Always quirky, sometimes sweet speculative fiction

Category: All Write! (Page 2 of 8)

Updates on my progess towards getting published

Going For Goals – May 2016

4576127693_94c35d2ae4_zI did so well in April I worry it might be hard to follow. I can’t help but wonder, I set less goals for April, then got more done than expected. Should I follow that model?


  • Finish Charming Rivals
  • Using Vision Writers feedback clean up (working title) Kitsune In Space, give it an actual title, and submit to the anthology I wrote it for
  • Tinker with the possibility of a print edition of The Troll’s Toll. I worry it’s too short to be worth making into a paperback, but I’d like to try and see, even if I end up wasting a couple of days learning the software only to discover it is a futile effort, I’ll still have learned how to wrangle the software for future endeavors
  • Set up a submission for the Richelle Prize
  • Sit my ass down and really try to nut out the ending of (working title) Skeleton Romance so I can finish it
  • Start, ideally finish, first draft of Naught For Charming

Stretch goal:

  • Work on one of those NaNo novels I never finished (at the moment I lean far more towards Tucca of the Tides, but we’ll see)

I’m probably setting myself up a bit for failure considering this first week and a half of May is filled with social events (autism seminars, a destination wedding, packing for extended holidaying around aforementioned wedding) but hey, aim high 🙂

April Goals Round-Up 2016

TTT3D - zoomed inApril was a good month for me, with some great achievements. (Can’t remember the yearly goals? Check them out here)

Goal #3 (working on my novellas) took a good jump forward as I published The Troll’s Toll (my first venture into self publishing(not counting flash fiction here on my site). This means I’ve met my requirement of publishing ‘at least one of them’.

Goal #4 (writing and selling short fiction) proceeded with my writing a new short story (working title ‘Kitsune In Space’) and starting Charming‘s first sequel, Charming Rivals.

As far as goal #8 (learning) I did plenty. I learned how to format an ebook (Guido Henkel’s guide is super handy, but I needed a few other bits and pieces and some special formatting for my ‘about’ page so it’s an effective starter (and intermediate) but doesn’t have everything. Also, it’s free.). I also learned no matter how perfect an image is in the author’s mind for the book, sometimes it just doesn’t work out and you have to let go. And on top of that I discovered the Writing Excuses podcast and binged an entire three seasons of the thing. I need to take a break before delving deeper into the back list as I’ve been podcast listening for nearly two months now. Back to audiobooks!

And now, my goals specifically for April:

  • Revamp of website: Mostly done. I updated the look of this, the main part of the site, and I did a cool new books section. It took a lot of work though, making a subdomain, setting up a separate install of WordPress on there so it could have its own theme and using MyBookTable to make it all pretty. Considering my only website before this was an old Geocities Sailor Moon fansite I think I did a pretty good job with all the technical stuff ;p That’s probably why I’m waiting a little longer before I update my ‘free fiction’ section. I’ll try getting to that later this year.
  • Release The Troll’s Toll: done, though by the skin of my teeth really as I uploaded it late at night on the 28th. So late I didn’t have time to do all my release/out now promotion.
  • Help with the promotion of the releases of ASIM #63 (which contains my story Gaps) and Leading Edge #68 (which contains my story Charming): I had heaps of fun with this, I got to send out my first ever newsletter(and second), make book pages on my site and I even (after checking the publisher didn’t mind) put the magazines on Goodreads. I only hope my sales copy wasn’t too sales-y in my newsletters.

Stretch goal:

  • Write first draft of (very loose working title) Kitsune In Space: YES! Yes I finally completed on of my stretch goals. I even found the time to revise it and submit the first 2/3rds to my writers’ group for critique. I hope to submit it to a specific anthology at the end of May.

I also found the time to sit down and flesh out the entire Charming For Hire series, the full outlines of all the sequels to Charming, (Charming Rivals, Naught for Charming, The Glass Witch, The Handrell War, A Charming Child). I’ve even written a good portion of Charming Rivals‘ first draft. I found this time as I was waiting for my proofreader to send me back The Troll’s Toll.

So over all, I’m pretty happy with the results for April.

Going For Goals – April 2016

mydeskATMThus far I’ve done fairly well with my goals this year. I’ve had to do a few reassessments – mostly for goals I didn’t set well in advance (see yesterday’s goals round up for an example).

