Writing Goals for 2016

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Hard to believe it’s that time of year again. Before I get into the goals I am setting for 2016, I would like to review what I’ve accomplished in 2015.

Because this was going to be my first full year of working outside the home, I kept my goals simple and few: daily Bible reading, complete editing projects, complete Amelia’s Mission by May 31st, and reconsider my blogging duties. So, how did I make out?

Daily Bible reading.

This has gone from being a chapter a day to a verse a day, but at least I am still reading. In addition, I’m working books like The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren into my reading schedule.

Complete editing projects.

I had two large editing projects this year. Both of them worked out well and I was glad to see they both made it to the publishers on time.

Complete Amelia’s Mission by May 31st.

As I mentioned in July when I last updated my goals, this seemed realistic when I set it in January. Then my real estate business took off and writing was pushed aside. I ended 2015 with fourteen closings and five rentals. I currently have three listings and numerous potential sales coming up.

So, where does that leave poor Amelia?

With thirteen chapters completed, I haven’t touched the manuscript since July. Not that I haven’t been doing some writing, it’s just on other projects and not as much as I would like. I have, however, regularly attended our critique group meetings, so that means I always need to have something to bring with me.

GOALS FOR 2016

I need to remain realistic in setting my goals for 2016. I’m thinking the amount of time dedicated to writing will be the same or less than it was this year. In addition, I want to make sure to keep some balance between my personal and professional lives. Kids are only little so long. My girls are already in middle school and high school.

Complete Amelia’s Mission by December 31, 2016. 

Hard to believe I am giving myself a whole year for this, but spring will be very busy and summer is dedicated to the kids. I love this story and won’t give up on it. Most of my research is done, so writing should go smoothly when I have the time to dedicate to it.

Continue to attend critique group twice a month.

We meet at the library the first Monday of the month and at my office the third Monday, so at least I am sure to get one in on a monthly basis. At these meetings I am getting feedback on: A Shepherd’s Journey (Christian fiction), Montezuma’s Revenge (romantic suspense novella), and Searching for Popularity (tween/teen fiction). 

Edit The Sisterhood.

This was the first full-length novel I finished. It’s women’s fiction, and I feel it has a lot of promise. It just needs a ton of editing. I doubt I would get all the way through it, but even if I got through a quarter of it, that would be progress.

 

What is not under my control?

My publisher has two of my picture books under contract. They’ve had them for a while, but are awaiting available illustrators to work on them. My hope is Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving will be out next fall, but we’ll have to see. I don’t think Amos Faces His Bully will be out until 2017 or later.

That’s it for me. Have you set your writing goals for 2016 yet? Feel free to share them.

 

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Seasonal Titles from 4RV Publishing

Josephs Cradle cover 300 dpi

Joseph and his wife, Mary, expect a baby. With all that is happening, including the government requiring a census, Joseph feels a little overwhelmed and a bit left out of the preparations for the baby. Is there something he can do?

Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: 4RV Children’s Corner (October 23, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1940310342
ISBN-13: 978-1940310343

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Strangers in the Stable by Jim Laughter promo
The narrator wonders, “Hundreds of tents are pitched in that field nearby. Why would anyone go camping on a winter day such as this?” So begins a night she and her stable mates would never forget. The words created by Jim Laughter and the illustrations that bring his words to life will be a book readers will not easily forget.

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC (September 12, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0983274032

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The First Miracle by LA Willis

A blind cat witnesses the first miracle.

Reading level: Ages 6-12
Paperback: 28 pages
Published: Nov. 12, 2009
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982588607
ISBN-13: 978-0982588604

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Front cover Tumbleweed Christmas

Christmas is the time for miracles, but sometimes, a child must make her own miracle, and one for her siblings.

