Well, it’s 2019

I don’t feel I got a lot done last year writing-wise. Yes, I did NaNoWriMo and finished my 50K. But, as usual, the story isn’t done and I have no idea when it will be. There are so many WIPs waiting in my Dropbox that are whispering for my attention; their combined cries are quite the cacophony.

My beta, ThatGirlSix. has been editing Moonstrike! for me and boy, do I have a lot of flaws! I know I can fight them and bring the story to a new level, but again, it’s not finished, and that’s on me. It’s weighing on me a lot. My desire to write more is diminished and I don’t know what to do about that.

Also, I haven’t been reading beyond fanfic, webcomics, and Twitter or Facebook. So many books out there to choose from and none of them tempt me. The hubby reads constantly, always checking books out of the library. His six weeks of enforced inactivity gave him plenty of time (he broke his foot at work). And yet I can’t make myself leave the house to get something new to read.

This has got to change. Somehow, someway, I have to get my writing mojo back. I have to fall back in love with it. Otherwise, I won’t be able to silence all those whispers clamoring for me to open up a file and finish their stories.

The first day of NaNoWriMo 2017 was a success!

Well, it was for me and my region. We had a midnight virtual write-in in our ChatNaNo room with four to five people in there starting off the month with word wars and chats. Then a really well-attended write-in at Greenville Technical College’s Barton Campus library. It was our first time there and the librarians and English professors made us feel very welcome!

The Kick-Off was last Sunday at our usual park pavilion and it wasn’t as well-attended as I’d have liked–possibly because it was Sunday afternoon and probably because it was cold and windy out! Still, we gave out 10-12 goodie bags and had lots of food (there’s still lots of pumpkin dip here but we finally finished up the pumpkin chocolate-chip mini-muffins. Those are addictive!)

My superhero novel, entitled Superhuman Resources, is coming along. I still need names and powers for quite a few cast members, but my main character is shaping up nicely, I think. No one has been able to create character art for her yet; most of the artists in the NaNoWriMo Artisans forum do younger people, as most of the novelists write about younger people. Having a middle-aged superhero is something different and hopefully unique.

Speaking of superheroes, the theme this year is exactly that and I got my daughter, stripeysharpie, to do a superhero mascot for our region!

We’re still looking to name this character.

And… after all this great, gushing news, something that has put a definite crimp in my style as a municipal liaison: three broken toes and a Lisfranc injury. I’ve been told to “baby” my foot (the right one, as per usual) and I have a wheelchair to pick up tomorrow. Yes, you heard it. A wheelchair. I won’t be able to drive for at least four weeks and probably much longer. Which means the family will have to chauffeur me around for the foreseeable future–and I can’t make any daytime write-ins, which is really frustrating. They also are responsible for the housework, which is frustrating in a totally different direction. Had to print out a “how to wash your wife’s clothes” for Hubby after he put my favorite embellished jeans in the dryer (the tag says “line dry” for a reason!). So, the only thing I’ll be doing during the month of November is letting the dog in and out and keeping the cats from following (besides my usual sedentary stuff like paying the bills). That should leave me plenty of time to write, right? We’ll see.

Anyway, word count for Nov. 1st: 2226.

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I tried Camp NaNoWriMo again in July and failed miserably at it. Wrote hardly anything, possibly because a series of health-related issues among the parental units kept me on edge. In August, my husband and I went to visit those same parental units during a two-week long trip to points north. (We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary the first week.) I came back sick with a cold that hung on for a couple of weeks. Since then, I’ve tried to catch up with the housework and gear up for … yes, it’s NaNo season again!

This year’s theme is superheroes and it got me thinking about my writing. I realized, no matter whether I was writing fantasy or fan fiction, I was always writing about superheroes. Whether they used magic or technology, it was always superheroes! (A possible exception would be The Door to Anywhere.) So, before I even knew what the theme was, I had planned on actually writing about superheroes–comic book style heroes with colorful outfits, capes, masks, the works!

I’ve also decided to be a “plantser” this year. Normally, I’m a “pantser”, someone who writes by the seat of their pants, as opposed to a “planner”, someone who plans everything out. This time, I’m going to do some prior planning–character sheets, a bare-bones plot outline, and a bit of world-building as well. Maybe then I can make it to the actual end of my story and finish draft zero!

This is my 10th year as an ML for Greenville. I have a new co-ML in Tyffani Clark Kemp, a writer with her own publishing company. The library system has filled our month with write-ins; seven branches in all are participating. Tomorrow I have a table waiting for me at the Main library’s Southern Author Festival. It means I have to get up early to make sure all my ducks are in a row. So, until later days, y’all!

Oy, nearly a month since my last post!

Not good! But, other than the holidays, I do have some reasons for the delays.