This month the website becomes my focus for a bit. It’s been four years and I’m still rocking the same look. However I’m not sure exactly what will change. I’m spending a lot of time looking through themes, seeing if I can use multiple themes on the one site, looking into subdomains, trying to decide how to make my books and stories pages look prettier. And then there’s the really big goal…

I’m going to self publish The Troll’s Toll. Ideally this month, but if things get in the way next month, I don’t want to rush it and publish rubbish after all. Yet neither do I want to wait too long.

I’ve self published a few flash fiction pieces here on the site before, but they’ve never made it anywhere else on the internet. Except for those little flash pieces, everything has been traditionally published. But my vision is to be a hybrid author, and since novellas are typically a hard sell to traditional markets those are what I’m going to start publishing myself.

I’ve been working with a designer for a logo for the whole line of my Retailored Fairy Tales (which Charming, coming out this month in Leading Edge magazine #68, is a part of), working on a cover, the last of the copy edits, and soon will be diving into formatting. There’s much to do and it’s very exciting!

So, my goals for April:

  • Revamp of website
  • Release The Troll’s Toll
  • Help with the promotion of the releases of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #63 (which contains my story Gaps) and Leading Edge #68 (which contains my story Charming)

Stretch goal:

  • Write first draft of (very loose working title) Kitsune In Space

You need to read the ‘Space’ part of the title all deep voiced and drawn out like a TV show announcer in the 70s.

Also, though I really should be focusing I keep thinking of writing my own game using software/websites like Twine or One More Story Games. But focus. Put on those old fashioned horse-blinders and focus Kirstie, you’ve got enough to do this month already!

March Goals Round-Up 2016

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

March was a fairly busy month, with two long weekend trips away (one to see my parents before they headed-off on an around Australia trip they won’t return from until Christmas, and the other an extended Easter holiday), the Aurealis Awards ceremony, and Xander’s last few weeks of his first ever term of school (plus first week of school holidays ;p ). Not that that stopped me, only slowed me down a touch.

Regarding goal #2 (being a killer president(not to be mistaken with president killer ;p )) I went to the Aurealis Awards Ceremony in my official capacity. I couldn’t help but bask in the glory of Vision Writers presence at the ceremony as our founders were MCs, past presidents and members presented awards, received awards, and my VP was a judge in the horror categories. If you want to read a more thorough run-down check out the post on the Vision Writers Website. I also did a lot of work on the upcoming Vision Writers anthology (mostly people and time wrangling, but you’d be surprised how much effort that can take sometimes).

Goal #3(work on my novellas) went swimmingly as I completed the first draft for Glass Slippers (though went quite over the projected word count ;p ), and finished my final revision of The Troll’s Toll before it’s upcoming publication(more to come on that very soon!).

Regarding goal #8(keep learning) I’ve been listening to podcasts nearly all month. A huge backlog of The Creative Penn podcasts, the new The Self Publishing Formula podcast, and the Kobo Writing Life podcast. If I haven’t learned a few new things in listening to easily 20+ hours of podcasts then I either am omniscient and all knowing, or too thick to learn ;p

No significant reportable progress on the rest of the yearly goals, but some pretty solid results on what I did get done.

In regards to my March specific goals:

  • Write Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters (projected length 7,000 words): I wrote 6,000 words of it then realised that I was going to go waaaaay over the word limit for the anthology I wanted to submit to. Also my conflict at the start was poor. Very poor. And that’s being generous with myself. I’ve come up with a better plot outline and will work on it later in the year.
  • Write Glass Slippers (projected length 15,000 words): Finished the first draft at just over 30,000 words. It’s a pretty solid first draft, with only one trouble area I’m aware of ATM. Currently letting it percolate before revising.
  • Begin revisions on both Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters and Glass Slippers: This was a stupid idea. Stupid. I realised if I did rush both first drafts and try to revise them for submission by the end of the month I’d just end up submitting severely sub-par work, so I scrapped this goal entirely, because there’s no point submitting junk. It doesn’t matter how badly you want to be a part of that anthology, you won’t be if you send the editor rushed rubbish. Better to miss out and not give yourself a name for submitting crap.
  • Help with the promotion of the release of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #63 (which contains my story Gaps) and Leading Edge #68 (which contains my story Charming): Lol, neither ended up releasing this month. Leading Edge will be out any day now though – watch this space for further news!
  • Complete plot outline for first Charming Sequel: Yes and no. I realised what was wrong/missing in the plot outline I did last month. The problem is this needs to be two separate stories. I’ve got a very good idea for the first half of the split(needs to be properly outlined still), and last month’s outline mostly takes care of the second part(just needs irrelevant parts removed).
  • Complete plot outline for (working title)Kitsune In Space: Done, and I can’t wait to write this story, Japanese shape shifters in space, and a trans character = my hands up in the air like I’m on the best roller coaster ever. I also spent a whole day working on the kanji for the main characters names(this matters, here’s why).
  • Figure out the plotting problems with the end of Skeleton Romance(working title) so I can finish the novel: I’ve made a little headway on this, but nothing significant
  • Complete final revisions on The Troll’s Toll so it’s ready for editors: Yes I did this one! It’s being proofread/copy edited as we speak! You’ll be seeing and hearing a lot about The Troll’s Toll over the next couple of days/weeks 😀

