Crushing Goals Before They Crush Me

I am slowly getting myself back on schedule for the goals that I created back in January.

I knew when I set my goals that my current work schedule would make achieving them difficult. That’s continued to prove true.

However, in March, I got a little more organized.

For starters, I made a new spreadsheet (because I love spreadsheet lists) that tracks a number of things.

  • It tracks my book ideas.
  • It tracks daily sales.
  • It tracks when I can promote books through Amazon.
  • It tracks daily goals.

For book ideas, I made a list of 100 ideas I want to write. This wasn’t to overwhelm me, but to see if I could come up with better ideas through brainstorming, than just accepting the first idea or two that came to mind.

I began tracking daily sales because I needed to know what is selling, and where, and if the promotions were working. This has helped me realize that sales on Smashwords are competitive with my sales on Amazon, despite having fewer books published through them. Also, paperback sales do far better than digital, as long as I have some type of signing event.

I made a list when each book becomes available to do a promotion on Amazon. This has been a problem, because I have a lot of books on Amazon, under numerous pen names, and I’ve been missing opportunities to promote them.

The daily goal spreadsheet is exactly what it sounds like. I have a list of everything I would like to accomplish, regardless of time to actually accomplish it. The first few columns are the easy ones, that only take a few minutes. Each consecutive column gets into projects that require more time, which includes most of my writing projects.

The daily goal spreadsheet also keeps my editing projects in front of me, a necessity considering I’ve still got 3 books needing editing, which is three more books I could have on the market.

So this has been fairly successful for March. The intention is that for April I can continue to grow with developing my tracking to be a more productive writer and a generally more happy person (because let’s face it, feeling successful living as a writer makes a writer generally more happy. You gotta write to be a writer, right?).

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The 2015 Monday Update – Goals for This Year (or Better Late Than Never?!)

Yes, I know, we’re well into 2015. Through the winter (and the first part of the year, I didn’t have that much time to devote to my writing. Sooo… here we are, mid-April, and I’m just getting around to what is going on for the rest of the year.

Last year I had set a goal of writing 1 million words. I managed about a quarter of that. Though I’d like to think I could hit it this year, I don’t think a million words is what I want to focus on this time around.200 (2)

Instead, I’m going for 52 ebook releases in 52 weeks. Some of you might’ve seen a similar goal inspired by the writer Dean Wesley Smith in one of his blog posts from a few years back, and yes, I admit that it’s my influence.

But, I hear you say, it’s April! 15 weeks have already gone by, and you’ve only released 4 ebooks this year! Well, I just so happen to have 15 books on Amazon right now! That’s still 52 books by the time this year ends. But still, that’s not exactly the goal. 52 books in 52 weeks. I’ll take this goal into April 2016 to see it through.

So… back to what I’m shooting for. At least one ebook a week. This will include short stories, novelettes, novellas, serials, bundles, and full length novels. I’m going to try for at least one release per month to be a novel of 40k words or more, but that’s a secondary goal.

This week you’ll see the release of the conclusion to Spilling Blood Season II, and the complete Season in a single bundle (for those of you who have been waiting). In the following weeks, Apocalypse Witch 3 and the bundle of the trilogy, and Soul Sister (which is coming along quickly now), and finally on to Hungry Gods 3. I have several other secret projects I’m not ready to announce yet, but the above are what I’m already committed to.

Finally, if I can stay on track, I’ll go back to fairly regular Monday updates to keep myself honest.

Monday Update Part 5

One year ago from yesterday, I released my first book, Broken Things. Since then, I’ve published two others, with my fourth book coming out within a few days.

Broken Things was the novel I wanted to write, a story that I felt was inspired. It is the novel I wanted to launch my career with. I’m still proud of it, even though my writing has continued to grow since then. It’s still my favorite of all my stories. It’s taken me across Southern Idaho to book signings in a variety of venues from an aquarium and to coffee bars and bookstores. It also continues to sell the best of my three titles, so far.
Broken ThingsEven though I am frequently asked if this book will ever have a sequel, I really don’t want to lessen the book by giving it a series. There’s some books (and movies) that lose everything they stand for because of further development, and this I will always believe is one of them. It has reached rank #1,138 in paid bestsellers on Amazon, and broken into the top #100 from a promo free run.