First, we’ve added a new computer to the household. My daughter now has a custom-built rig with a full-sized chassis and a very powerful graphics card. It’s taken quite some time to get it all together and running; for the past couple of weeks, she’s had it set up on at 6′ table in the living room while she finished the final touches of paint in her room and transferred materials from her old rig to the new one. (She has also taken advantage of the router to plug in her rigs directly for downloading purposes.) For her to move the new rig into her bedroom, we had to lay ethernet cable through a hole in the ceiling to her room–and to the dining room, where my mini-tower was moved. Why? I inherited her old rig and spent a few days wrangling that into shape. My husband now has my old computer; it still works and runs many of the games he likes to play. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a wireless card. So, the router (located on a shelf in my little office cubby) now has three computers directly linked to it and the ceiling above my desk has a hole in it.

The things we sacrifice for technology…

With my new-to-me rig, came the need for a new, ergonomic keyboard and mouse. My daughter was appalled at the way I type and suggested I really needed the keyboard. It also turned out my webcam was incompatible with Windows 10 so I got a new one of those as well. Now, if I could only get my filing system down to the basic folders I had before and remove my daughter’s email off the system, I’d be good.

In any case, I have written a little more on “Not Dead Yet”. Chapter Two is pretty much complete and I’m moving on to Chapter Three. No more than four chapters planned for this one, I think, though I have been wrong before. I also need to poke my beta on the fanfic chapters I sent her back in November so I can fix them up and post.

It’s hard for me to write without the external pressure of NaNoWriMo but if I want to actually publish a book, this is what I need to do. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

Fall is here, or is it?

That’s what I keep asking myself every time I go outside. Yes, the calendar says, “Autumn!” My outdoor thermometer says, “Summer!”

One good thing about autumn is National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). Jo, my co-Municipal Liaison (read regional volunteer), and I will be making plans and setting dates for the various write-ins and parties that go with “30 Days of Literary Abandon!” This year we have four branches of the Greenville County Library System offering our members space to write as well as plot-planning events before NaNoWriMo even starts. Last year it was three branches; next year, who knows? I’m certainly looking forward to November, even if I don’t have an idea for a new novel. Yet.

However, that gives me just a smidge over a month to get some of my older writing finished. I’ve already sent a chapter of Moonstrike! off to my betareader, and I found a partial chapter from Overtures lurking in my works-in-progress file. To help me with the latter story, I may start editing the first novel in my “Friends of the Family” story arc and post it along with posting more chapters of The White Winds. (Chapter 15 went up tonight; I’ll slap it up at Archive of Our Own in a few days.)

All of this would be easier if our house was in some vague semblance of order from a number of projects (including a full bathroom remodel) and if I hadn’t broken a rib from my second fall in as many weeks. My doctor said no driving while it heals and my kids are talking about Mom-proofing the house. My poor husband is really feeling the pressure, I’m afraid.

More later as I work on edits and wait for the temperatures to fall. I really do love autumn; I just need it to stop feeling like summer!

Didn’t make it.

You’ve probably wondered where my updates for Camp NaNoWriMo have been. Well, I haven’t posted them because, frankly, I wasn’t writing. I dropped my word count goal to 12K late in the month and didn’t even make that paltry sum. (For someone who regularly writes 50K or more in November, yes, 12K is a paltry sum.) My final word count as of about 5 minutes ago was 8011, with over 2K of that written just today.

Why couldn’t I make it? Well, for one thing, my inner editor kept slowing me down, making me correct things as I went along. During NaNo, I’m able to put that pesky inner editor in a box and write without thinking about the plot or the characters. Just getting the basic words on the page. Not so this time.

For another thing, I was physically uncomfortable. My desk chair is a thrift shop special and the hydraulics are giving out. It’s also less than ergonomic for my back. More than a few nights were spent tossing and turning because my back was keeping me awake. For the last two days, I’ve struggled with laryngitis, which means repeating myself enough so the family hears me, or writing out notes for the Hubby.

But most of all was my own distraction. I was so easily distracted by games, websites, more games, more websites, the television (which wasn’t me turning it on, I swear!). Just letting myself put visual stimuli before writing.

In summary, I was my own worst enemy for this session of Camp. On the plus side, I have some more of this world set in thick pudding. I’m finding plot holes, rearranging characters, and doing more research into the Mohawk nation, the Roman Catholic Church, and what inventions might possibly be available to the world (which is where the steampunk comes in). Hopefully, I have enough to keep going.

So, before I call this Camp session to a close, here’s one more snippet from the story.

Continue reading “Didn’t make it.”

Camp NaNoWriMo has begun!

For me, anyway. I find the July session a lot less stressful than April’s; there’s not as much going on, though my husband works long hours as his co-workers take their vacations.

My word count goal is 30K, which averages out to 968 words a day. Very attainable, I think. My main project is a sequel to The White Winds, one I’ve been chewing on for some time. Sneaking in some editing on completed or in-progress projects and adding to my fantasy novel are also on my plate as time permits.

First, however, thanks to a recent incident, I’ve nearly finished a sequel to this. I’ll post it here when it’s finished and beta’d.

In other news, I met with programming coordinators from three of our county’s branch libraries. They are really excited about including NaNoWriMo in their programs this coming fall. I’m excited about being included! This may be the jump-start our region needs to keep growing.

More scintillating dinner conversation!

