2016 Goals

Christmas break is almost over, school starts tomorrow. Yippee! The kids aren’t quiet as excited about that as I am. I’ve had very little time to dedicate to writing, but I’ve thought about my goals and how I want to attack them.

My overall yearly goals:

1. self-publish my first mystery novel
2. read more
3. get healthy
4. build a newsletter
I love #3. Can’t wait to see how long that one lasts! I’ve taken those four and adjusted them for Row80. Be sure to click here to read other blogs participating in Row80. Leave a word of encouragement.

Row80 Round 1 Goals

-Participate in the weekly Health/Fitness Challenge at church. It runs from Jan. 6- Feb. 28. I regretted signing up for this about 5 minutes after. I must attend each class and exercise. Yuk!
-Read 4 books a month, roughly 1 book a week. I’m doing the Mother-Daughter Reading Challenge with my girls. A book a week isn’t much, but it allows extra time for crazy weeks when nothing gets done.
-Edit book 2 in my mystery series. This is a holdover from December. I have a huge stack of things that need to be edited. Sigh. The only way I can see to do this is to assign days to edit. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are edit days.
-Work on self-publishing Book 1. This round that means- participate in a manuscript swap and send MS to editor. I’ve just received the manuscript I need to read. Every time I think of sending mine to the editor I get queasy. I’m not used to spending that kind of money on myself. It’s a bit terrifying. My target date for publication is August 1. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday are days I work on this.
-Institute Meatless Monday. The slamming door you hear is my oldest threatening to move to grandma’s house. She’s a full carnivore and hates vegetables. I may have to do a mostly meatless. I don’t want her to starve to death.
-Keep up with the local Critique Group. I’ve had online critiques, this is the first “live” critique group I’ve been involved with. I now know why it’s so important. Nothing beats having eight separate pair of eyes. Of course that means I have eight critiques to return.
-At some point I need to write a story I’ve plotted. I have two waiting in the wings and I want to work on them before the fire is gone. May have to see how the above goes and tweak the schedule a bit.

Edit/publish Mystic Brew. This just finished critique group. I hope to have this ready by March 1. It’s a dark short story. Very different from what I have previously published. Full of twists and turns.

Wow. It always feels overwhelming when I write the goals up. I have to remind myself that it just takes a little time each day to accomplish. I have to show up and work every day. I’m easily distracted, so I need to make a list daily and stay focused.



For those of you that were in the last Round of Row80, you may remember we were working on a room for my oldest. I’m happy to say, it’s finished. We moved her in two days after Christmas and she’s been rearranging it daily.


It’s hard to see in the photo, but she has assembled a Lego army of mini-figures to take over the world!

What are your goals for round 1?



An Ordinary Knight

Cover Reveal


H.L.Burke has a new release coming out on Nov. 9th.

An Ordinary Knight: A Fairy Cursed Fable

Blurb:Stuck in a humiliating position as the Royal Kennel Guard, Sir Percy sees little hope for anything other than an obscure fate. After all, in the Kingdom of Ithelia, you need a fairy to guide you to greatness, and fairies just don’t bother with knights like him. 
However, when Percy catches the eyes of the sheltered Princess Matilda, his world expands in new and frightening ways. 
A victim of an ill-planned Christening, Matty has spent her life in a locked tower, hiding from pixie attacks. Now she’ll do anything to escape. And if that means dragging Percy along for a cross country search for Prince Charming, so be it. 
But not all Prince Charmings are what they seem, and as Matty’s plight grows more desperate, Percy finds himself losing his heart. Does a lowly knight have what it takes to uncurse a princess?

An Ordinary Knight is available at Amazon.    The pre-order is $0.99.

Connect with H.L.Burke

11755639_10154140291146002_1215304829087524943_nMy website is www.hlburkeauthor.com

Is it Sunday Already, Row80 check-in 1

I skipped the Wednesday check in, because we just started the round. It’s been a busy week. I started out strong with the writing goals but fell apart mid-week. I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t be trusted to plot. That and I was stewing over character relationships. This is my first attempt at trying to write an abusive relationship and I don’t want to be cliche or flippant. Be sure to check out the other Row80 participants and share some positive feedback.

Mystic Brew finished it’s rounds of critique at CC. I think it went well.  I came back with plenty of ideas to strengthen the story. This one’s dark and nothing like what I have written before. It’s out of my comfort zone and needed honest feedback.

