will take them to write that novel they have running around in their head. That could depend on quite a few things. (To read more, click here.)

The ups and downs of writing

If you are a follower of my blog, you undoubtedly noticed that for most of May, I have not posted my weekly writing/publishing post. I really was just too busy. And for once, I wasn’t just busy with non-writing stuff (PTA, work, kids’ end of the school events – though I did have these things too), I was actually writing on my current work-in-progress, which I had been neglecting.

But I don’t want to get away from writing on my blog so here I am. For today’s topic I thought I would talk about the ups and downs of writing. (To read more, click here.)

Looking at how long it takes to write a novel

Last week I wrote about the ups and downs of writing. Sometimes I am cranking out the words and other days I am struggling to find time to write. As I read about the experiences of other authors, I hear about authors who write thousands of words a day. (To read more, click here.)

Cutting unnecessary scenes from your novel

Every author at some point will write a scene that just doesn’t really need to be in their novel. The scene might be rehashing something the characters or reader already know. Or maybe it is connecting two scenes that could have been connected another way such as with a chapter break.

Every scene in your novel should be an integral to the story arc. If it isn’t, then it doesn’t belong in your story. (To read more, click here.)

Challenge your character

The other day as I was struggling to write a scene, I realized the scene wasn’t working as it didn’t have any tension. Now not every scene needs to be tense or full of conflict, but one useful tip to give your characters challenges. Nothing should come easy for them. This advice helped me to fix the scene. (To read more, click here.)

Killing off a character or two

Image result for murderLooking to add conflict or tension to your novel? You might consider killing off a character – or depending on the type of novel more than one character. (To read more, click here.)

Sometimes writing goes in a different direction

Sometimes things don’t turn out like you planned. And when it comes to writing that is often the case. Sometimes what you think you are going to write goes a total different direction. (To read more, click here.)

Using timelines to organize information for your novel

Timelines can help you keep track of your information as your write your novel. These can keep your story consistent. A timeline suggests a past, present, and future or in the case of a plot, a beginning, middle and end. we can see cause and effect. We see patterns and turning points. (To read more, click here.)

My Top 10 Parenting Posts of 2019

It is a New Year…and time to look back at my Top 10 Parenting Posts of 2019. These are listed in no particular order…in other words, these aren’t ranked as to which ones are better than the others. If you missed any of these, simply click the link after the first few lines of each post.

Dying too young…

On a recent Saturday morning, I noticed a post on our neighborhood community board that my neighbor’s son was missing. He is a high school senior and had gone out with friends the previous evening to a restaurant to celebrate a friend’s birthday but didn’t come home. (Click here to read more.)

Requiring my kids stick with a club or sport but not that they do one

The other day, Lexie called me from the school before her robotics club met. She announced she wanted to quit. This was two weeks before their competition in which she is one of 10 students chosen to compete. I told her no and sent her on to her meeting. (Click here to read more.)

Should good deeds and volunteering be recognized?

Should good deeds, donating or volunteering be rewarded? This is a conversation I had recently with a fellow parent. She believes that when we are collecting used books, box tops or having our kids volunteer their time that they should do so out of the goodness of their heart and not because any reward is attached. (Click here to read more.)

Teaching our kids to not spend more money than they have

Not all children get an allowance but one of the reasons we began giving Jase and Lexie one is to teach them about money. They need to learn about saving and not spending more than you have/make. Each week, they get a small amount put on their FamZoo debt card. (Click here to read more.)

Family Night is a good thing

My husband has been working a great deal lately. This means he has been working weekends or evening. Sometimes his work takes him out of town. The kids have been missing him. So, this past weekend we decided we needed to do something as a family. (Click here to read more.)

Unexpected events: Suicide and suicidal thoughts

Saturday afternoon, I found myself sitting in a church in downtown San Antonio. My husband and I were attending a memorial service for Mike – a fellow attorney my husband had known for the past fifteen years. As I sat on the pew, I was surprised that the family had the minister address the circumstances around his death. (Click here to read more.)

And so it begins…My daughter’s first serious crush

I knew it was coming at some point. She is 11 years old after all. Yep, that is right, my daughter has her first serious crush.

Last year , when Lexie was in fifth grade, she liked a boy, Jacob, and even gave him a note telling him that she liked him. (A brave move that I wouldn’t have done at her age.) But sadly, Jacob didn’t respond…at least at the time. (Click here to read more.)

