Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Forsaken by Keary Taylor

As you followers of my blog know, my friend Keary Taylor has self-published her awesome writing through Amazon's CreateSpace.  Book One of her series, Fall of Angels, titled Branded, has been out for some time now.  I keep telling you all to buy it and read it... raise your hand if you have!  I personally find it to be an amazing read, full of a new and terrifying take on angels and how real our dreams can truly be.

Well, happy day: Book Two of the series, Forsaken, is now out!  She originally planned for it to be for sale on 01-01-11, but when the product was finished and ready, she just couldn't wait.  Which I am happy for... because I want it!  I haven't had a chance to read the finished copy yet, and am biting at the bit to tear into it.

Here is the synopsis, because I know you want it:
It's been four months since Alex gave everything to save Jessica. Life should be perfect; she has Alex, she's been freed of the nightmares, and most of all- she's alive. But some things have changed, some things haven't. That's the problem. Alex still hasn't asked "the question". Jessica can't see the reason why and it's tearing her apart. He's keeping something from her.

Alex isn't the only one who has changed though. Something is different about Jessica but she doesn't understand what's happened. She just knows something's wrong, that she feels different than she used to, on a skin deep level. And it may keep her and Alex apart. Forever.

But while Alex and Jessica struggle to stay together, Cole is not about to be forgotten. There are a few things he didn't tell Jessica, about his past and her future. There are reasons why he came after her, reasons that are tied to his history that is darker than she could have ever realized. 

Everyone, seriously, go read this!  And that means you have to read Branded too... then eventually Book Three as well... Just do it!  And Keary: I am SO proud of you!  And excited for you.  And... and... GO KEARY!  (ok, yeah, I'm a stalker-friend, but she loves it... I hope!)

You can buy Forsaken at  
Click HERE

If you do not own Branded yet, it is also on Amazon, 
in both paperback and kindle.  
Click HERE 

You can also order a signed copy directly from Keary.  
For more information on that, contact Keary HERE

Monday, December 27, 2010

Weekly Update

Weekly Update.  That's just a horrible name for my updates, being as I really have not been doing them weekly.  But I will keep it.  Maybe it will encourage me to actually do a weekly update... soon.

I started in on editing PN.  Well, kind of.  I have read through chapter one and added/deleted things.  All in all, I managed to add about 300 words to it!  Then I dove into chapter two, noted the places to fix/change... and the baby started to cry, so I stepped away and haven't found myself stepping back yet.

I know, I know.  I need to just buckle down and do it.  And believe me, I want to!  What with the holidays though, and me getting this delightful cold that just won't leave, and my super non-confidence kicking in full swing... Someone light this dang fire under my butt, please!

We are hoping to head up to visit my family this weekend.  I have asked hubby to fix Word on my netbook so I can work on editing on the drive.  (Netbook came with a trial version of Word 2007, and once the trial period ended and I still hadn't bought a product key, it froze up the whole program.  LAME.)  It would be nice to have that car-time to sit and read it, so I am really crossing my fingers that my totally awesome hubby can wiggle his computer magic. 

My youngest sister-in-law has really been wanting me to change who I had "cast" as Millie.  I guess Emily Browning is a bit over used.  I don't fully like her either (a tiny bit too baby faced) but she was the best I could find at the time to portray the lady I pictured in my head.  So I give you all a challenge:  Find me my Millie.  Preferable short chin length or so hair (though hair doesn't matter quite so much...).  Pretty face.  Slim.  Looks around 18 years old.  I want to see who you all can find, being as my knowledge of the celebrity world is mighty slim.

On another note:  I have been plunking out a short story.  I recently read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and Dead Tossed Waves (reviews to come... eventually) and it really got me thinking about what happens to the person after they turn.  I got a fun idea formed, but know it wouldn't work for an entire novel, so short story it is!  I started to write it last night, and am having fun with this total change from most anything I usually write.  Mental breaks are good.  And fun.  Plus, its zombie... come on!

Well, that about sums up my adventures at the moment.  I hope everyone had a great Christmas season.  My kiddos totally loved it, and my hubby spoiled me with giftcards to Powells and Kohls... I am set!  I was the awesome wife and got him World of Warcraft Cataclysm.  Yes, I rock.  Thank you, Thank you.

Oh!  One more thing!  I know a few of you have been spreading word to other friends and online places about me and my blog and noveling adventures.  THANK YOU.  It has been awesome to see a few more hits to my blog than usual, and meeting people I don't even know who think I have an idea worth reading.  Please, keep it up.  You all rock.  More than me.  Like... literally.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reverb 10 - Week 3

(Pretty late on this post, I know.  Blame it on the holidays!)

December 15 - 5 Minutes
   I am losing my memory.  But do not forget: You were pregnant.  You had your second little boy, in a record speedy delivery.  He is amazing... a little cuddle bug who flirts and loves like nothing else.  Your first little man started talking like nothing else.  Terrible twos suck, potty training is a non stop battle, but he learned to say "I love you" and it makes you float every time he does.  Your hubby did great at his job.  He is happy.  It is so great to see him happy.  Two nieces were born.  Adorable.  you won NaNoWriMo!  Guess what... You CAN write.  You even finished the novel.  And even though you keep chickening out on diving in to edit the dang thing, you did it.  You chopped your hair off too, donated it like you have always wanted to, and then dyed it red.  You red head you.  Life has been up and down.  Bills have been tough.  Friendships tougher.  But you... you are happy.

December 16 - Friendship
   Everyone I meet changes me.  The question though is if one friend helped to change a perspective this year.  Yes.  Of course.  Oh, pick one?  Well, I will leave names out, for privacy sake.  But this one friend had his life flip turned in every direction but the one he wanted.  Regardless, he has proved that life goes on.  He is making it work, and has proved that no matter what crap happens to him, he is still there and a friend to us.  Makes you wonder how often you ignore a friend who needs you just because you want to dwell on some small piece of unhappiness happening in your life.  Isn't that a part of being a friend?  Being there, no matter what, even if it means to stop focusing on your own woes for just a moment?  I learned that...

December 17 - Lesson Learned
   Again with the broken record!  But really... this is something I truly did learn:  I CAN write.  Well, I CAN finish a first draft of a novel.  Now on to the discovering what I truly wrote... but still.  I always doubted whether I can do it.  Now I know I can.  It really is hard to explain the feeling... but its a feeling I am happy I learned and cherish.

December 18 - Try
   I want to try to bake bread.  So simple, I know.  You just have to understand:  I am a yeast killer.  I do everything I am supposed to do, but the dang dough never rises!  Then in comes hubby and he makes killer dough that has to be punched down over and over.  How he does it, I never know.  I have even had him prepare the yeast for me... yet as soon as I touch it, it dies in agony.  I just don't get it.  So, I figure it is about time I solve this murderous issue and make me some dough!

December 19 - Healing
  What healed me this year?  This is tough.  What healed me... My kids.  They exhaust me.  Try me.  Make me mad and sad and frustrated.  But there is something under all that that I don't even know I can explain.  They love me.  Regardless of everything, all the time outs and no's and tantrums... They love me.  Its that unconditional love.  The belief that one mommy kiss fixes all boo boos.  The need to be held and the smile when they see my face.  No matter how bad the day was, I always feel my heart skip a beat in those moments.  I am needed... and they make me realize it daily (even though some days I wish I weren't nearly as needed as they insist...) 
   In 2011, I would like the healing of more patience... for all those moments I don't feel the love ;)

December 20 - Beyond Avoidance
   Oh, the list I could make of things I have avoided.  But do I dare?  I think I do not.  One thing I have avoided that I will gladly share is the decluttering.  I was so set on decluttering our apartment.  Gutting the closets, organizing, making it purty.  I slowly started, then pretty much came to a dead stop and called the slight messes still tucked behind closet doors good.  I am good at coming up with all the excuses I can for why I stopped... but in all truth, I just stopped.  Plain and simple?  Should I dare to set a goal to finish that project next year?  Uh...

