Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

Status Update, Coming Attractions, Secret Identities

Let’s just get this out of the way. I don’t think Stacey Wallace Benefiel (authoress of Glimpse, Glimmer, Day of Sacrifice) ever initiates a conversation two times in a row using the same messenger. One day it’s email, then Goodreads PM, then Facebook message, then a DM on Twitter… Is Stacey a secret agent, trying to cover her tracks? Are there coded messages I’m too blonde to see? While posing as a home-renovating mother-of-two, is she really about to drop from a helicopter onto a moving train and wondering why I haven’t rushed her plea for extraction to the agent they have planted at the local Waffle House?

These are things I ponder.

Hush Money hit a new milestone yesterday: 2000 sales. The end of October/beginning of November was freaking awesome on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

This will probably not be the last time that I mention that there’s nothing like a shiny new paperback under the tree, should you wish to consider Joss and her friends to fulfill your gift-giving needs this holiday season.

Can you believe she’s starting up with that crap already, and it’s not even freakin’ Thanksgiving yet? Damn. I know!

Ok, what else. Oooh! Right. So Quantum! Who’s a fan of the Portal Chronicles, raise your hand? (If your hand is not raised, it’s because you haven’t read yet, so go, buy Portal, start getting caught up now, ’cause…) The third book, Quantum, releases on Tuesday, November 16th. The main character, Arizona, is due to drop by here and drop off some kind of message for you on Tuesday. So make sure you’ve done the homework.

Also of possible interest, she said innocently, the cover of Heroes ‘Til Curfew, the follow-up to Hush Money, will be revealed on Wednesday, Nov. 17th. It was not at all what I expected, and really took my breath away when I saw the initial concept. Robin is awesomesauce, and I hope you’ll all like it as much as I do.

Yes, the new book is coming along better, thank you for asking. Yesterday I finally pushed through a scene that was giving me all kinds of problems. When I was finished, I just wanted to sit and write more. Dammit. Self-washing dishes, where are you?? As I was driving to Girl Scouts, I was totally seeing the inside of the record store instead of the road, Joss was yelling, stuff was flying–it was all pretty distracting. Now imagine me, having this realization: Wow, I could totally have a really bad wreck right now! and grinning from ear to ear because I’m finally getting somewhere.

Watch out you Nano peeps. Don’t count me out yet!

Did you guys know I have another identity? No, I don’t use a pen name. In the dark and dangerous manuscript critiquing underworld, I am known, by those who can find me, as Pink Hammer. My supercharged weapon of choice? The Pink Hammer of Doom, of course. Now this is all totally wrecked by Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, because now even I am asking myself if the hammer is really my penis, and it pretty much makes me the laughingstock of the underworld. Thank you very much. Nevertheless, I persevere, and will be taking out these frustrations on Devil’s Eye by Kait Nolan. So if Kait seems a little jumpy this week, if you see her stocking up on adult diapers because she’s pissing herself in fear, be kind.

Haha, no, really. It’s not like that.

Is it?

Ok, I think I’ve babbled at you guys long enough for one morning. Anyone have news? I haven’t been getting out much; feel free to tell me what’s up.

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Filed under books, characters, Guests, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, Kettle chat, me me me, NaNoWriMo, progress update, PubIt, romance, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, writing

This, That, Stuff, and Things

I used to have this social studies teacher who absolutely hated “stuff and things.” Use either of those words in an essay question at your peril. So now I often say them, just to say them, because I’m just ornery like that.

I’m also constantly behind. Everything’s just late, crazy, and overdue.

Take the 1000 Sales Giveaway. I was supposed to draw that on Monday. Just did it now.

It has been such a week. Sales started a random upswing over the weekend and then just exploded. It was all very exciting, finally slowing back down again, but I’ve been so obnoxious this week that I’m lucky I have any friends left at all, and you’re all lucky I forgot to blog.

So I’m not going to bore you with a play by play, but I’ll just record that my highest rank in the Kindle store was #327, and at B&N, where there is less competition right now, I think the highest I got was #140. Don’t know how that happened, and I think I’m pretty much going to have to retire from trying to figure this stuff out because I haven’t got a clue.

