Dawn Montgomery

Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

Return of the Writer

In #amwriting, Goals on January 23, 2018 at 3:32 pm

I’ve spent the past few years working on my education. I gained a couple of certifications, a degree in 3D Animation, and a new outlook on life. My storytelling has evolved, but I’m happy to say I’m back in the writing saddle again. It’s 2018! We just moved to a new state to be close to my mom, and things are as hectic as ever. I don’t think I know how to slow down, honestly.

You won’t see a long list of books I want to get finished this year or even a giant project list like those in previous years. I want 2018 to be the year of sustainable productivity.

What does that mean for you guys?

I’m going to experiment with my schedule, figure out what works and what needs to be discarded and focus on releasing quality stories that my readers will enjoy. I have multiple pennames that have suffered from my long hiatus, but that means I get to start from the ground up and really focus on what I want to accomplish instead of fumbling around and trying a thousand things at once.

I have three weapons in my productivity arsenal: my Passion Planner for scheduling, my bullet journal for tracking, and Trello for keeping me organized across my different pay streams. Since Trello can now integrate with google calendar, my life just got a whole lot easier. Over the next few months, I hope to show you exactly how I tackle my day in the hopes that we can all learn what works for us and discard the rest. I want to share my journey because you never know when something I say or do may inspire you to break through a wall.

I’m looking forward to 2018 and can’t wait to get started. Two weeks in, and I already have a new release. It debuted at #16 in Kindle World Action Adventure and became the #2 Hot New Release in the same category. That’s one heckuva positive start.

Will you be joining me this year?

See you soon, and keep writing!

Dawn Montgomery

January Goals

  • Write, Edit, Publish From the Ashes Done, released January 17th

Was it a sustainable schedule? No.

What could I have done differently?

  1. Follow the original schedule
  2. Accept that life is going to interrupt and account for that from the beginning
  3. Schedule writing-related things on your digital calendar so that you can always check your phone if you’re trying to figure out what’s supposed to happen that day
  4. Be more forgiving about first drafts. They’re never going to be perfect.
  5. Schedule at least two days’ rest between writing and editing to prevent a giant headache (or in my case, an actual migraine).
  • Readthrough, Revise, and start the final writing for Desperate Measures (due in February)
  • Readthrough Primal Hunger, begin Revision Notes for the novel
  • Record podcast #1-3 (scripts already written), Edit and upload in February

My 40 hour work week for this week (Monday through Saturday, Mon and Sat are half days)

4 hours Revision for Primal Hunger

12 hours Revision, etc. for Desperate Measures

4 hours Podcast recording and script tweaking

4 hours Promotion and Design

12 hours Misc home stuff (new place, lots of work to do)

4 hours Rebranding


I Dream of Dragons, Demons, and Deadlines

In Goals on January 3, 2016 at 6:09 am

Hello Readers! Welcome back to the insanity of my writing blog. It is the first week of 2016 and I’m knee-deep in dragons, demons, and deadlines. All related to fiction, of course. 😀

Weekly Goals:

Some publishing news first: WTF Dragons (the Dragons of Werthing Ton Fallorian, of course) are back! No Dragon, No Problem and Once Upon a Dragon have received a new cover facelift, and books 3, 4, and 5 are in my queue to be finished. This week I’ll be focusing on book 3: Dragons Never Lie. My goal for the week is going to be in hours vs. word count. I’ll dedicate ten hours this week to WTF Dragons 3.

My FreeWrite Book of the quarter is Shadow Lies, an epic fantasy that recently recaptured my attention from my ancient work in progress folder. I will only work on it after I finish my WTF Dragon goal of the day. It’s in a genre I don’t usually write in so it’s sparking a different part of my brain and allowing me to take chances I normally wouldn’t (in erotic romance, anyway). So far it’s a straight fantasy work, but we’ll see if a romance develops in the story line.

It’s also the start of A Round of Words in 80 Days or #ROW80 on all social media outlets. It’s the quarterly writing challenge that knows you have a life. So this means I get to pick my own goals for the quarter. I will only have 2-3 hours per day this semester as my college course load is super intense. What follows are my FIRST QUARTER goals. I know it seems like a lot but a great deal of these titles are already almost done.

Contracted Works to turn in:

  • Dragons Never Lie (WTF Dragons 3)
  • Dragon Arse (WTF Dragons 4)
  • A Tail of Two Dragons (WTF Dragons 5)
  • Dark Rider (The Fallen 2)
  • Sky City Multi Author Book (Title tbd)

Indie Books to write, edit, polish, and publish: 

  • Devil’s Due (Silver Tongued Devils 2) (currently in the revision phase)
  • Winter Guardian (The Fallen 1) (currently in the expansion and revision phase)
  • Last Rites (Reverted Rights book that needs extensive rewrites)
  • Voodoo Carnival Boxed Set (currently in the formatting for publication phase)
  • A Wish Before Dying Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4 and Boxed Set (Holly Savage)

FreeWrite Book for the quarter (the book I work on after I meet my daily writing goals, my carrot on the stick):

  • Shadow Lies (epic fantasy)

Are you participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days? If so, please go HERE to check out other writers in the challenge. Are you new to #ROW80 and want to learn more? Awesome! Check out the about page HERE.

I’m looking forward to seeing you on the next post.

Good luck in your week, whatever challenges you may tackle, and I’ll see you as soon as I can.

Keep Writing!

Dawn Montgomery

2016 Goals

In #amwriting, Challenges, Goals on January 1, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Chapter 2016

Hello everyone! Welcome to 2016! I have goals in four categories this year:

  1. Writing
  2. Education
  3. Health
  4. YouTube (What? No, seriously!)


The stuff in blue is required by either contract or deadline. The rest is wishful thinking IF I get finished with the first part of the list.

In alphabetical order:

Ongoing Series

The Fallen

  •  Winter Guardian expansion and print
  •  Dark Rider (working title) releases May 1st in a (title TBD) boxed set.