Reading level: 4 – 8
Paperback: 24 pages
Published: September 1, 2011
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-9832740-49

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cover wrap.indd

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who only has one request for Santa, Robert is confused about what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC (December 7, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985266147
ISBN-13: 978-0985266141

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Blogging at Christian Children’s Authors

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Today is my Friday to post over at the Christian Children’s Authors blog. I’m talking about a controversial Christmas commercial that is creating a stir on social media. You can find my post at http://christianchildrensauthors.com/2015/12/18/new-christmas-advertisement-creates-social-media-stir/

Wrapping Up Harry Potter

Well, I did it. I finished the Harry Potter series last month. It was tough to see it end because I had spent the past several months listening to the books in my car hp1as I drove back and forth from appointments. Music just isn’t cutting it for me anymore.

I purposefully held off on reviewing each book as I read it because there isn’t much new that can be said. Even if there was, almost everyone has heard of or read this wildly popular series, so it seemed superfluous. What I will do, however, is share my thoughts on what I liked about each book and if there is anything that niggled at me.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sets the stage for all that will follow. We meet many of the important characters who will remain throughout the series or will perish in the war against Lord Voldemort. By making Harry a sympathetic character from the start, J.K. Rowling gave readers someone to care about. He lost his parents; he’s being mistreated by his relatives; once he gets to Hogwarts where he is wildly famous and his life should improve, he struggles with his lack of magical knowledge and is despised by Draco Malfoy and seen as a younger version of his arrogant father by Professor Snape.

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In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets a diary is discovered that ends up being part of the plot through to the final book of the series and is crucial in Lord Voldemort’s defeat. This indicates Rowling may have done serious pre-plotting before putting pen to paper. As the story unfolds, Ginny Weasley becomes more of a sympathetic character than Harry because she is fooled by Tom Riddle (Voldemort) and possessed, putting Harry and the others at risk. We also see a very important plot point begin to develop: the hatred of Voldemort and his followers for half-bloods and Muggles.

When it comes to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we meet another new character. As the story comes closer to the end, wehp3 hope that Harry will have just a tiny bit of happiness and not have to endure another summer with his Muggle relatives who mistreat him. There is a definite theme of salvation running through the third book: the possible saving of Harry from the Dursleys, the saving of Sirius Black from the Dementor’s kiss, the saving of BuckBeak who has been sentenced to death, and in some ways Hermoine being saved from overworking herself in an effort to be the best at everything. This book also reveals who truly betrayed James and Lily Potter, leading to their deaths.

hp4Some of these books don’t actually begin with Harry. Book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is one of them. It’s a nice change of pace and indicates how Rowling worked to keep the series fresh and engaging for readers. We haven’t said much about Quidditch yet, but that is the game Harry has a natural talent for (discovered in Book 1), so this helps to balance that his magic might not be up to par with that of other students. Rowling uses the Quidditch World Cup to introduce another important character: Cedric Diggory. Cedric will end up competing in the Triwizard  Tournament, which hasn’t been held for over 200 years. This brings students and staff from other schools to Hogwarts. This is the book were Lord Voldemort is resurrected by Harry’s blood and what truly begins the war in earnest because the current Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge does not believe Harry and Professor Dumbledore (Hogwarts Headmaster) that Voldemort has returned. Parents, students, and the wizarding community must choose who and what to believe.

How many people loved Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix but despised it at the same time? I know it brought out that reaction in me. So much hp5injustice takes place in this novel at the hands of Dolores Umbridge and the Ministry of Magic that at times it was hard not to scream or throw something against the wall. And for anyone who thought that Harry and Sirius would end up finding a nice cottage to live out their days once this whole war was over, they were dealt a crushing blow thanks to Bellatrix Lestrange. This is also the book where Dumbledore explains the prophecy to Harry that has brought him to Hogwarts and will eventually lead to his final showdown with Lord Voldemort.