In this second year, I have another sci-fi novel coming out, probably a month or two away. It will be for those of you who enjoyed my first Sci-fi, with a story-line that will hopefully make you think and feel. More on that at a later date.

I will also be writing my other two genre fiction series, being Hungry Gods and Spilling Blood. I’ve promised my wife her advanced copy of Death’s Reach will be in her hands over the next couple of days, which means that you will be able to read it within a week.

In Death’s Reach, the zombie apocalypse takes a number of horrifying new turns as zombie gods begin to extend their influence over the world. There are few sanctuaries left, and the survivors from book 1 find their resolve tested as the world descends into chaos.

If you liked Death Storm, you’ll love Death’s Reach.

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The Official 2014 Resolutions/Goals Post

Before I get started on New Year’s Resolutions, I thought I’d take a quick look back at what I said I’d do for 2013, and where I fell short.

The Best and Worst of 2013

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First: 13 Novels – Yep, didn’t happen. Three happened. Actually, I’ve written four, but I’m saving one to release in 2014.

Second: 5,000 words a day. Sometimes I was lucky to hit 500. My best writing day was just over 8,000. However, I I’m currently hitting between 2k to 6k a day for the end of this year.

2013 did see the release of Broken Things, a novel I’m very proud of, and continues to be my bestselling book.

I also released the first book of two series, Hungry Gods and Spilling Blood.

I did not stay true to one genre, but I never intended to.

On to 2014

kitty1). Since last year I wanted to write 13 novels, this year I’m setting my goal for 14 for this year. Do I care that I didn’t hit my goal last year? No way. Is it going to deter me? Not a chance. 14 novels.

Book 2 of both The Hungry Gods and Spilling Blood series will see release in the first quarter of 2014, and books 3 to both following. I have outlines for two more Sci-Fi books waiting in the queue, one additional fantasy, and a ton of horror.

2). Word count goal: 1 million words in 2014. That’s less than 3,000 words a day, but I intend to achieve much more than that.

3). Updates. Monday ones, Just like this one, every Monday. Starting this week, I’m going to actually use Tumblr too. I think I’ve got maybe three posts ever there. I’m going to use it to post daily word counts and how my goals are coming along.

4). This is my Maybe Goal. Maybe I’ll use my newsletter. Maybe.

And with that, I’ll leave you with one update: my next book, and first book of 2014, will be Death’s Reach, Book 2 of the Hungry Gods series, and it will be released in January. That’s all! 😀

Comparing Hockey & Writing – A Guest Post by Luke Murphy

Today I have a guest post for you from Luke Murphy, retired professional hockey player and author of the thriller DEAD MAN’S HAND
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It can almost be said with certainty that I didn’t follow the path of the average writer. As a child, I never dreamed of writing a best-seller, never aspired to write the next classic novel, I wanted to be an NHL superstar…period.

With the death of my mother in 1992, losing a battle to cancer she had fought so hard against for years, I sensed it was time to get serious about reaching my dreams, and moved away to pursue hockey.

From 1992-1995, while playing for the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central Junior Hockey League, I noticed a shift in the game of hockey and realized that the odds of making it to the NHL were unfavorable for a kid who stood 5’9’’ and weighed 160 pounds. So, my goals shifted. I accepted a hockey scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology. If I couldn’t make a living playing hockey, at least I could achieve an education and open doors for my future.

After four rewarding years at College, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, I wasn’t ready to give up on the game I love.

I attended the Florida Panthers Rookie Camp and played well, playing in four games, as well as scoring the game winning goal against the Ottawa Senators.

Unfortunately, I broke my hand in an awkward hit in my fourth exhibition game that ended my camp, but my hard work paid off. The Panthers offered me a Minor League contract, $500 a week to play the game I love. I spent six years in the minors and retired in 2006 with no regrets.

From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of my life.

In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.

One day, with an idea in mind, I sat down in front of a computer and began writing. I wrote a little every day, around my intense rehabilitation schedule and before I knew it, I had completed my first manuscript.

I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. Ever the perfectionist, I didn’t see my novel at the level to compete with best-selling authors across the country. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.

Then I made a decision – I enjoyed writing so much, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further – write a story with the intention of being published. I realized that I wanted to be like my favorite authors – entertain readers and allow them, like when I read, to escape reality and for a moment be in another place and time.