Holly Savage

  • A Wish Before Dying

Silver Tongued Devils

  • Devil’s Due (Preorders go up mid-January)
  • The Devil’s Own
  • The Devil Wars a Crown
  • Silver Tongued Devils in Print
  • Devil’s Due in Print

Voodoo Carnival

  • Boxed Set release of the entire serial
  • Print release of the entire serial

WTF Dragon Series

  • Dragons Never Lie
  • Dragon Arse
  • A Tail of Two Dragons
  • WTF Dragons Collection in Print

New Series

Nightmare Gale

  • Enraptured
  • Entranced
  • Entwined

Sky City (multiauthor)

  • Title TBD

Spaceport: New Tortuga (Spinoff from Silver Tongued Devils)

  • Rogue Bounty (revise, expand, edit, and publish an old title)
  • SNT 2 (Title TBD)

Wolfen Underground (MMA shifters)

  • Savage 
  • Renegade
  • WU 3 (Title TBD)


Standalone Titles

These  will be added as they pop up since most of them are based on rights reversion from publishers.

Last Rites: revision, edit, and publish

Angel’s Masquerade: revision and resubmit requested. Finish it and turn it in.

Carter’s Legacy: Revision and submit to an agent


I complete my associates degree at the end of December if I don’t miss a beat classes-wise. I need to stay focused. This will be an ongoing challenge per month (once I’m back in class, I’ll do a post).


Four main focus areas this year:

  1. Standing vs. Sitting. I need to move from standing to sitting on a regular basis. This year I’m going to figure out an effect way to do this.
  2. I need to work on my grazing habits. I eat my feelings. If I’m stressed, tired, worried, or nervous…I eat. LOL. If I can’t curb the grazing, I need to ensure that I have foods ready to go. Also, I need to plan ahead for my meals when I’m at college.
  3. Walking and exercising. I walk a lot in school. The campus is quite a commute, and I have to do a lot of walking to get to the right buses, etc. I need to find something to do on a regular basis that makes me feel better about myself
  4. Taking better care of my mental health by knowing when I’ve reached my limit and taking the days I need to take for rest. Working from home and going to school full-time knocked me on my butt last year. I need to get a handle on my cycles of behavior.


Not as a writer, well, not for most of the year. No, I’m exploring YouTube as a mom to a very enthusiastic kiddo who loves stop motion. I have a crafting blog that will launch at the end January where I explore the way we create his movies as well as other crafty goodness. I have a list of tutorials I need to do including my writing planner video (I made mine from scratch). Each month will have a different goal. This month I just need to get the website launched and the youtube channel sorted.


So, if you’re following along, or ended up here via a search engine, here are the tags I will be using this year.

Click Here– for the thirty day challenges post (this one will be included in that tag as it’s my first mention of it)

Click Here– for all posts related to the year-long writing challenge I participate in called A Round of Words in 80 Days.

  • First Quarter 2016
  • Second Quarter 2016 (tag will be updated when it’s created)
  • Third Quarter 2016 (tag will be updated when it’s created)
  • Fourth Quarter 2016 (tag will be updated when it’s created)

Click Here– for all posts related to YouTube and my crafting channel

Click Here– for all posts related to Health

Click Here– for all posts related to my degree and education

What are you planning for 2016?

Year End Summary for 2015 and a New Release!

In Goals, Publishing News on December 31, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Keep Writing

Do you ever look back on your year and think you totally failed? I felt that way this year…I hadn’t been blogging, I went back to school, life interrupted, I couldn’t get on a set schedule, NaNoWriMo was a failure, and my serial didn’t release on time. Additionally, there were cover artist flake outs, editorial scheduling conflicts, and a lack of funding thanks to a publisher’s “deal with it and don’t complain, we’ll pay you when we’re ready” rant. So yeah, I was in a bad place. I’d failed you guys, failed my readers, failed my own expectations, and I had nothing to show for it.

Or did I?

I was hanging out in the Romance Divas forum because a great writer I admire was talking about her new goals for 2016. She went through 2015 and compared it to an average of the three years prior to that one. Other ladies and gents in the Divas forum had done the same. So I decided…why not? And here is what I found:

From 2007-2014 I averaged 3.5 book releases a year.

2015: 10 releases: 1 novel, 1 4-episode serial, 2 novellas in boxed sets (new to the set, and one of them was for a charity!), two short stories under a new penname (successful launch, I’ll be exploring her side a little more in 2016) and one heavily revised re-release of a holiday favorite.

My first novel released in 2012 and I’ve averaged about one a year so 2015 is on par.

Did my quality suffer during 2015? No. I actually wrote less words (by half) than the average of previous years, but almost every word went toward publishable content. Reviews are still solid on all my new works, and I haven’t been slaughtered by my readers yet, so I think I’m still doing okay.

Did my sales suffer during 2015? Yes. My promotional machine was running on empty so the word didn’t get out as much as I’d like. The foray into some new genres probably had something to do with it as well. Also, when I’m behind on my writing goals, I tend to disappear off social media and websites. It’s a defense mechanism. I’m already down on myself so I have this paranoid fear of thinking other people are down on me too. On the other hand, I had people waiting for the serial to finish so they could buy them all at once. That is totally cool! ❤

The first four months I started college (May through August) were zero for productivity as were two weeks in the middle and end of the semester because of intense projects that had to be turned in (not to mention exams!).

Things I learned from checking the facts:

  • It’s always worse in my own head.
  • I fell back in love with writing again this year and almost derailed it with my self-doubt
  • School was far better than I imagined for my creativity

HOUSE OF HORRORS, Episode 4 of the VOODOO CARNIVAL serial has finally released!


Welcome to the thrilling conclusion of the Voodoo Carnival serial!

NOTE: HOUSE OF HORRORS is Part Four of a Four Part Serial entitled Voodoo Carnival, and is not a standalone story.

