NaNoWriMo

PSA: National Novel Writing Month starts on Tuesday! If you’ve ever tried to write a novel or promised yourself, “One day I’ll do it!”, now is your chance. NaNoWriMo sets a goal for contestants to write 1,667 words per day for 30 days. The minimum word count for a book to be considered a novel (instead of a novella or novelette) is 50,000 words. So, by the end of the month, you’ll have a novel-length project!

Granted, most of the popular fiction for YA and adults hovers around 80-85,000 words (depending on genre) so you might end up with over half your book drafted in just one month, which is still pretty good. I signed up at nanowrimo.org to try and meet other writers in the area and participate in some write-in events.

I’m not sticking to the ‘true’ spirit of NaNo and starting from page one, because…I already hit 50k on my current draft this past week! As I type this, I’m at 53,152 words, and I have no idea how I’m going to fit the rest of the story into the next 30,000 words. However, my NaNo goals will be to FINISH my draft this month and get a jump start on editing. December will be for polishing and writing query letter/synopsis, and I’ll start to pitch in January if all goes to plan. Maybe by voicing this to all you people I’ll be able to stick to it!

This may be the fastest I’ve ever written a book—from concept/prewriting at the end of July, to a completed project by December. Title reveal and details once this thing is done, but here’s a little hint with this mood board 😉

Love,

Taylor (and Conor, W, and R, who support my writing every day)

Book #6

I started a new book project this week. If anyone else is keeping track, this is will be my 6th book. Every time I finish a novel, I think that will be the last one, convinced that there are no more stories inside me. Then, inevitably, an idea starts to take hold. With Cloaked, it was the opening scene. With Sonder Village, it was the setting. With Hedge Dancer (the book I’m pitching now), it was an effervescent main character who had to be shared with the world.

I was very afraid this past year that I really was out of stories. Usually, my brain needs a 6 month break before notes, bullet points, and quotes start finding their way to scrap paper. I finished Hedge Dancer in September, and come February, there were still crickets. All spring I waited, amid the moving chaos, for something real to take hold. My mind and my body were still whispering ‘rest’, and for once, instead of trying to do it all, I listened.

So much of writer advice is “Butt in chair!” “Those words won’t write themselves!” “Habit over waiting for inspiration to strike!” A lot of times it is true, and this advice pushed me to complete five novels. But I had drifted too far from myself, and I needed to get back to me before I could create imaginary people with the love and depth they deserve. I’m finally reading more, devouring books like I used to when I was a teenager. I’m falling into more frequent posting on here without it feeling like a chore. My consistent workouts are helping me so much mentally. I feel surrounded and supported by family and loved ones.

The craving to put pen to paper started two weeks ago, but I forced myself to wait. My wonderful, fabulous sister got married last week and I needed to focus all my energy on her special day. Emotions from that day left me on such a high that I just had to start right after.

Radiant bride

I usually write adult fiction, so this urge to write a YA novel took me by surprise. I will update on the drafting process in the coming months. I hope I can pull this off.

Love,

Taylor

Author Confession

In a bid to flex my stagnant writing muscles, today I’m going to confess my deep, dark, author secret—

I’ve never read copies of my own published books.

I’ve held them, hugged them, and handed them out, but the last time I read both Cloaked and Sonder Village, it was on a computer screen to approve the final galley copy before publication.

At first, I think it was because by the time the books launched, I was so sick of editing them through for errors that I had them memorized. Then months passed and I still couldn’t crack the spines. Now years have gone by, and it’s been built up so much in my head that I’m too scared.

I was at a different place in my life and in my writing career with these books. I like to think I’ve grown enough to look back with fresh eyes, but I am afraid of the cringe. Writers tend to be a finicky lot. We chase perfection and are frustrated when our own works do not measure up to the authors we idolize. The story I remember writing is not the story that will appear on the pages. I don’t think my ego can handle the blow right now. Pitching my current project has been particularly heart-wrenching and I have little enough forward momentum as it is, so I’m not sure if looking backward is the answer. Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough.

I’ve had enough space from high school to look back at these photos, at least! Here’s to celebrating how far we’ve come, and how much farther we must go.

