August Plans and Goals

August is a very busy month for me. To the point where several times during the month, I will forget to eat and accidentally skip up to a third of the meals I’m meant to be eating. With that said, my goals writing-wise are very minimized compared to last month’s progress.

August Goals:

  • Get through first 25% of edits (85 pages)
  • Keep working on putting paper edits of SoL into the computer
  • Finish watching / working through the Publish and Thrive courses (Modules 4 & 5)
  • Add 10 completed pages to the Lazy Tequila Afternoons story binder
  • Update the “books” section of my website.

That’s it. Very low pressure, not a lot to focus on because honestly? Getting through the month of August at the day job is more than enough to work on and survive at this point.

I’m hoping as time goes on to be able to slowly incorporate more writing / loftier editing goals into my daily routine, but not in August.

And, similar to the goal list, today’s post is short and simple. Hope that’s okay with everyone and I’ll see you next week!


Nom de Plume

June: Real name vs pen name: is one better than the other? Why or why not? Which would you use and why?
It has certainly been quite some time since I updated here and I don’t have excuses or explanations for you about it. It happened and it deserved being addressed… But that’s all I have to say about it. Especially since this post is meant to be about pen names!
You might be able to tell by my website / social media handles, but I am a person who does not use a pen name. As long as I’ve been writing and publishing things on the internet, I have always gone by some iteration of (at least) my first name. As I started taking a more “professional” route with my writing — or at least attempting to — I began switching over fully to my “author persona:” Erin Foster Books. Could I have transitioned into a pen name at that point? Probably, but I didn’t see the point. In fact, if I had made that choice, it might have actually had negative affects on my yet-developing platform.

Back in college, I had to complete a short story project for one of my creative writing courses and the outcome was a fully-edited, ready-to-publish (essentially) short story collection. And since this was back in the day of free proof copies for NaNoWriMo winners, I decided to go ahead and publish it. Why not, right? And I did so using my real name. Then I entered a Harlequin contest and did decently well (top 12 — so not placed or anything, but still a huge success in my mind), using my real name. All of the self-published short stories in the AugNoWriMo Compendium Milestone: under my real name. I was already starting to establish my name as my author brand, even before ever thinking about it. To then start over with a pen name? Not something that really appealed to me, personally.

Now, if I were to decide to write… say a fantasy quartet about elemental mermaids instead of my normal romance realistic fiction, would I consider a pen name? Absolutely. Because if someone had read a handful of my other fiction and picked up a fantasy book, thinking it would be in a similar feel / genre because I wrote it… They would be very confused. And the last thing I want to do to my readers is confuse them.
As for which one is better? Well, neither. I don’t think you can make a sweeping generalization like that with something that’s such a personal decision. For me, my real name worked out and was the right choice for my situation, but that might not always be the case for someone — or even for me. I think that as long as the person behind the name is intentional and consistent with their use of whatever moniker they choose, then that is the “better” decision.
(Stay tuned. I am promising a minimum of one blog post per week for the rest of the year. Always Wednesday mornings at 10am EST. There might be more than that, but there will definitely never be less. If there’s something you’d like me to talk about / address, feel free to leave a comment here or reach out to me on twitter at @erinfosterbooks!)

My Editing Space

One of the things I have always found most interesting is taking a look into other writers’ spaces. My writing space looks nothing like my editing space, mostly because when I edit, I need to get rid of any potential distractions and background noise so I can really hone in and focus on how specific words sound and figure out if they’re really the perfect one for the situation. Sometimes that takes reading things aloud to figure out pacing and rhythm, so I like to be away from my computer / the abundance of noise and videos that come with it. Sure, I can always just turn those things off… But if they’re there? And super convenient? It’s hard.

Plus, when I’m editing, I tend to do it for hours at a time. There’s so much more time that goes into editing for me than I ever commit to writing, so sitting at a computer chair, motionless, hunched over things I’ve written, or squinting at a screen? That sounds simply miserable.

I prefer to print my document, grab a clipboard and an Inkjoy Gel Pen in the color of choice for that particular manuscript, and curl up in the cozy corner of my couch with a few pillows, a fuzzy blanket, and a puppy.

 IMG-9716That’s my editing partner, Laika. She refused to look at the camera and pose.


#editnfriends: An Introduction

March in the WriMo community has traditionally been reserved for editing as long as I have personally been a WriMo participant. From what I can tell, the logic is you write your 50k in November, finish your plot with a 30k dash in December and then pretend the writing jaunt didn’t exist for two months while you recover and try to put some distance between yourself and the novel… Before diving back into it and polishing up the draft in March.

Piggybacking off of that, as well as the fact that part of #Pub2020 is editing our novels to perfection before sending them out to seek representation for publication, my friend Liz over at her blog Words N Books, decided to host #editnfriends this March. And I, being a sucker for a community challenge, have joined. I mean, I need to edit regardless… Might as well use this as the kick in the pants to get me going, right?

