Tag Archives: adventure

What you can learn from the NaNo forums

As I work through my post-surgery fun, another post from last year’s NaNoWriMo:

I haven’t procrastinated too much in the forums so far. I did a good bit of forum reading before November 1, and might do more after I’m done, but mid-writing I don’t find it too helpful. Here are some things I’ve noticed, for what it’s worth:

People take themselves way too seriously. I am (at least in my own opinion!) a professional writer. I do NaNo events (all the NaNo events) so that I can get a first draft. My intention is to take that draft to publication. Is that draft ready for publication on December 1? Of course not. But I am serious and intentional about my work.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it, and that I don’t try to make NaNo fun. I mean, let’s face it – it’s a crazy thing to do, to write 50,000 (or more) words in a month. Regardless of your plans for the work, the process is nuts! It’s absurd, when you get right down to it. And I celebrate that. I don’t take myself so seriously that I can’t enjoy silly posts or crazy rants or even the occasional whacked-out haiku. It doesn’t offend my “craft” when people have fun writing, and it shouldn’t offend yours either, no matter how seriously you pursue your goals as a writer the rest of the year.

People give up too easily. On day 1 there were countless threads that it was over, done, finished, irretrievable, irreparable. People were calling it quits right and left, before they’d even begun. Come on, grow some backbone! Believe in yourself a little! Will you write the next great classic, destined to be taught in ivy league classrooms? Not bloody likely. Can you crank out something, even if it’s a rambling stream of consciousness involving your sister, zombies, aliens, a smuggling ring and Bigfoot? Sure! If you thought enough of your skills to sign up, think enough of them to at least try, for more than 24 or 48 hours.

People don’t dig deep enough. I don’t mean with a backhoe. I don’t think a lot of people bring a plastic beach shovel. I am not the most disciplined person around. I don’t exercise regularly, diets don’t last more than a couple of days, I hate housework, I have boxes of crap that I don’t want to file. It’s a joke to my kids that people always say, “Oh, I couldn’t homeschool because I’m not organized or patient.” Well, neither am I! Everyone I know will attest to that fact.

But I do know that, for a month, I can set a daily goal and work towards it. There will be days I don’t reach it and days I don’t write at all. There will be days I’d like to scrub the toilet rather than write. Conversely, doing it anyway means that I’ll have days like yesterday, where I had an idea that turned into a small plot point that became a big deal. Where the first 2000 words had felt like pulling teeth, the last 1600 flew off my fingers. If I hadn’t plowed through those first ones, I wouldn’t have gotten to those last ones.

My first boss used to say that the streets were full of people with talent. He didn’t hire people with talent. He hired people with tenacity and stick-to-it-iveness. Tim Tebow basically says the same thing about football: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.  Bottom line is, you have to work hard at things. Some things come easy, and some things don’t, but you don’t get far without the work. You all know what I’m talking about… When you’ve worked hard and achieved something, you’re proud, right? In this case, it’s 50,000 words. Who cares if it’s good? It’s a marathon – crossing the finish line is an accomplishment, even if it takes you 8 hours instead of 3, right?

NaNo wasn’t created for the “serious novelist.” Nowhere in anything does it say it’s for the “serious novelist.” So lighten up. Even if you’re a “serious novelist,” does that mean you never have fun? Maybe you should! Throw in some fairies, some zombies, a line of dancing girls. Eat red hots and cackle over your own genius. Have some wine and chill.

It’s supposed to be fun. Really.


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IXEOS is featured today on Young Adult Promo Central!


You can check out IXEOS today, and then IXEOS: Rebellion on Saturday!! The launch date is TOMORROW – watch for links on Twitter and Facebook!!

IXEOS 800 Cover reveal and Promotional

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Filed under Publishing, Self publishing

What is your “Next Thing?”


My husband and I coined an acronym during a particularly bad period in our business history (we found out that our office manager had embezzled a ton of money, cooked the books, screwed up the accounts on purpose, we were broke, and in the process of figuring out what we wanted to do to reinvent the company in a way we could live with). It’s TNT – The Next Thing.

Since that time, we’ve had two other periods where we were constantly talking about TNT. One of those is now. We’re in a period of happy transition, and honestly, a lot of things are still up in the air. Like where we’re moving later this year. Some things aren’t. We’re transitioning completely out of the aforementioned business, which will be wonderful. Right now it’s very part-time, thanks to the restructuring we did after the “recent unpleasantness” of 2008, but if you own a business you have business pressures, even if you’re not very involved. Being done with it will be a huge relief after more than twenty years.

