Nerves, Novels and NaNo

Today’s hashtags: #nervesfromhell #phoneinterviewno2 #workintexasapps #gottakeepapplying #playingcatchup #dontgiveupyet #snoopywritingmascot #fantasy #shapeshifters #thankyouveterans #goNAVY

Hello! It’s been a few days since I decided to tackle NaNoWriMo while also looking for a job, and I thought since I had the time–it’s technically a holiday so I can do whatever I want–I’d check in with you guys and let you know what’s been going on in my crazy ol’ world.

As mentioned in my previous post, I had my very first interview on Friday, Nov. 8th. Part of the reason my NaNoWriMo word count is soooo very far behind is that I had to do all the prep work for the interview most of last week. I did managed to squeeze in a new job application on Thursday just to try and stay on track. Turns out that was a brilliant move on my part as a mere two hours later, that company emailed me to set up a phone interview for Friday. That phone call went well enough to get me a second phone interview that took place over lunch earlier today, and seemed to go well.

All of that means I now have count ’em two potential jobs in the works. Okay, sure, neither pays as well as my old job did, but if worse comes to worst I can make it work. Both have good programs for promoting employee morale, which after the last few years is definitely something I’m looking for. They both have upward mobility as well, and considering I’m still a good ten years out from retirement, that’s good too. It might come down to location, location, location in a head-to-head match up, but let’s save that for when it applies.

So with all of that job stuff going on, I wrote absolutely zero words between November 6-9. I made a point not to go see what bestie M’s word count was, mostly because we’re tied with number of NaNo wins and I really didn’t want to see how far ahead of me she was. Fortunately she’s amazing and reminds me I’m the Come From Behind Kid when it comes to word count. I caught up a little last night after our DnD game with friends, and considering I still have quite a bit of the day left, I might just earn that title back.

Here’s hoping I can actually figure out what it is that I’m supposed to be writing. Turns out the storyboard outline I’m working from for Aurelius Heir doesn’t have quite the level of detail that Camelot did, so I’m turning into a bit of a plantser this year and I’ll have to pay some attention to continuity during the editing phase. Yeah it slows me down a bit, and I might digress on occasion, but such is the writing life.

Before I sign off, I want to send out a THANK YOU! to those currently serving or those who have served on this Veterans Day. Grandpa was in the Navy, so the USN holds a special place in my heart, but I have many buddies from different branches of the Armed Forces and this goes out to them. You know who you are. :)

Happy writing, wrimos!

Tears, Angst and Writing. Oh my!

Today’s hashtags: #jobhuntingsucks #yayigotaninterview #dontgettooexcited #tobusornottobus #goblinhouse #paintingceramics #lastminutepreptober #pantsing #fantasy #shapeshifters

You know, it wasn’t until I went to write this post that I realized it’s been a year since I’ve let you guys know how things are going. Well, my dread companion Change has been repeatedly stopping by for a stay, and his biggest visit happened a mere six weeks ago. In mid-September I suddenly and most unexpectedly found myself reorganized out of a job–that’s laid off and not fired, folks–one month after celebrating my 25th work anniversary. One freaking month, and me too young to take my retirement.

I won’t burden you with the details, but I’ve been one hell of a mess. A bawling, self-doubting, frustrated, ticked off, nitpicking, depressed, anxious, annoyed and scared witless mess. Fortunately, things took an upswing earlier today when I landed an interview at a state agency a couple days after submitting the application. So in the span of a couple hours, I went from expecting the worst case scenario (no money to pay bills come January 1) to jumping way ahead and planning my new commute, LOL.

Thankfully, I have something else to distract me until next Friday’s interview and beyond, aside from agency research and the prep work I need to do, that is. That “else” is a thing we writers around the world know as NaNoWriMo, aka National Novel Writing Month.

official NaNoWriMo banner
I love the new theme this year! I didn’t buy the t-shirt but I did get me the mug. :)

I wasn’t sure if I would have time to do NaNo because finding employment is pretty much my priority right now. But I’ve taken breaks for my Saturday ceramics class, lunches with former colleagues, and bestie M has been letting me come over and “borrow” her printer. So, I figured, why not see how NaNo goes? Even if I only get a few hundred words out of the month, that’s more than I had before, right? Right!

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you all that I made a pretty big decision over the summer regarding my writing. After attending the Writers League of Texas conference in June, I came to the realization that part of the reason I have only finished one novel was because I had way too many in progress, flipping between romance and fantasy and back again. So… I am now officially and exclusively (at least for now) a science fiction/fantasy writer!

