2019 Goals

I know you can set goals and meet them at any time of the year, but there’s something about the beginning of the year that just seems appropriate. Maybe because it’s an external frame of measurement. Regardless, I do goals instead of resolutions and it works for me.

To provide a frame of reference for my goals, I choose a word for the year. Last year, my word was “Prosperity.” This year, I have two words. The main word is “Intentional” and a supplemental word of “Consistent.”

That said, my goals for the year are:

  1. Launch courses: 40 Days to Creativity and Journal Your Way to Creativity.
  2. Release 12 JEN Enterprises Presents titles (one per month).
  3. Publish RealmWalker: New Beginnings with The Wild Rose Press.
  4. Podcast every other week.
  5. 1 YouTube video a week.
  6. 2 public speaking gigs.
  7. 4 coaching clients.

Every year, I hesitate to make my goals public because “what if I don’t do them?” But the fact that they are public provides some external motivation to get them done.

That’s where I am for goals this year. They are listed in my planner with steps and plans to achieve them.

What about you? Do you make goals or resolutions?

My Editing Process

redpenWhen you think about editing, I’m sure you imagine the proverbial red pen, bleeding all over the page. Right?

Although the red pen still, undoubtedly, has its place, things have changed quite a bit. I would say 99% of my editing is done on the computer.

I use a PC, so I use Microsoft Word. When I finish the draft of a manuscript, I let it sit for up to a week. (Honestly, usually it doesn’t sit that long, just a few days.) When I open the file to edit, I use the Track Changes feature.

For fiction and nonfiction, I start with the little things: spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Then I move on to continuity. I look at things like flow and transitions. For fiction, I look at character development, dialog, and story progression. I look for plot holes. (Sometimes I don’t see them, so I use beta readers to help me find those.)

I go over it more than once before I send it to either an editor if I’m self-publishing or an agent/publisher if I want to go a different route. Typically, I go over it at least four rounds. Each round consists of multiple passes checking everything I mentioned above. On my current novel that I’m working on with The Wild Rose Press, I have about five passes for each round. I’m on the second round with them, which is really about the sixth round for me.

If you want to count each pass as its own editing round, then you could say RealmWalker: New Beginnings is undergoing its 30th editing pass. Is this too much?

No.

Each pass, each round is making the story better and the characters more developed and stronger. This is particularly important where BethAnne is concerned. She’s my primary point-of-view character. I don’t want her to come across as someone who needs to be saved by a hero.

When it’s time to get to work, I sit down at the computer, turn on some music, and open the file of the moment. It can’t be just any music, though. I get too caught up in the lyrics of contemporary music and traditional classical music doesn’t help. I listen to electronic music that specifically says it’s good for studying or concentrating. It has a good beat, good tempo, and very little or no lyrics.

It keeps me on track and I get into a good work flow with that kind of music playing in my headphones. (Earbuds. Whatever.)

Here’s my question for you: What does your editing process look like? Do you listen to any music or do you work in silence?

Q&A with Amber Daulton

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats.

Blurb:
Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life. That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.

When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

Excerpt:
“Which one is your car?” She glanced around the crowded parking lot. A few streetlights pushed back the darkness and shadows. The restaurant served customers until midnight on the weekends, but no one loitered in the lot, at least from what Mia could see.

“Don’t have one at the moment.” Mason hooked his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans. “I took the bus. It stopped a few blocks from here.”

“Would you like a ride?” She pulled the car keys from her purse. “I feel a little ridiculous we met here tonight. I just wasn’t sure if you were some kind of freak.”

His eyebrow lifted, and he closed the distance between them as a tiger would zero in on its mate. A sexy, masculine smile curled his lips. “Have you made up your mind yet?”

“I’ll let you know in the morning.” Desire trickled down her spine. Mia nodded toward the passenger side of the car for him to hop in.

He confiscated her keys instead to unlock and open the driver’s side door for her like a gentleman. Then he leaned closer and nuzzled her temple with his nose.

Not sure if he planned to seduce her in the parking lot or if he merely wanted to tease her, Mia pressed her hand to his chest and tried to think straight. “You’re the first guy I’ve gone on a date with since my divorce. I haven’t slept with anyone since Evan.”

He tunneled his fingers through her wavy, chestnut-brown hair. “I haven’t dated anyone in a long time either. We’ll take it slow or fast, whatever you want, but I promise you one thing. After I’m done with you, you won’t even remember that bastard’s name.”