December 21 - Future Self
  From me in 5 years:  Hey, Jenni, how you doing?  Remember that novel you wrote?  You will finish it.  Remember your kiddos that drove you nuts?  They grow bigger, so love them while they are little.  The year of 2011 will be tough, like every year.  Just remember to smile, to stick to your guns, and to remember your dreams.  You will do great.  Trust me, I know
   To me 10 years ago:  You are 14.  You think its love.  And it most likely is.  But just you wait until you experience the full love you will find in just four years.  All the pain and worry and confusion you feel now will seem like nothing, like a dream you had and barely can remember.  Your parents love you.  You will realize that, even though I know you are rolling your eyes now.  And yes, homework should be done... as much as you may say that it sucks.  Someday you won't have any homework, any sports practice or play rehearsals, and you will miss it.  So cherish the moments now.  They barely last.  Just you wait... your life ahead is an amazing one.  Oh, and don't cut your hair that short again.  It just doesn't suit you. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Review: The Well

The Well
By A.J. Whitten

Synopsis:  (From Powells)
If Hamlet thought he had issues, he should have talked to Cooper Warner.
His mothers normally sunny demeanor has turned into something—homicidal.
And whats worse, she has help in her hunt for Cooper: A ravenous monster living at the bottom of the old well in the woods behind their house. Shes determined to deliver her 14-year-old son straight into the creatures eager clutches. Cooper turns to his girlfriend, Megan, for help, but then, to his horror, the creature takes her prisoner.
Now, its up to Cooper to fend off his murderous mother, finish his Hamlet paper, and enter the putrid lair at the bottom of the well to rescue Megan. And when he confronts the creature, Cooper must make the toughest decision of his life: kill, or be killed.
Inspired by Hamlet, THE WELL puts a terrifying twist on the Shakespearean classic. 
Why I picked up this book:  I blame it on the synopsis.  In all honesty, I don't really like the cover.  But how could I resist a synopsis about a crazy mom, a monster in a well, and Hamlet?

My thoughts:  
I have to start with a bit of a confession here:  I am not a Shakespeare fan.  I know... I have lived my whole life acting on the stage and devouring books as fast as I can snatch them.  It almost seems an unwritten rule then that I must love and adore Shakespeare.  But... as much as his writing is amazing and his story lines have helped propel most likely thousands of other books, plays and movies plots... I just have never gotten into his works.  The only reason I know anything of Hamlet was because I half watched a movie in my english class in high school years ago...

That being said... I really did enjoy this book.  Certain scenes truly did touch back onto Hamlet, while others were obviously the author running off on her own.  Maybe saying I was "happily" pulled into the story isn't the right word choice given the horror-genre of the book, but I did devour it.  

There were moments when I was hoping for more.  As in more of an outcome, more of an explanation... more.  But even without those few moments expanded like I would have liked, I felt "complete" by the end.  Oh, and the end... yes, well, you need to read it I guess.  I connected easily to Cooper, while at times almost finding myself rooting for the monster as well. (Call it a weakness, I like a "good" bad guy who has a sympathetic back story.)

My only negative is the metaphors and similes used.  I would be chugging along, totally into the book, then a sentence would pop up like: "The forest crackled like a bowl of Rice Krispies."  And that's not the only one.   I do remember one about referring a group to a crowd waiting for a Miley Cyrus concert...  Every time I read those, I cringed inside and felt my attention to the story slip slightly.  They were funny, yes... but the story wasn't funny, making them feel very out of place and distracting.  All they did was... not fit.  Ok, my whining there is over.

Fun fact: A.J. Whitten is actually the pen name for romance author Shirley Jump and her daughter Amanda Jump.  I think its very awesome that they are writing together.

Even though I did not like the metaphors used, I loved the story.  It is something I am gladly keeping on my shelf and will most likely read again, sometime.  The Well is an awesome, modern twist on Hamlet, sure to grab both male and female readers looking for a quick horror fix.  I have already recommended it to friends to read, and yes, I recommend it to you too!  Watch out for the well...
My Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
(Rating this one was hard.  I was battling between 3 and 4 stars, but I decided to be nice and let it edge up to the 4.  A few more of those metaphors though and it would have been bumped down... FYI)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reverb 10 - Week 2

December 8 - Beautifully Different

   What makes me different... What do I do that makes others light up...  Why is this such a hard question?  I am different because I want to see you smile.  I want to do something that makes you feel that surge of warm happiness inside, because I know how rare that feeling is.  I will tell you the truth.  Whether is showing you how beautiful you are in a photo I take, to sitting there online as you open up and vent... I will do it.  Oh, I probably say the wrong thing at too many times.  But trust me, when I do I feel even crappier than you do.  Does this make me different, and beautiful?  I don't know.  But its what I have.

December 9 - Party
   I have no true social life.  So, selecting which party "rocked my socks off" was a very slim selection.  Of course any social gathering I have with my friends is always amazing.  I miss them all, alot.  But I guess the only actual party I went to this year, that comes to mind at least, was the NaNoWriMo KickOff Party.
   Come on, a room full of other Portland peers, all there for one reason: Their love of writing.  How much better can that get?  Yes, we supplied ourselves quite nicely with candy and soda.  Then we sat and talked about our novel ideas, our triumphs, and our expected fails.  It was more than awesome.  It was the gathering I have been craving.  The permission to be the geek that I am.  

December 10 - Wisdom
   The wisest decision I made this year.  It would most likely have to be the decision to ignore all my fears and rational thoughts, and accept the WriMo challenge.  I know I talk a ton about it.  And for good reason.  I should have chickened out of it.  Come on... write a novel in 30 days?  While having two kiddos, keeping house, plus who knows what else?  Anyway, I never had finished any novel.  I knew I wouldn't finish this.  How could I?
   I ignored my thoughts though, and let the challenge happen.  What happened?  You should know.  I finished my first rough draft ever.  And I feel amazing, even to this day.  I am one huge step closer to accomplishing a dream I have had for my entire life, and that there makes it a VERY wise decision.

