To Camp!

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I’m going camping in July!

Well. Not camping in the traditional sense. At least, not until August – at which points there will be tents and bugs, and a lot of sun.

No, July’s camping is much more virtual. I’m going to be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. 30 days of cabinmates, forums of other writers, and me finishing this work in progress I have been wanting to finish.

A friend of mine suggested that we both participate. Me, so I can finish my current WIP, and her so she can finally really dig into a book that’s been floating around her head for like two years now.

Now, some of you are probably going, ‘what’s NaNoWriMo?’ and others, who may know about the main NaNoWriMo may be going ‘Camp NaNoWriMo? Did you make this up?’

First and foremost, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It was started way back when, and it’s when a bunch of us (thousands of us) writers get together for the month of November with the solid idea of writing 50,000 words in a month – ideally it’s towards a novel but some use it to rewrite novels, or do a compilation of short stores, etc. You can find more information at their website: nanowrimo.org

Camp NaNoWriMo is run by the same people who run the original NaNoWriMo. They created Camp NaNoWriMo because they had enough people going ‘but guys, I have finals in November, and we have this whole Thanksgiving Holiday because I live in the states where I have to be social with family! I can’t hole up for a month to write!’ And such, Camp NaNoWriMo was born. Camp is held twice a year, in April and in July. Unlike NaNoWriMo the Original, you can set your own word count for the month. Which makes it the perfect session to finish an already started project, verses trying to write one from start to finish.

And instead of regions that you’re broken into when participating in NaNoWriMo, Camp splits you into cabins of people and there’s a community discussion area where you can chit chat and encourage each other while the month gets going.

Find Camp NaNoWriMo at their website: campnanowrimo.org

Over all, it should be fun. And by the end of it, I should be able to go ‘It’s Finished!’. At least, that’s the plan!

Are you planning to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo? Let me know down in the comments below!

New Writing Prompts on the Horizon

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So, I was at the bookstore the other day with my best friend and I happened upon this book just sitting on a shelf staring at me. I get distracted by shiny, and I don’t mean shiny like pretty but shiny like actual shiny. The writing on this book was all shiny reflective gold and I kind of loved it. The title of the book also caught me, no lie.

Write the Story – yes, the image that probably dragged you in here to read my blog post.

It’s this mostly empty book, with a prompt and ten items that you should be including in your writing when filling the prompt.

I’m excited to try to use this to help me better at writing. Because these can be used just for exercises to get me a little more back in the writing spirit. I think it will be fun to see what crazy interesting things will come from these prompts.

Maybe I’ll even share them here. Or at least pieces of them. We’ll see.

I’m hoping to start working on doing these prompts maybe once a week in July. I know they’re not really meant to be all that long, the book only gives you a page each prompt, but I never know how long my short prompts are going to be until I’m writing it and it’s coming to a close. After all, my current WIP was originally planned for 30,000 and it’s going on 50,000 words. We shall see.

What do you use to inspire you? Let me know in the comments below.

Gettin’ Hot in Here

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 So, my weekends plans had me out and about this past weekend. I drove down to St. Louis, MO and had a wonderful time out in Tower Grove Park. If you live in the area and never been, I suggest it. If you’re visiting St. Louis and want a nice place to eat lunch all picnic in the park, I suggest it for that too. The park is absolutely beautiful.

Though, even more so when it’s packed for several blocks with vendors selling books, clothes, hand made soaps, jewelry, and the like. And even better when some of those vendors sell these amazing Kebabs and frozen lemonade.

I didn’t come home with a lot of items, except for a tarot reading and dream pouch from a beautiful and amazing woman, everything I bought was food. And only one of those food items came home with me. Normally I’m all over getting the cute things to hang in windows, or a book from one of the local authors that sells their books there. But this year I was really trying to scale back. I’m trying to take cleaning my house seriously, and for better or worse that includes not bringing stuff home from a big show like this.

The frozen lemonade though. Kept me running. This whole weekend was 100+ degrees. Thankfully a tree was kind enough to share it’s branches with me and keep me shaded for most of the day. What sun I received, that made me look like an angry lobster on Sunday, has already faded into a tan color. Being very pale (ancestors were Swedish, German, Polish, and Irish) it’s super weird to have a little color on me right now.

Between the heat and the activities, and the driving, I wasn’t able to write at all while I was away. And yesterday was writing fail. I came back from a four day weekend to find that basically everything was going wrong and the office I work for was sinking without me. Great for job security, not so great for being able to get a little writing in before hours, during lunch, and after hours. Coupled with my new mattress arriving, I was basically zonked out after I was able to lug it up to my room and get it all unwrapped and then sheet-ed. I’m hoping for a little more success with getting words on a page tonight after I get home. And while for you, my lovely readers, this counts as words on a page, I’m not counting it towards words on a page myself because it’s not words towards my WIP. So time to buckle down when I get home.