Ok, I know, tell us the winner already. I’m just messing with you. The winner of the signed paperback of Hush Money is Marta! Because Random.org thought to itself: which number feels like international postage?? Hahaha. That’s awesome, though, and Marta, I am very excited to send this to you.

Speaking of contests, I think Robin and I have settled on a cover concept and images for Heroes ‘Til Curfew. Last night I sent her a bunch of spew, descriptions of Dylan, some recurrent themes and imagery from the new book, that kind of crap. What she came up with is pretty awesome on the first try.

It’s not ready yet. I have to buy the stock images, she has to play with the color and make some adjustments, and I apologize for just teasing you like this with nothing to show. But I’m sure we’ll have it ready for you soon. I already feel so much pressure about this sequel that, to be honest, I’m sort of afraid of the cover reveal. Because I just think Robin’s work is so awesome it’s going to make a mob come to my house and chain me to this machine until I finish the story to go with it.

Which Kait suggested might not be a bad thing.

Smartass.

Anyway, I asked Robin if she was inspired by any of the responses in the Find My Dylan contest, and it seemed that her image selection came mainly from what I told her about the story. We agreed that it’s probably best to go with random selection on that too. So when we’re 100% on everything, and ready to reveal the cover, I’ll announce the winner on that as well. Thanks to everyone who helped look for Dylan.

In other news, my husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary on Tuesday. I’ve now been married half my life. Whew.

NaNoWriMo is going pretty slowly. November is always a bear for me. Just in this week I had my attention sucked away by the awesome upswing of sales, our anniversary, election day means a day of no school, I should have had my knitting day but got sick, then doll club with my mom today, and tomorrow I have a bazillion errands and a social commitment I should honor. So that’s all interfering a bit with my whole BICHOK program, but most of what interferes with that program is me. I got 1230 words today of what is mainly note-form to be turned into proper prose later (well, as proper as we get in the Talent Chronicles), which brought me up just over 4100, I guess. I forget, but I updated it at the website, so it’s probably in the sidebar. The stats tell me I’m behind. Big surprise.

How is everyone else doing?

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Filed under Contests, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, love, me me me, nano, NaNoWriMo, progress update, romance, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, word count, writing

Wanna Nano Buddy?

Yeah, I did it. I went and signed up all fresh and new this morning. Here’s my profile, if you think you might like to buddy me. It’s a little slap-dash. I have no idea what years I’ve tried to do Nano before, but I can tell you that I’ve never finished. I think I’ve had two accounts, the second one because I couldn’t get back into the first one for my second year because of all the website problems. This year, though, I’ve put all the past behind me, all the hiding behind a handle, afraid to tell anyone that I write, and I’m there with my real name. So there. [self-directed “so there”]

I’m working on Heroes ‘Til Curfew. I know that, technically, it’s supposed to be something fresh and new. I had hoped to have HTC out in beta and be able to possibly start the rough of the third book for Nano. Well, there’s a dream that’s long behind me as I fall further and further behind. I really feel like I need something to get me going right now. And trust me, I’ve got at least 50, 000 new words left to write in this draft.

I’m not sure how I’ll do with the goal. I’ve never finished. Nano is a difficult concept for me. The idea of waiting to start something until a set date, setting that date around one of the busiest and most stressful parts of the year, and then all that just writing whatever to get words out, the frantic output to be fixed later–that’s not really how I work at all. So I may end up plodding along at my own pace and being behind, but I think it will be nice just to be part of Nano fever, because just the energy that surrounds it is sometimes helpful–if you don’t let it stress you out and drive you mad.

Anyway, if you’re doing Nano this year, feel free to add me.

I’m feeling really reflective today, and I was just thinking about what I said above, about how I had been hiding behind internet handles and how I avoided telling any one in real life that I was a writer. It’s been really interesting, and very nice, to be able to do this with a shiny book in my hands and my name on the cover. People in my life have been very kind, supportive, and downright enthusiastic. But I’m not sure what it would have been like without that shiny book, and I wonder if I ever would have done it.