December 11 - 11 Things
   11 things in my life that I don't need in 2011.  Oh my...
   1.  My laziness.  How many bills have been late, how many dishes have stacked high, how many photos do I still have to edit... all because I sit and think "Oh, I am just... going to do that later."  I need to kick myself in the butt much more... and get off my butt in a sense and do the things I want and have to do.  Life is waiting people!
   2.  My weakness.  I feel physically week.  And its not cool.  I used to be in track, and good at it.  I liked my body (well, enough... who really loves their body?)  I even had some muscle in my arms that was a feminine flex worthy.  Now... I feel like flab.  So, I need to get back on my exercising bus.
   3.  Stacks of laundry.  You know the drill.  Let the basket fill up until its spilling out.  Wash everything.  Let the pile of clean clothes sit for weeks, until most are either dirty again or so wrinkly that they need to be washed again anyway.  And... repeat.  I am an expert at this.  Its an expertise I wish I did not have.  So, laundry, watch it.  I am coming for you.
   4.  Spending.  I am not a horrible spender.  But I do know I spend a few extra bucks here and there when I really do not need to.  Yes, we need our goodies.  But I need to make it a prize, not an impulse.
   5.  On that note... Debt.  We are in it, who isn't?  Well, I don't want to be anymore.  Credit cards were a BAD idea, and that idea is now being smacked upside the head and sent bye-bye.  come tax returns, chunks will be paid, cards will be snipped, and we will make our way out of the stress of the in debt life.
   6.  No Me-Time.  I am a stay at home mommy of two amazing little boys, and my husband works long hours at work.  I love my "job," but the issue with being a SAHM is... you never get time off.  Day, night, its all the same.  And I am going nuts.  I feel lost... Writing is one of my ways out.  But I need to actually GET out. 
   7.  Diet.  I do not diet.  I am very much so on the see food diet, and I love it.  My issue?  I don't eat the healthiest.  I skip meals... I eat lots of candy... Mt Dew... I love you Mt Dew.  This is most likely a leading reason why I always feel so weak, and lazy... So, "healthier" foods, whatever you end up being, time to be munched.
   8.  Exhaustion.  I need to get to bed earlier.  Enough said.
   9.  Finger biting.  This is my bad habit.  I don't bite my nails... but more so the skin around them.  It hurts, all the time.  And doesn't look pretty either.  It has been a bad habit of mine since late elementary school, and I hate it.  But I never seem able to stop.  I need to.  I have no idea how I will go about doing that, but now that I have stated it, I am bound.
   10.  Loneliness.  Granted, some loneliness you cannot avoid.  It is part of life.  But I could try to get out more.  Get to church more.  Arrange play dates more.  Go on hubby dates.  Lots of things.  I need to chase away the loneliness.
   11.  My excuses to not write.  Pretty much fixing everything I just listed will help with this.  I have been working hard on writing more, and it feels amazing.  This next year... I need to keep that up.  I am me when I write, and what is better than that?

December 12 - Body Integration
   Well, naturally, I felt pretty integrated with my body this year when I gave birth to my little boy.  That is probably one of the most in tune events you can experience.  Since then though... I have been at sorts.  Being chunky and preggo the first half of the year then spending the rest trying to get that to go away does a number on your integration.

December 13 - Action
   "Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?"  My next step is so obvious I feel like a broken record for repeating it as often as I do.  Ready?  EDIT!

December 14 - Appreciate
   I have truly come to appreciate this little family of mine.  Though they drive me crazy, wear me out, and try me every second of the day... where was I going with that?  No, really... I sit and watch my kiddos play and grow.  I kiss my hubby, listen to him talk and laugh.  And I realize how truly lucky I am to have this amazing family I have helped to create.  Baby number two wasn't planned, not on our end.  But with out him, our family was never complete.  I love all my boys, so much, and am so thankful every day that I got to draw this straw.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reverb 10 - Week 1

A writing friend of mine, Kim, posted this on her blog.  I totally love the idea behind it, so I am stealing it from her and doing it too.  It will be a great way to get my brain moving again, in prep for the mad editing I have laying in wait ahead of me.

According to their website: "Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what's next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10, we'll do both."

Simply, they give you a prompt a day, and you answer it.  In interest of the fact that I am still not a decent blogger, I am going to just do a weekly post of that week's prompts, instead of daily.  So, let's dive in shall we!

December 1 - One Word
   My one word for 2010 would have to be "showcase."  This wasn't the easiest year for me.  Aside from some personal issues that need not be delved into, we had huge bill problems, birthed a baby, depression came back full swing, both kids got dislocated arms, oh the list can go on.  Its no where near as bad as other people's lists, but still, it is my list.  The year wasn't all bad though.  We got our newest family member, who is one of the cutest babies ever.  I finished my first draft of my first novel.  Good things have happened.  And I hope more do next year.  Hence my word for the coming year to be "Hopeful."

December 2 - Writing
   "Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?" (Author: Leo Babauta)
   Things that don't contribute to my writing... let's see... First thing that comes to my mind are my kiddos.  I can't eliminate them, but I'm sure I can find a better balance that what I have right now.  Other than that: Facebook, StumbleUpon, the internet in general.  Reading books.  Wanting to sleep or just zone out mindlessly into television.  Yeah... I have a lot prioritizing to work on come 2011!

December 3 - Moment
   Its hard to pick a moment in which I felt most alive.  Do I pick the birth of my second son?  Writing the last sentence in my first novel?  They are so close to being a tie...So here, I will pick the one that takes up a little less time :)
   I sat at my computer, typing like mad, knowing how close I was to finally finishing.  Some how I had succeeded in getting both kiddos to take naps, and the apartment was silent aside from my music lightly playing and the mad tap-tap of the keyboard. 
   I didn't know exactly when it would end.  I had not fully planned it.  Until that final sentence was written and I stopped and stared.  That was it.  I couldn't go on.  This was the end.  My heart fluttered and jumped, a strange mix of pure joy and odd anxiety.  Had I said enough?  Not enough?  Did I really just finish the first draft?  I did it!
   I sat back and couldn't stop staring, a smile spreading on my face.  I could have ran for miles that day.  I felt like shouting in joy, bursting into tears, laughing like a maniac.  I was alive.

December 4 - Wonder
   Cultivating a sense of wonder... I do not need to cultivate.  I have two imaginative little boys that keep me laughing at the wonders of life every second of the day.  So I guess you could say I cultivated it when I conceived each of them... which wasn't this year... so it doesn't count.  Along with that, I did remake my dining room into my writing den.  I really do think it helped, a lot, with my writing adventures.  It is wonder...full...

December 5 - Let Go
   This is hard.  This is something I am still working on, and have not yet fully succeeded.  But what I let go of was: The battle for love.  I always feel like I need to try hard, to always get everyone to love me and want me around.  But the thing is, how often does that backfire?  How often am I just wearing myself out on a useless case?  This is something I have done my entire life, and just this year I realized that I needed to change it.  If they are going to love me, they will love me.  I shouldn't need to try so hard, every second of the day.  I am me.  Love me or leave me.

December 6 - Make
  This year I made a lot of things.  A baby for one. :)  And I have gotten back into baking and cooking.  Discovering a tuna casserole my husband will actually eat.  Banana chocolate chip cookies.  My first ever apple pie.  Oh yes, and I "made" a novel.  The first draft anyhow.  Materials: my brain and insanity.  What do I want to make next year?  Hm... the final draft?  Maybe?  Oh, and my first successful loaf of bread.  Yeast, I will not kill you this time, I swear!

December 7 - Community
   This has been something hard for me, living down here.  Up on the island I lived on my entire life, the sense of community was so strong you could eat it.  Here... not so much.  I have felt almost lost.  Then came November and I met my online, occasionally in person, community of writers.  They made me like this area, finally.  WriMos, I love you.  This next year I hope to stay in contact with them more, attend the random writing groups that are hopefully forming... in essence: Be a writer.

(even though today is the 9th, I want to only do one week's prompts at a time.  So... on the 14th there shall be more!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weekly Update

Being as it has been about a week since my last post, I suppose I better bust out some sort of an update for you all. 

My hubby has been gone the last four days, helping to train some new workers in another town.  So, I have been playing the role of single mommy.  Oh man, am I tired!  I love my little boys to pieces, but really... the word "calm" means nothing to them.  We need a back yard... a HUGE back yard.