Jules and I are in trouble. Not everyone believes in the ability to bring people back from the dead.

My name is Erica Marks. For the past decade, I was just a statistic: a miracle survivor of a serial killer’s rampage, one of those sad blips of a story you read on your newsfeed over breakfast.

Until recently, the only ghosts I came in contact with were the ones in my nightmares. Now, I’m fighting an enemy that should be dead while facing living corpses and their earth-bound spirits. Not exactly my idea of a fun time.

Did I mention that the only way to put an end to this may lie in the House of Horrors, the very place I’d fought and survived all those years ago?

With my Cajun companion and a trick or two up our sleeves, we’ll have to face down the worst enemy yet. Will we survive the night to see what tomorrow may bring?







Leveling Up: A Writer’s Journey

In #amwriting, Challenges, Goals on December 10, 2015 at 10:21 am

levelUpChallengeWelcome to Leveling Up: A Writer’s Journey. I’m a gamer. My first and greatest love will always be Role-Playing Games (on paper, through consoles, computers, tablets, reading, etc.). I am a quest killer, a grinder from way back. I will play a game until there are no new storylines, weapons, or new crafting recipes left. I will level my hero/heroine until the last boss is a breeze, and I will do it with a smile on my face, a joy in my heart, and never once regret the time I’ve spent in those alternate worlds. While it may be occasionally tedious, I never really feel bored. There’s always something else to do. Another character to level, another story to experience.

That got me to thinking as I was toiling away at my new MMORPG addiction, Aion (the characters have wings and can fly!), why don’t I apply that same level of dedication to my writing? I really enjoy the stories I create and the worlds I dive into, but I get hung up on the tedious aspects of it. It still needs to be done, much like the seemingly never ending farming I recently completed for my crafting levels. I still need butt in chair time (or notebook and pen time…or standing and writing time, etc.). That’s when I realized my gaming paralleled my writing. I love them both, but I’ve treated them differently for too long. I’ve decided 2016 is going to be a grinder year.

I have to build a solid habit again so that I can tackle the big bosses (novels) with ease. So how do I do that?

In efficient RPG grinding you have three main components: Quality, Focus, and Planning.


Let’s tackle QUALITY first. Quality represents several things in an RPG: Gear (equipment and weapons), magic, crafting, and items. There’s no point in running around a level 40 encampment with level 3 weapons and armor unless you’re insane or going after an obscure bloody savage achievement. You’re going to spend a lot of time dying, getting slowed down, or worse…stuck in a rut and hating the game.

So why do we do that with our writing? Take the time to write quality work. Yes, speed (timeliness) is important, especially when you are under a tight deadline, but what good does it do you to be fast when you end up having to revise your book multiple times?

If that’s the way you write, no worries! I used to be that way too. I used to love the revision layering process. One pass for character arcs, one for romance arcs, one for setting and mood, another for grammar, etc. Unfortunately a solid crack to the head five years ago realigned the way my brain works.

Revision is a part of your brain that deals with logic and creative processes (not at the same time, mind you, that’s impossible). The logical part of my brain is the side that rewired itself in my head (and not very well) so the less amount of time I spend in logic and analysis, the better. Otherwise…migraines and seizure-like symptoms. Wish I was joking. You should see me on days when I have to balance the budget.

Now, don’t go being weird and feel sorry for me. Just listen. This bump to the head opened up a world of creativity (and silenced that bitch of an inner editor…or in my case…emotionally abusive self-hater) greater than I had ever imagined possible. I’ll take the explosion of color, pure joy in the art of storytelling, and intensity as full compensation for the logic side having its short circuits now and then. 😀

That linear speed-demon hare I once was has been replaced by a steady and unyielding tortoise. This is something I’ve fought for five years. And now, at the end of 2015, I’m laying the old me to rest. It’s okay that I’m not the same person I once was. I plan and layer from the beginning. My stories come out tighter in the first draft so I spend less time fighting the mini-boss battles against the editing and revision monsters. I still revise, of course. That’s a boss battle you can’t skip and expect to be respected (think incentive/purchased level boosts to newbie players in your favorite game…can’t really respect that, can you?).

So how do I tackle quality? I give myself permission to go slower, to focus on the story as I write it and take the time to get it close to right the first time. This is the part of the grind that will help stave off burn out. I’ll spend less time forcing myself to race against an imagined clock or stifling the joy I find in storytelling.

And you want to know something weird? Forcing myself to write a novella of 25k quickly resulted in a draft being done faster (by three days), but it took me, on average, longer than four days to recover.

Do the math. Rushing through the levels won’t give my book or me enough experience to make the Revision and Editing boss battles easy to breeze through. And that, ladies and gents, is the goal of quality. 😀


FOCUS is the next beastie we’re going to tackle. It has two parts: grinding time and quests.

Grinding time: If you don’t take the time to level properly, the mini-boss (editing/revision) and big boss (novels and ongoing series) levels are going to be tough. If I’m building up my tailoring in an RPG, I will focus on gathering the materials needed, grinding the necessary amount of time it takes to get it done. So too, will I grind my writing. In 2015, the Pomodoro technique of writing for 25 minutes and breaking for 5 was extremely effective.

I will continue that, ensuring that I put in the necessary grind time for my books. Sometimes writing isn’t fun. Sometimes it’s like a neverending quest in bore-ville. That’s okay. It can’t always be unicorns and rainbows or there would never be a true sense of accomplishment at overcoming obstacles. You need those bragging rights, you know. Something that comes too easily is too easily taken for granted. Trust me. I know. Piecing myself back together these past five years has been a difficult process.

Quests: In an RPG, you can go all over the map into different continents, quest-lines, arenas, and boss levels. If your game is kind enough to supply you with a quest log (a place for your quests to sit in queue, where you can read them at any given moment), then you’ll soon realize that you have a limit to the number of quests in your log. If you’re all over the place, you have to shuffle quest-lines, reorganize your packs (why did I take fifteen gathering quests at once? Who has that much room in their packs???), and remember where you left off while hoping you keep the storyline straight.