Granted, a lot of times I like to use my laptop and write from bed. The last couple months have been a little more difficult doing that because my mattress was uncomfortable and crap, so this new mattress should lead to more writing at night before I crash too. Here’s hoping anyway.

Until next time, let me know how your weekend went. Did you get a lot done? Did you relax due to the high heats? Leave me a comment below!

Updates and Cleaning

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So, with family obligations – birthday party things Memorial Day weekend – I wasn’t able to get a lot of writing done before the end of the month. Which means that WIP isn’t all that finished. I was able to get a few words done on it though. Slowly. Very slowly. Though, sadly, I’m not going to be able to get too much writing done this weekend either.

I have a Picnic in the Park event that I’m headed down to tomorrow, one state over from me so tomorrow is travel day.

While I won’t get much, if any writing done though, it will still be a beautiful time. There are some workshops I’m looking to attend at the event, and I get to see a friend I haven’t seen in like a year. So pretty excited about that too.

And who knows. Maybe I’ll be able to find some more inspiration for new stories. Though, I’m not sure I need TOO much more inspiration, before I finish projects.

Which brings me to the cleaning part of this. I’ve been trying to clean up some. Spring cleaning and what not in the house. And I ended up finding three different starts to stories.

Three.

I’m adding them to my idea binder so that I can hopefully work on them later. All in told I think I have like five or six starts to stories sitting and waiting for me to finish, and a myriad more in a journal that are currently merely concepts that need to be seriously flushed out. Soon, my pretties, soon.

And if you’re wondering where I get the flower pictures I put in my blog posts, I take them. I dabble in photography, and flowers are my favorite subject. Most tend to be taken in my own garden, or the gardens of friends and family.

Cheers everyone. I hope your first weekend in June is bright, beautiful, and full of inspiration!

Novella becomes Novel…? Maybe?

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So, last post I was calling one of my WIPs a novella. And then I took the time to actually look at it. And, hefty job, print it out at 100 pages printed from Word. Word was also kind enough to let me know that my WIP is currently 48,000 words approximately.

48,000 words.

Can I still call it a novella at this point?

I mean, no one would call The Great Gatsby a novella, and it’s roughly 50,000 words. And my WIP should be about that range when I finish.

When I started it, I didn’t expect it to be much longer than maybe 30,000 words or so. That total would put it firmly in the novella category, and I never really paid too much mind to the word count while I was working on it. I never noticed when I passed the 30K mark, and then the 40K mark.

Of course, this thing needs a heavy revision after I finish it, but really, I guess I should start calling it a novel? It’s kind of crazy to me that my tiny idea turned itself into a full fledged novel.

When do you consider a work a novel, instead of a novella?

NaNo Flop & Moving Forward

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So, it’s probably easy to tell that I never ended up finishing NaNo. The lack of posts tooting my progress, explaining my struggles, and cheering my victory? They never came. Truthfully, a lot never came.

I could go into reasons, and I could give excuses as to why the words didn’t come, why the blog didn’t get updated, why I haven’t been on twitter all that often. But really, at the end of the day, I don’t want to get caught up in the past.

I want to get back on track.

I want to leave the past in the past.

I want to move forward.

So this is me, shaking off the past. I’m going to shed it, kind of like a second skin and leave it where it belongs. Behind me. This isn’t to say I’m going to forget why and what all happened. After all, those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it. But, I don’t want to focus on it.

I have a couple projects that have been sitting by the wayside for far too long. One novella needs to be finished – a cutesy cozy mystery, and one high fantasy that needs me to actually go through and do structural and line editing on it so it’s polished and I can finally decide once and for all if I’m going to be self publishing or going the query letter/traditional publishing route.

I know people have strong opinions about both, but after attending a panel at a convention where an author basically said you can do either/or, or be a hybrid, it’s up to you and what you feel is best for your novel, I’m back on the fence with trying the traditional way.

At the same time, I just watched a friend query a book and she had three agents write her back to tell her that they loved her book, but they wouldn’t be picking it up.  And it’s left her wondering, if they loved her book enough to say so, why. Because the letters don’t say. It’s a little disheartening to hear that, and my heart goes out to her because she’s trying to take a critical eye to her story and make some changes in the hopes that next time she sends out query letters maybe someone will love it AND pick it up.

The question for me is, do I really want to go that route? Spend time querying it, potentially not get any takers, and even if I do not see it released for a year or two based on any publishers wanting it, and if they do having it fit into their schedule for release and marketing. It’s a lot of time to sit on a finished product.