Needless to say, I haven't got much of anything done.  Even the house work is falling behind (though I did pull out the oven and wash behind it.  Note to self: do that chore a tad bit more often.)  Even as I type this right now, my oldest is spinning the chair I am sitting in and repeating "mommy, go byebye?" over and over.  I can't wait for Daddy to come home.

I chanced a look at my first draft the other day.  Scrolled through it and read random parts.  Can I be honest?  I am as scared as heck to dive in to this next phase.  I think I am gladly letting the excuses keep me away from it... In my head, I love the story.  But I am so freaked that when I actually read what I wrote, it will be horrible and only deserve the daunting, huge "delete" button. 

I feel at a loss.  Since I have never gotten to this point in my life, I don't fully know where to go from here.  Is there a right way?  Am I editing it to be better... or worse?  Do you have any idea how tempting it is to tuck it away into some hidden file and deny that it ever existed?

But I can't do that.  I love Prison Nation.  I really do.
And... sigh.

Hopefully my next update will be an actual update. 
Time to chase the boys around, again.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I am a Novelist

Well, just a few minutes ago, I plunked out the final sentence of Prison Nation.

The first draft, as of this moment in time, is now done.
I have finished writing a book.

It is a surreal feeling.  I have been writing since I was three.  Literally.  And since I can remember, I have declared that I would someday be an author.  Yet every project I began, rarely even met its middle, much less its end.  I am sitting here now, scrolling up and down through my Word Document, and cannot believe that the 65,658 words saved in there are mine. 

I have lists of things to add in.  To edit and change.  Some to delete.  Who knows what the final word count will actually be.  But, I can proudly say, that Draft 1, the roughest and toughest, is now done.  In 31 days, I wrote my first novel.  And as crappy or horrible or down-right rotten some sections of it may be, I am proud of it.

Writing the final sentence, I felt this odd mix of heart-racing excitement and total nerves.  I cannot explain it.  But now, I am smiling.  And I just can't stop.

What is next you ask?  Well, take a few days off (maybe) then dive back in.  I have things to add, people to fix, verbs to change.  Editing, the dreaded editing.  *grumble, mixed with giddy "wee!"*

We will see where this goes from here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

WriMo Certificate

Call me a geek.  Or a dork.  I don't care.
I am darn-tootin' proud of winning this, and when you are proud of something, you show it off!  So, after printing up my NaNoWriMo Winner Certificate on Thanksgiving, I asked my sister-in-law Samantha to snap some pics of me showing it off.

Oh yes.  You know you are jealous.

Something I have been noticing though is that people don't seem to understand what I won.  Some think it was a competition and I am the 1st place winner.  Some ask if there was a cash prize or some other awesome goodie.  To those of you still confused, here is what I "won":

-A cool certificate that is now hanging above my desk
- Bragging rights to the fact that I wrote 50k words in 30 days (even more so since I did it in 14!)
-The knowledge that I can, in fact, write that much.

Don't say its lame.  It was a personal competition with myself, and once I hit that 50k mark, I won.  If you know me at all, you know that I have always loved writing, but have never finished any of my projects.  Now, thanks to this challenge, I am only a few chapters away from wrapping up the first draft of my first novel.  Winning NaNoWriMo isn't about cash or prizes or being numero uno.  Its about proving to yourself that you are amazing, that you can write, and that you can do this.

That's what I won.  And I am darn proud of it.

I am a 2010 WriMo.  Are you?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Review: Bar Code Tattoo

The Barcode Tattoo
by Suzanne Weyn

Synopsis: (From Powells)
The bar code tattoo. Everybody's getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity. But what if you say no? What if you don't want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. There's no option but to run . . . for her life.Indivuality vs. conformity.. Identity vs. access. Freedom vs. control.The bar code tattoo.

Why I picked up this book: The cover, the synopsis, and the many reviews saying it was worth reading

My thoughts:
I was intrigued by the synopsis, sold by the cover, and hopeful for the outcome.  What happened?  Well, to me... the book didn't.

I loved the idea that Weyn created, of the government being taken over by a corporation, which gradually made it a requirement for every citizen to wear a bar code on their arm.  It replaces money, cards, ID, everything.  Kayla, the main, is thrown for a loop though when her father commits suicide, her mother goes crazy, and she becomes friends with a rebel group at school, all because of the bar code.  All very reminiscent of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, only with a tattoo other than all-out plastic surgery.

Why didn't I like it then?

Though the plot was capturing, the writing wasn't.  It was very simple, almost adolescent in style, and I had to force myself through it.  I wanted badly to see where the story went, but with the writing the way it was, I was more tempted to pull out my red pen and do major editing instead.  There were many places where Weyn could have told more, left more mystery, pretty much done...more.  But she didn't.

Then I looked at the publisher and a little bit of it made sense.  Scholastic, you old devil.

While Weyn did a good job at portraying the story and wrapping up the lose ends, I never felt fully connected, pulled in, or satisfied.  I did not hate this book, but I highly doubt it is a book I will ever pick up to read again.

My rating:

2 out of 5 stars

Forecast: Word Clouds Ahead

Thanks to the OLL post, I have discovered a pretty awesome, time wasting site that I know I will go back to much too often.  Thank you OLL!

You plug in your writing, then it counts how much you use each word and makes a pretty cloud, just for your writing-procrastinating pleasure!  WAY too many options, and too cool to look at when you are done.  I plan to make the cloud again once my novel is done, but for fun I made some right now.  (How could I not?)

Also, it gives you a count of how many times you used each word.  Such as saying "Reed" 285 times.  Hey Reed, I think Millie likes you.  -wink wink-

Without common words...Hello Reed and Eyes!
Ok common words... I will let you show off too
 Site link:

And on a quick update:
I have begun the climax of the story.  Intensity!  I can't believe how close I am to finishing this first draft.  I have a growing list already of things I know I need to go back in and add, delete, edit... The list, it grows!

I know a few of you out there have asked to read this book 'o mine.  Well, I will be doing a basic edit first... then I will let a few read it, for feedback and more editing.  I can't just let everyone out there read it though.  Who knows, maybe lady luck will smile on me...

 All is going good though.  Today my hubby has to work pretty much all day (Thank you Black Friday...) so I am not sure what I will get written.  He pulled out the christmas box this morning, and my oldest kiddo begged to put up the tree, so today just may be a deco day.  Which I do need.  What makes you happier than little Santas and glittering lights?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Official NaNoWriMo 2010 Winner

I just plugged my writing into the validator, hit the submit button, and have no officially won NaNoWriMo 2010 with a word count of 60,127


As I loaded the winner certificate and sat back to look at it, my name plugged in with my novel title, I suddenly felt choked up and tears tried to sting my eyes.  At first I felt like a complete boob.  Then I realized:  I earned this.  I set a goal, a goal I have wanted for as long as I can remember, and I finished it.  Though the novel still needs a few more chapters, mad editing and lots of TLC, I won the challenge. 

And what a great day to submit it.  Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful for the art of writing.  For the support of my husband and family and crazy friends.  For this imagination that never sleeps.  I cannot wait to wrap this novel up and see where it goes.  Whether is remains forever in my hard drive, or manages to find its way onto cluttered bookshelves, I do not know.  But one thing I do know...

*Happy dance*

"One thing life teaches you is it is unpredictable.  If we wait for something to happen, and it never happens, we will just waste our lives waiting." - Jude, Prison Nation

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pep Talk

One great thing (among many) of NaNoWriMo is: Pep Talks.  
Every week we get a new pep talk, ranging from Chris Baty (founder) to well known authors.  They encourage us to keep going, give us advice, and remind us that insanity is what is truly best to live on.  (To see the Pep Talk archive, click here.)