If you’re playing a more traditional RPG like Final Fantasy, Star Ocean, or Legend of Zelda, you don’t have the luxury of quest logs (with the exception of the Bomber’s Notebook in Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask).  Are you really going to remember a quest line from the desert oasis after you spend fifteen days grinding through the ice reaches of Fromoon? At the same time, it’s hard to keep a storyline straight if I’m jumping from one story arc to another. That logical part of my brain, remember, has issues already. Switching gears mid-writing session isn’t going to help.

AND DEFINITELY no more writing first person POV stories at the same time I’m writing third person. I made that mistake in 2015 by writing VOODOO CARNIVAL (First Person Point of View) at the same time I wrote WINTER GUARDIAN (Third Person POV). The amount of time I spent accidentally slipping into third or first when I wasn’t supposed to really dragged my pacing down and made the revision monster a nightmare to tackle.

I will set up my writing time appropriately. Weekdays for my primary book. Weekends for my freewrite book. I’ve spoken about this in the past I think. I have to have a book going at all times that explores something I want to try, some new genre or series experiment. A fun project that I reward myself with on the weekends. Stay focused, receive rewards.

But I won’t be able to do that without planning.


PLANNING in an RPG is a unique prospect. It takes a bit of research, some focus, and a willingness to stick to it until the job is done. For me, PLANNING is the difference between three months on a novel and three years on a novel. That’s a lot of false starts, a lot of unnecessary grinding in low-level areas as I try to get my story on track. Planning consists of two stages: scheduling and plotting <insert panster groaning here> I promise I don’t mean an outline from hell with every plot point written out and a novel notebook that’s a binder thick (though you could totally do that if that’s your thing. It’s not mine. I tried.). I mean…well…read on to see what I mean.

Scheduling: Time is a factor in any job. Deadlines are a definitive part of a writer’s life, but outside a publisher-driven deadline, what else is there? Personal deadlines. How do you determine those?

I need to recognize the amount of time it takes for me to develop my book, characters, and plot. Accept the amount of time it takes me to write a page, scene, chapter, and complete story. Factor in the amount of down time I’ll need before I begin editing and how long it will take me to complete them once I start. That’s a lot to take in, right? Why do all that, and how does it compare to Leveling Up in an RPG?

In most RPGs you have leveling regions (also known as zones). These zones contain bad guys, quests, gear, ingredients for crafting, and items that coincide with the same level (hopefully) as your adventurer. If I’m level forty, for instance, in a level forty-two to fifty zone, I’m not going to jump ahead to the mini boss battle of revision without ensuring I’m properly geared and leveled. To be honest, the game itself won’t let you do that. You have to follow the storyline to get there. Usually.

To get to revision, I have to schedule grinding time. I have to follow storylines, delve into the crafting part of the adventure, and use my previous focus to keep myself on track. I can do multiple things in one zone, so I should do that all at once to avoid having to back track later (and waste time, further bogging down the adventure).

At the same time, I don’t want to spend an unnecessary amount of time playing in a low-level zone where my gear, power, and story are too high for grinding to be useful. I compare this to rewriting the first chapter over. And over. And over. Don’t rewrite the first chapter until you’ve reached the end, or in my case, Chapter Five. I have no idea why, but that’s my magic “rewrite the beginning” chapter number.

Plotting: I don’t mean plotting as a detailed outline five pages long per chapter. I mean plotting a course, a roadmap and a way forward in the darkness of your book. Plotting in RPGs is interesting. There are some who direct you along a path, even in an open-ended world, preventing you from gaining access to realms outside your current levels while others are completely open-ended, and you’ll find out the moment you’re ripped apart by a pack of wolven that you may have stumbled into the wrong area.

Plotting and writing. Plotting gets such a bad wrap. I can hear the screams of denial now, but I want you to remember something very important. You don’t walk out of your house in sneakers with just the clothes on your back, spare change in your pockets, and a half-charged phone with the expectation of hiking to Alaska or backpacking across Europe or even running a marathon without training.

You don’t have to have every detail of your trip planned out, but you do need a way to focus (there’s that word again!) your energy. How do you do that?

Jot down a few notes before you start your daily writing session. A roadmap with a general idea of how you’re going to get there. Why is this so important? Writing yourself into a corner is a dark and dreadful place most writers hate falling into. They want, more than anything, to have a smoothly flowing manuscript that listens to your muse and falls into line while pleasantly surprising you along the way.

With a moment of clarity, just before you begin writing, you may be able to avoid most total scene rewrites. As you set out to drive for the day (or the writing session, or scene), jot down a few ideas about how to get what you want out of it. It could be something as vague as “Erica’s panic gets the best of her” or as detailed as you wish.

So for 2016’s level up challenge, here are my vows:

  1. I vow to give myself permission to go slower, to focus on the story as I write it and take the time to get it close to right the first time.
  2. I vow to set up my writing time appropriately. Weekdays for my primary book. Weekends for my freewrite book using pomodoros to track my writing time. No more writing first person and third person POV stories at the same time, however.
  3. I vow to set a daily roadmap on my writing path by thinking about the scenes I’ll be writing, building enthusiasm, while enjoying the fulfillment of the journey using those roadmap goals in one session.
  4. I vow to save rewrites until the story ends. No more Chapter Five triggers to rewrite Chapters One through Four.

My goal: Reach Level 1 by the end of January. Level 1 will mean a completed novella, a completed short story, and a partially completed novel. If I can make level 1, there’s hope for me yet. Let’s see if I can make it happen 😀

Keep Writing!