Think about it for a sec. In a romance novel, you can’t exactly have the heroine sick her pet dragon after the guy who does her wrong. So it really made the most sense to go the fantasy route. ;) I have background on a few other novels too, including one Mom and I are collaborating on, so I’ll have a few titles to keep me busy. For NaNo this year, I’ll be a Rebel. I won’t be working on Camelot though, as that one needs serious fixing and I’m so not in a mood to deal with rewrites. So, I’m returning to my shapeshifter novel, The Aurelius Heir, which doesn’t require any world-building or plotting, since I’d done that a couple of years ago.

I hope to actually blog now and then during November, so please check back and see how it’s going. I’ve updated a few of the site pages based on the genre change as well, including an excerpt for Aurelius on the site.

Happy writing, Wrimos, and I’ll talk to you soon!

Hello from Camp NaNoWriMo Day 1

SnoopyWS_campingHi everybody! Today’s been productive, even if I don’t completely feel like it has. I’ve posted both #BohoBerry and #InstaWrimo challenge photos on Instagram, procrastinated by updating some background information on my shapeshifter mythology (got to get those species correct in case I need them), and hit my daily word count goal.

I admit, I was totally ready to say “I’m not feeling this” and give up and go do something else and put it off until tomorrow. Fortunately, I have this best friend who’s not going to let me get away with stuff like that, even when she’s out of town at a baby shower. So, a “rah, rah, go Nikki” text later and I have my words in.

I think it’s always tough to pick up an old story after letting it sit awhile (like since 2014). Even after reading what I’d written before, and having storyboards to tell me what comes next, it wasn’t as easy as picking up with COC had been. In truth, though, that story never really let go of me, and to some extent still hasn’t. That novel was always in the background, saying “write me, write me!” while this one isn’t quite as demanding. Whether that’s due to having way more romance novels on the list than fantasy ones, I can’t say. But I agreed to stick with the fantasy genre for Camp, which is part of the reason I gave myself a decent but not intense daily goal.

This time, though, let’s see if I can’t move the action along a little faster instead of getting bogged down in the descriptives. :) See you tomorrow, campers!

You’re not imagining things, it’s really me!

Hello Writerverse, it’s been a while! A lot has happened in the seven–wow, seven?!–months since I last posted here on my blog. I had no idea it had been that long, and I need to make up for that. So I’ll take this time to get y’all caught up on what’s been going on. Beware, this is gonna be a long one. :)

the endFirst and foremost, the big news: I. Finished. Writing. My. First. Novel! Yes, you read that correctly. Last November 30th at the end of NaNoWriMo, I wrote the words “The End” on the last page of my manuscript for Curse of Camelot! I was with my bestie, and the second after typing those words, I clapped my hands over my mouth to keep from screaming out loud. Meagan, of course, knew instantly what I’d accomplished, and she grinned at me. A moment later, we were boogieing like idiot teenagers.

I took the next four months off until I half-heartedly attempted to participate in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo to edit the rest of COC. I failed miserably, and the manuscript sat another month and a half until Meagan and I went on our second annual Belletristes writing retreat in Fredericksburg. Having already spent nearly three weeks without air conditioning due to a busted compressor, I was more than ready for time away from home and getting back to writing.

Two momentous events happened that week, the first being my second big accomplishment with Camelot: I completed the copy edits of the full manuscript on 7 June. Another boogie session ensued with my bestie, and I celebrated by tossing the original first draft pages into the air for one of my Instagram posts. Then we each plowed through a pint of our favorite ice cream while watching my favorite movie, Ladyhawke. Meagan went to bed early (she was being a good mom and heading back home at the crack of dawn to attend my oldest nephew’s fifth grade graduation) and I stayed up to watch my new favorite dance movie, High Strung, then I too went to bed.

Little did I know my world was about to blow up into smithereens the next day.

I got up Friday morning, smiled at the note Meagan had left, and ate my breakfast bagel before getting down to work at 7:30. I started transcribing my edits into Word, and broke for lunch around noon. My bestie called to say she’d be on her way back shortly, and I got back to transcribing. When my cell rang again, I picked it up and automatically glanced at the caller ID, and stopped breathing.

It was the animal hospital where I was boarding my Molly calling, and I knew  they wouldn’t be contacting me if she was okay. As the conversation continued, my heart ached, the tears I cried (okay, sobbed) made me almost incoherent as I tried to comprehend the details being relayed by the on-call vet. The entire time, I sat in the chair in front of the window staring out of it and waiting for my sister-bestie to get back so I wouldn’t be alone in a rental cottage without transportation 78 miles away.

Molly
Molly Maru (1998-2018)

You see, my kitty had developed fluid in her chest from her heart murmur or her kidney disease or possibly cancer, and it was hard for her to breathe and she would most likely not get better. So I had to make The Decision all pet owners avoid as long as possible, and I had to do it long distance. I knew what was best for her, and to do anything else would have been horribly selfish. Fortunately, my very good friend works a receptionist at WLAH, and loved my kitty almost as much as me. Caryn was with Molly for me as my baby girl left this world to join Tink in Kitty Heaven, and also agreed to keep her until I could see her one last time on Monday.