The pep talk I got today I loved so much, I just need to post it here for all to read.  It was written by Lemony Snicket (You don't know who he is?  I just...don't know what to say to you!)  You can read the original pep post here, or just scroll down and devour!

Dear Cohort,

Struggling with your novel? Paralyzed by the fear that it's nowhere near good enough? Feeling caught in a trap of your own devising? You should probably give up.

For one thing, writing is a dying form. One reads of this every day. Every magazine and newspaper, every hardcover and paperback, every website and most walls near the freeway trumpet the news that nobody reads anymore, and everyone has read these statements and felt their powerful effects. The authors of all those articles and editorials, all those manifestos and essays, all those exclamations and eulogies - what would they say if they knew you were writing something? They would urge you, in bold-faced print, to stop.

Clearly, the future is moving us proudly and zippily away from the written word, so writing a novel is actually interfering with the natural progress of modern society. It is old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy, a relic of a time when people took artistic expression seriously and found solace in a good story told well. We are in the process of disentangling ourselves from that kind of peace of mind, so it is rude for you to hinder the world by insisting on adhering to the beloved paradigms of the past. It is like sitting in a gondola, listening to the water carry you across the water, while everyone else is zooming over you in jetpacks, belching smoke into the sky. Stop it, is what the jet-packers would say to you. Stop it this instant, you in that beautiful craft of intricately-carved wood that is giving you such a pleasant journey.

Besides, there are already plenty of novels. There is no need for a new one. One could devote one's entire life to reading the work of Henry James, for instance, and never touch another novel by any other author, and never be hungry for anything else, the way one could live on nothing but multivitamin tablets and pureed root vegetables and never find oneself craving wild mushroom soup or linguini with clam sauce or a plain roasted chicken with lemon-zested dandelion greens or strong black coffee or a perfectly ripe peach or chips and salsa or caramel ice cream on top of poppyseed cake or smoked salmon with capers or aged goat cheese or a gin gimlet or some other startling item sprung from the imagination of some unknown cook. In fact, think of the world of literature as an enormous meal, and your novel as some small piddling ingredient - the drawn butter, for example, served next to a large, boiled lobster. Who wants that? If it were brought to the table, surely most people would ask that it be removed post-haste.

Even if you insisted on finishing your novel, what for? Novels sit unpublished, or published but unsold, or sold but unread, or read but unreread, lonely on shelves and in drawers and under the legs of wobbly tables. They are like seashells on the beach. Not enough people marvel over them. They pick them up and put them down. Even your friends and associates will never appreciate your novel the way you want them to. In fact, there are likely just a handful of readers out in the world who are perfect for your book, who will take it to heart and feel its mighty ripples throughout their lives, and you will likely never meet them, at least under the proper circumstances. So who cares? Think of that secret favorite book of yours - not the one you tell people you like best, but that book so good that you refuse to share it with people because they'd never understand it. Perhaps it's not even a whole book, just a tiny portion that you'll never forget as long as you live. Nobody knows you feel this way about that tiny portion of literature, so what does it matter? The author of that small bright thing, that treasured whisper deep in your heart, never should have bothered.

Of course, it may well be that you are writing not for some perfect reader someplace, but for yourself, and that is the biggest folly of them all, because it will not work. You will not be happy all of the time. Unlike most things that most people make, your novel will not be perfect. It may well be considerably less than one-fourth perfect, and this will frustrate you and sadden you. This is why you should stop. Most people are not writing novels which is why there is so little frustration and sadness in the world, particularly as we zoom on past the novel in our smoky jet packs soon to be equipped with pureed food. The next time you find yourself in a group of people, stop and think to yourself, probably no one here is writing a novel. This is why everyone is so content, here at this bus stop or in line at the supermarket or standing around this baggage carousel or sitting around in this doctor's waiting room or in seventh grade or in Johannesburg. Give up your n ovel, and join the crowd. Think of all the things you could do with your time instead of participating in a noble and storied art form. There are things in your cupboards that likely need to be moved around.

In short, quit. Writing a novel is a tiny candle in a dark, swirling world. It brings light and warmth and hope to the lucky few who, against insufferable odds and despite a juggernaut of irritations, find themselves in the right place to hold it. Blow it out, so our eyes will not be drawn to its power. Extinguish it so we can get some sleep. I plan to quit writing novels myself, sometime in the next hundred years.

--Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is the author of  A Series of Unfortunate Events. You can learn more about his work here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Plotting Plotting

Its funny, because I always saw myself more as a pantser.  But here I am, plotting in my head what should happen, detail by detail.  I am not making charts or outlines or any of that sort.  No way.  All that does is make it feel like school, which means homework, and I rarely ever did my homework.  Rarely. 

(Strange side fact:  I keep having this reoccurring dream, where I am in school.  Good old high school.  And there is some class that I keep skipping, so much to the point that I forgot I was even enrolled in it.  Until I find out I am failing it and need to pass to graduate.  But I don't even know where the class IS, much less WHAT it is.  I have no idea why I keep dreaming this.  I graduated five and a half years ago.  Huh...)

Thank you's to those who took the time to give me their feedback on my last post.  You have no idea how much it did help.  It was nice to hear my thoughts reinforced by all of you, some of you even who I barely or don't even know!  You rock.  Yup, pretty much.

So I have decided to go with that little writer hiding in the back of my head screaming "Don't do it!"  Which does bum me out.  I originally totally had these characters planned in.  It all made sense.  And I love them, I really really do.  This story has been writing itself.  While I do love the direction it chose to take, sadly it passed by these characters on the writing road and left them in its WriMo dust.  I do believe though that the ending will be much stronger without suddenly throwing them all in too, and the one part I have mentioned them can easily be edited out. 

Oh, the things we writers cry about.

(Awesome.  I am so trained.  I just hit ctrl+s without even thinking of it.  Back up crazy anyone?)

Tonight, I will write.  It was nice to take the two day break to make decisions, eat too much chocolate, and watch Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince with my hubby.  (Oh man...get to see the newest one tomorrow.  Really hoping it doesn't suck!)

Break is over though. 
Time to finish this bad boy, then dive into the dreaded editing stage. 
Can you hear my huge huge gulp at that thought?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Plotline Conundrum

I haven't written a word today.
On purpose.

I decided I needed a short brain break.  I think I literally see smoke pouring out my ears.  My brain keeps crying like a sad puppy, just wanting a yummy bone and a nap.  So, I threw it the bone today, and let it rest.

From the actual writing that is.
It doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about it in major OCD-mode.

I have come across a plot issue I am trying to decide on.  And would love some input.  If you want to give me some...of any read on.

Ok.  So I am about 53,000 words in, give/take.  That's a good chunk.  (Typically publishers prefer a first-time author to have about 70k... or so)  I have already spent much time on different spots of the story (in prison, release, her work after release, etc), and am now nearing the climax.  The issue is, part of my pre-planned plot was that the main characters (Millie/Reed/Eddie...shall we call them MRE for this post?) were going to come across another group who was traveling towards the same destination, and join up with them.  I even have already planned the group, their back stories, all of that.  I love the characters.

But is it too much?

I am almost feeling like adding in this new group, on top of MRE, will be over kill for this story line.  I do not want it to drag on.  I want it to be amazing.  Don't all writers? (Haha)  So what do I do?  Do I still write them in, and hope that it isn't too much?  Or follow this gut feeling that now isn't the time for this group?  (Cool thought...let's say people like this novel, and I do a sequel, which I already have ideas for...I could totally bring them in then. Hm...)