Oh, God. She almost melted right then and there. “Fast. I want you, Mason.”

“Take me to your place and you can have me.”

Arresting Mason

Q&A
JNO: My blog focuses on creativity in general. What is your creative/writing process?

AD: I like to daydream first, then plot in as much detail as possible—either on paper or the computer, doesn’t matter to me. I often get new ideas in the middle of the first draft and sometimes the second draft, so the characters just take over the story for a while, and I have to find a way to reel them back in and get the story back on track. On average, I can usually write a novella (15 to 35k WC) in maybe a month or so. For a full length novel (80k plus), it usually takes three or four months to finish the first draft. I have ten books published so far, the eleventh book is currently in edits, and there are several more manuscripts collecting digital dust on my computer.

I try to write a little every day, but it can be difficult. Life happens. Trust me. Even if I can’t get to the PC to write, I’m always plotting my current or future story in my head.

I don’t have children—so no distractions there—but my cats are demanding little creatures, so I have to appease them. My husband Gregory is the cook in the household, so luckily I don’t have to worry about fixing my meals. Otherwise, I’d probably go hungry. Anyway, I usually start writing early in the morning and keep going until the afternoon, but of course I have little breaks in between.

JNO: What prompted you to write this book?

AD: Arresting Mason is a redemption story about a flawed man struggling to right his wrongs and finding love in the most unexpected of ways. I came up with the main plot—a feisty divorcée starting a HAWT relationship with a tattooed ex-con—in a little place called dreamland. I’m always the leading lady in my dreams, and I fell head-over-heels in love with a mysterious former gang member. After I awoke from that seriously mouthwatering dream, I couldn’t stop thinking about Mason, his past, and his current problems. His seductive voice kept whispering to me, urging me to write about him, so I wrote out a rough plotline and quickly finished the manuscript I was already working on. I’ve changed quite a bit in the story from what happened in the dream, but the main premise has remained the same.

I originally wrote this book for a bad boy anthology call, but I had exceeded the maximum word count and still wanted to add more scenes by the time I finished the first draft. So I forgot all about the submission call and kept revising this story until I was finally happy with it. At long last, the manuscript clocked in at 80 thousand words and sparked ideas for more books. It’s now book one in the Arresting Onyx series, a five-book series about five sexy men—brothers in blood and in life—and the stubborn women they can’t live without.

JNO: What advice would you have for anyone starting to write their first book?

AD: Writing is the easy part and it’s only half of the work. Handling rejections and bad reviews with finesse is a must, taking care of marketing and publicity demands is a handful but a requirement, and writing your next book while dealing with everything else is cause to bring out the vodka. But ‘tis the life of an author. You gotta love it, and I do with all my heart.

Make friends with other authors and readers via social media. Don’t be shy. Start a blog even if you aren’t published yet, so you can join blog tours. A tour is a great way to get a free ebook as long as you write a review and post it on your blog. The author’s readers will then come to your blog to read the review. They’ll know YOUR name, and that’s what you want—to get your name out there.

Just keep trying. I know it sounds cliché, but there’s nothing else to do. If you don’t try, you won’t succeed. Period. Keep your hopes up, take rejection letters in stride, and if a publisher or editor gives you feedback on why he/she rejected your work, listen to their feedback. They know what they’re talking about.

JNO: Also, where can people find you and your book?

AD: If you want to learn more about me, Arresting Mason, or my other books, please click on the links below. As you can tell, I hang out on several social media platforms, so feel free to message me, follow me, or send a friend request. I’d love to meet you!

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39005064-arresting-mason

Amber Daulton

Buy Links
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2ppcmEJ
Barnes and Noble – https://bit.ly/2uOj90J
iTunes – https://apple.co/2FVAQMP
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arresting-mason
Google Play – https://bit.ly/2Izu3cZ
The Wild Rose Press store – http://bit.ly/2FSVvBa

Buy Links for Audio
Amazon – https://amzn.to/2Nbwr03
Audible – https://adbl.co/2CV6oVU
iTunes – https://apple.co/2NHwMqA

Social Media Links
Blog – http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com
Facebook Author Page – www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1
Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/
Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton
Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/14JoZff
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor/
Book Bub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amber-daulton
Book Gorilla – https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B00ALQITWY/amber-daulton/kcc
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368 
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AmberDaulton
The Wild Rose Press – https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton