Monday, 30 June 2014

Leah - June; Success Smells Like Fresh Paper ;-)

So... biggest bit of news of this month: I finally managed to send my novella to Breathless Press!
You know the one, the 'cage story' I mentioned a few months ago; the one I was reading to the group regularly before I chickened out? The one I submitted the first five pages to? Remember, I got this shiny:

Well it's done. I wipe my hands of it (until I get a response anyway). The query is sent along with my synopsis and full manuscript and I'll know in the next four weeks (ish) if they plan to ta
Even if they don't I now have a list of other publishers who may be interested. Once I get through that list, depending on the feedback, I'll publish it myself (which was my original plan anyway).

In other news, I've been working hard at my latest WIP Walking The Razor's Edge. This is the second in the (Saar's Legacy) trilogy of which Silk Over Razor Blades was the first novel. All going quite nicely.

Submissions-wise... well, I sent a few letters last month. I try to do them every month because they keep me in the mood of submitting things. And one of them struck gold!
Writing Magazine printed my letter on jealousy in their July issue (or was it June...? Probably June) and picked it as the star letter!
As a prize they sent me a lovely, shiny copy of the Writers And Artists Yearbook 2014. Aaaah... the sweet scent of success! It smells like fresh, unmarked pages. ;-)

Until next time!
Twitter: @ileandraXraven

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Leah - May; Bit Of A Slow One

A slow month for me.
Yes, yes, I know it happens every now and then, but I don't feel like I got as much done as I would have hoped. Maybe it's good to have a break though. Just every now and then, to allow myself to recharge.

Aaaah well. I did have a birthday though. Wanna see my cards?
Yes, the big 3-0! If I want to be a mega success and have buckets of riches then I'd better get on with it, eh?

Anyway in terms of submissions:
~three letters
~one short story

Not bad, right?
Better than nothing, I suppose, but I need to get into a regular rhythm of sending things each month. Maybe I need to put aside a day each week devoted to doing that. Hmm.

I'll ponder on it.

Well... June is coming up. That's normally the point at which I reassess all my goals, look at where I'm going, where I want to be and where I've been. That should give me a nudge in the right direction insofar as deciding on a plan of action for the next six months.

I'll see you guys then.

Twitter: @ileandraXraven

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Leah - April Raaaaaaaambles!

I somehow made it to the end of the April A2Z Challenge this year. I must be mad, but I did it. Between my two pen names, I posted something to my blog every day of April except for the Sundays. Boom.

This does mean, however, that submissions weren’t shooting off through the roof.

You may remember last month I talked about rolling things back a bit, changing my plans and taking on one project at a time? Well… at the time of writing I have managed to finish the Slippers & Chains novella and have since got comments back from beta readers. It’s now time to read through those, let them simmer, then look at what/if things need changes.
I have also finished the last major edit on Silk Over Razor Blades novel and I’m testing the waters for beta readers for that. *phew* Yes, it’s been a mad month.

But submissions?

Well… I sent a short story to Martin over CreativeFrontiers. That should be going live early in May. I have a couple of other ideas for him, so I may well send him something else later.
I’ve also sent three letters since my last check in and entered a short story competition with Writer’s Forum.

Not too bad.

I also have plans to submit a piece of Silk Over Razor Blades to Cornerstones (a literary consultancy) to see how I’d do working with them. It would be a great investment, but an expensive one, so I want to see how they work first. I’ll let you know how that goes as and when I have more information.

In the meantime… I’ve found an open anthology looking for short erotic stories. That something I should be able to write a piece for, though the deadline on it is pretty tight. A shame I don’t have anything else suitable for it, though the act of writing for a deadline is good practise.

Problem is, there are soooooooo many opportunities out there, I spend too much time trying to decide which one to go for.

I decided, a few weeks ago, that rather than writing something specific for an opportunity (not including the one above of course) I’ll just write what I want. When I want to. That’s the best way to get the cleanest, purest expression of joy (in the form of words) out of me. And then, when it’s done I’ll find somewhere suitable to send it. That makes more sense for the way I work right now. Maybe when my boys are in nursery/school and I have more time, I’ll be able to structure my day to write for specific things, but for now it feels too much like stress; trying to make those deadlines.