What do you like when you read?  Do you like when new characters are thrown in at the end, or do you just want to keep focus on the few you have gotten to know all these pages? 


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 14 of NaNoWriMo and...


I will happily hit the sack in just a few short minutes with 50,002 words completed! I WON NANOWRIMO!

Now then, the novel isn't done.  I feel like it still needs another 20k.  Maybe.  We will see where it goes.  I am now at a point that it is picking back up and I am getting very into it again.  I am stopping tonight at a spot that I need to be refreshed for.  It will be an intense scene, with truths being revealed and emotions running.  When I first thought it up, I even started to tear up, just at the thought of it.  Oh my...

I won't get the winner certificate till the verfying days at the end of the month.  Sadly.
It is almost midnight.  I am SO exhausted.

But know what?  I feel AMAZING.  I wasn't sure if I could do this.  But now I know: I CAN.

Alright, I will write a better post when I am rested and not just giddy with this amazing amazing high.

My awesome status Chart.  Purple line is the 1667 a day goal.  Blue bars are ME.

Snippet #3

In celebration of almost reaching my 50k challenge is another snippet, freshly written just a few minutes ago.

     Reed looked over at me.  “When you said you didn’t want to know the truth about your parents, I – I hated you, for that moment.  I hated how you had your parents, had a chance to know the truth, and refused to take it.  While I am here, wanting to know and…” His voiced trailed off.  He stared at the apple again, then said roughly.  “I am so sick of this.”
    I felt my body sway in the breeze and clutched the branch beneath me.  “Sick of this?”  I asked.  I felt myself panic at the thought of what his answer would be.
    Reed waved his hand around in the air, motioning to everything around him  “This.  The constant fear of breaking the law.  The need to always work, never knowing what you are working for.  Never being in control.”  He looked at me, his eyes heavy again.  “Fearing that the goodbye you refused to say could have been your last goodbye.”
    I could only watch him, the memory of last night flowing in my mind. 
    Reed tossed me the apple.  I shot a hand out and caught it before it could fly past me.  It was a deep red, shining in the bright day light.  Reed plucked another apple from the tree and took a huge bite.  Juice sprayed from the apple, the meat bright white as he took another bite into the crunchy surface.
    “Reed…” I said, alarmed.  I felt my eyes scanning the ground beneath me, afraid someone passing would see what he was doing.
    “Millie, I am sick of not knowing who owns this delicious apple that I am never allowed to eat.  There has to be more than this Nation.  There has to be.”
    “Like what?”  I asked.
    “I don’t know.”  I could hear him chewing the apple, his head leaned back against the trunk of the tree.  I looked at the apple in my hand.  Then looked back over at Reed.
    “What are you going to do?” I asked, my voice barely audible.
    Reed sighed and looked over at me.  “I don’t know Millie.  I don’t know if I even can do something.”  His eyes searched mine.  “I don’t want to risk losing the few things I have.  But there has to be something.”  He took another bite, watching me as he chewed.  “First thing I know I am going to do.  We are going to find out what really happened with your parents.”
    He looked at the remains of the apple in his hand, then let out a slow sigh.  Leaning his head back again, I watched as he disappeared into his thoughts, his mouth mindlessly chewing the last bite he had taken of the apple.
    I looked again at the apple in my hand, then raised it to my lips.  It was cool and smooth, smelling rich as it pressed against my nose.  Closing my eyes, I took a bite.  The apple was crisp, its juices spraying into my mouth and down my chin as I carefully chewed.  I didn’t feel myself cringe as I took another careful bite.  This apple was different than the ones I had always known. 
    Maybe it was because it was fresh picked off of the tree that I sat in.  It had never had the chance to soften and brown in its over filled basket.  Captivity and the end never loomed in front of it, stealing away its deep red and sweet juices.  All it had ever known was the sun and the breeze and the song of the birds. 
    I leaned heavy against the trunk, finishing my apple along side Reed.  We didn’t talk.  We didn’t need to.  We knew with out saying a word that something had just changed.  Something deeper than eating an illegal apple.  Something that was about to ignite a change that would landslide our entire lives.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

WriMo Update

Me all happy after an awesome all night writing session

Last night I had the first of two planned all-night writing sessions with Keary.  My friend Kimmel joined too.  It was pretty much awesome.  Even though Kimmel and I talked a bit more than we should have...ahem...all three of us were able to get out a good chunk of word count.  I am really looking forward to my meeting with Keary next week.  Having my small writing community is something that is really helping me.  I love you all!

Well, I wrote until about 3am, went to sleep, got up and went to take some photos of my hubby's cousins.  After that...I wrote some more.  Since midnight, I have written 4,361...bringing my total to...


No kidding! 4,947 more words and I complete NaNoWriMo!  How crazy awesome is that?  The book isn't quite near its end yet.  I sitll have at least 10-20k left I think...if not more...we will see!  Then I "get" to dive into the joys of editing.  This feels awesome.  I have never had this much written...and I am still going!  According to word counts, I am 5k away from having a "novel."  *makes OMG face*

Now, most of it I know needs mad rewriting and tweaking.  But over all...I am proud.  I am happy.  And man, I am tired. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Time for Giggles

We are nearing the end of week two of NaNoWriMo.  Feeling it?  Well, I sure am!  Even though I am ahead in my word count, I still find myself stressing about getting a daily total.  I guess its a good thing that I just feel wrong if I haven't written for the day.  Hopefully that brain washing sticks once WriMo ends!

Now, just for fun, here are some random comics I have found scattered on the interwebs.  I will post some now...and save some for closer to the end. 

Take a break, read a comic, laugh a bit...let your brain breath...
Then get back to writing!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 11...

You want to know how I am doing?  Hoping the words are still flowing and I am at about 80k now?

Sad to say...not happening.  I think I have hit a slump.  (week two...noooo)  I am trying to plow through it with my block-plowing awesomeness, but it is slow going.  The last few days I just haven't been able to get my usual 3k.  Last night I even hit the sack after only writing about 1700 words.  Sad times, right there. 

I know I know, at least I wrote some.  Right?
Its just that personal goal that makes it a bummer for me.  I was hoping to be hitting 40k tonight...right at this moment I am at about 35,586, and am tired.  (I went to the bookstore today, then popped over to see a friend. Great thing about the hubby having a day off is I get to get out of the dang apartment.  Bad thing?  I am sooo note used to being out and about anymore and it wears me out.  Sad, I know.)(I just realized how much I keep writing "sad" in this post.  Sad...)

Anyway!  I am still going.  Going going...mentally GONE!  I have to at least hit my 1667 tonight, then I will allow myself to hit the sack.  Tomorrow?  Totally doing a night write with at least one friend online, if not more!  Really hoping that helps!  If anything, it sure should be entertaining.

PS.  If you are reading this, raise your hand.  I have a feeling practically no one is.  Not like it matters.  But I have Writer's Ego, suffer from it daily, and have yet to find a cure.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Snippet #2

I totally meant to post last night, but I -gladly- got pulled into writing instead!
(Side note: wrote 4050 words last night!  I have now reached 30,119!)

So, here is another blip.  I really like this one, for some reason.  It was a battle between this and two other pieces...maybe they will win someday too.  I know it needs editing...but you have asked, so here some is! 