Dawn Montgomery


May Goals, a Round of Words Update #ROW80

In #amwriting, Goals on May 10, 2015 at 10:00 am

ROW80LogocopyWow, I’ve been deep in writing and forgot to post! It’s going to take some time to get back into the habit, gang. Sorry about that!

Never fear…I am feverishly writing!

I’m participating in this year’s Round of Words in 80 Days. It’s a self-paced writing challenge that helps you keep track of yourself in each quarter. They’re already two weeks into this round, but you can join any time. If you’d like to join them, HERE’S THE POST about ROW80. If you’d like to see who else is involved in this week’s update, check out the linky list HERE.

If you’d like to see my writing updates for this quarter, CLICK HERE for the complete list of posts.


May 10-17

I don’t do word count goals anymore. They’re intimidating when I have a hectic publishing schedule. It completely overwhelmed me last year, the sheer number of words I tried to write. Instead, I focus on how many Pomodoros it takes for me to get a book done.

A Pomodoro is a time management technique that uses a 25 minute on-task timer with a 5 minute break after. I write and/or edit for 7-15 hours a day. That’s a lot of poms! By breaking it down into manageable and focused chunks, I’m able to get a lot more done.

Dawn Montgomery

  • Write: Devil’s Due – 15 Poms
  • Edits: Freefall – 8 Poms
  • Readthrough: Freefall with beta readers – 4 Poms
  • Final Edits: Freefall – 8 Poms
  • Format: Freefall – 2 Poms (fingers crossed)
  • Publish: Freefall – 2 Poms
  • Write: House of Horrors – 24 Poms


  • 4 pages of rewrites by next check-in (3 Poms per page)
  • Outline A Wish Before Dying serial (I don’t time this since I do it when I’m in transit or watching TV with the family)


  • No goals this week


  • Write: one short title (3 Poms)

Jessica D. Russell (working with husband on this one)

  • Recipe Development for Cookbook (11 Poms)
    • Brainstorming
    • Cooking
      • Cooking fail?
      • Cook some more. LOL.
  • Formatting recipes and image for cookbook (15 Poms)

Total hours spent in the chair writing new content: 21 hours

Total hours spent in the chair working on rewrites and edits: 18 hours

Total hours spent working with my husband on his cookbook: 13 hours

Expected writing work week: 39 hours

Additional Time Scheduled during my normal family time (since that’s when we do our cooking): 13 hours

If you’d like to see May’s Goals/Projections and my Quarterly Goals/Update, please jump to the full post (“read more” tag below).

Read the rest of this entry »

Writing Again, a Round of Words check in

In #amwriting, Challenges, Goals on April 15, 2015 at 11:40 pm

ROW80LogocopyI’ve tried to start four different posts on where I’ve been for the past year or so (the USA Today Bestselling post is one of the last ones on this blog! Wow!). It always devolved into rambling after the first 1000 words (holy cow, that’s a lot of words to read on a blog post!). So, I’m going to just pick up and move forward. 2014 was one of the most extreme rollercoaster years of my life. I didn’t enjoy it much and was glad to see it go. I did, however, gain a really large fanbase (thank you, readers, for all the love and support last year), and had a few record highs in my writing career. Real life, however, beat me and my family over the head with health (and therefore) financial issues.

I’m back. I’m writing. And I’ve missed you guys!

This time I think I’m going with a simplified format for my writing updates. This is the first post of the quarter, so I’ll set up the quarterly goals for you. Weekly goals will follow. And any updates I have writing-wise.

I’m participating in this year’s Round of Words in 80 Days. It’s a self-paced writing challenge that helps you keep track of yourself in each quarter. They’re already two weeks into this round, but you can join any time. If you’d like to join them, HERE’S THE POST about ROW80. If you’d like to see who else is involved in this round of writing, check out the linky list HERE.


Quarter Goals

Finish books, launch the JDR Creatives website and brand, and get a handle on my writing schedule.

Books to finish

I have four active pennames. Dawn Montgomery you already know. One is an Urban Fantasy, science fiction, and dark fantasy writer. The other two are for short fiction in various genres. In May, I’ll be releasing a cookbook with my husband (from his recipe site), so I guess you can add nonfiction and another penname to that as well.

Dawn Montgomery

  • Write: Devil’s Due (63k, 1/3 done already)
  • Write: Voodoo Carnival serial finished (24k to go)
  • Write: Spaceport: New Tortuga spinoff series launched with first title (50k for the series, first story 10k)

JW (urban fantasy, sci fi, and DF)

  • Edit and Publish: Last Rites
  • Write: Holly Savage serial (50k)

DM (short fiction writer)

  • Write: A single short work for a “best of 2015” collection (3-5k)
  • Publish: the award-winning story from a previous collection

RB (short fiction writer)

  • Write: 15 short fiction titles (3-10k each)
  • Publish: 3 short story collections

April Goals

Dawn Montgomery

  • Devil’s Due 25% done
  • Voodoo Carnival Serial finished


  • Rewrite Last Rites, 25% done


  • Publish the award-winning story


  • Write 10 short fiction titles this month
    • Number completed so far: 2
    • Number remaining: 8

April 15-21

I don’t do word count goals anymore. They’re intimidating when I have a hectic publishing schedule. It completely overwhelmed me last year, the sheer number of words I tried to write. Instead, I focus on how many Pomodoros it takes for me to get a book done. A Pomodoro is a time management technique that uses a 25 minute on-task timer with a 5 minute break after. I write and/or edit for 7-15 hours a day. That’s a lot of poms! By breaking it down into manageable and focused chunks, I’m able to get a lot more done.