Truthfully, I don’t know. I’d love to see it published by a company, and on the shelves in stores. But at the same time, I want to see it sell period. And sitting in a publisher’s cue for one to two years, that’s a long time to wait for it to be released.

Choices, choices, as they say.

I guess I’ll mostly cross that bridge when I get there. When the novel is as good as I can make it after some heavy editing.

Right now, the novella needs to be finished. So my goal, I’m setting one officially, is to be finished writing the novella by the end of May. That way I can take a breather and then circle back to it mid-June for edits. This seems like a super short timeline that I’m giving myself, I’m sure. But truthfully, the novella is about one or two chapters from being done. So I’m hoping by setting this deadline I can really strive and push myself to get it done.

Here’s hoping, at least.

Prepping and Thinking and Writing and Winning

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elethwyn Two weeks, give or take a few days. That’s all we have until National Novel Writing Month is upon us. Two weeks to get my notes all in order. And truthfully, my notes are currently ‘kingdom 1’  ‘ruled by king – who has three children’. It’s not a lot to go on yet. I think the biggest help my friend gave me was to not dwell too hard on names of things, places and people just yet. To work out the world, the laws, the governing bodies first. Work out the landscape some, which thanks to a map maker I have a map! so I at least know the layout of the world, the potential resources for each kingdom.

But, you know. Go me for choosing to create an entirely new fantasy world three weeks before NaNo to start with. Ambition, thy name is Meri and she holds a mighty pen. Don’t think about the fact that I have way too much on my plate going on.

What, might you ask, do I have on my plate?

  • Well, for starters there’s work that runs from 8am – 6pm during the week. Now, I work a 9-5 job, but I get into work at 8, and I’m usually working by 8:30. And I don’t usually get dragged away from work until about 5/5:30pm, which puts me at home between 6/7 pending if there’s any last minute shopping that needs to be done before I get home. This takes up a good chunk of my time in general.
  • I have a Non-Profit Newsletter to finish revising, and a couple articles for it that I need to poke some people into giving me, because it’s technically due out the 15th (that’s two days folks).
  • I have a house that is in desperate need for some cleaning, and lets face it we write better in a clean environment too.
  • I took it upon myself to take a business class this semester in the hopes of maybe learning a little about business and the art of learning, though while I am learning nothing so far can help me because it’s mostly focused on globally done business not small business.
  • My health has been up and down with my iron deficiancy and my back being a cronic source of pain. Both have been slowly clearing up as I try to balance though. I take too little iron in a week and I’m exhasuted from the moment I get out of bed, but I take too much and it screws with my heart and causes chest pains. And my back, well, I invested in one of those back massagers that you put on a chair, lean back and just fall asleep while it works the stress and knots away with rollers and heat. And I have to say, that has made a world of difference in how I’m sleeping and waking up all on its own. May not be cheap, but it’s doing a damn fine job.

It’s a lot, to be sure. And I’m trying to work through it some and carve out plotting time. Because that plotting time will slowly turn to November’s writing time. And I want to make sure that I have a little of it throughout each and every day.

Not to mention, my mom and I are considering just bucking off for a week near the end of November, beginning of December to just get away from the world after Thanksgiving. Just take some time for ourselves and relax a little so we can de-stress before the new year starts.

But at the end of the day, yeah. I have six kingdoms to work out for my WIP. I have all six families, as well as how they rule their kingdom, I still haven’t settled on if it’s purely human or if there are other races, magic, ect. There’s still a LOT of planning I need to think about, work out, and get back into everything. Get that creative juice flowing. But I have faith in myself. I’ve come this far, and dedicated my time to it. And I am nothing if not stubborn enough to push through, if only because I said I would and could!

On the plus side, I’ve dedicated an entire notebook to planning out this world, from people to rules to kingdoms. And I have no doubt in my mind that it will be full, if not spilling into a second notebook come completion.

How is your NaNo prep going? Are you still in serious planning mode? Are you outlined and set and ready to go for everything come Nov. 1st already?

Life – Forever Tired & NaNo Prep

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jax with yarn

Hello wide world of readers, I hope that your day, your week, is going well so far. Though, it is only Monday.

I wish I had exciting news about why I’ve been so missing, but in reality it’s fairly boring. With everything going on, coupled with a re-emerging issue with low iron, I’ve pretty much had no energy to do much of anything but sleep after I get home from work. Which, means that there’s also very little time for writing, editing, and plotting out new books. I keep hoping things will change, who knows, as I try to take iron to supplement the problem, maybe I’ll find it a little easier to try and get more work done. I can, as ever, hope.