     The sound of someone washing their hands pulled me from my empty dreams.  My father was standing by the sink, scrubbing at his hands vigorously.  I could see a stream of red mixing with the water that flushed away down the old sink.
     “What happened?” I asked before I could stop myself.
     My father jumped at the sound of my voice.  I could see his shoulders sag as he let out a heavy sigh.  “Just a cut.  At work.  They said I don’t even need stitches.”  I saw him wince in pain as he scrubbed at it again.  “Don’t worry.”  Still wincing, I watched as my father pulled a small sliver of metal out of the cut on his hand, dropping it to wash away down the sink.
     I climbed down from my bunk and crossed over to him.  Unrolling some of the rough toilet paper, I waited for him to turn off the water, then handed him the wad.  “Thanks,” he muttered, taking it carefully from me and pressing it to the cut.  I could see dark red already bleeding through the thick toilet paper.
     “You should go to the Infirmary.  You need to get that checked again.”
     My father stared at his hand, pressing harder against the bleeding.  “No, they said I’m fine.  Don’t worry Millie.”  He looked up at me, forcing a small smile to pass on his face before he winced again in pain.
     I watched as he walked past me, moving to sit on the edge of the bed.  Unrolling more toilet paper, I brought it to him.  He kept his head down, carefully pulling the now blood saturated ball of toilet paper off his hand.  Before he could cover it with the new bundle, I was able to catch a glimpse of the wound.
     The side of his left hand, right along his thumb, was sliced cleanly open.  I could see the bulge of white fat and gleam of bone clearly, all covered in the thick red of flowing blood.  It clearly needed stitches.
     My father pressed the clean ball of toilet paper to the wound, shamefully handing me the dirty one.  Without pausing, I moved over to the toilet and dropped it in.  I watched as the red toilet paper soaked up the toilet water, already tearing apart and disintegrating.  I hit the flush handle and the red mess disappeared.
     “I’m getting a Medic.”  I announced.
     “Millie, I said that I’m - ”
     “I said I’m getting a Medic.”
     With that, I stormed out of the cell.  The Medic room was just down the walk, positioned to be close for a reason.  There were a lot of injuries here.  There was even a special clean up crew, assigned to only clean up the blood left from the brawls and self-inflicted wounds that occurred daily.
     Banging on the door, I waited.  Finally a woman peeked out.  I could tell she wasn’t a convict.  The scared look on her face, the long wavy hair pulled back into a clean pony tail, the neatly trimmed nails only served to give her away.  There was no way she had ever served time.
     “My father is injured.”
     “Name?” she asked, pulling out a small device that fit into the palm of her hand.
     “Alan 942B.”
     She typed in the name then waited.  The machine was silent a moment, then beeped.  “It says he was examined at the site and was deemed fit to return to cell for rest.”
     “I can see fat,” I snarled through clenched teeth.  “And bone.  He won’t stop bleeding.  Does that sound ‘fit’ to you?”
     The nurse’s eyes widened for a moment at the hiss of my voice.  Checking the device again, she added nervously, “And his points amount only allows - ”
    “Take it from my points.”  As she opened her mouth to protest, I cut her off.  “Yes, you can.  I am given points as an allowance until I leave.  Take the amount you need and fix his damn hand.”
    The nurse looked at me a moment, her eyes wide in fear.  Then she nodded once, picked up a small bag, and pushed past me.  I watched as she made her way toward my block, then I let my body slump heavily against the now closed door.
    I felt strangely exhausted.  Even though I had just woken up, my eyes were now heavy, my body laboring for breath.  I didn’t know what had come over me.  The sudden rage that had driven me was something I had never felt before.  It scared me a little.  Yet, at the same time, I felt oddly powerful.  The look the nurse had given me as I hissed my words at her seemed oddly fulfilling.  And that feeling, the feeling of enjoying the innocent woman’s fear, was what was scaring me the most.
    A clock hung on the wall above the nurse’s station, covered in strips of metal.  Looking up at it, I saw that it was almost 1300.  I had just enough time to make it to the Parole room.  Cursing at myself for pushing time again, I started to run.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week One ends and....

Last night was the end of week one.  How did I fare you ask?


No kidding!  I am no officially halfway done with the NaNoWriMo challenge...and still have three weeks to go!  Crazy times, right there!  I know my novel will be longer than 50k . At first I was wondering I could even GET to that I am pretty sure I will soar right past it.

I still feel good.  I am finally at a point where more things are happening.  Life for Millie is about to completely change.  Is she ready?  They have severed her ties, drilled her brain with facts, and prepped her to be the perfect citizen.  Will she be though?  Only crazy WriMo will tell!

(And by the way, I have another snippet I am thinking of posting.  Tune in tonight for my decision...or non-decision...)

Friday, November 5, 2010

WriMo Update

Day five is over.

My official word count as of this exact moment in time:  
18, 686

I am not about 38% done with my NaNovel.  If I can keep up this crazy pace, I could be done with it come November 14th.  No kidding.  Now then...can I?  More so...will I?

I am feeling pretty good!  It feels good to be punching this out word after word.  Granted, I am terrified to go back and read any of it for fear of finding utter crap.  I keep reminding myself that that is ok.  Editing was invented for a reason.  So, I skim what I have, and write write write.

My secret?  Word Wars.  I write alright on my own, but always end up zoning out, wandering off...eating... With a war, I am focused and determined to win.  It feels awesome to throw-up the words and, most of the time, win. (Yeah yeah...not every time...sigh...  Haha.)  I think if it wasn't for awesome word wars, I wouldn't be NEARLY this far along. (thank you Kimmel and Elizabeth and the awesome online Portland WriMos!)

This weekend I have tentatively committed to a 10k challenge.  By sunday night, I need to try to get 10,000 more words written.  Now, I know I CAN do this.  But...will I?  Oh man I will try.  If I can do that, then I will be more than halfway done.  How awesome is that?  Wish me luck with THAT one...

Yes, my brain is feeling slightly fried and is threatening spontaneous combustion.  My butt hurts from too much sitting and I miss my tv and zoning time.  Just imagine though...I am this much closer to actually finishing a novel.  How long have I been trying that and getting mostly nowhere?  Maybe this novel sucks, maybe it is hidden gold.  Only time will tell that one.  But now I am realizing...I really can do this.  I can bust out almost sensible sentences into almost complete paragraphs and am getting closer and closer to almost finishing a novel!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

A snippet

Just because some friends told me I really you go!  Remember, ROUGH draft here, so be nice!