On with the goals:

Begin revisions of book 2 in my Dragonfly Mystery Series- nope
-Send out queries for Dead in the Waternope I have it on my calendar to start next week.
Plan 1 new short story- not even an idea of where to begin. Time to pull out some writing prompts

Edit/Revise Mystic Brew, I’ve started printing off the critiques.
-Finish plotting Book 3 in my Dragonfly Mystery Series- yes. I have a character sketch for the killer and victim. I need to focus on the scapegoat. Need to finish those and start the plotting this week to stay on track.
-Participate in NaNoWriMo and write book 3: 50,000 words- in November
-Read 8 books- (2)I finished Gator Bait and loved it. I also finished Code Blue by local author Joyce Scarbrough. Loved it. I started another book but didn’t finish it, lost interest.
-Be a good human and socialize online- yes, I networked on CIR and my Crime writer’s yahoo group as well as Row80, etc.. I did reach out to indie book reviewers about reading my short story collection. Don’t know if that should count.
-Be a good Baptist and join a Wednesday night group- no. It’s so hard for me to find a group. I love my church but I am not that social!
-Finish my daughter’s bedroom- We haven’t made any progress. Homecoming week at school. We have the shell for the closet built, the closet doors, and the bookcase. Still need to build the desk and build a wall.


How was your week?


Tales of Christmas in the South, Miniature Desires

Blurb: Tales of Christmas in the South, is a collection of three short stories. All three stories reflect different aspects of the holiday season. Enjoy laughter, tears, and the magic of Christmas in one volume Tales from Christmas in the South - High Resolution .

Tales of Christmas in the South,is available from Amazon. $0.99

Includes the never before published, Miniature Desires. Spinster Ms. Stallworth has a hard time with the modern world. Bombarded with tacky blowup Santas and inconsiderate children, she dreams of being part of the Christmas village she displays each holiday season.
Background: The idea for Miniature Desires was born after I started working at the local Christmas store. I’ve been a Christmas freak since birth and working in a store that was always Christmas, was a dream or nightmare if you’re my husband. One segment of the Christmas industry I had no experience with was the ceramic Christmas village. I was amazed when the houses were shipped, people flooded the store to buy the new pieces. I’d talk to the collectors and it didn’t take much prodding for them to pull out their phones and show photos of these massive displays that take over their house every Christmas season. They had neighborhoods, business districts, cars, and street lights. It was a perfect miniature of a small town. Their version of a perfect Christmas.

So what would happen if a cranky old lady had on of these displays? What if it wasn’t just a display? What if there was a little Christmas magic? You’ll have to read the story to find out!

In honor of Miniature Desires, I surfed Youtube for a perfect example of a Christmas village. I have no connection with the person who filmed the village and hopefully he/she won’t mind me sharing it with you.

Happy Reading,


Cover Reveal- Tales of Christmas in the South

Tales of Christmas in the South

Tales from Christmas in the South - High Resolution

Release Date: October 1, 2015
Blurb: Tales of Christmas in the South, is a collection of three short stories. All three stories reflect different aspects of the holiday season. Enjoy laughter, tears, and the magic of Christmas in one volume.
You can connect with Caren at:

Tales of Christmas in the South is available from Amazon. $0.99

Includes the never before published, Miniature Desires. Spinster Ms. Stallworth has a hard time with the modern world. Bombarded with tacky blowup Santas and inconsiderate children, she dreams of being part of the Christmas village she displays each holiday season.
The Christmas Gift, is a bittersweet Christian short story of love and loss. Laurel faces the first Christmas without her husband. In her search for decorations she discovers a gift left by her deceased husband.
What holiday season is complete without fruitcake? The Fruitcake, is a humorous short story about the dreaded holiday classic. Retirement’s not what Robert expected. His wife feeds him twigs and is afraid of mailbox bombs. If that’s not enough a fruitcake shows up on his doorstep. Fruitcakes may be a Southern tradition, but it’s one Robert can do without. Find out how he deals with the holiday classic.
Tales of Christmas in the South is a quick read just in time for the Christmas season.




Revisions with YouTube

I am in the process of revising/editing my WIP. I could say for the last time, but let’s be real. It’s never the last time. Recently, I’ve discovered I love YouTube. There may be nothing on network TV, but there’s always something on YouTube. This week I’ve been checking out videos on Scrivener, indie publishing, and writing in general. I found this one and thought I would share.  Katytastic has some hints about that first read through and how to use the printed version as you edit/revise. Some of these I already do, others I will try for the next manuscript.

I still have a poll going on, vote for the name of the town in my WIP. If you haven’t voted, please do.  Who doesn’t want to name a town?

Now, tune in tomorrow for my cover reveal. You don’t want to miss that!


Fall Book Sale


Clean Indie Reads is having a Fall Book Sale. I love a book Sale.

The Sale will run from September 23 to September 27.Clean Indie Reads is a group of writers who write flinch-free fiction. Genres include: children’s, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, women’s literature, and more.

Some books are free others are inexpensive. Hurry, this sale won’t last forever.