All up I kept pretty busy in March, and April doesn’t look any quieter.

Going For Goals – March 2016

doing a whole lot of this during March

doing a whole lot of this during March

Oops! I was so busy actually working on my monthly goals I forgot to share them with you!

I found four different anthologies with open submission calls that I really liked the themes of. Two have very soon dead lines, but two are a bit further off, so I thought I’d work hard on writing and revising the sooner two stories.


  • Write Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters (projected length 7,000 words)
  • Write Glass Slippers (projected length 15,000 words) I’ve already written 9,500 ;p
  • Begin revisions on both Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters and Glass Slippers
  • Help with the promotion of the release of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #63 (which contains my story Gaps) and Leading Edge #68 (which contains my story Charming) which both come out this month
  • Complete plot outline for first Charming Sequel
  • Complete plot outline for (working title)Kitsune In Space
  • Figure out the plotting problems with the end of Skeleton Romance(working title) so I can finish the novel (more about this in tomorrow’s blog post)
  • Complete final revisions on The Troll’s Toll so it’s ready for editors

Stretch Goal:

  • Write Charming sequel
  • Finish the ending of Skeleton Romance

Also, I’m going to have to try hard not to use this adorable Cthulhu emoticon (;,,,;)

Fabruary Goals Round-Up 2016

fabThe goal I probably did the most work on last month was Goal 2 – being a good president to my writers group. Our group is working on an anthology to celebrate its 20th anniversary. I spent a lot of time hunting down old members and trying to contact them. I discovered there’s a surprising number of successful authors who don’t have websites, or social media, or any easy way to contact them >.< So if you are a published past member of Vision and didn’t get a message from me, that might be why (or I never heard you were a past member). I also had several other things to do with the anthology front and back matter and edits organisation. Also I worked on a presentation plan for an  appearance at BWF again – but in a different way this time! And dealt with a website outage. Busy busy!

Goal 3, working on my novellas saw some attention, with me utilising some beta reader feedback for The Troll’s Toll and writing a further 10,400 words in Skeleton Romance(working title). I also did a plot outline for a couple of novellas I’ll be writing soon (The Charming Sequel and Glass Slippers). Also wrote the first 1,500 words of Glass Slippers.

Goal 4, write more short fiction. I wrote the first 4,500 words of Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters, a new short story, and wrote a plot outline for another short story I want to write for an upcoming anthology(which the working title is almost too ridiculous to even say outloud).

Goal 6, work with as many editors as I can, went well. I worked with editors (a team of them 🙂 !) on Charming,  a different editor on God’s Chosen, and yet another on Glass Bones – and that was just in February. When you count my January edits I’ve worked with five different editors (or groups of editors). An exciting start, and I’m sure learning lots(which of course satisfies goal 8, keep learning ;p ).

In regards to my February specific goals:

  • Finish the first draft of Skeleton Romance(working title) – I wrote another 10,000+ words, but came across a problem, I have two antagonists whose narratives need wrapping up. My original plot outline was only concerned with wrapping up the romantic and platonic relationships and the self-growth of the protagonist, not the antagonistic stuff. What an over sight! And i made some pretty nasty villains who are going to be harder to polish off that i at first thought. It’s going to take a bit longer than I thought. Again. also, there is nothing novella length about Skeleton romance now – it’s a novel ;p
  • Get betas back for The Troll’s Toll and utilise feedback – I did so. The Troll’s Toll now has a more solid ending and a lot of lovely compliments ;p
  • Get betas back for Foxworth and utillise – I’ve only had one beta reader get back to me. I was so busy with the anthology and the edits for my professional sales I forgot all about this goal until this very moment ;p Time to send a few polite emails.
  • Write the new Charming sequel – I didn’t write it, but I did get the plot outline done. I still feel there’s a little something missing from the story though, so I’m researching a lot of lesser known fairy tales trying to find the missing puzzle piece (plus, reading fairy tales is fun 😀 )

My stretch goal, to write some more flash fiction, was sort of done. I’ve come up with 3 new short stories and started a couple of them, but none of them are flash fiction, they’re all 7,000 words or longer in their projected length. They’ll still suit my purpose of getting more stories to try and sell traditionally though ;p

All up, I think I did make February Fabruary. It was a busy and productive month.