I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I attended writing conferences and made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions and learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.

I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel to point where I could create the best possible novel.

I sent out hundreds of query letters to agents. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by Ms. Jennifer Lyons of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

After months of work with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books.

The term “practice makes perfect” can basically relate to anything you do. Hockey and writing are no different.

Many people might not see a connection between writing and hockey, but there are many similarities in not only your preparation, but “musts” once you’re there.

In both hockey and writing, you need three things: patience, persistence and thick skin.

My transition from professional hockey player to published author was surprisingly smooth. Hockey and writing have many things in common.

For both, it takes hard work and practice. There are many critics, and you need to be able to take criticism with a grain of salt. Both the hockey and writing worlds are small communities, filled with people who want to help you succeed. In order to find success, in both you need to be persistent and confident.

It’s all about taking a chance, putting yourself out there to be evaluated by your peers. That’s the scariest part.

It takes time to get “good” at something. I started writing when I was young and playing professional hockey. A couple of hours a day on the ice and in the gym and then the day was mine. I also suffered a serious eye injury and couldn`t play, so I had a lot more time on my hands. Now that I`m older, with a family and full time job, makes it a lot harder to find the time to write. Take advantage and chase your dreams while you’re young.

My one piece of advice for all aspiring hockey players and writers…you’ll get a lot of “no’s” along the way and people trying to bring you down. But remember, it only takes one “yes”. Stick with it. Anything is possible. It’s all about “staying the course” and not getting off track. Have no regrets and leave nothing on the table.

——————–

Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorLukeMurphy and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy

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DEAD MAN’S HAND

What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don’t fall your way?

 When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

 What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?

 Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

  Review Blurbs:

 “You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.”

—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter

“Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one,

but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.”

—Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower

“Part police procedural, part crime fiction, Dead Man’s Hand is a fast, gritty ride.”

—Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Hush

Spilling Blood – a New Vampire Horror Serial

Episode 1 of my new serial novel, Spilling Blood, launches today. What’s it about? Well! Let me tell you!

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SPILLING BLOOD EPISODE 1

Emily has been chosen. Emily is going to die. 

Emily Steel’s life is in upheaval. Her relationship with her boyfriend is falling apart, and a strange man has been haunting her dreams. His lips taste of dirt and his hands are the cold of the grave.

Tonight Emily’s life comes to an end. 

Kidnapped by a sadistic vampire known only as Gnasher, Emily becomes the prisoner of a coven of vampires. With time running out, she must find a way to escape before Gnasher’s plans for her are realized.

This is Episode 1 of a 4 part serial novel. The planned release dates of the rest of the Episodes are:
Episode 2: October 16
Episode 3: October 23
Episode 4: October 30

Want it in one complete book? The entire Season of all four episodes will be released in a collection on October 31st.

 

Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Award

Remember the book fair I participated in earlier this year? BROKEN THINGS won the Reader’s Choice Award for Science Fiction.

broken-things award

 

BTW, BROKEN THINGS is on sale for the entire month of September, for the bargain price of $.99!!! If you’ve been waiting to read it, this is a great time to grab it. It’s available at that price through AMAZON USUKCABarnes & NobleKoboSonyitunes; and Smashwords.

The Top Eight Things You Might Like to Know About Mindy Kilgrove – Guest Post

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Hello and thank you to everyone for reading my Guest Blog today. I’d like to extend a special thank you to G.S. for allowing me to post on his blog. My name is Mindy Killgrove and I’m a contemporary fiction, romance, and humor novelist. I have a great time popping from one genre to the next, but most of the time, I focus on creating fiction that my readers find realistic. On my own blog, I enjoy writing top eight lists. (Eight is my lucky number.) For today, I’d like to share with you:

The Top Eight Things You Might Like to Know About Me:

8.  I just moved to Perrysburg, OH with my family. I’ve lived in Ohio for the majority of my life, but I spent two years living near Charlotte, NC.

7.  I love media! In my own blogspace, I devote my blogs to writing about media-related items that move me. Movies, Books, Television, Music, Video Games: You name it and I cover it.

6.  I have two little boys at home. My obsession for media spread to them, as both were named after famous people.

5. In my books, I aim to write storylines that feel relatable to the readers. I use my own experiences as a jumping off point for my tales. When you read my stories they may feel real, because they are (in some cases).