Allowing my kids to walk to school despite “Stranger Danger”

A black Toyota pickup truck slowly pulls up next to the middle schooler walking to school. The man slowly rolls down the window and offers the boy a ride. The boy shook his head and continues to school. Later that evening he mentions it to his parents who alert the school and city police departments. (Click here to read more.)

The magic of Santa Claus comes to an end

Image result for santa claus not believing

In 2012, I wrote about the magic of Santa Claus and wondering when my kids would stop believing. At that time they were 7 and 4 and were firm believers. Now, in 2019, they are 11 and 14 and both no longer are believers. (Click here to read more.)

Navigating makeup and my tween

Last Friday, my daughter attended her first middle school dance. This was just a casual dance, not a boy-ask-girl type thing. She was very excited to be meeting up with her friends and picked out a simple black dress. (Click here to read more.)

An #excerpt of THE SEARCH by Susan Leigh Noble

My The Elemental trilogy follows Lina, an Elemental, as she comes into her powers. Her STAC, Tosh, a telepathic cat, is there to guide her. But how did these two meet? That is what we find out in The Search. 

Please enjoy the excerpt below and if you want to read the complete short story of their meeting, download The Search for free from Barnes & Noble, the Kobo StoreiTunes or Smashwords where it is available in all e-book formats.

You can also purchase it for just 99 cents on Amazon.

The Search: Book Description

For over a thousand years, telepathic cats known as STACs have faithfully searched for those with power over the elements looking for the one foretold to save the Land. None have questioned their duty to fulfill this ancient task.

But when Tosh’s latest charge is murdered because of his Elemental powers, Tosh considers abandoning The Search. Will a glimpse of the future destruction be enough to change his mind?

The Search: Excerpt

Tosh spent the rest of the afternoon jumping from branch to branch. The wolves patiently followed him. Then he heard a roaring sound. If he remembered his geography well enough, the Bowen River should be nearby. Two trees later, he saw the edge of the gorge. After a hop to the next tree, he could see the water rushing by. The wolves circled around the base of the tree.

Tosh surveyed the area. The tree he sat in was at the very edge of the gorge. Below him was a steep incline of about fifteen feet to the water. It was too far to the other side to jump. The water was certainly too fast for him to swim even if he could find a way down to the river. Then he spied a fallen log a few hundred feet upstream. It was a perfect bridge for him to cross the gorge, but he would have to time his crossing just perfectly as he would surely have the wolves on his heels.

He continued leaping from branch to branch until he was as near to the fallen log as he could get. He studied it wondering how much weight it would support. It should easily hold his weight but if the wolves followed him, he feared it might break. He glanced down at the waiting wolves. He sat, tapping his tail on the branch, as he thought of a way to distract them. He wondered what would happen if he spoke to the wolves. He had never used the mind connection with anyone other than another STAC or an Elemental. He wasn’t sure it was even possible, but it might at least shock them and give him just a few seconds head start.

He climbed down the branches until he was on one of the lowest ones. The wolves’ ears perked up, and they excitedly circled the tree.

Run! Get out of here!

The wolves jumped and whimpered, looking for the source of the voice. Tosh didn’t hesitate. He dropped to the ground and ran toward the log. He was halfway across it when he heard a noise behind him. He glanced back. The young wolf that had originally chased him was following him. The log rocked slightly. Tosh hurried. He was almost to the other side. The cracking of the log echoed across the gorge. Tosh didn’t have time to jump as the log collapsed into the water below taking him and the wolf with it.

***

Check out another exciting excerpt of The Search by clicking here. Or download and read the whole adventure with the links above.

2020 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

Image result for new year resolutionsWe are 9 days into the New Year, and if you haven’t made your New Year’s Resolutions, it isn’t too late. Here is a list of resolutions for writers.

1.) Start (or Finish) your novel – Have you been kicking around the idea for a novel? Or maybe you have already begun one but haven’t finished it up. This is the year to get motivated and start writing. (For tips on starting a novel, click here. And for tips on dealing with writer’s block, click here.)

2.) Stay on task – Do e-mails and Facebook distract you from working? Or maybe you get caught up in marketing your books? Can you find any reason to procrastinate? Make this the year that you learn to stay on task. Make your resolution specific. Don’t just say you will “procrastinate less.” Resolve to set a timer for 20 minutes and work until the timer stops. Or vow to write for an hour BEFORE you do any marketing or check email.