Dawn Montgomery

  • Complete 40 Poms on Devil’s Due
  • Finish Madhouse on Sunday – 24 Poms
  • Start Freefall on Monday – 14 Poms


  • 11 pages of rewrites by next check-in (3 poms per page)


  • Publish the story


  • Write four short titles (2-3 pomodoros each)

Total hours spent in the chair writing new content: 48 minimum

Total hours spent in the chair working on rewrites and edits: 16.5 minimum

Expected work week: 64.5 hours

2nd Quarter Goals for #ROW80

In #amwriting, Goals on April 8, 2014 at 10:06 am

PWCicon2Writing. A solitary adventure. Every book is a marathon race against yourself. It’s not about speed, but endurance. Every step forward is progress, but if you jump in at full speed, you’ll lose momentum early on and wear your body down.

I hit burnout pretty bad in the first quarter of 2014, but many MANY great things happened despite my self-doubt.


  • Thunder and Roses came out in January (through Loose Id)
  • Tall, Dark and Alpha came out in March (Indie Pub)


TDA hit

  • Top 100 in Barnes and Noble
  • Top 50 in Amazon US
  • Top 25 in Amazon Australia (international bestseller!)
  • Top 50 in Amazon Canada
  • #1 in multiple categories for Amazon UK, Japan, and Germany
  • Recommended Read by USA Today’s Happy Ever After Blog


  • #12 in Paranormal Romance Authors for Amazon
  • Top 100 in four Amazon categories: Paranormal Romance, Romance Books, Romance Kindle Ebooks, and Literature and Fiction Kindle Ebooks

Website/Brand Launch

  • Seven Sinful Scribes (blog goes live April 16th)
  • Seven Sinful Scribes Facebook Page
  • Seven Sinful Scribes Facebook Fan Group


  • Halloween Heat II won Best Menage Romance Anthology 2013

New Projects on the Horizon (Most are Super Secret until the ink dries on the contracts)

  • Charity Anthology, expect more to come on this next month. Readers voted for a Silver Tongued Devils side story
  • Ambrosia Tavern Boxed Set (title and release Date TBD)
  • Super Secret Project November release date!! This is GONNA ROCK!
  • The Naughty List Boxed Set (Holiday collection of steamy romances by yours truly)
  • A 2015 BIG project! I can’t wait to tell you more!!
  • Continuation of the Silver Tongued Devils characters in two new ebooks by summer’s end.

Series Closeouts Planned for the Rest of the Year

  • Hunger Universe: Closed out by the end of the year
  • WTF Dragon: Closed out by 4th Quarter
  • Silver Tongued Devils: Closed out by the end of the year
  • Deep Cravings universe stories (No approved series name yet) by the end of the year
  • Dark Talisman by the end of the year

New Series Launches 2014-2015

  • Heartbreak Ridge -Launches in December
  • A currently unnamed Vampire series, due to launch in March of next year (big secret project LOL!)
  • Rift Wars
  • Holly Savage – Launches in November
  • Sakura Jones, Demon Slayer – Launches in September

Bad things happened as well, but we’ll glide over those and not give them any more time in my head. Let’s just say when the chips were down and I was at my lowest, helping hands rose me back up. The love and caring of readers, fellow authors, friends, and family can never be matched. I am blessed to be a part of this wonderful community.

Now it’s time to set up goals for the Second Quarter of 2014. As always, I will likely shoot for the moon and come up in North Dakota, but that’s okay…I’ll get more done than not. 🙂 

A Round of Words in 80 Days 2nd Quarter Challenge



Books that need to be done by the end of the quarter:

  1. Antonio – cowritten with Ditter Kellen
  2. Feral Hunger (yes, I’m STILL tweaking this novel. Two years is a long time to work on one, but I’m almost done with it!)
  3. Recipe for Disaster
  4. Silver Tongued Devils goes solo this quarter so I need to finish up a followup story for the trio to go with the single title ebook release.
  5. Dragons Never Lie
  6. Silver Tongued Devils new book for the charity anthology (readers voted!)
  7. Christmas Belle revamp (my first Christmas story, ever. I have to do some heavy revisions) – Part of a holiday collection I’m putting together this year.
  8. Winter Break revamp (same as Christmas Belle)
  9. Start Christmas as Heartbreak Ridge
  10. Halfway through my Ambrosia Tavern book.
  11. Ravenous Hunger (a Tale of the Valorian Resistance)
  12. Renegade Hearts
  13. Angel’s Masquerade (revise and resubmit I need to finish up and resub)

The first six are contracted so have to be done. 🙂 ❤ No pressure. LOL! The results of burnout and it’s ripple effects.

Goal for 4/7-4/13

  • 7k on Antonio
  • 7k on Feral Hunger
  • Recipe for Disaster plotted
  • Silver Tongued Devils interlude plotted
  • 500 words on Dragons Never Lie (weekend work)
  • Anthology Silver Tongued Devils book plotted
  • Get through 2k on Christmas Belle revamp

Ways to Avoid Burnout

  • Write in the morning when I’m refreshed
  • Edit at night when my creativity has been sapped by full time domestic goddess duty
  • Read and relax for a few hours every night
  • Give myself permission to take time off when I need it
  • Every day visualize what I love about the characters/book/situation before I begin writing
  • The night before, get amped up about the scene I’ll be writing the next day!

That’s it for me. 🙂

That’s enough, I know. 🙂

If you’d like to join in on the personal challenge of A Round of Words in 80 Days, check out the event HERE.

If you’d like to see what everyone’s starting goals are, check out the linky list HERE.


March Tidings

In #amwriting, Goals on March 2, 2014 at 3:54 am


I always greet March with shock. How, I ask, did this year fly by so fast? It’s the third month of the first quarter, and the end of ROW80 Round One is almost upon us. I am so far behind on administration and keeping up with my blog (and how you guys out there are doing!), but I’ve pulled ahead on other projects that demanded my time.

If you’re new here or haven’t been here in a while, you should know that I tend to keep things lighthearted on my blog and in comments. I poke fun at myself often because laughter makes even the dullest day shine brighter.

I’m no expert in the writing process, but if you find something here that helps you, awesome! If not, discard what doesn’t work and find your own way. If you’ve read the warnings and are ready to continue, welcome to the rest of the post.