Love,

Taylor (and Conor, W, and R)

Galentine’s Date with an Author

While there is not much to report on the sailing front since my last post, I do have some exciting stories about my writing life to share! I was honored to be a part of the Officer Spouse’s Club “A Galentine’s Date with the Authors” event this past week.

Six military wives made up the author panel—two children’s book writers, a contemporary romance writer, a regency romance writer, an illustrator, and ME! Your favorite fantasy romance author! Thanks to the TOUR OF HOMES in December, I was able to get the word out about my books and connect with other writers, who invited me to be a part of the Galentine’s date. This was my first author panel and I had no idea what to expect, so I brought bookmarks, business cards, nerdy swag pins (those were a hit!) and copies of Cloaked and Sonder Village to sell.

Over 30 people attended the event. Ladies came up to chat with the writers one-on-one, ask questions about their books, and collect some prizes. I’m happy to say that there were a few aspiring authors in the crowd, and I hope to see them up there next year.

galentines2

After the meet and greet, the Q&A kicked off. A lot of people were interested in the business aspect of publishing, which surprised me. We discussed the pros and cons of self-pubbing vs. traditional publishing (I was the sole trad pub voice here), series vs. standalone novels, and how to appeal to our readers.

galentines1

By the end of the night, I had sold all my copies of Cloaked but only a few of Sonder Village. I don’t know if it was just my audience that night or not, but this tells me that I need to get better at pitching Sonder Village! Hopefully the readers who bought Cloaked and enjoyed it will give my other book a chance, too.

It was just so inspiring to see other women who have carved an identity out from the chaotic and sometimes all-consuming military life. I was proud to sit alongside these creative, passionate, and hard-working women and talk about my favorite subject (besides sailing) all night.

In the spirit of keeping this promo momentum going, I was also interviewed this week on The Magic Book Corner book review site. You can read the full interview HERE!

Thanks for all the support, everyone!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Updates and Interviews

A quick update for everyone—we are safe, we are back, docks are still standing, boats are still floating. Thank you to everyone who kept Story Time and all of Gottschalk Marina in their thoughts during Hurricane Dorian. We know how lucky we were to just get a small taste of Dorian before he headed out to the ocean. Hopefully this will be the only evacuation this season (knock on wood).

So happy to be back to normal life, and I can’t wait for this part of the year to be over.

dorian docks
B-dock maintains its status as the coolest dock around

In other news, I was recently featured on a site called NF Reads! I talk books, creative process, mistakes, and future plans. My interview can be found here if you want to check it out: https://www.nfreads.com/interview-with-author-taylor-hobbs/

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Behind the Scenes of Sonder Village

Sonder Village was released today! Here’s the scoop on my new book and some fun facts.

  • This book is based off a news article I read in 2015 about abandoned villages up for sale in Spain. All the properties seemed to have a rich history and a story to tell. I had always wanted to play with setting as a character and this concept presented the perfect opportunity!
  • I finished this book right before going into labor with Baby W. Once she was born and I exited the baby fog, I realized I hated my original ending and rewrote the last 15,000 words!
  • I actually speak Spanish. It was one of my majors in college.
  • Early readers of this book include my parents, Conor, and my dear friend Annie B. Their honesty and support keeps me going! Thanks for slogging through early drafts, guys!
  • I pitched this book to my editor while we were in Atlanta after evacuating for Hurricane Florence.
  • The cover artist who did Sonder Village also did my cover for Cloaked
  • My favorite passage in the book is this one (I wonder why?):

Bieito transformed at the helm. Holding onto the tiller, he expertly steered them through the breaking waves, showing no hint of fear. He was right—it was a dance. Remy tried to stay out of the way as he raised and trimmed the sail. Soon they were flying. The little sailboat skipped over the choppy waves, riding on moonlight.

Their serious conversation from earlier was placed on an indefinite hold. Remy couldn’t speak right now even if she wanted to. The entire experience stole her breath away, and all she could do was hold on tight, smiling from ear to ear until her cheeks ached.

Let’s sail forever. Remy longed to just keep moving forward, into the unknown. To never see land again, and to live in the waves and at the whim of the wind. It blew all the thoughts and worries straight out of her head.

