The Return of Me and NaNoWriMo

A quiet spot for reading, napping or watching the sunset on the fictional Guardian Grove Winery, Stables and Ranch that is the setting for my new novel, “Take A Chance”.

Well, I know it’s been a while since you’ve seen me around the blogosphere. Having to unexpectedly say goodbye to my beloved 20-year-old kitty in June really threw me off the rails, and I still haven’t quite yet gotten back to normal. That’s why July Camp fizzled miserably, and my finished proof- and copy-edited novel is still in the crate it traveled in to our writers retreat awaiting its edits to be transcribed. But the calendar has flipped to November once again and that means it’s time for that annual event they call NaNoWriMo.

Thanks to my sister-of-the-heart BFF, who has lovingly pestered and cajoled and hounded me for the last month, I completed quite a lot of NaNoPrep in October. Fortunately, I had a project that has been bugging me for a while now, so I decided to see what could come of that idea. A month later, I’ve got a Trello board jam-packed full of cards detailing characters, plot questions to resolve, background notes, miscellaneous to-dos, and even a full set of the series’ book covers I created in Canva. With cards that link to outlines, character profiles and draft documents in my OneDrive cloud storage, everything I will ever need to work on this series is all in one place. I even found time to add the series pages to my blog’s “nik’s novels” section, although I still have half of them to go.

So here’s hoping that writing 50,000 words this month will kick start the rest of my life and some normalcy returns. I know that sounds counter-intuitive or ironic or some other term, but if I believe it, that’s really all that matters.

P.S. — If you’ve never heard of Trello, you can find out more here. I found it by way of my friend Kelly L, who’s a fellow NaNoer and time management/organization geek like me. I’ve just started experimenting with their power-ups like my main to-do board’s calendar, an automated service that sends certain tagged items in my Gmail to Trello, and linking to my OneDrive files. Here’s a look at the board I created for the new series:

click to view full size image (in same window)

That second card under the book cover titled First Draft links to that file so I can pick up where I left off from the board. Neat, huh?


I’m back… and just in time for NaNo

Yes, it’s true. You’re actually reading a new blog post by little old me. I’m really back! The last time you heard from me back in June, I was preparing for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo and my first-ever homemade writers retreat with my bestie. Well, Camp itself was a bit of a bust, but what did go splendidly well was our retreat.

For me, it was a chance to see what life would be like as a full-time writer instead of an only-in-November one. I had a schedule, and I stuck with it: have some breakfast, write for four hours, have some lunch, then back to writing for another five hours.

It was, quite honestly, amazing.

I really, really liked the feel of those three days. Quite often I wrote past my stop alarm because I was that close to the end of the scene and wanted to get it done. I clocked in a word count of over 18,000 words in three days, but that last Sunday afternoon I struggled to add words to the count. It took me a good hour of only kinda sorta necessary research to figure out I was procrastinating. I also realized I’d reached the three-quarters done mark of my book.

Which meant I was almost done writing the first draft of a novel.

Which meant I was at the same place I’d been with Boyfriend Experiment the last time I stalled out and didn’t finish.

Which means I haven’t written a word since July 23rd.

Fast-forward to this month’s Preptober discussions with my bestie about what we’re going to work on for NaNoWriMo. I know I should pick up COC and finish it. I know this. Maybe it’s the excuse-maker in me, but I’m pretty sure part of why I procrastinated was I have no idea how to end the book. There are too many ways it could go, and I’m not sure which is the right one.

Is your NaNoWriMo prep complete?

I don’t care what you say, endings are fracking scary.

Thus I took the path of least resistance and decided on traditional romance for November. I’m going back to the basics–no prophecies, no magic and no trying to remember where I put a certain plot point or added an important detail so that I don’t screw up the semi-complex story line. It’s set in my fictional Texas city of Kilcavan, and will include a boy and a girl, horses and a hurricane, and a little jealousy thrown in for kicks.

I’m sure this will be another good NaNoWriMo. I’ve set up numerous writing sessions with work and non-work friends. I’ve got a new bullet journal layout with a nifty grid of milestones to earn toward rewards at the end of each of its six levels that will track my progress along with my usual word count bookcase.

This year I also have Lois Lane of Daily Planet fame watching over me and inspiring me when I’m at home (click here to see my Instagram fangirl geekout over her arrival). When I’m elsewhere, I’ll have my ever-present companion Snoopy along with his new buddy Mars, a small toy statue that looks exactly like Cal’s mustang.

I’m off to binge as many episodes of Smallville as I can between now and November 1 when writing begins, because once NaNoWriMo starts, no more TV until the day’s word count is met. :)

NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 2 Report

NaNoWriMoWizardOkay, yes, technically it’s November 3rd, but since I had a long, busy, tiring day yesterday I chose not to write so that makes today my Day 2. Yesterday’s surplus also helped out a little when playing catch up this evening, and I did manage to go a little beyond that necessary second day total. That means I’ll still be behind tomorrow, unless when I get home from the office (which is where I spent my writing time tonight) I decide to put in a little more work. You never know with me. Sometimes I just blow it off, and sometimes I surprise myself and say, “why not, let’s keep going!”

