Monthly Archives: October 2016

NaNo Traditions

Wow!  Am I ever running late with this today!

I have a good excuse, though.  I went to an animal shelter to meet a pair of old Boxers that we’re hoping to adopt.  They are total loves and I’m going to be going slightly insane waiting to hear if we’ve been approved.

(Yes, okay, so “slightly insane” would be an improvement over my usual state of mind.)

And speaking of insane, it’s almost time for NaNoWriMo.  My outline is as good as it’s going to get for starting out (I’ll keep poking at it and making revisions, especially on some stuff toward the end) but I’m still not ready.  I have a ton of things I wanted to get done today and none of them are going to happen.

I should do them before I start writing, but… No.  Can’t do it.  Can’t break with my NaNoWriMo tradition, which is to start at midnight and do at least a thousand words before I go to bed. I’ll just have to use them to give me writing breaks instead.

I’m off for the first two days of the month, and I’m hoping to have a pair of 5K days to give me a bit of a cushion for the week ahead.  (I’m going to need a bigger cushion than that, actually, considering that I’ll hopefully be bringing home two new additions to the family in a week or so, and I want to go see the new Harry Potter movie when it comes out.)

But anyhow, I started thinking about starting to write at midnight, and wondering what sorts of things others have as their NaNoWriMo traditions.

In addition to writing a thousand words before bed, just before midnight I will create a new Word doc that will be named something really useful that will tell me exactly what is in the file when I’m looking for something later on.  Something like “NaNoWriMo 2016.”  (Yeah, I know. Helpful and informative – that’s my file names!

I also trim my fingernails before NaNoWriMo starts.  I can’t stand them anything other than ultra short because they drive me nuts when I type. (No comments about the drive not taking much gasoline, okay?)

I have a supply of my traditional NaNoWriMo munchies, namely honey wheat pretzel braids and cheese balls. I also just made my usual Samhain (Halloween) feast, so will have leftover ham and mashed potatoes for meals for the next few days.

And, more importantly, pumpkin bars and chocolate cherry upside down cake for sugar rushes.

(And currently, I have a disaster of a kitchen to clean to clear any writer’s block that may happen.)

Happy writing!

 

 

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Sunday Snippet October 30, 2016

This is from Book 10 of The Academy of the Accord and it hasn’t seen the editing pen yet.

(By the way, just to clear up any confusion, this is from the prologue and is set at a different school (Arcane Academy) not The Academy of the Accord.)

I’m skipping ahead quite a bit from last week.  Calef was expelled from Arcane Academy and spent the rest of that term confined to his room.  The semester is over and he and Rarian have met up again at the apothecary in the town near the school. (Dayli is the apothecary.)

 

“Dayli thinks we may have to stay an extra day or two,” Rarian said.

Calef nodded.  “We talked last night about what was happening at the school.  She’s afraid that they might be waiting for us.  I don’t mind staying here.  Do you?”

Rarian shook his head.  “We’re safe here, that is the main thing.”  He watched the wizard out of the corner of his eye as he continued. “Did you find out anything about The Academy of the Accord?” 

He nodded, his eyes lighting up. “It’s north of here, in the mountains.” He reached out one hand and a parchment floated to it from the top of the box where he had left it.  “When I got here yesterday, Dayli had this for me.  It was delivered here by a messenger, with a note for her to give it to me the next time she saw me.”

“What is it?” Rarian asked.  “And what does it have to do with us going to The Academy of the Accord?”

“A letter.  And everything.  Listen.” He unfolded the parchment and summoned a ball of light to illuminate it.

Calef, you do not know me, but I used to be a cadet at Arcane Academy. My name is Terhesh, and I am hoping that Rarian remembers me.  I am writing to you, trusting that the two of you are still together and that you will share this with him, as I know that the cadets there are not taught to read or write.

He looked up at Rarian.  “Do you remember him?”

Rarian nodded.  “I do,” he said, fighting down memories and regrets. “Go on.”

I am now at a different school, The Academy of the Accord.  It is a good school, a place where the two of you would be welcome, where you would fit in and be able to have friends. Here, no one would look down on you or make fun of you because of your friendship or the bond you share.

I hope that the two of you can come here, but if you cannot, please let Rarian know that I have found my wizard, and I understand now how the two of you feel, and I hope that someday we can meet and be friends.

In honor,

Terhesh

“That sounds too good to be true,” Rarian murmured.  Somehow both arms were around his wizard now and he stared over his shoulder at the parchment as if trying to form a picture of the school.

“I know it does.”  Calef looked up at him.  “This Terhesh… is he prone to lying or exaggeration?”

“No.”  Rarian’s voice was firm and confident.  “Lying is against our codes and he held to them more rigorously than most.  And exaggeration is a form of untruth, so, no.  If he says that it’s a place where we would be allowed to be friends, where we could have friends, then that is what sort of place it is.”

Calef’s eyes lit up.  “Then I cannot wait to get there.”

