Welcome! Today is: January 7, 2014. As of today you only have to write an average of 140 words per day to complete a 50,000 word novel this year. Good Luck!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Fabulous "Pre-Published" Lisa Fenley

True confession time:  I hate New Year’s Eve.  I hate the pressure of a forced good time, just because the calendar says it’s the end of the year.  Every New Year’s Eve party I’ve ever attended proved disastrous and the more money I spent on the event, the higher the ‘wretchedness’ factor.  As a ‘glass half-empty’ kind of gal, the end of the year also marks a review of all of the goals I didn’t accomplish: unfinished work, deadlines unmet, obligations I owed to family and friends that weren’t fulfilled as they should have been.  In short, New Year’s Eve depresses the heck out of me … but I love New Year’s Day. 

Something about the clean slate of a New Year makes me dream of possibilities.  As with most goal-setting in my life, I record too many items on my New Year’s Resolution list, usually involving fitness, work, weight loss, finances, family and friends, and I set unrealistic time frames in which to achieve these lofty goals.  Today, while I pondered my resolutions for 2014, I came across a quote by Brad Paisley:

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book.  Write a good one.”

I’m sure Mr. Paisley didn’t mean this statement in the literal sense, but I’m a writer.  A page a day:  a short, measurable goal that yields a book at the end of the year.  I can do this!  If I can do this, then I can set other goals in other facets of my life – break big goals into small chunks, pieces I can accomplish on a daily or weekly basis. 

As an unpublished paranormal romance / urban fantasy writer, I troll websites of authors I admire to see what works for them, hoping something they do will work for me, too.  One of my favorites, Kresley Cole, approached the start of her writing career as a business.  To quote from her website, “If you’re set on publishing, then don’t dabble. Decide if you’re in or you’re out. Then do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. I had a “25” plan. At any given time, I would have my writing out in 25 myriad forms—either contests, critiques, agent queries, publisher queries, etc. I believe you have to jump in with both feet.”

While I agree with her sentiment, I have to scale this for me and I am a wife, a mother of two, a community volunteer involved in a number of organizations, a daughter, a sister, a friend … and a writer.  I wrote business plans at one point in time (I am a former HR Director who worked for a Fortune 500 firm), so the business approach makes sense to me, but I will tailor my plan to me.  I want to accomplish my objectives this year – I’m all in – so I’m setting achievable goals.

The bottom line?

I’m swimming in a smaller pool, but I’m in with both feet. 

Come and join me – the water’s fine!


Lisa’s Professional Goals for 2014:

1.      Write a minimum of one page per day – do not edit that page.  Edits occur when the novel is finished.  (Achilles’ heel – I over-edit.)

2.      Complete Recurve (current work-in-progress), by end of May.  It is one-third complete.

3.      Attend RWA’s conference in San Antonio.  Pitch to one editor and one agent.  Follow through on the pitches.  (Another Achilles’ heel – I’ve pitched four times over the last two conferences and I’ve never sent in the requested material due to fear.)

4.      Establish a pen name and a social media presence by the start of the RWA conference.


Lisa’s Biography:

If a rolling stone gathers no moss, then Lisa is a moss-free gal.  The daughter of an Army Master Sergeant, Lisa spent her childhood in Florida, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Okinawa, Japan, and Texas.  While all this travel would make some the life of the party, Lisa chose to create friendships and build worlds that could travel with her and her family.  Convinced she was a long lost princess of some kind, she began chronicling the adventures of other long lost princesses who found their roads home (The Four Little Seasons, her magnum opus, she penned at the age of eleven.)

Her rolling stone ways continued after college, where dry business trips became new worlds to explore and new experiences to bank, all of it fodder for her future novels.  You’ll find the kingdoms of Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Kansas City, Washington DC, and Dallas featured in her works. 

While she’s still convinced she’s a long lost princess, she’s found her kingdom.  Lisa lives in a very modest castle in Texas, where she resides with her husband, their two children, and their two royal dogs. 
Mary: Lisa, is there anything you'd like to ask our readers?

Lisa: Yes! What are your professional goals for 2014?


  1. I love that sentiment by Brad Paisley. It spoke to me too because I have some very serious goals set for this year and can't wait to get started. So fun to get to know more about you, Lisa.

    1. Thanks, Clover! I'm blocking time every morning to write - otherwise the day gets away from me and I've accomplished nothing. I really like the one page a day idea!

  2. Great post, Lisa and thanks so much for hosting this, Mary! For 2014, I've got one book releasing with Entangled, that still needs massive revisions, plus a few still in development. Lisa, my goal is to write a minimum of 100 words every single day, with the hopes of spreading my production out, as opposed to ruining my wrists in month-long panic-sprints! Happy New Year to you both!

  3. Hey Lisa! Today I'm supposed to be conquering lounging, but you're making me think. One of my goals is definitely to attend Nationals, so maybe I will meet you there. My little bite goals for the next few months of 2014 will be to finish book four (I'm starting revisions now), and then begin book five (which is book two of book 3 - with me so far?). I'm going to continue to work on understanding and accepting the Twittersphere which has so far been my nemesis.

  4. Hey, Mary and Lisa. Love this post, Lisa. I so agree about New Year's Eve. I have to force myself to participate. It's a small thing I do for DH, who loves a party.
    I'm so impressed with your plans and goals. You're right to make the plan fit you. It wasn't too long ago I was in your shoes, a pre-pubbed author. I took the good advice of someone (maybe Kristin Lamb at our NT conference.) She said start a blog before you're trying to sell a book. The way you sell books is through connections and a great way to make those connections is through a blog. I was so glad I'd started before I sold. Still a huge learning curve, but it helped I'd had one working for a time before I updated it.
    Here's another thing I've found, Lisa. In some ways you have more time before you sell. So do as many things before that lovely magic moment happens to make the transition smoother.
    Here comes a "mom scold." What do you mean you had requests and didn't submit?!!! For crying out loud, girl! Glad to see that won't be happening any more. :)
    One last thing. I share the wandering thing. My dad was a Air Force Master Sergeant. Ten different schools by the time I graduated from high school! Being alone gives your imagination a lot of time to operate, which in retrospect is good. My goal is to get better at social media. I love blogging and FB, but not Twitter so much. Apparently that's the big one. Looking forward to learning more at our NT conference in March. With your plans firmly in hand, 2014 should be a great year for you!

  5. Update - I wrote a page and a half today, because I am an overachiever. :) - Lisa Fenley

  6. Mary and Lisa, thanks for a lovely 'kick in the pants' kinda post. Persistence! the name of our game.

    1. Thanks, DeNise! Glad it struck a chord. I'm pleased with my page a day progress so far (even though I'm only 3 days into the year).

  7. I tried to respond to the other lovely comments in this thread and for some reason, they didn't take (I have technological killer instincts, as in I kill all things technological, so I have to assume it's me).
    Roxanne - congrats on the book with Entangled! I'm jealous! Wishing you a great 2014!
    Maria - sorry I made you think on a lounge day! That's wrong! If you decide to go to RWA's national conference, let me know. I'd love to meet up with you! I know San Antonio well - my husband and I met and married there. Good luck with the upcoming books and with Twitter (and I hear you on that one).
    Marsha - I know I need to start a blog, etc, which is why goal #4 exists. I don't want to put the time and expense into creating a media presence without first choosing the name I'll use for my writing business. Perfectionism is my nemesis (which is another part of the fear rationale) and made me afraid to send in my work when requested. I realize the stupidity, now, but as you say, I'll do better this year.
    Speaking of goals, I've written every day so far and I'm at about 9 pages so far this week. Slow and steady ... :)