Going For Goals – February 2016

fabJanuary went well, I completed or near-completed all the goals I set for the month(though I didn’t touch my stretch goal), made some great progress on my yearly goals, and received three acceptance letters for short stories. That’s given me the confidence and drive to make February, FABruary.

I know, it’s a smaller list than January. Let me explain. I have two more stories I should be receiving edits on this month, and a possible third which could drop on me at any time. Also our family has a couple of weekends away planned, and I know I won’t do any writing then because I’ll be having family fun. That and this list doesn’t include things like the reciprocal feedback I’m giving my beta readers, the critiquing I do each month for my writers group and all my household goals that have nothing to do with my writing (like cleaning the spare bedroom and organising Xander’s toy mountain).

Without further ado, FABruary’s goals are:

  • Finish the first draft of Skeleton Romance(very loose working title)
  • Get betas back for The Troll’s Toll and utilise feedback
  • Get betas back for Foxworth and utillise
  • Write the new Charming sequel

And my stretch goal is:

  • Write some flash fiction with Holly’s course (or at least use it to give me some short stories)

I need that stretch goal because I’ve almost run out of short fiction to sell traditionally. If I want to keep making traditional sales I’m going to need some more material ;p

January Goals Round-Up 2016

checklistWith three new acceptance letters for short stories received this month it was certainly a good start to the year.

I also got a great start to the working with editors goal(#6), since two editors (one for one of the new stories and one from a while back) have worked with me already.

Goal 3 went well too as I did a good amount of work on The Troll’s Toll novella, and wrote a huge amount in the Skeleton Romance novella.

In fact I made progress on my yearly goals #s 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8. (Can’t remember what the goals were? Read this post(scroll to the bottom if you only want to know what goals I set))

For my January only goals:

  • Write ‘Skeleton Romance’ – I wrote 32,800 words. It’s not finished, but a good chunk is done
  • Prep a years worth of writing prompts for the Vision Writers website – completed
  • Make the new banner for the Vision Writers website – done
  • Continue updates of the Vision Writers website – done most of it, still some more to work to do though, and it will always need updates
  • Final review of The Troll’s Toll to prepare it for beta readers – I did indeed
  • Find beta readers for The Troll’s Toll and reciprocate – Found some, got some back (not all yet), still working on reciprocating for all of them (some haven’t sent me anything yet – storing up favours I guess ;p )
  • Send Foxworth to the Foxworth Feedback Community for beta reading – yes. Haven’t got any back yet though. Memo to me: give beta readers set date to have feedback returned by ;p

I didn’t get around to either of my stretch goals, but stretch goals are just that – the goal you do when everything else is done.

I also had a nice long chat with a good friend/writer/mentor to help me focus on a business plan and all the fiddly bits underneath the bonnet of that phrase.

Not a bad start to the year, but the start of the year is usually easy – you’ve got all the enthusiasm from New Years resolutions. Can it be maintained all year long?


picture sourced from pixabay

Going For Goals – January 2016

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

In addition to setting my yearly, overarching goals, I’m setting myself monthly goals. Some of these goals I’ve set now, well in advance, and others I will play a bit more by ear – I know what they’ll be but have no set month I intend to finish them during.


For January my goals are:

  • Write ‘Skeleton Romance’ (very loose working title) novella
  • Prep a years worth of writing prompts for the Vision Writers website
  • Make the new banner for the Vision Writers website
  • Continue updates on various pages of the Vision Writers website
  • Final review of The Troll’s Toll to prepare it for beta readers
  • Find beta readers for The Troll’s Toll and reciprocate
  • Send Foxworth to the Foxworth Feedback Community for beta reading

Stretch Goal:

  • Plot outline Footprints In the Sand novella and check with friend in police force to ensure I’m procedurally correct for a rural NSW police force


So far I’ve written nearly 15,000 words in the projected 30,000 word novella I’m temporarily calling Skeleton Romance, and I’ve prepped 7 writing prompts for Vision. Through voting with the active members we’ve settled on an image for the Vision banner and I’ve been collecting info to update several pages of the website.