“Neither can I,” Rarian replied.  “How far is it?”

Calef laid the piece of parchment to one side, revealing another, this one a map. “We’re here,” he said, pointing.  “And this is The Academy of the Accord.”

Rarian studied the map.  “It’s going to be a long journey.”

“I know. But do you think we can do it? And can we get there before the next semester starts?”

“We can,” Rarian replied.  “And we will.”

 

 

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

 

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Rainbow Snippet for 10-29-2016

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Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

I’m still posting from Onyx Sun, a science fiction novel that is currently in revision. The revisions are turning out to be more complex than originally expected so the release date is, um, to be determined. (I’ve given up trying to predict one.)

Picking up from last week, when Taliya was roused from sleep by her ship’s proximity alarm.

 

A ship filled the view screen, a heavy scout ship of the kind usually used for long distance exploration, or for trips to wild space.

“Identify,” she snapped as she keyed the comm unit.

The ship’s answer was to fire again and Taliya tipped The Vain Glory hard to starboard to avoid the beam, her eyes scanning the panel: there had been no damage so far and she breathed a sigh of relief even as she aimed her craft at the much larger ship. 

Her ship was more maneuverable: all she had to do was get inside the other’s armament reach and she could switch directions and try to outrun it.

To her surprise, The Vain Glory moved far faster than she had thought it capable of and a few blinding moments later she had passed over the bridge of the other ship and was safely away. 

She extended the sensors to their farthest setting and frowned – they extended a lot further than those on a normal ship of this class and she began wondering about the ship’s history – and its former owner.  

 

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Crunch Time!

That noise you hear is the sound of panic coming from hundreds of thousands of writers who are realizing that there are only three days (not counting today) before NaNoWriMo.

I may or may not be one of those writers.

Actually, I’m in pretty good shape as far as the novel itself goes.  I have one pretty thorough outline that I’m still tweaking a bit (I’m having trouble with the sequence of events in a few places but if that’s not settled by the time I get to that part of the story I can fix it in the rewrite) and I have two more outlines waiting in the wings.  I’m not going to need them, but I can always finish them and use them for Camp sessions next year.  (Or work on them around the editing projects that I’ve been ignoring.)

(Yes, that means that I’ve decided which of the Elven Bard books I’m going to work on.)

My panic comes from the list of things that I need to finish before the end of the month.  It’s a very long list and it refuses to get any shorter no matter what I do. (I swear my lists are the spawn of hydras. I cross one thing off and two others grow in its place.)

I did get the stock up shopping done, so there is that.  I still need to get groceries – I’m hoping to do that Sunday night after work.  (I was going to go after work last night but it was raining and I’m already fighting off some sort of respiratory crud so I just came home instead.)

(I don’t have time to get sick.  NaNoWriMo is coming!)

Mostly my list consists of things to do.

Some of it is stuff to get done and out of the way around the house (like get the rat food out of the big 40 pound bag and into smaller containers).

The rest is stuff to get done online so I don’t have to deal with it next month (finish setting up snippets for the blog hops, for instance, and ordering more meds for the brat rats).

How much will get done before November first?

Well…

I’m hoping that the rat food and the online and computer stuff will be done before then, along with at least one major assault on the clutter that has accumulated while I wasn’t looking. (I need to finish a craft project first, too. Oh, dear.)

And I’m working today, tomorrow, and Sunday.

And Monday I’ll be busy baking and cooking and getting ready to start writing at midnight.

Sleep may be something I only dream of…

 

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Wednesday Words #96 (10/26/2016)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt: ww-10-26

 

(Click for larger image.)

(Found on FaceBook.)

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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A Week and a Day

Can you believe it? In one week it will be NaNoWriMo Eve.

Are you ready?

I’m ready-ish.

I have some shopping to do to lay in supplies.  (In November, the focus should be on writing, not on shopping.)

Granted, there are some things that I’ll have to shop for.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have room to store a month’s worth of food, but I can stock up on other stuff to get me through the month so I don’t have to worry about, say, running out of toilet paper.

I already restocked toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and body wash, and I’m pretty sure I have enough tissues and garbage bags to get me through the month, and the bottle of dish soap looks good.

We’re going to need laundry detergent, but my roommate is in charge of that because that aisle of the store tends to make me feel like my bronchial tubes are collapsing.

I’ll need to get more (generic) Excedrin and more ibuprofen.  We might be all right on both of those, but why take chances?  I don’t think I have enough tea, either.

I just ordered rat food and it should be here this week, probably tomorrow.  I’ll pick up more treats for them this week too, and order medicine to have on hand.  (Gotta make sure my boys are taken care of!)

And of course I’ll have to make sure that there are writing snacks on hand for me.  I’m partial to pretzels, “party mix,” cheese puffs… dry crunchy things that don’t make too much of a mess.  (Well, okay.  Cheese puffs do leave sticky residue on your fingers after a while but it’s nothing that a wet wipe won’t take care of.)