It’s a bit of a rambly post this month – sorry about that – but I’m a bit scattered. It’s my birthday in a few days and I’m pretty much stuck on how weird it’s going feel being thirty. O.o

Birthday cake with candles

Catch you around!


Twitter: @ileandraXraven

Monday, 31 March 2014

Leah - March; Line Up, Line Up!

My blog has imploded. Not in a bad way, but in a kind of have-too-much-on-my-plate-so-need-to-roll-things-back sort of way. It's okay though; Ileandra and Raven have a handle on what I need them to do.

But with this blog being the 'Subs Club' I thought now is as good a time as any to stop, take stock and re-evaluate.
Tomorrow is 1 April, after all. That's the first day of the second quarter of the year. ^_^

I want to make submissions. I want to self publish. I want to maintain my blog. I want to do all sorts of things that all come back to the same core thing; I want to write.

I think keeping hold of that is important and remembering that everything around that is all part of it.

I'm babbling a bit, sorry. Let me try to reign it in.

Projects On The Go
Those of you familiar with my blog know that I write erotica and fantasy. You'll know that I have simultaneous projects on the go all the time and that some move faster than others (if this is news to you then I do encourage you to visit the blog; it's nice there. There are cookies*).

Enthusiasm Takes Over
I have several projects on the go because I have so many ideas that I just can't decide which one to go for first. As a result I try to do everything all at once.

You don't need to be a genius (lucky for me) to know that doing things this way just won't work.

Pace Yourself
My blog imploded because I forced myself to acknowledge that despite my goals and lists, I still have too much happening. Not that it's impossible for me to work simultaneous projects, but only that these particular projects are too large to split my attention on.

And this is a message for all of you guys. There will always be time to work on the next project. Chose one thing, work on it, then do the next one. Don't cripple yourself by trying to do too much at once.

Accept That Plans Change
And I don't just mean the fact that your intended evening of work (with the internet turned off, of course) turned into a Facebook and YouTube marathon. I mean that sometimes, despite your best intentions, your carefully crafted lists and sticker charts (yes... I have sticker charts - they help!) you sometimes have to change things up a bit.

I had three projects on the go. Now I have one. The other two I have put to one side for the foreseeable future. In fact, one of these I might not pick up again until September. But that's okay, because that's what happens.

The ability to roll, flex and except change is what keeps us from going insane.

The Point?
Just as I told you last time that you're awesome (you are, by the way. Have you been saying it?), I'm telling you this time to cut yourself some slack.
I know for a fact that you're hard working and driven but balance that with actually doing things. Working blindly, without a plan or a goal, or with too much on hand only leads to difficulties later.

There we go.
I'm going to bed now. Every now and then I take my own advice and, frankly put, today has been a wicked-productive day.

Leah x

Twitter: @ileandraXraven

*Cookies may not actually be real. ;-)

Friday, 14 March 2014

Sheila - Read The Rules!

Image Provided by Duncan Hull - Flicker Commons
Today’s inspirational quote from my book of  “Mottos for Success”, (a Christmas gift from a friend) is: There is always something to be thankful for. This is particularly apt as for the last two months, I have been especially thankful for two members of our group (you know who you are girls) who have given up their time to do two fantastic edits of competition entries.

        Today, 14 March, was the deadline for the latest competition I decided to enter.  By Tuesday evening, 11 March, even after hours of rewriting, I found that my word count was still too high.  This was because I had not remembered the entry requirements properly and my original word count started off much too high. Note to self, print out entry rules and keep them by the computer.
     Anyway, by the time I realised my mistake, I was exhausted with the piece and couldn’t see where I could get rid of at least another three hundred words. So, I sent the final version to my two editor friends to show them at least what their first edit had produced, but with regrets that I couldn’t send the piece as the word count was wrong etc.

      Imagine my astonishment when the following morning, a severely edited piece came back, word count correct, with the instruction to enter it. Him indoors couldn’t believe it, but then said, “Well, I suppose that’s what you do in writing groups, support each other.” I told him that a lot don’t, but that the Phoenix is special. Even so, I couldn’t believe that someone had gone to so much trouble. So, yes, thankful for the unselfish members of our group who take pleasure in helping others to succeed and who believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself.