4. The first book in the Missy Lawrence Series, Meet Me at the Pond, was dedicated to my sorority: The Philalethean Society of Heidelberg University. They are a local group, and I’m proud to call myself a member of this fine organization.

3.  Meet Me at Fountain Park, the second book in the Missy Lawrence series, is dedicated to the Fit Chicks of Ravenna, OH. I was a member of this group for a number of years and I was supremely moved by their caring and encouraging ways. The Fit Chicks promote healthy living that will not only benefit your body, but your mind and your soul as well.

2.  Every chapter in the Missy Lawrence series is based around answering a question. In that way, you can read a chapter, just like you would watch an episode of a TV show, and then come back to the book later—if necessary. (Or, you could read through the whole book in one afternoon, if that suits.)

1.  I love reading–I love sitting on my back porch and reading a book. This can be done in the sunshine or the shade, but either way, I enjoy kicking back and devouring a new novel. My own novels are what I would describe as the perfect books to throw in your beach bag and take down by the water. Whether you’re downloading the ebook or taking the paperback along with you, Meet Me at the Pond and Meet Me at Fountain Park are pure fun. They’ll help you relax and enjoy your vacation.

I created the Missy Lawrence Trilogy a few years ago. Currently, Meet Me at the Pond and Meet Me at Fountain Park are available in paperback and ebook editions. The third and final book in the series Meet Me at Rock Creek will be published before the end of the year. If you’ve ever been in love, or if you’re still searching for the right one, let Missy Lawrence and her gang of girlfriends entertain you (and commiserate, perhaps).

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Pen name: Mindy Killgrove

Website: http://www.mindykillgrove.com

Featured title: Meet Me at Fountain Park

Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Meet-Me-at-Fountain-Park/dp/1612962262/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373456383&sr=8-1&keywords=meet+me+at+fountain+park

Barnes & Noble buy link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/meet-me-at-fountain-park-mindy-killgrove/1115785856?ean=9781612962269

Smashwords buy link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=meet+me+at+fountain+park

Book video link (YouTube preferred): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqS9PKkWGps

I’ll be conducting a giveaway during the Blogger Book Fair. I’ll be giving away three copies of each book.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YmU5M2JlMTlmNjBjY2VmNWU4NTgwYWQwNGFlOTAwOjA=/

July BBF button copy

Every day this week, I am featuring a different author on my blog as part of the Blogger Book Fair. Check back tomorrow for another author.

July Happenings

July is looking to be a busy month. 🙂

DEATH STORM – Hungry Gods Book 1

DEATH STORM, Book 1 in the Hungry Gods Trilogy is being released just in time to start the month. That means that if you are sick of me talking about BROKEN THINGS, it will be taking a second seat for the new material. Death Storm is a dark fantasy apocalypse featuring a world of sword and sorcery getting to deal with a zombie apocalypse. Watch for a cover reveal soon.

JULY BOOK SIGNINGS

I have not signed on for any book signings this month, but watch for details. I am hoping to feature the new novel at any and all appearances, but it will depend on how quickly I get my books from the printer.

BLOGGER BOOK TOUR

For the end of  July, watch for a Blogger Book Tour. I am planning to feature/host 5 other authors, and visit their blogs in turn.

MISC

Finally, wonder why it’s taken me so long to finish this last book? I’m easily distracted. I’ve started 9 manuscripts over the last couple of months, chasing a lot of fun ideas. some of these manuscripts are already nearly 25% written. I’m making a goal to start finishing all of these projects that I’ve started, one book at a time. As soon as Death Storm hits the virtual shelves, I’ll reveal the next Work-in-Progress.

 

 

 

RosePointPublishing Reviews Broken Things

RosePointPublishing is an indie publishing house ran by Virginia Williams. Virginia is publishing the manuscripts of her grandfather, Stanley McShane. They are novels about Seafaring, inspired by the man’s true life on the sea. Virginia is sharing McShane’s books this week in our Multi-Author Ebook Sale, and I am currently reading Lucky Joe. Learn more about Stanley McShane and RosePointPublishing by visiting their website here.

RosePointPublishing gave BROKEN THINGS a very nice review this week, calling it a “Scary Sci-Fi”. 🙂 Check out the review here.