I’ll have a lunch writing session tomorrow with wrimo pal Kel, since today’s planned session was sidelined by the call of chicken enchiladas with boom-boom sauce and stuffed avocados. I’ll also have another session with my other wrimo and BFF Meagan, and since we’re going to my neighborhood diner, I bet we can camp out and stay there until they kick us out. If need be, I will get as many orders of french fries as it takes to keep the table. Theirs are fabulous, and hey, I do what I can.

Well, although the cleaning crew left the lights on for me because they actually saw me hiding out back here in my corner cubicle, someone else just turned them out. I guess that’s a sign I should head for home, huh?

Don’t forget to check my new widget in the left menu for the progress I’ve made and my comment on the day. Talk to you soon, wrimos!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 1 Report

coc-book-cover-newGood evening, my fellow wrimos, wherever you are! It’s me, reporting in from Day 1 of National Novel Writing Month 2016. I managed to finish up the previous chapter I was working on last Friday night so I could start clean today with the next chapter in the continuing saga of The Curse of Camlann. That’s the new book cover for this year at right; if you’ve looked me up on the official NaNo site, you’ll see it there as well. All in all, it was a pretty good start!

Today marks the first of many lunchtime write-ins I have scheduled with a fellow co-worker who’s also doing NaNo. We blocked off time in a small conference room, brought in our snacks, and got to work. I admit, I got a little farther along than Kel did, only because I had all my prep work done and she had a bit to do before diving in. Me, I wasn’t completely sure how I was going to start the scene, considering I’d kind of flaked out on the ending of the last scene by having the heroine faint.

I know. I know! But considering she was still in shock from a) finding our hero dead after being killed by her ex-husband at the beginning of the scene, only to have b) our hero come back to life a moment later, having her faint when our hero tells her he’s been alive since 506 AD and fought alongside King Arthur, it seemed like a logical option at the time.

Thankfully, I figured out my opening and my trusty outline helped me get to 1,026 words in an hour, which is mighty fine. I even had an amusing moment when I did a ‘Net search for “expensive whiskey” to find out what my hero might have in his wet bar. That’s probably not the sort of thing one should Google while at work, but in my defense I was on my lunch hour.

It’s now past quitting time and I’ve added to my previous count to meet my daily goal and then some. Hurray! This bodes well for the rest of the month.

My first eight word count books of my first of two word tracker pages in my Bullet Journal are to be colored in as well, this time in blue as that’s the color I associate with NaNo. I am also realizing I need to look at other pages for tracking other milestones, such as “nano update blog post written” and “days written” to name a couple. I’m sure more will occur to me, but that’s the beauty of a bullet journal; you can add them in wherever you think of them and because of your index they’re easy to find. I also have a year of journaling under my belt, whereas last year around this time I had oh a week, so I understand more about how the system works and how to adapt it to my way of tracking tasks.

Speaking of tracking, check out my new widget in my left menu where I’ll keep you up to date on my progress and comment on the overall day. Just expand the menu to see it. Okay, I’m off to go play with my new toy (a spiffy new laptop!) and relax a little. Talk to you soon, wrimos!

On Sale Now: The Courtesan’s Avenger (Desertera #2)

One of my writer friends has published her second book in a really nifty series. Go check it out!

Kate M. Colby

perf5.250x8.000.inddAfter over a year of working and waiting, I’m pleased to announce that The Courtesan’s Avenger (Desertera #2) is available in ebook AND paperback formats on all major online retailers.

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point. I couldn’t have published one book, let alone two, without the support of my family, friends, and fellow writers. My readers deserve a special thanks: your encouraging emails, social media shout-outs, and heartwarming reviews are the fuel that keeps my inspiration burning. Thank you joining my journey.

When I published The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) last year, I thought my heart would burst from panic. Here I was, an unknown and inexperienced author, putting her art out for the world to judge. Publishing my nonfiction booklets has felt significantly less personal (more like writing one of my craft blog posts), so I thought I…

View original post 139 more words

The Courtesan’s Avenger (Desertera #2) Cover Reveal

Check out my friend Kate’s cover reveal for her second novel. It’s on my “to be read” list for sure. I’m so proud of my writer friends! ~Nikki

Kate M. Colby

Hello, everyone! Today, I’m pleased to present the cover and book description for The Courtesan’s Avenger (Desertera #2).


A courtesan on a mission. A brothel ravished by greed. A murder to avenge.

Dellwyn Rutt loves her life as a courtesan. For years, she has enjoyed the simple pleasures and lavish gifts of her trade. Now she wants more: the title of madam.

But Madam Huxley, the brothel’s current proprietor, refuses to name a successor—a problem that is amplified by the legalization of adultery. As the new law sends lusty clients flocking to the brothel, Madam Huxley’s greed grows unchecked at the workers’ expense. Only one outsider seems to care: a self-proclaimed prophet who won’t rest until the unholy institution is abolished.

After weeks of abuse, Dellwyn desperately seeks a way to subdue Madam Huxley’s tyranny. But when another courtesan is murdered, Dellwyn must set her struggles aside and solve the…

View original post 113 more words