Not a bad start for the month/year – lets hope I can maintain the pace.

2015 Rounded Up + 2016 Goals

I knew 2015 wasn’t going to be highly productive, so I set my goals what I thought was accordingly. I clearly had high hopes.

The second two trimesters of this pregnancy were even worse than the first – and the first was no cake walk. I also came across a fact I knew, but didn’t KNOW: that having two children simultaneously is harder than simply doubling the amount of effort to care for one child.

I still did achieve a few goals. Goal #1, to be a good president to my writers group Vision Writers, well I was voted in for a second year, so I was at least good enough to justify that vote. Goal #5 of starting a mailing list went perfectly, 100% complete.

Goal #4, continue writing and selling short fiction went fairly well. Plenty of selling, got two confirmed sales (as in contracts signed and/or edits done) and one where I’m still waiting for a final yes(despite having done a pretty hefty amount of content edits at their request). Also there’s a couple of stories currently in the ‘final round’ before approval as well. I also scored another Honorable Mention, this time for ‘The Beauty of The Dance’ in the Q1 2015 Writers Of The Future contest. As for writing I didn’t quite go so well. I wrote Foxworth (5,000 words), Couple’s Counseling (3,400), and Ella’s Baby (500). I’ve done a lot of editing on other stories, and I’ve plotted out quite a few new ideas, but didn’t really commit new words to page.

Goal #3, completing my final revision of Written By The Stars is my disappointing one. I’ve almost completed it, but almost isn’t done, not to mention I’m wracked with doubts about it. Unfeedbacked editing is really very hard. Am I ruining something that’s actually good while ‘fixing’ it? Am I leaving actually-really-awful bits assuming they’re fine? I think I psych myself out, and of course finding the time to try and sit down and work on any real stretch of the story is very hard at the moment.

Goal#2 was always a stretch goal, for if a miracle occurred and I somehow completed all the other goals, so having done little more than writing down a few notes for this one isn’t depressing me.

Goal #6, keep learning, is an abstract goal. I learned plenty. I’ve learned more about making covers, about marketing, about editing and revision, about public speaking (I used to be great in High School, but a lack of practice has left me a little less confident than back in my teens apparently ;p ), about formatting ebooks, and – though not exactly pertinent to my writing career – about raising children. All up I suppose I’m happy enough with this one.

Overall it wasn’t too bad a result, but I think the over achiever in me is just pissy because I didn’t smash everything.

And now, next year’s goals:

Goal #1 – Finish the edits of Written By The Stars. Yeah, you know why that’s top of the list

Goal #2 – Be the best president I can be of my writers group, Vision Writers. Why? because if you’re going to do something, you better kick ass at it.

Goal #3 – Work on my several novellas: Footprints In The Sand, The Troll’s Toll, Princess Paladin, and my newest that exists only under the working title ‘Skeleton Romance’. I want to not just finish them all, but publish at least one of them.

Goal #4 – Keep writing and selling short fiction. Different to novellas because shorter, and not specified stories, whatever inspiration takes my fancy.

Goal #5 – Finish one of the NaNo novels I started, but then never touched again post-November. I’ve got a few to chose from, but I’ll tackle whichever takes my fancy at the time.

Goal #6 – Work with as many editors as I can. Since I have a few sales I still need to receive edits on that will give me a bit of a start, but I’m also hoping to hire a freelance editor for one or more of my aforementioned novellas. Also achieving goal 4 and selling some other short stories should expose me to further new editors. I want to do this so I can get professional feedback and increase my understanding of what needs fixing and what doesn’t in my own work.

Goal #7 – Find some dedicated beta readers. I already have a great critique group with Vision, but if I stick to my goals the volume I intend to write will be too much for polite group usage – I don’t want to hog all the group’s time. But I’ll still want feedback on a lot of what I’m writing. Obviously I will also need to allocate the time to reciprocate the effort my beta-readers will give me.

Goal #8 – Keep Learning. Because you don’t ever want to stop.

Stretch Goal – complete final revision on Storybook Perfect.

Yes, I know, I’ve got more goals than last year. But you failed Kirstie, why aim higher? Two reasons. 1/ I’m going to have a bit more time this year since Xander starts school (OMG, when did my little boy grow up!). I won’t be spoiled with an excess of time, but shall have more than I did this year. 2/ Because if you don’t reach higher you’re never really going to get anywhere, are you now?

So who’s ready for 2016 (and spending the next month or two accidentally putting ’15’ in dates instead of ’16’) ?

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