Let’s meet the novel that I am going to be diving into, shall we?

Title: Sky of Light
Women’s Fiction / New Adult
Current Word Count:
Word Count Goal:
85,000 – 95,000
Place in my Universe:
SoL is the middle book in Audrey’s Trilogy, preceded by Sky of Dust and followed by Sky of Stars
For once, Audrey Laurent is keeping her clothes on as a runaway runway-model. Fleeing from France and an abusive boyfriend, she finds herself in the sun surrounded by new friends, new adventures, and new romance. After a series of misadventures including a courtroom wedding, a maid of honor, and a secret divorce, will Audrey finally get the happy-ending she ran to find?

How do you plan to edit? / What are your goals for this draft?
This is the final draft I am editing by myself. I have the entire draft printed out and am going through with a fine-toothed comb and scribbling all over the manuscript by hand. I think the middle is still a little squishy from where I split the original novel into a trilogy back in 2010 / 2011 or so. If I need to do major content changes still, I’ll create a chapter-by-chapter outline and then put all the pieces together again within the manuscript before poking at things like word choice. As you can see above, I have about 20k that needs to be cut from this novel at the moment so that it is a feasible fit for the genre / market when I start shopping it around for publication, so I’m definitely looking for places to tighten up my prose. From there, I’ll be seeking out detailed, nit-picky line edits from crit partners or potentially even hiring someone to really beat the novel into submission.

What’s your update schedule / editing plan?
This novel currently has 37 chapters and I’ve already edited 4. So basically, I’m looking at a pace of 1 chapter per day, and then 2 on a few incredibly productive days, if I want to get the entire novel finished within the month of March. Realistically? I know that won’t work in my schedule with work and class and a memorial family trip. So, my goal is going to be 2 chapters per week. That will bring the edited chapters up to chapter 12, which will put me in a good place to continue along that pace and finish the edit by the end of June to start sending it around for others to read and keeping that ball rolling!

I plan on updating weekly on my #editnfriends progress — posts will go live every Sunday — to share my tips, tricks, successes, and woes of the editing process. If you would like to keep up in real time, check out my Author Twitter. I promise I’ll try not to whine too much. 😉



Tell Me All Your Thoughts on Love

The blog writing hasn’t really taken off yet, but I’ll get there. For now, here’s the monthly WriYe Blog Circle post, at the very least!

Is romance necessary in all fiction? Why or why not?
Now, this is a very tricky topic for me, since 90% (or more!) of my own novels wouldn’t exist without romance, simply because that’s my “home” genre. So, for me? Yes. It is necessary. Is that to say I couldn’t write something without romance? Absolutely not. In fact, I’ve done it several times. But those pieces are rarely what come to mind when I think of my best works. And if it’s a book that I’m sitting down to read for enjoyment, I could go either way if there’s no “pairings” to speak of within the pages of the book.

But here’s the thing, I don’t think romance is limited to the romantic love (or, delving deeper into the genre and thinking about erotica, lust) that most people think of when they start to consider romance in fiction. There’s always platonic love between friends or familial love between siblings / parents and children / cousins / whatever. Or, and maybe my favorite, self-love — again, not the erotica version — wherein the main character really learns to love themselves and everything they have to offer their respective world. And when you start including all of those kinds of love into your consideration, I think you’ll be even more hard-pressed to find a book that doesn’t include at least one of them.


So, is it necessary? No, not entirely. But does it usually benefit the depth of your story and characters? Absolutely.

If you do have romance in your fiction, tell us about your favorite pairings. Why are they your favorite?
If we’re talking about tropes, I very much love a good girl / bad boy (or the reverse!) where each half of the couple is from an entirely different world and they bring each other into their own world and find their own, combined place to build their happiness somewhere in the middle. I am also a huge fan of long term friends slowly growing into lovers. It feels like it is among one of the more realistic ways to build a relationship to me and just generally makes me happy.

However, if we’re talking favorite ‘ships in our own writing, I also have two favorites in this category within my huge universe and cast of characters. One is Nick and Audrey. I adore them for a few reasons. One, they were the couple that started it all. Without them, my series wouldn’t even exist. So, for that reason alone, I feel like they will be my forever favorites. However, I also just love how pure their relationship is. The two of them are truly just two halves of the same whole and always have each other’s backs, no matter what.

My second favorite couple in my series was actually an accidental couple. Back when I used to consistently write and share short prompt-based pieces based in my universe with a Livejournal community called Runaway Tales, a whole new plot arc developed in my universe that sprung forth a new relationship between Colin and Erika in the coffee shop they both work for. They quickly became my favorite likely because they fit into both of my favorite tropes listed above and they’re both incredibly sarcastic people who really play off each other well.


What are your thoughts on romance in fiction?