   The prison was fully awake now.  I could hear the nonstop chatter of inmates.  The shuffle of worn out shoes.  The occasional angry shout.  I let my eyes shut, let the sounds envelope me.  Someone shouted louder, their voice full of anger.  I could hear a body slam into something solid.  The gasps of people standing by.  Then, right on the cue, the heavy thump of boots as the guards ran to the fight.  Inmates shouted, some cheering on the fighters, some scared and trying to get away from the crowd.  Then suddenly it was quiet, everything falling back to the shuffle and murmur of usual rhythm.
   This was the music my life consisted of.  The beat of the laundry room, the strum of the shuffling feet, the occasional solo of a frenzied fight, always ending with the finale buzz declaring lights out.  I had only heard true music a handful of times in my life.  It was beautiful.  Every note was clear and lacking chaos.  I longed to hear it more, but in Spokane, only the priviledged got any kind of music playing device.  I didn’t have a job, and my parents rarely worked.  This meant we had no points, and no special treatment.  The only music I was allowed was the daily songs of the prison walk.
   My mind drifted more.  I felt my lips vibrating as they hummed an uneven rhythm that swayed and moved with the sounds of the prison.  Occasionally a small snatch of one of the unnamed random songs I had heard before mixed in, giving my melody a strange, haunting sound.  I let a small smile spread on my lips.  It felt good to be alone in the cell.  No chattering.  No need to check in and make sure my mother was clean or my father was awake.
   In my mind a saw a green field take form.  I let myself fall into the daydream.  The field was one I had seen many times in my school books.  Rolling hills, green with occasional patches of white flowers.  The sky blue with light fluffy clouds floating by.  I could hear the songs of the birds in the distance.  The lap of unseen water.
   Laying down in the grass, I let the sun bake my soft skin.  My clothes were clean, smelling of flowers instead of the usual stink of rank soap and dirty sweat.  There was no one around.  Aside from the crash of the waters and the singing of the birds, I was completely alone.  My smile grew wider.
   The sound of someone clearing their throat snapped me from my dreaming.  Blinking my eyes open, I leaned forward and looked down at the open cell door.  Carl GF4 was leaning in it, his arms folded across his uniform chest, a sly grin smugly spread on his face.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Broke 10k!

Here comes the end of day three and... I have already broken 10,000 words!!  True story!  So far I have been having 3-4k writing days, and it feels great!  (Being as the daily goal is 1667...)  Granted my brain feels very fried and abused, I am truly loving this adventure!

I am finally getting more into the story, and getting excited for things to finally get going!  Something that I have noticed is, no matter what novel I am working on, my chapters always end up being roughly 6 pages long (single spaced, blah blah)  That is very much so holding true for my NaNovel.  I think word wars are the one thing that is really helping me get this out.  (Thanks Kimmel!)  I am finding myself looking forward to the wars every night, and know the day is just around the corner where I will be totally schooled.  :)

Anyhoo, I just thought to brag a bit and tell everyone that...I broke 10k I broke 10k! 
That means I "only" have about 40k to is do-able.  It is...

Word count tonight before I log off and hopefully pass out into a happy writer coma:


Monday, November 1, 2010

And So Ends Day One

 Day one of NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close.

I stayed up for the midnight online Launch some people in my region threw together. It was awesome to feed off of their energy as we awaited the "permission" to begin out novels. I swear, it felt like we should have yelled out Happy New Year...or more appropriately: Happy Wrimo!

I totally intended to stay up just long enough to welcome it in, then hit the sack. But the energy was too intoxicating. I ended up staying up half an hour longer and busting out a little over 1000 words; the start of my NaNovel!

As soon as my day actually began, I had to jet off for a dentist appointment. Three fillings later I was home...and in pain. I hate fillings...but they are better than a root canal at least. I am sure happy I got those words written at midnight. It let me relax a bit as my mouth protested against the drilling I had just put it through.

This evening I was able to sit back down and plunk out more words. It truly is sad how excited I was to begin this novel...and already I glance over what I have written and convince myself how sucky it is. No It is supposed to suck. Its the first draft! Keep going...

Meeting up with my friend Kimmel online, we decided to use Word Wars to help us get writing out. What is a word war you ask? pick a time, set a time limit...and then BANG, off you go, typing like mad. At the end, whoever has the largest word-count wins. Yes, it may seem a bit dorky, but hey, who ever said that we writers aren't dorks? Kimmel and I have a deal: Come mid-month we are going on a double date to see the newest Harry Potter, and who ever had lost the most Word Wars has to buy the popcorn. Oh Kimmel, it is ON! (And how sad is it that I am SO excited to go see Harry Potter? Oh yes, I love those movies and books. And yes, my netbook will be coming along as well. Waiting in line is prime time to bust out some wordage!)

Well, after three fifteen minute word wars (luck was on my side tonight...I won all three. Tee-hee) and some slower paced writing, I am glad to say I very much so got the aimed for 1667. In fact, day one now ends with a total word count of:


Yay me. *Does happy dance*

How awesome would it be to get at least 3000 a day? The novel would be done mid-month. I know. I know sucky days lay ahead. And exhausted days. And "my novel won't talk to me" days. But hey..hoping isn't bad!

I will try to update on here as often as my brain allows. I have added a widget to the left that will update as I update my word count online. I know already that I will not be able to do a blog post daily as I write daily for the next month...I am thinking it will be a weekly or bi-weekly update. But we shall see!

On a side note, I have been thinking alot about whether I want to post my writing on here. Here is why I am sketchy: I have always been paranoid about my work being stolen. Along with that, I read that once you post more than three chapters on any non-password protected site, agents and publishers claim you as "published" and you become less likely to be picked up. Now, this novel may never see the light of publishing day. But I need to live with the hope that maybe, just maybe, it might... Maybe.

As of right now, I will occasionally post blips. Small ones. Just to keep you wondering. Maybe if you beg enough I will post a tiny bit more. Maybe. My mind may change, it may not. But I am hoping that you at least read the small blips I post and convince me to keep going.

Here is the first one, very tiny. It is how the book opens. Tell me if you crave more, at all.

My name is Millie 942B.
Next week is my eighteenth birthday. And I dread it with every fiber in my body.
But I am already getting ahead of myself.
I guess I should start at something close to a beginning. My name seems pretty strange to someone who doesn’t know the world I live in. It is a symbol of my existence. ‘942’ is the cell number I was born and raised in. ‘B’ is the floor level of which my little cubicle resides. I have no brothers. No sisters. Only a silent father and a state-proclaimed unstable mother. And it is because of them that I live in this cell.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dear NaNovel

Dear NaNovel,

I sit here now, on the eve before NaNoWriMo.  The countdown on my blog states a mere 8 hours until midnight.  Even though I have Halloween plans, and projects galore, I cannot get you off of my mind.  It is because of this that I write you now.

For months now we have grown close.  First just a tiny speck of a thought in my mind, you grew.  Fueled by comments from friends, memories, and news, I watched with delight as you developed more each day into an almost respectable plot.  I would sit at the computer, fingers twitching to write you down.  Then the rules of NaNoWriMo would resound in my mind and I would resign to simply jotting the ideas of you into my little red book. 

My little red book that I got just for you.

Some friends have said that I am obsessed.  Some seem simply confused as to why I sit on pins and needles.  A small handful cheer me on.  And I have come to the realization that I do not care.  This is not for any of them.  This is for me. 

I have been to my regions Kick-Off party.  I relished in meeting the plots of the other daring writers that live around me.  Some truly peaked my reader interest.  But then my mind would trail back to you, and I would miss you. 

I cannot wait for these last few hours to pass.  Then, finally, with joy in my heart, I will be allowed by the WriMo Gods to create you.  I still have plot gaps.  I still lack character development, a climax, and most everything else.  But I have you.  And starting in just these few short hours, you will begin the finish of your growth from a simple thought to a 50,000 word novel.

We may have hard times.  No, I know we will.  I will hate you at times.  And you will not talk to me at other times.  I am hoping these times do not come too often.  But I am prepared, with amazing writing buddies, my notebook, and an unknown plot ninja. 

We will sprint, we will war, we write through the night.  And, my beloved NaNovel, we will come out victorious come November 30th. 

I long for the day to hold the first unedited draft of you in my carpal-tundrum doomed hands.  I long for the day that I will rejoice with the many other WriMos out there as we prove, to the world and to ourselves, that writing is still alive and well.

NaNovel, I love you.  A love only a crazy writer who has committed to writing a book in 30 days can truly feel.  I hope us the best.  Please be nice.

Until midnight,


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