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!

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NaNoWriMo Day 3: Not Too Shabby

Hi everyone! How was your writing today? For me, it was my second day of double writing sessions, one during lunch and then one after work. I’m once again ahead of the daily minimum count, although I didn’t quite write enough to surpass my bestie. (Yes, we’re that competitive when it comes to word count, LOL.) I can live with that, considering I’ll still have a big chunk of Saturday after ceramics class to put words on the page, not to mention the marathon writing session M and I have planned for Sunday.

If you can believe it, we’re going to head out for breakfast at 8 AM, then write as much as we can until it’s time for a late lunch. Sound familiar? It should. It’s very reminiscent of our retreat schedule. I’m hoping it means I can crank out some serious word count and put myself ahead by a lot. A lot, a lot.

Next week is also a holiday week with the observance of Veterans Day, so I might get to sneak in an extra session of writing even as Mom and I take advantage of my day off and add an extra ceramics class as well. Ooh, I just realized that my heroine’s best friend herself is a veteran, so I’ll have to give her a shout out next week.

As it is, with my evening writing, I finished chapter three. I like it when I can end the day in such a nice fashion. I don’t know about you, but it bugs me when I’m so completely tired and over the day that I have no choice but to quit in mid-scene. That also happens at work when I’m on a time limit and I really want to keep going but the Powers That Be require me to get back to work.

I suppose that’s just another reason for me to get one of these novels finished so that writing can be my permanent day job! =]

Happy writing, friends, and until next time!

NaNoWriMo Day 2: I Didn’t Give In

Well, I hope that you guys had a better writing day than I did. I found myself battling one nasty headache for most of the day. You know the kind I mean–the one that feel like someone’s standing behind you tightening a vise on your head, and it throbs so badly that you can barely think?

It wasn’t until that second dose of ibuprofen about 4:00 that it started to let up a little. While I waited to see if it was a momentary reprieve or if it was going to return, I checked my word count from yesterday. Turns out because I did pretty well yesterday, I only needed 370 words in order to meet the minimum Day 2 total.

Thank the gods for small miracles.

So I got myself a diet soda and my favorite chips from the vending machine and got to work. Or tried to. I think the first ten minutes was me staring at the blank page underneath the words “Chapter Three” trying to figure out how exactly I was supposed to start.

Throwback Thursday: a Southwest Airlines flight attendant from 1972 – I really want those boots…

Yeah, sure, I have an outline, but the transition to this chapter also meant a location change. I’d already had to tweak the beginning of Chapter Two because it started exactly the same way as its predecessor, and I wasn’t about to go for three.

That’s when the memory of one of the humorous arrival announcements I’d heard on a Southwest Airlines flight home years ago popped in my head.

I took the hint, and after a teeny bit of research, I had my start. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. It got me going and it’s a decent lead-in to where I’m going. Sure, it’s only half the count of what I wrote in my first writing session yesterday. The important thing is I didn’t give up or give in and say, “Nah, I’ll just make it up tomorrow.”

Score one for the stubborn.

That said, I am going to give in to this headache and go home so that I can write like a crazy person tomorrow at our first official work writer buddies write-in at lunch. Hope you guys hit your goals, no matter how large or small, and I’ll see ya tomorrow.

NaNoWriMo Day 1: It’ll Do

Meet Max, Frankie’s cute as heck six month old puppy

Evening, all. It’s 11:15 PM CST, and I just finished up my second writing session of this first day of NaNoWriMo. It’s been a pretty successful day, despite having my first scheduled write-in preempted by an all-day training session for my writer pals. I stuck to the original plan and wrote over my lunch hour, locking in almost the entire day’s minimum count.

Before I could write again, there was work, and dinner with Mom and a couple hours of choir practice for our upcoming Thanksgiving services. So when I got home at 9:15 I was pretty pooped, but I had those couple hundred words still needing to be written before I could quit for the day.

So for the second time today, I planted myself before a keyboard and knocked out another decent word count while listening to my novel’s playlist in the background. I also played with a little bit of conflict between Frankie and her mother, and Frankie and her co-worker, who fancies himself her next suitor. (She wants nothing from him except maybe a movie buddy now and then, just in case you were wondering.)

I’d hoped to finish in time to start season 10 of Smallville tonight, but considering the jaw-stretching yawns I’ve been having the last few minutes, I think Clark will have to wait until tomorrow. So I’ll leave you with a picture of Frankie’s extremely cute puppy Max, and my word count for the day. You can check my progress in the sidebar widget.

See you soon!

Camp NaNoWriMo Returns in July and I’m Bringing Conflict With Me

Hello again, old friends! It’s been a month or so since I made it back from my first successful trip to Camp NaNoWriMo and came home with a winner’s button. Since then, I’ve been alternating between some casual editing on my unfinished Boyfriend Experiment manuscript (aka going through and just removing the “fluff”) and reading up on the craft of writing. I picked up quite a few reference titles during the Austin Book Store Crawl on Independent Bookstore Day, April 29th, and on a shopping spree over Memorial Day weekend. I cracked the cover on my Writers Digest book Writing Monsters, and I’ll definitely get back to it when I return to my other fantasy novel (there’s a really nasty shapeshifter dragon bad guy in that one). The other WD book I picked up, Elements of Fiction Writing – Conflict and Suspense, basically confirmed my suspicion that my current work-in-progress is going to need a bit more of a rewrite than I originally expected.