TDAONEWEEKThis week is Crazy. Two books begin on Monday (as in page one, word one) and two others are in the world building and planning stages.

Remember that revise and resubmit for Angel’s Masquerade back in January? I’ve finally figured out what needs to happen in the book.

It’s also release week (Tall, Dark & Alpha will release next Saturday!) so I’m going to be all over the place with promo for this baby. If you like contests, there will be tons available on the Facebook page and several other locations.

More to come later. Sign up for my newsletter if you want to know all the crazy happenings before they begin.

Now back to the writing side.

Works in ProgressNew Projects

  • Antonio (book 2 of Thunder and Roses): It’s finally jumped out of the planning/plotting stages so chapter one starts Monday.
  • RenHearts (shortened title until it’s approved): A new sci fi romance novella. I’m building the playlist today so I can get to work first thing Monday morning.

World Building and Stages

  • Heartbreak Ridge: My contemporary romance is taking as long to plan out as I’d feared. If I had to choose between writing contemporary romances or eating pumpkin soup (my least favorite thing in the world…ever…next to fried squash, but I digress), I’d choose the soup and ask for seconds.
    Contemporary romance is a genre I live in fear of. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but I am seriously intimidated. 🙂
    Back in January I promised to break out of my shell a bit with this book, but my nerves seem to have me at panic. LOL! I’m currently building the backstory of both main characters. Second week of March I’ll write the first words in this scary new venture. This week I’ll finish up their backstories and make sure I know where the story will begin.
  • An as-of-yet-unnamed Urban Fantasy I’m building the characters and the world. This week I’ll set up the scrivener world building file, coordinate some plotting time for the evenings, and research fox spirits.

Revise and Resubmit

  • I need to break down the scenes and make notes where Angel’s Masquerade needs to be expanded. Once I have that settled, I’ll know where to begin. I find rewriting a book to be far more difficult than starting from scratch, so I’m taking my time and doing it right. My heart can’t take another maybe or no right now. 🙂 I need good news! LOL!

#ROW80 Goals for March (and the week)


We’ll make this set of goals as simple as possible. I have five books on my table this month. Too many, yes, but I can’t do anything about that. Taking a week off at the end of February was revitalizing. I have no regrets. 🙂

Goals for the Month of March

Antonio‘s Book is planned for 65k words (so was Thunder and Roses, but that sucker ended up at 97k). I need to write a chapter a week to stay on target, but I’m nothing if not aware of my own plot hangups (and emotional rollercoaster during writing). So we’ll plan for six chapters of Antonio in March (1.5 a week isn’t too bad).

RenHearts is going to be hard and fast (and not in a fun way). I have no time to get it done so this baby has to make it into the editor before the Ides of March are upon us. It’s a 25k novella that will have to be edited and polished to within an inch of its life before submission. RenHearts will be done by the end of this week and submitted by March 15th. Fun.

Heartbreak Ridge will be a 65k novel. I need to finish up the backstory, figure out what the characters want and then get them on the page. To make my goal, I’ll need to write six chapters a month. That’s what I get for letting fear invade. If I don’t make the May 31st deadline, I’m afraid I’ll put contemporary away again for another couple of years, and I’m not ready to do that. 🙂 I need five chapters of Heartbreak Ridge done by the end of March.

My NoName Urban Fantasy will be novel-length. The world building is fun and the backstory is almost all complete. The only thing I have left to do is…oh yeah…figure out a title. ;). So a title and one chapter a week is more than enough since this doesn’t have a pressing deadline. I won’t begin writing it, however, until RenHearts is done. (keeping this one vague until RenHearts is finished)

Angel’s Masquerade, my revise and resubmit, is at 35k. I need to get it up to 65k to meet my original vision. Since I’ve been given the blessing to expand it to the length I’d originally intended, I’m ready to roll. In March, you ask? Why yes. Of course. The end of this month will be two months since the RR. It’s a personal mission to ensure the editors get the new copy within two months of the original RR letter. My goal then: expand, edit, and resubmit Angel’s Masquerade by the end of March.

Goals for March 1-8

  1. Antonio: Chapter 1 complete. With RenHearts as my focus, I’ll keep this goal low.
  2. RenHearts: 25k by Sunday. I expect setbacks on Saturday and Sunday due to the release of the Boxed Set (YAY!) so if I can have it done by Friday, even better.
  3. Heartbreak Ridge: Finish planning the book, building the characters, and figuring out where I’ll begin the story. (It always begins at the beginning, except when it doesn’t.)
  4. Urban Fantasy: A title. That’s my big goal for the UF this week. Figure out a title.
  5. Angel’s Masquerade: Sketch out the new Prologue/Chapter One. I’ll give it the original introduction I’d intended so I’m excited! Man, am I glad I kept my notes.

Non-writing stuff that has to be finished this week:

  1. Organize my office by Monday. I can’t put this off any more. We moved everything around, but if I start writing now, it’ll end up turning into a nightmare around my desk. I have to get this done.
  2. Build my Tall, Dark & Alpha webpages.
  3. Finish a PDF news bulletin about the Tall, Dark & Alpha Boxed Set.
  4. Help a friend with their Media Kit.
  5. Finish all the remaining promo images by Monday.
  6. Send out my newsletter on release day with the first chapter of my book, Silver Tongued Devils, from the TDA boxed set.

So that’s my March Madness. My insane push at the end of the quarter. Almost all of this was scheduled before 2014 even began so please don’t think I’m heaping tons of work on myself. Burnout set me back some, but I was able to set aside a few projects until later. So if you’re following along, welcome to my writing journey. 

I’m part of a great motivational writing group known as A Round of Words in 80 Days. Click here to find out how other did this week and here if you want to become a part of it!

Keep Writing!


The Promotional Drain

In #amwriting, Goals, Write Talk on January 27, 2014 at 1:08 am

Keep WritingWelcome to the final Sunday update in the first month of January 2014!