A lot of Hush Money is about fear. I know I said this in an interview somewhere, that one of the movie lines that repeated in my head while I was writing, and continues to live there when I think about the story, is from Pump Up The Volume. It’s the part at the parent meeting when Paige Woodward, the girl who blew up her kitchen, takes the stage and passionately tells the crowd how she’s just been going through the motions of being perfect. “We are all really scared to be who we really are.”

And didn’t think too much, until I started to out myself as a writer, how much of Joss’s secrecy was actually mine.

I got another bit of fan mail this morning, from someone who hasn’t quite reached the end of the story, but wanted to tell me how much I made her feel like she was there, in school, living this life. (As a writer, I should have better words for what those messages mean to me.) Looking forward to her finishing the book, wondering how she would feel at the end of it, I started thinking about the ending of the book myself, and how I lived it.

Writing that ending was very exciting. There was a sense of Oh my God, this is finally over. That feeling of exhilaration was both Joss’s, having just come through the other side of this battle and solved this big problem that had been hanging over her, as well as mine, having come through it with her, and also having come to the end of a struggle of my own. I felt like I had conquered something too. As I was typing her thoughts, I was thinking, this is starting to sound like the end of an after school special.

And then I decided that was just fine.

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Filed under books, characters, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, ideas, insecurities, Laws of the Universe, nano, NaNoWriMo, Signs, Talent Chronicles, writing

No News Not Necessarily Good

I haven’t written anything since my last post.  I haven’t even tried.  Every time I think about it, I feel vaguely uneasy.  I’ve made up a bunch of dresses for my Etsy shop which I’ll be listing over the next few days, so I haven’t been wholly unproductive, and I was behind on that too.

I hope my Nano and Sweat buddies are doing well.  I’ll try to get around to see you soon.

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Filed under COD, NaNoWriMo, progress update, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 10

No new stats to report.  Someday, maybe I’ll learn how to handle writing and my brain chemistry, but after beating myself up pretty good the other day, I’ve just taken a break. 

I figured out that if I wrote 2K per day from now on I would still make it.  That sort of made me feel better.

Right now, though, my mind’s just blank.  And that’s an improvement.

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Filed under COD, me me me, NaNoWriMo, progress update, Sweat 2, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 8

I did another little bit this afternoon.  Officially I’m at 11580, although I’ve got another 500 or so words written in the scene I’m currently (not) working.

I got an email from a municiple liason today in which she talked about Week Two and how it’s said to be the hardest week of Nano.  She said, amongst other things, that Week Two is the week in which you may come to feel that you are writing the worst novel ever.

And I thought, nah.  For one thing, I’m pretty sure I’ve already written the worst novel ever, so this probably isn’t it, and besides that, I’ve read an awful lot of crap in my life which often serves to make me feel better.

Then, just now, BAM.  It hit me.  I was sitting here, pondering something other than Nano for a while, and next thing I know

Damn!  My story totally sucks. 

So I don’t know, either I need to figure out how to fix it up, or I just need to get over it and move on.

Anyone else have this happen this week?

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Filed under COD, insecurities, NaNoWriMo, progress update, Sweat 2, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 7

So my update for yesterday.  Hard hit by the plague, and even though I had to spend most of the day being still so I could keep breathing, I didn’t get much writing done.  It should have been a good time to get ahead, but I just couldn’t think straight. 

 By the end of the day, I was only able to come up with 755 words.  Which is far better than nothing.  It means I only have to write 2572 today to catch up instead of 3334. 

Ok, that was my attempt at positive thinking.  How’d I do?