According to the book, “the stakes in an emotionally satisfying novel have to be death” and “somebody has to be in danger of dying”. That somebody is your main character and s/he’s in jeopardy either physically, professionally, or psychologically. Now, when your MC happens to be an immortal, that makes thing a bit more tricky. Fortunately, Reese believes the cure to his curse is mortal death, so that’s in line with the psychological aspect. Maybe I’m not as far off the tracks as I thought.

Yet when it comes to conflict, I think I can do better by this manuscript. It needs some work on its pacing at the beginning, in order to get things zooming along to the all important middle. We’re on the countdown to the breaking of the curse, and I’m sure Reese can hear the ticking of the clock in the background. Still, unless I bring back the ex we haven’t seen since Reese scared the crap out of him by coming back from the dead, I’m not sure who my late-novel antagonist will be to add those elements of conflict. Well, external conflict anyway. I’m sure my leads will have many things to argue about between now and the start of the eclipse regarding how each believes the curse will end should all go as planned.

In any case, I will keep you guys up-to-date with letters home from Camp in July like I did in April. I’m also excited for my very first homemade writers retreat, which Meagan and I created for ourselves (we even came up with our very own swag!). It will happen smack in the middle of Camp this month, so stay tuned for additional updates from the Texas Hill Country.

You may also want to check out the Curse of Camlann excerpt page between now and July 1. I’ve updated the page with a scene from last session so you can see where our knight and lady have landed.

Here’s to another winner session, a great retreat, and all the words we’re all going to write!

Camp NaNoWriMo Results

Okay so I realize it’s been over a week since I’ve checked in with you guys, and there’s a perfectly logical explanation for that. You see, after hitting my word count goal of 15,000 at lunch on Friday, April 21st–yay me!–I was all ready to tell you guys about it. But Meagan and I had another writing session scheduled for Tuesday, so I thought I’d wait until then to see what my final final word count would be.

Unfortunately, pain in the form of migraines and back aches had me feeling awful so I had to cancel my meetup with my BFF, and no blogging occurred. Fortunately, I’m feeling a lot better now. In fact, I have officially validated my word count and I am excited to share this with you:

CampWinnerBadge

That is the official winner badge for Camp NaNoWriMo 2017, and I’m very proud of it. Especially since I’ve participated in Camp before but never reached my goal, it’s a nifty little keepsake. I’ll be checking out the store to see what other goodies I can get to celebrate; you know me, gotta have the swag. *grin*

Since it’s still frelling early on Sunday morning (my cat decided I was not about to sleep past 6:55 AM this morning), I’m going to continue to celebrate by binging some more Chuck (I’m on Season 2, disc 4) and just enjoying the rest of my weekend. Stay tuned, however. I’ll be keeping you guys in the know on my upcoming retreat with Meagan and on any further writing adventures between now and then.

Happy writing to you all, and congratulations to everyone who also reached their goals for Camp NaNoWriMo 2017!

Hitting the Home Stretch at Camp NaNo

Snoopy_happycampingHappy Tuesday, my awesome fellow Campers! It’s the second-to-last weekday work session with my BFF, and boy howdy was it a good one. We met in the mess hall as has been our plan these last three weeks, and after a bit of dinner we brought out our laptops and got to work. M was only one page away from her Camp goal of 30 pages written (she’s doing flash fiction, if you remember) and by the end of the night, she’d finished that last lone page and won!

If she wasn’t my honorary sister, I’d totally call her a brat for beating me yet again. Okay, I’ll probably call her a brat for real later on, but I can’t really begrudge her the victory. I myself had a pretty fab writing night! It was one of those days when the words just flowed like mystical waters from my brain to my fingers and onto the Scrivener page. Tonight’s session netted me my largest word count yet (over 2,000 you guys!) and I’m now only 1,657 away from winning myself.

Easy, peasy, y’all.

If you don’t hear from me before next Tuesday’s final work session here at camp, it’s because we’re preempting our usual Saturday work session to spend the weekend back home. You see, I invited myself along to M’s youngest’s birthday party at the bowling lanes, and I plan to have some fun attempting to throw strikes (which will probably ed up being unconverted splits) before getting back to the keyboard for that final sprint to the winner’s circle.

You never know, though… I might get inspired and fit in an extra mini-session at lunch on Friday just to see if I can’t crank out that last little chunk I need. After all, what I’ve go left is less than I usually do in a day during November, so it’s totally doable don’tcha think? I know I sure do!

Camp Stats

Days written: 11
Daily word count/goal: 2,058/500
Word count to date/target: 13,343/15,000