So much to tell you guys. Let’s start with the not-so-good news (I won’t say bad, because it’s NOT bad news…just a little schedule adjustment required).

Angel’s Masquerade was submitted on the 20th for a special submission call. I’d mentioned to both editors involved that my story had moved into novel territory and suggested it might be better for them to pass on my ability to get it in on time. They were awesomely encouraging and really wanted to see it so I nixed a plot thread or two and brought it in under word count and in time for submission.

Two days later I received a revise and resubmit request. 🙂 Turns out they loved the story but it didn’t quite fit the special call so they asked me to go ahead and extend it to the novel I’d originally planned. I spent a good twenty-four hours in a depressed funk. Until my awesome husband reminded me that I’d wanted to extend into a novel back in December. So I should be happy that my instincts were right. He also fed me chocolate. Both of which helped bring me out of self-loathing.

You know, it’s hard to share the bumps in the road with you guys. I only want to give you good news, but I realize that’s not an accurate portrayal of my writing journey, you know? I get asked a lot of question on here and Facebook about the writing journey, and I don’t want to sugarcoat it. At the same time, being negative about it won’t change anything but my motivation.

So positive spin on revise and resubmit:

  1. It’s not the first time I’ve received one. So I know what to expect.
  2. It’s an honor that they wanted to see more of my characters.
  3. I get to write it the way I’d originally intended.
  4. I don’t have to make allowances for the limits of a special theme (although the theme was what inspired the book in the first place).

Negative spin:

  1. I have to rearrange my writing schedule to allow for the additional time in the expansion.
  2. No matter how encouraging they are about wanting to see the book, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed that it wasn’t accepted immediately and snatched up. That’s normal and perfectly acceptable. It’s not a rejection, however. 🙂 Just a delay. And in this world of hybrid publishing, I have other options that weren’t previously available. That, also, means more work. See point #1. LOL.

Action taken: 

  1. Sent the novella to my trusted CPs (critique partners) to make notes for expansion (I’ve received one back. The outside eye has been amazing).
  2. Created a scrivener file for Angel’s Masquerade so I can break up the word document into easy-to-manipulate chunks. Each scene will have it’s own folder. I can add what I need wherever I need to. If you’ve never used scrivener before, I highly recommend it for ease in expanding your stories, writing novels, world building notes, etc.

Great things that happened this week:

sunshineawardMenage Nominee

  • Turned in Angel’s Masquerade.
  • Completed two rounds of edits on Thunder and Roses (post line edits and post proof edits)
  • Had a huge giveaway from the 17th-24th of January
  • Received the Sunshine Blogger Award from the awesome Audrey King (will be doing the Sunshine Blogger update at the end of the month).
  • Hit 1000 Likes on my Facebook Author Page
  • Celebrated my birthday on January 24th.
  • Creating a bingo card for the Naughty Book Club. I adore them.
  • Halloween Heat II, an anthology I was in with Selena Illyria and Rachel Firasek, was nominated for Fan Choice of Best Menage Anthology 2013.
  • Started a promotion countdown on the 20th for the Thunder and Roses upcoming release. New images every day with quotes from the book. Note: the 1 Day to release image is subject to change without notice.

TR Digital 8DaysTR Digital 7DaysTR Digital 6DaysTR Digital 5DaysTR Digital 4DaysTR Digital 3DaysTR Digital 2DaysTR Digital 1DayTR Digital Announcement

#ROW80 update


Goals for January: 

Finish the following:

  • Angel’s Masquerade (35k novella) – Finished and submitted 20 Jan 2014. Bad news aside, I’m so proud of the work I put into it. Another 20k and it’ll be exactly what I’d originally envisioned.
  • Sex and Magic proposal (1st 3 chapters, plus synopsis of other books in the series) – Working on the synopses for the proposal. First three chapters are in edits. 
  • Silver Tongued Devils (25k novella) – Chapters 1-3 in progress. My initial drafts are more like extended outlines, so I’m filling in all the goodies. 
  • Shift the NightDark Talisman (25k novella) – Nope. off my radar until further notice. 
  • Dragons Never LieWTF Dragon (20k novella) – 5k into it.
  • A Pirate’s Bride (4k short story) – Finished January 4th
  • Final edits for Thunder and Roses (releases 28 January 2014) – Finished. Received post proof edits. Finished those. Did that this week. 

So, half the list completed. Not bad considering the insane amount of stuff I’ve done this month.

Coming this week:

  • Submit Sex and Magic proposal by January 31st
  • Finish the first three chapters of Silver Tongued Devils
  • Complete the promotional items for Silver Tongued Devils
  • Begin Antonio’s book
  • Celebrate the release of Thunder and Roses on Tuesday.
  • Get through chapter two on Dragons Never Lie
  • Catch up on my ROW80 Sponsor duties.

Lessons learned this week: 

  • Promo drains me to the very limit. Even having the promo images ahead of time, I was constantly bombarded with the urge to check and see if it had been shared, make sure I’d commented my thanks, and continued from there. I found this to be the case during Madeline’s blog tour and the big giveaway contests this past week. I’m just wore to the bone and slowly recovering from those four or fives days of burnout from the week before.
  • The days of me being able to wrangle a story length down to meet insane deadlines may be behind me. My head just doesn’t work that way any more. I get really irritated when I know there’s more story there (and memories of way too many “I wanted to see more of the world/characters/story” reviews stick with me). It’ll save me heartache in the long run if I just write what I want to read and go from there. No more compromising on word length to fit a special submission call. I’ll continue to let the calls inspire me. If the book gets done in time, and under word count maximums, I’ll submit it. Otherwise, I’ll submit it the regular way.

I’m part of a great motivational writing group known as A Round of Words in 80 Days. Click here to find out how other did this week and here if you want to become a part of it!

That’s it for me. What about you?

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