     The piece finally went off on Wednesday morning, but not before I’d spent a traumatised hour, trying to negotiate the website and method of payment. There didn’t seem to be an alternative way of submitting an entry, which makes me think that there could be any number of people out there, really good writers,  who could be well capable of winning, but aren’t computer literate.  Ummm a rather specious form of pre-selection!

Stick To The Plan

Bill Holder

Time I posted an update. Spring was often about new beginnings for POW escapers in occupied Europe. The snow had started to melt, tunnelling could resume or begin afresh, and suddenly the open country outside the wire had lost its white blanket and looked inviting again. Blogging about escape tunnels can make you feel like you’re in one, especially when it comes to the Subs Club Goals Lists.

There might be a hundred and one reasons why you didn’t push on that little bit further, why you didn’t shore up the excavation with a few more bed boards to stop the roof falling in and why you didn’t carry on chipping away at the face and baling out the water through the winter months.

But that’s past and it’s what you do next that’s important. The last month there's been a bit of lying and sitting down, so they can haul me up and down the tunnel on castors to do my digging stint. No better time in the quiet hours than to plan and adjust my targets.
Short term goals are measured by output and long term ones by results. With a bit of slide rule deception, here are my new ones.

Long Term Goals

Escape Line Blog to reach 60,000 hits by 31 December 2014

Publish my book

Win Prizes in Flash Fiction competitions

Win a Short Story competition

Short Term Goals

Complete final edit on book manuscript by 19 April 2014

Submit to agent with letters and enclosures by 9 May

Blog weekly

Enter 4 Flash Fiction comps by 31 December 2014

Enter 2 short story comps by 31 December 2014

Must go - I’m on stooge duty and there’s a goon in the block.



Friday, 28 February 2014

Leah - February; What A Cracker!

Quill & parchment
For a short month it seemed really full. Lots of competitions to enter, letters to write and writing to do.


And that doesn't take into account blogs, editing and other small projects I have on the go. You guys know about the April A2Z Challenge? I've signed up for that this year. Yep. I know. I'm mad. But it looks like fun! I'll be spending March planning posts and getting my titles sorted so I'm ready to write each one each day. *wipes brow* I know... I'd better have several gallons of tea on hand.

I hope you've all had as good a month as I have.

There have been a couple of falls and slips, but more than anything I've achieved writing-wise I've learned some interesting (and important things about myself). I'd like the share them with you.

~I'm never happy.
Not in the sense that I'm always miserable, but in that I'm always wanting more. Looking to achieve more. Looking to do more. I'm never satisfied would probably be more accurate.
This, in of itself isn't a bad thing, but it has lead to several days of burn out, in which I had no choice but to stop because I was so knackered. Oops.

~I'm more organised than I think I am.
Yes, I slip up every now and then, but my blog is testament to how organised I can be. Three posts a week, with a regular back and forth between my two pen names. Clear and structured blog posts with a sensible message. Goal lists that I generally stick to. Not only that, but I run my household too. I'm not going to win any prizes for cleanliness or cooking, but my house is habitable, my family is well fed and happy. That requires organisation.

~I don't pat myself on the back enough.
I've achieved a lot so far. I measure success differently to some (which, I firmly believe should be the case - success is a very personal thing), but I don't tell myself 'well done.' Linked to the first point I generally say 'right, you've done that... next!'

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because I know for a fact that a lot of you are the same. We writers are a funny breed. We write and write and toil and slave away at our words to make them perfect, but how often do we stop and look at back at what we have done, rather than what we haven't? How often do we take stock and realise just how much we've done?

Unless you're super-duper lucky, you probably have a day job to get through before you can even think about writing. Some f you will have families too. You take care of all of those things and still write, publish, blog, critique, submit, edit and support your peers in doing the same.

You're awesome.

Repeat that to yourself five times a day. You. Are. Awesome.

Trust me, it's the truth, and you deserve recognition for it.

Happy February, good luck in March and I'll see you on the other side.

Leah x
Twitter: @ileandraXraven