Part of last night’s conversation was in response to Boy #2’s suggestion that we watch The Scarlet Pimpernel (Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour, and Ian McKellan, 1982). We finally bought a DVD version of this because our taped-from-my-parents’-TV VHS copy died. Hubby led off the discussion on “fictional gentlemen adventurers with secret identities”, with an eye to finding out if there was one older than Sir Percy Blakeney. I mean, the Baroness D’Orczy wrote The Scarlet Pimpernel back in 1903. There had to be somebody!

Well, we really couldn’t think of one! Zorro, whose pedigree is similar, wasn’t created until 1919 in “The Curse of Capistrano”. The Shadow, another “wealthy man about town” was 1930. Wikipedia suggests Sherlock Holmes to have or be a secret identity, but he was more a master of disguise – then again, so is Sir Percy! But, as Hubby put it, “he’s not going around under an assumed name in a more or less constant fashion”.

Tonight I brought up two old Disney favorites that I thought might be relevant. One was the Swamp Fox, who is a historical figure anyway and not at all fictional. The “old swamp fox” was a sobriquet the British gave him.

The other was the Scarecrow, or the Reverend Doctor Christopher Syn, who was a smuggler and pirate with a “secret identity” of a country vicar. Hubby brought out the fact that the man was not a hero, and a quick look at Wikipedia showed that his first appearance was 1915. Hubby mentioned a character in an operetta, that of an archeologist who had a secret identity of a freedom-fighter in Northern Africa. The operetta was The Desert Song, and was written in 1926. It was inspired both by tales of Lawrence of Arabia and a 1925 uprising in Morocco. The archeologist’s name was Pierre Birabeau and his heroic alter ego was The Red Shadow. (It had a really cool song: The Riffs.)

So, as far as I can tell, ol’ Percy is an original! Do any of my readers or friends have any candidates? (And don’t you just love our table talk?)

A little fangasm!

Within just a day, I’ve had the pleasure of hauling out my Thunderbirds knowledge (with all the attendant books and other paraphernalia) to help a couple of fellow fanfic writers and personal friends. It was certainly fun, especially all the stuff about Alan Tracy’s educational background. Add to this my posting the first chapter of one of my short stories (Burning Muses) at AO3 and uploading a new post to my RP, and I’m full of Thunderbirds at the moment. It’s given me quite a hunger for fic and for writing or editing what I already have up. I edited the first chapter of Burning Muses, making it tighter. In many respects it was like my edit of the little scene I wrote a few days ago. The changes I made brought forth Brains’s voice and made him less … poetic. (Because if Brains is anything, it is NOT poetic.)

Then, there was the chatter at the dinner table. We went from Gosford Park to Downton Abbey (which we have not seen) to Acorn (which streams Downton Abbey), and then to Netflix – where movies are more plenteous in DVD than in streaming. This led to BBC America (and how we could get it on cable), to other premium cable services, to Game of Thrones and whether or not the TV series matched the novels. That particular thought brought out movies that didn’t match their source material – Boy #2 brought up the Percy Jackson movie (The Lightning Thief). This brought the whole shebang back to … Thunderbirds! The Girl’s comment: “I knew there was another kids movie like that! ” Hubby brought up that Frakes had said in an post-film interview that he directed the movie that the producers wanted, even though he knew the fans would be “annoyed by it” (Hubby’s words, not Frakes’s.) I promptly chimed in. “Annoyed? Annoyed?” Which, of course, is far too mild a term to describe the old guard’s intense hatred of the film.

Maybe if he’d stayed closer to the source material, we’d have had another Thunderbirds movie. After all,  there will be another Percy Jackson film, coming out this year.

Some fandoms get all the luck…

Second test down…

And a happy Father’s day for all the dads I know… including my own, my FIL, and my beloved Hubby!

As the title states, the Girl took the second of her College Board tests – the ACT – yesterday. She said it wasn’t quite as hard as the SAT and she was glad she didn’t have to write an essay. Hubby had Friday and Saturday off as his regular days off, and spent much of yesterday digging post holes for the fence, then repairing the spigot at the side of the house. Friday he went grocery shopping with me, which was nice.

Today we gave him cards and a gift: another Dr. Pepper t-shirt! It’s getting to be a household joke – don’t know what to get Dad? Get him a Dr. Pepper shirt! I think he has four or five of them now, including the long sleeved thermal one, and not including his sweatshirt style jacket. At least the one we got him today was different; it’s two shades of gray instead of the sort of murky red that the others ones are. Next up: Dr. Pepper sleep pants…

Dinner was great! Boy #1 gets into cooking, and did the 5-cup salad for me yesterday, then heated the green beans (his choice of veggie). He also set up the skewers for our first try at grilled seafood: shrimp and scallop kabobs. Hubby did the actual grilling, but Boy #1 set everything up for him. Man, that was good! We used this seafood seasoning shaker stuff on the kabobs. Marvelous flavor addition. And since we thawed out ALL of the seafood, we get to do it again either today or tomorrow! Yum!

Now it’s time for me to call my dad and wish him a Happy Father’s Day. I don’t know why, but both Mother’s and Father’s Days have just sort of crept up on me and caught me unawares. At least this time it was close enough to payday that I could get cards and gifts – and I put a little something in the packages for the moms, too. They probably should arrive by Tuesday.