3.) Find time to write/Write more – Maybe distractions such as Facebook and e-mail aren’t your problem. Perhaps it is the fact that you are working a full-time job, raising a family, doing charity work, volunteering at your kids’ school, taking care of your elderly parents or a host of other responsibilities we all take on as adults. It often becomes hard to find time to dedicate to writing, but most of us can easily carve out 30 minutes to an hour for writing. Get up earlier or dedicate the time after the kids are in bed for writing. Even a few minutes here and there can add up. The more you write, the better you become as a writer.

4.) Set a realistic writing goal – To help you stay on task or find time to write, you may want to set a writing goal. You might set an amount of time you want to write or set a number of words to write per day or week. Check out how to set realistic writing goals and stick with them!

5.) Become a better writer/Read more – You are never too old to learn something new. Even if you have several published books under your belt, there is always something new you can learn. Take the time to read a blog or a book on writing. Heck, just take the time to READ! The more you read, the more different styles and genres you read, the better your own writing will be.

6.) Increase your marketing – Sometimes promoting your novel (and yourself) is hard. Many of us would rather be writing…or heck even editing – than figuring out how to effectively market our book. Now is the time to plan your Facebook page, blog or web page or to set up a marketing campaign. Again, be specific. You want to post twice a week, send out 10 tweets or appear on 4 blogs a month or whatever you think will help your marketing plan.

7.) Improve your social media skills – Social media is a great way to interact with readers and build your audience. This year set your social media goal to join a new platform or increase your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter reach. And don’t be afraid to drop platforms that aren’t working for you. You can use the time you spend on these for other marketing methods.

8.) Take a break – Sometimes you just need to take a break from writing, editing, or marketing. Consider this time to refresh yourself so when you do come back to these tasks, you come back with more creativity and energy. This break could be just a walk around the block, an afternoon at the movies or a weekend getaway. While a break is good, don’t let it go on too long. Remember, writers need to write.

So, whatever your writing resolutions or goals, just make them simple and realistic. And most importantly, write them down and keep them posted above your computer so you follow through! Happy New Year everyone, and may 2020 be an awesome year for you and your writing!

Things to work on (or my annual not a resolution post)

Laptop,Earphone, Diary, Letter, List, Pen

I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions. You know most are destined to fail in a few short weeks or even in a few days. It is hard to make changes that you will stick with through the duration. (See my post from last year for popular resolutions and how to make them last.)

But it is equally hard not to want to make changes or improvements in your life. Whether you take the new year as a time to start or wait for spring or whenever, I say go for it. There is no reason you can’t lose weight, exercise more, or whatever your goal is.

Here are a few things I would like to do this year.

Professional

Last year, I did not put my writing first. Whether it was writing for my blog or working on my latest novel, I let other obligations take up my time.

So, this year, I vow to write more consistently on my blog. Not only is my blog a good way to stay in the writing rhythm, it also allows me to stay in contact with other moms, writers and readers. I want to get back to writing twice a week – Monday on Parenting issues and Thursdays on Writing/Publishing/Marketing issues – as well continue the weekly inspirational quotes and featuring a monthly recipe as I have done in the past. For the next six months, I am also planning to feature new excerpts of all of my books and maybe end with a sample from my current work-in-progress (that would give me until July to get something worthy of being shown off).

Speaking of that WIP, I plan to finish that this year. I don’t have the first draft complete but have been working pretty steadily on it for the past month. If I can keep that up and continue to make it a priority, I think I can have it published this year. (For those of you wondering, I am currently working on a follow up trilogy to my The Elemental trilogy.)

Personal

On the personal side, I would like to strengthen my relationship with my husband. We both have been absorbed in our own things – him on expanding his law firm and me with my writing and volunteering (as well as working part-time for his firm.) We haven’t been making time for date nights or even lunches together.

But for any marriage to survive, you need work at it. We need to make time for each other and not solely concentrate on our work or the kids. So, date nights, lunches together, snuggling in bed to watch a movie and more need to be on the agenda. Our 25th wedding anniversary is coming up and I am hoping maybe we can at least plan a weekend getaway.

Another thing I would like to work on is letting things go. I tend to worry about things I have no control over. I can obsess about being late when I have no control over the accident causing traffic to come to a standstill. Or worry about…a million different things. I can only do so much. And as I keep telling myself, everything will work out.

So, I will go into the New Year hoping to make these changes. Whether I can stick with it for days, weeks or months is yet to be seen, but any progression in these areas will be worth it.