We’re writing like crazy people, as I’ve mentioned several times in this blog, and have started the publishing company to better organize and structure those efforts. Our days are spent writing, editing, and thinking about writing and editing. After being in the business world and dealing with employees, equipment and ever more stressed clients, it’s a glorious thing!

I’ve also decided to get into the freelance world a bit. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve done ad copy before, along with business writing, and what I’ll be doing will basically combine those two things into a (theoretically) reasonably well paid career. I’m also good at dialogue and voices, two things you use to craft good copy. The cool thing about this is that literally everyone in my family has the ability to do it. My husband used to work in advertising and is very persuasive with things he believes in. My daughter who is graduating from college in May and marrying in June has won competitions using similar styles of writing. And my teenage son, who is graduating from high school in May, has enough natural ability to be taught. So… We may have another family business on our hands!

Obviously, you’ve all been impacted by this “new” economy. Many have lost their jobs or lost part of their income. You’re in the same boat as we are, having to reinvent yourself and figure out how to make a living in 2013. We’re 47 (me) and 53 (my husband); we certainly didn’t expect to be doing this at our age. But as it’s turned out, we’re more excited and more passionate about our Act II than we ever were about what we were doing for a living in Act I. (Okay, I may have these acts wrong… Let’s say Act 1 is early career, Act II is mid, and Act III is – hopefully – fabulous retirement in some lovely warm place with long, desolate beaches and many days of sunshine.)

It’s a little scary. We’re purposefully taking a pay cut to get out of our business, and right now that might seem crazy. But our kids are at a place where we can do it, our lives are at a place where we’re willing to try it, and, even at our “advanced” ages, adventure still calls. If nothing else, it won’t be boring!

What about you? Where are you in this journey? Act I? Act II? Maybe even Act III? We only get this one life – don’t forget to live it!


Filed under Publishing, Writing

The books came!

My husband came in the door an hour or so ago and said, “You got a box.” I said, “Maybe it’s the books!” He said, “Yeah, it’s heavy!” So we pulled it open and there they were – the first “first editions” of Solomon’s Throne!

I am beyond thrilled! The cover is even more awesome in person, thanks to Glendon at Streetlight Graphics, and right about the time the box came, I got the ebook files from them as well.

Now, I have to admit that I found 6 typos proofing for the ebook version that I hadn’t found in the print version. That’s really frustrating, although I guess, with over 93,000 words, 6 isn’t so bad. My daughter says it makes the “first edition” more valuable. Ha! So we’re going with that. In the meantime, please excuse the editor’s bad eye/brain combination!

You can purchase the book here and here, and the ebooks should be available by Friday. Thanks all!!


Filed under Publishing, Self publishing, Writing

Update – Now on Amazon! and other happenings

SOLOMON’S THRONE is now on Amazon.com in the paperback version. The Kindle edition should be up later this week. Thanks to those who have already purchased copies – it was a fun first day!

In other news…

I am at 75,000 words on the sequel to Solomon’s Throne, called The Hoard of the Doges, and will be finished by the weekend. I have a few beta readers lined up, and the first draft is coming out pretty clean, so I should be on track for a mid-September release. Stay tuned!

Editing will start next week on Undaunted Love. After much soul searching, I’ve decided to send it to the agent who suggested I write a book in the genre, and see how that goes. If she doesn’t want to rep it, I won’t query it, I’ll go the indie route. It was a difficult decision, as I am 100% sold on the author-friendly aspects of indie publishing, but I’m feeling good about my decision.

I have changed my idea for the August Camp NaNo. I was going to do a screenplay of a mystery that’s been kicking around in my brain for awhile, but after a boat ride with my daughter a couple of weeks ago, and a fun incident that happened on Carrot Island, I am going to be doing a YA mild-fantasy dystopian thriller. For now, we’re calling it “Where the Ducks Went” although this is NOT the title! You’ll have to read it to find out where…

After August, I’ll be taking September off from any original writing. I’ll let the beta readers loose on WTDW, and either take a break completely, or do a rewrite/edit of the nonfiction book I wrote in May of 2011. We’ll see how tired I am! Since I’ll be doing NaNo in November, it may be good just to take a break, work on marketing Solomon’s Throne and getting The Hoard of the Doges from prepublished to published. Then I can use October to plan the NaNo novel, which will most likely be another Christian historical romance. (NO, for those of you who’ve already asked, it won’t be a sequel to Undaunted Love – one couple can only be put through so much!!)

Oh, and I’m also helping my husband on his final production efforts of his upcoming nonfiction book called You Might Be a Liberal… He starts working with Streetlight Graphics the week of August 7, and is in the final editing and organizing stage.

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, Publishing, Self publishing, Writing