This was Bieito’s version of painting. The release of consciousness as he let his body live in the moment, just as Remy did with a brush. She looked back at him from her seat across the cockpit. The lines on his face were completely smoothed out in the silver light, and she could see the boy he used to be; a boy who got his love of the sea from his mother, and the respect of the sea when he learned how to ride it.

releasedate

Send me your questions! Anything about the book, the publishing process, or writing strategies. Happy reading and I hope you enjoy Sonder Village!

Love,

Taylor

SONDER VILLAGE Reveal!

Sonder (n) : the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

I’m proud to finally announce the details of my second book, Sonder Village! It will be published by The Wild Rose Press with a release date TBD. I’d love to hear what you think about the cover and blurb!

SonderVillage_w13307_med

Abandoned for over a hundred years, a small village in northern Spain enchants Remy into purchasing what could be the worst real estate investment of all time. It is located near the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage path renowned for miracles, and the disgraced painter waits for her own revelation while rebuilding the ruins of her village and her life. But this property holds dangerous secrets dating back to a Galician military coup in 1846 that refuse to stay buried.

Bieito is a local fisherman married to the sea, but he becomes enamored with the newly-arrived American artist. His decision to pursue Remy—when he can find her—upsets history’s delicate balance and endangers his family.

Engulfed in a past that no one else can see, Remy must find who—or what—is really in control of her fate, and if she can survive being torn between two worlds.

 

Love to all my readers!

Taylor, Conor, and W

2018 Recap Video

 

Well guys, Conor is back in North Carolina to do Marine things. W and I are still hanging in WA because he is going to be so busy, but we miss him so much! Thank God for Skype.

To commemorate what a great year we had as a family, I put together a little recap video for 2018. Our 2017 video is here, and our 2018 one picks up right where that one left off! It is crazy to look back and see how tiny W used to be. This year consisted of sleepless nights, two cross-country trips to WA, boat work, long summer nights, great sailing as a family of 3, and more. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed that I was able to put this together just a week after New Year. The 2017 recap video didn’t get posted until March 2018. I think I’m more on top of it this year!

The song is ‘End of the World’ by the Dirty Heads. Thanks for following our journey!

 

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Writer Life

While we are still quite a ways off from our cruising dreams, I feel like the next 18 months are going to fly by. We need to start thinking ahead and planning for the future, especially for our financial future. Active duty military life has been a safety net for us, but soon we will be out in the “real” world. So guess what I did? I got a job.

Well, two jobs really. Freelance writing and contracting gigs that I can do from the boat while W is asleep. I am a content creator for an athleisure wear company called DYI and write things like mailers, product description, and ad campaigns. My other job is working for a company called Elite Editing. I’m just doing some of their blog posts right now, but eventually will be editing manuscripts for people looking to self-publish novels and writing the accompanying blurbs/taglines.

Don’t get me wrong, writing novels is still my #1 passion. Actually, I couldn’t have gotten these other jobs without having “Traditionally published author” on my resume. The opportunities came up thanks to some wonderful friends who thought I would be a good fit and encouraged me to apply. Plus, the hours and schedule flexibility were just too good to pass up! As W gets older and more independent, I can increase my workload. Right now, it is great to squirrel away extra money for our cruising kitty.

I feel like I finally have my feet under me with regards to parenting and boat life, and it is time to slowly ease back into the workforce. My book, Cloaked, is still going strong and I have another book on the way (more to come on that soon!). Between writing novels, book promo, two freelance jobs, keeping up this blog, and raising a baby, my brain is always going 100 mph!

Writing, writing, writing, all day long. I never thought I would be able to write for a living, and now that dream is coming true. We will see how it all balances out, especially with the craziness of Marine Corps schedules, but for now I’m staying on top of it all. If anyone has any organizational tips, send them my way!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

As Seen On TV

And by that, I mean MY BOOK WAS ON TV!! It was featured in a holiday gift guide on the show Good Day Sacramento. Somebody pinch me!

tv
They are talking about Cloaked! 

Here’s the segment:

https://gooddaysacramento.cbslocal.com/video/3985330-out-of-the-box-gift-ideas/

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be here on my boat. Freaking out.

Love,

Taylor (and my greatest supporters, Conor and W)