So the thing that didn’t make sense?  I skipped it.  I know a reasonable answer is there and I just refuse to see it right now.  The thing about the traitor, as well as coming up briefly later in the story, is really a background thread for the series.  So it’s not critical that it be here for me to move on.  Skip!  Then I checked my outline and was supposed to write about my heroine going about town talking to people and finding out stuff about Mac.  Oh, I forgot about that.  The fact that I forgot it makes me wonder if it’s important, or if it’s just fill.  Since I couldn’t think of a way to make it important (like I wanted to write the dinner scene from my snippet yesterday, so I forced new reader info into it, which was easy and worked) I decided to just skip that too, for now.  Maybe I’ll come back and fill it in with things about Mac and thoughts from Colby that I fail to illustrate any other way.  And maybe I just won’t write it at all. 

So what the heck did I do?  Not much, like I said.  Mac came home from work and had some words with Colby.  I established that it’s his regular poker night and it’s his turn to host, and he can’t get out of it because everyone wants to come gawk at the fake girlfriend and he’s pissed off an worried. 

I did have him pull his shirt off as he stalked down the hall to the shower.  It was gratitous because we were in his head and there was no one there to see it but me.  But a girl needs to get her kicks somewhere.

Speaking of which, romance stuff is on the horizon, action too, and, beyond that, immersion into the superhero world.  Trying to remember to be excited about that.

I’m at 10764.  How’re you Sweaters and Nanoers doing (and those of you who don’t need a challenge to get stuff done too)?

 P.s. If you didn’t visit Joely Sue Burkhart’s blog yesterday, she had an interesting post that included her storyboard and a collage of inspirational stuff for her story.   Which, of course, made me want to show you whom Mac and Colby resemble.

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Filed under COD, NaNoWriMo, progress update, romance, Sweat 2, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 6

You know, I like to write in scenes.  I write from beginning to end and then I’m wiped.

So it seems to be a bit of an issue that scenes for me are rarely more than 1600 words.

Anyway, 1632 today to total 10009.  That makes me happy.  My heroine told the hero why she was there, which, of course, he didn’t take so well.  But neither she nor I expected him to.  She because she read his file, and I because I’m just all about the conflict and I know it.

So I sat down to write out some notes to get me throught the next scene.  I wrote some general impressions of the head of the bad guy agency and then WHAM!

Um, if the bad guy agency has someone inside the good guy’s secret mountain compound (such that they have the information they’re about to discuss in this scene), why don’t they just get its location from the aforementioned traitor and wipe them out?

Yeah, so my outline has a bit of a flaw, huh?  I think I’m too stunned by my own stupidity to think my way around this right now.  Right now it feels important to me that they actually don’t discover the location, as opposed to being able to get that information but feeling like other goals are more important right now.  So I don’t know what to do and I think a simple solution is right there and I’m too sick and miserable and pissed off right now to see it.

And aside from how lousy that last paragraph was, I’m not really in that bad a mood.  Not really.  I am, however, out of it to the point of senseless babble.

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Filed under COD, ideas, NaNoWriMo, progress update, romance, Sweat 2, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 5

I just wrote that scene I wanted to write last night.  I put in a bunch of political stuff that should hopefully be interesting to the reader, sort of explains what’s going on, shows off more of who the characters are, both to the reader and to each other. 

I’m really happy about that, and that I’ve just passed the minimum goal for today.  Hoping to get a bit ahead later on.

Did 1618 and am now sitting at 8377.

 Of course, I was supposed to be making this week’s menu and grocery list and getting ready to go out on errand day.  Gotta run!

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Filed under COD, NaNoWriMo, progress update, Sweat 2, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 4

I got some time to myself this afternoon and I just passed today’s goal.  So I was happy.  I figured that tonight I could get ahead some more.  But frankly, I’m very sleepy.  It’s not coming to me, and my DD’s got a cold, so I think she’s going to wake me up…again.  So I’m taking myself off to bed.

6758 as of today.  I’m in the middle of an uncomfortable dinner situation.  The main characters can’t talk about what’s going on because there’s company.  But it still has to be worth reading, so I’m thinking that the company should bring up something in the news that will bring the fictional world into focus a bit better for us.  But I’m not inspired as to what that is.

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Filed under COD, NaNoWriMo, Sweat 2, word count, writing