As you can imagine, my emotions have been on a roller-coaster ride the last three weeks. Some days, I’m the Walking Dead as I shuffle around the house desperately missing my cat. Others, I’m inspired to work on this or that for my novels, and her being gone hurts a little less. Part of why I continued with FMS’s Instagram June Photo A Day challenge was to have something different I could focus on. My July is shaping up to be enormously busy too, what with taking on three challenges simultaneously: 25,000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo, Kara’s bullet journal #bohoberrychallenge, and NaNoWriMo’s #InstaWrimo challenge from April.

Here’s to getting back to normal and reconnecting with my shapeshifters. I’ve been away from them too long, and I could use some old friends to talk to instead of a few empty rooms.

Good luck in July, fellow Campers. I’ll be back around the campfire starting Sunday, so see you there!

Tomorrow Camp NaNo 2014 Begins

2014-Participant-Vertical-BannerHello there! I know I’ve been off the radar for months as far as writing goes, but I haven’t been idle. Granted, the majority of what I’ve been doing is worldbuilding for my Shifters novel — I mean what’s a new fantasy world without a few maps of the topography and cities and such? — and reviewing the existing storyboards from November in anticipation of fleshing them out for some writing at a later date. I even went so far as to print out what I had written for NaNo and read through it. Wasn’t too shabby, considering the speed at which it had been written.

Then, this past Sunday I had lunch with my bestie to celebrate my belated birthday, during which I randomly and somewhat innocently asked, “So, are you doing Camp NaNo in April?” I was more curious than anything, and not necessarily looking for her to say, “Why yes, let’s do it together!” I should have guessed that by the end of our meal she was ready to do it, and I was like, wait, she wasn’t going to do it a minute ago, so what just happened!?

Beware your writer friends who are looking for motivation…and are more than willing to drag you along with them.

So, as of today, I have officially signed up to keep working on Shifters for Camp NaNoWriMo in April, to hit a word count goal of 25,000. Hopefully that’s doable in between choir rehearsals on Wednesday nights, two different Sundays of singing for both church services in addition to singing at the Good Friday service, five hours of class on Saturdays and my dad’s birthday on the 27th.

Yikes.

I guess tonight will be a final cram session of planning and storyboard review after the official birthday dinner with the parental units. Wish me luck; I think I’m going to need a whole bunch of it as I’ve had 24 hours to get used to the idea instead 24 days like I had back in November.

NaNo 2013 ~ We have a winner!

NaNoWriMo WInnerIt’s Friday night, the day after Thanksgiving, and I am over the moon. With just a little extra time, I was able to do something today that I’ve never done before. I’ve won NaNoWriMo 2013!

*dancing and cheering and fist pumping ensues in Nikki’s house*

As you can see, I’m pretty excited to have met this little goal. To have done NaNo for real for the first time in years — instead of working on the same thing for multiple consecutive NaNo’s — and to win, is indescribable. I’m grinning from ear to ear, and I’m smothering my kitty with hugs. I’m tickled to see the purple “Winner!” bar where the ever-moving green bar used to be, and the little blue ribbon with “WINNER” that now decorates the book cover I uploaded for “Shifter Days” on the official site.

As my fellow winner M said, “It’s the little things.” Boy howdy, ain’t that the truth!

Congrats to all of you other Wrimos out there who have won, and to all of you who wrote even just one word. We did it! :)

NaNo 2013 ~ Day 27

Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, and so far today I’ve watched a TV show marathon of “The Originals” on my DVR, made an incredible batch of chili that I ate for dinner with a lot of cheese and corn chips, and added another couple thousand words to my total. That last one? That’s the best one, because I was ahead of the game from yesterday. I zoomed even further ahead in just a couple of hours tonight so that if I don’t get to sit down with my laptop at all tomorrow, either before heading over to Mom’s, at Mom’s, or after getting home from Mom’s, I’ll still be right on track to win NaNo.

I keep being surprised at how cool that sounds. Me, winning NaNo.

I will in no way be done with my story when I hit 50,000 words; there’s still quite a bit of it ranging out before me. But after I take a short break to let my brain – and fingers – recharge, I am going to keep on writing. I might even make new goals for the months ahead. I’m quite sure my friend M, who won NaNo on Sunday, will be more than happy to help me with that. I can see us now, sitting in a booth having burgers at Moonie’s in our matching winner’s tees and coming up with a game plan.

So for all you other Wrimos out there, I have faith that we’ll all make our goals. Write on, and Happy Thanksgiving!