And I’m sure you’re asking, well what about weekends? That would be a good question. Weekends have been fairly busy doing stuff for a non-for-profit organization that I’m part of. This last weekend, as we transitioned into October was the first free weekend I’ve had in a long while, and I spent Saturday DnD’ing with a group of friends to blow off some steam and have fun – we ended the night watching Deadpool, and Sunday ended up being a mass cleaning day. The always sleeping or out of the house hasn’t just affected my writing but also the cleanliness of my house, so I’m now trying to fix that some and create a better writing environment for myself.

Which does kind of bring me to my, hopefully, exciting news, which is that I’m going to dedicate my November to writing and participate in a new year of NaNoWriMo!

I’m thinking of doing a set of shorts, possible. Though I have a friend that’s been wanting to co-author a book with me, so if we can get that planned out and it works we may try to write that together for NaNo instead. I really need to dig into the edits for my two previous novels, but that will hopefully come in December, when I’ve gotten back into the writing habit and working habit, and with more iron in my system hopefully giving me more energy over all.

Wish me luck!

Are you participating in NaNo? Leave a note and let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Sideswiped by Kim Harrison

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sideswiped

Author: Kim Harrison
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating:  3 Stars

Sideswiped is the pre-novella for Kim Harrison’s new series, and while the series stars Peri Reed, this pre-novella focuses on Silas with only a small glimpse of the soon to be main character. The idea behind releasing a short before the first novel, I am sure, was to let the readers get a taste of this new world she’s created. It’s a vastly different world from her Hollows series, and takes a little getting used to over all.

The main characters in the novella fall into two main categories at their University that is the setting, Drafters – who can ‘go back’ in time to fix something anywhere from ten seconds to a minute – and Anchors – who help the Drafters remember what they changed and for why. Without an Anchor, the Drafter doesn’t remember any of the time they changed – first version or the second.

Over all, the premise is interesting. I’m intrigued by the ability, and I’m intrigued by this new world Kim is trying to share with us. But I’m really unsure about some aspects of the ability. I don’t understand why the Drafter remembers nothing in the time that they’ve changed – it doesn’t make sense that they’d just have this serious hole in time when they’re the one changing time. And I’m not entirely sold that this is an awesome ability when most can’t shift more than a few measly seconds.

The story itself, Silas’s whole reason for being at the University and studying, is because he’s trying to prove that Drafters don’t actually go BACK in time to change things, but side step into a parallel universe and draw that start back with them (ultimately creating a parallel universe for those moments in time to subsequently draft them into the current time, so they can fix something).

We do meet Peri in this novella, as a secondary character, though it doesn’t give me the greatest impression of a character that I’m ultimately supposed to want to continue reading about. She’s from money, all of the characters you meet are because the label dropping for who they’re wearing is large in this book, and because of who her guardian is, she gets away with basically anything she wants to because he can get her out of it. Over all, I feel like she’s a spoiled brat that can’t do wrong. I’m not sure that’s the intention, but that’s what I took away from her personally.

Did the novella make me want to read The Drafter?

Yes. Which I guess, in the end means that it did its job.

I’m interested enough, and hoping more of the abilities actually get explained, that I’m willing to give The Drafter a shot. I’m hoping that things get flushed out a little better in the full novel, and I’m hoping that I come to get to know Peri and like her as a character I’ll want to follow. But right now, all I know is I’d read another novel/novella about Silas, because his backstory and emotions connected me enough that I really like his character.

Have you read Sideswiped? Leave your thoughts on the novella in the comments!

The Busy Girl and the Non-Existent Updates.

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Bellville clock Back in January I set up some goals for myself. Personal things I wanted to accomplish with this blog. And looking back on everything now, I’m left standing here wondering exactly where the last three months went.

Time. It’s something that everyone wants, and we just never seem to have enough of. I’ve been told I’m bad at budgeting my time, a fact that I make no mistake in denying. Working a 9-5 job Monday through Friday means that I have very little time left for myself personally, and my downtime, what helps me to destress a lot recently has been video games – specifically Stardew Valley and Sims 4. So when I could be writing, I’m playing video games for a little bit before bed. When I could be writing, I’m playing video games before mom’s up and moving and we’re starting our day on the weekends. A end up playing a lot when I’m not entirely in the writing mood, or too tired to really do anything else. But, I do also agree, I need to get back into better writing habits. Not just for my WIPs but for these blog posts as well.

I always have the best of intentions, and I don’t always follow through on them. I’m a serial procrastinator to boot.

So all I can do is try. Try to do better writing. Try to do better updating. Try to not let my 9-5 job eat so much of my time and energy that I don’t have any when I get home. I’m kind of a WIP myself, trying to do better and not fall into the same, old, bad habits.

I’ve been reading a little more, so I’m hoping to get a few reviews up soon. And hopefully more and more as I read more, and write more. Here’s hopin’ right?