In certain books, we learn more about other characters than Harry. That is true in books six and seven, where the history of Dumbledore and Tom Riddle a.k.a. Lord Voldemort unfolds. Book 6 is also one that doesn’t begin with Harry. Instead, the reader sees Professor Snape hp6in a meeting with Narcissa Malfoy, where he takes an unbreakable vow to protect and assist Draco in the mission Lord Voldemort has entrusted to him. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince also finds Harry given a mission of his own that will unfold in the final book. It is in this book that we learn how important the diary Ginny Weasley found in the third book is to Voldemort and his plan for immortality.

Then in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows best friends Harry, Hermoine, and Ron risk everything to bring down Voldemort. In order to do that, they set out on their own, learn more about Dumbledore’s past, infiltrate the Ministry of Magic, are captured and held prisoner at Malfoy Manor, secretly enter Hogwarts, and witness tragedy strike Snape who had been installed by Voldemort as the Headmaster at Hogwarts. It isn’t until Snape shares his memories with Harry that he truly understands what fulfilling his destiny means.

What I enjoyed most about these books is how they blended everyday things like relationship issues, coping with tragedy, love, family and friendship while harryexploring a magical world. These books also tackled controversial topics like prejudice. I loved how with each book Rowling upped the ante, so you had intense moments throughout each book, but the series as a whole slowly built up the dramatic face off between Harry and Voldemort.

I don’t believe I am alone, however, in being a bit let down by the epilogue. I am okay with vagueness, but I felt too much time had passed. There is also the matter of Draco and Harry. While I don’t believe they would ever be friends, I wanted to see a little bit more about how their relationship evolved after the Dark Lord’s defeat.

Have you read the Harry Potter series? What were some of your favorite parts? Is there anything you didn’t care for?

 

Free for Kindle: The Christmas Present by Alexander McCabe

Christmas presentI have a little secret to tell you that not many people know. Something that maybe your mum and dad don’t even know!

You see, at the very moment you were born, Santa allocated you an elf. It’s true! Your very own elf who watches to see when you have been naughty and nice. Every year, just before Christmas, your elf reports to Santa so he can decide what presents you can have from your list.

Yet there are some people that don’t believe in Santa. I know, I know, it’s crazy… but it’s true! Once those people stop believing in Santa, then their elf’s are sent away from the North Pole and only allowed back when they start to believe in him again.

Gabriel the Elf is very worried. His child is beginning to think that Santa isn’t real. Gabriel the Elf doesn’t want to be banished from all his friends at the North Pole, so what can he do? There is only one thing he can do.

He must prove that Santa is real.

File Size: 2029 KB
Print Length: 38 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Alexander McCabe (November 16, 2015)
Publication Date: November 16, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B01846R68A

Available here!

Take My Advice by Tristi Pinkston

advice

What if the answers to life aren’t always black and white?

Jill Reed thinks she knows it all, and as the advice columnist for her high school newspaper, she gets to share her wisdom on a weekly basis. She handles questions about everything from dating to choosing the right nail polish, and with the exception of a few bullies, everyone respects her opinion.

But when life throws her some curves she can’t handle, she realizes she knows a whole less than she thought she did, and she’ll need to ask others for their advice so she can make it through.

File Size: 485 KB
Print Length: 129 pages
Publisher: Trifecta Books (November 24, 2015)
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
ISBN-10: 0996624627
ISBN-13: 978-0996624626

Purchase at:

Amazon (Kindle)

Amazon (Paperback)

Barnes and Noble

Tristi Pinkston is the author of over forty-five books in various genres and under multiple pen names. She’s the owner of Trifecta Books, has worked as a freelance editor for over ten years, and presents at writing conferences up and down the Wasatch Front. Her novel Secret Sisters was awarded with a Silver Quill by the League of Utah Writers. When she’s not editing or writing (well, let’s face it—she’s always editing or writing), Tristi enjoys watching good movies and taking really long naps. She lives with her patient husband, four highly intelligent children, and one cute little dog in the Rocky Mountains. You can learn more about her at www.tristipinkston.com.