(*adds wet wipes to the stockpile list*)

I also like to have some quick meal type things on hand: Ramen noodles, hot dogs, canned ravioli, etc.  I try not to have to spend too much time in the kitchen in November, which means a lot of quick and easy meals.

Of course, if you’re in the U.S., there will be Thanksgiving to deal with – but it’s really not too much of a time suck if you plan it right.  (And then you have leftovers for quick meals for that all important last week of NaNoWriMo.)

And I’ll be cooking a ham next Monday, so lots of leftovers there too.

Yep, I’m pretty well set for next month as far as supplies go.

As far as the actual writing goes, I have a nicely detailed (hopefully detailed enough) outline to get me through the month.

I also have an insistent little bunny trying to snuggle its way in between me and it.  The plot bunny at least belongs to the Elven Bard books, but I think it needs to happen before the one I’m outlining and since The Academy of the Accord has shown me what a mess I make when writing out of order I’m kind of starting to outline it, but with a week left I think I’ll be doing the one that I already have outlined.

Maybe.

Yeah. I think I’ll go shopping.

 

 

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Sunday Snippet October 23, 2016

This is from Book 10 of The Academy of the Accord and it hasn’t seen the editing pen yet.

(By the way, just to clear up any confusion, this is from the prologue and is set at a different school (Arcane Academy) not The Academy of the Accord.)

We’re picking up from last week,  which ended with:

Master Epans smiled coldly, then suddenly spun and hurled something unseen at Rarian.

 

Calef had been expecting him to do it, but seeing it was still enough of a shock to tear a howl of pain and fear from him, even as he reacted, shouldering into the bigger man, knocking him off balance, and casting a spell of his own around Rarian, a protective shield.  At the last minute he added a reflection and the spell rebounded, returning to its source, leaving Master Epans on the ground struggling to breathe, his body wracked with pain, a few strangled cries of fear making it out of his chest.

Calef did not spare him so much as a thought; all of his attention was on Rarian as he ran to the cadet.

“Are you all right?” Calef wrapped his arms around him, shaking, and Rarian wrapped his arms around him, soothing him, neither of them caring where they were or who saw them, or what the others thought.

“I’m all right.”  Rarian bowed his head against the apprentice’s.  “Thank you, Calef.  That took a great deal of courage.”

Calef shook his head.  “I couldn’t hurt you, Rarian. And I couldn’t let him do it either.” He looked into the cadet’s eyes.  “He was going to kill you.”

Rarian looked past Calef and stiffened. “Calef. I think he’s dead.”

Calef turned. Master Epans lay unmoving, his face contorted by pain and fear.

Slowly the other apprentices were coming out of shock, staring at Master Epans’ lifeless body and then at Calef.

“You killed him,” one of them said.

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

 

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Rainbow Snippet for 10-22-2016

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Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

I’m still posting from Onyx Sun, a science fiction novel that is currently in revision. The revisions are turning out to be more complex than originally expected so the release date is, um, to be determined. (I’ve given up trying to predict one.)

Skipping ahead a bit.  Taliya has her first cargo run…

 

As soon as the cargo – a load of building supplies to go to a terra-forming colony on the moon of Pendelia 7 – and her supplies were loaded she ran through her pre-launch check.  She frowned slightly at an unexpected power draw but it was fleeting and did not reappear so she passed it off as one of those anomalies that you have to deal with in a used ship, and lifted off, smiling as she rose free of the pull of the planet and headed off on the first stage of her new life.

 

The trip was uneventful, and as soon as the credits for the delivery were in her account she made a loan payment:  she wanted the loan paid off and the ship fully hers as soon as possible, mostly, she was willing to admit, so she could prove her mother wrong. 

There was no repeat of the mysterious power fluctuations and Taliya wrote it off as a fluke.  She was halfway back to her home planet when the proximity alarm went off, waking her from a sound sleep.

As she struggled to get her bearings the ship rocked, nearly sending her to the floor as she stumbled from her cabin to the cockpit, taking the ship off autopilot and keying up visual displays from the sensors.

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Ask the Author #2 (Self Promotion)

 

It’s that time again – time for me to answer your questions. (If you have any, be they about process, WiPs, published books, whatever, let me know in the comments and I’ll turn you… er, it… into a blog post.)

This week’s blog post is brought to you by Skye Hegyes who asks:

What kind of marketing do you do outside your blog? What has worked? What hasn’t?

Um.  Yeah.

As I believe I mentioned last time, I suck at marketing.  I’m just not good at selling anything, let alone myself.

So, anyhow…

Other than the blog, there is some word of mouth – hoping that people who read and liked my books will recommend them to others.

And my much-neglected author page on Face Book.

And Face Book in general, which actually tends to be more of a time-sucking hindrance than a help it seems.  Well, no, I can’t say that. I’ve met some wonderful (and wonderfully supportive) authors there.)

And speaking of wonderful (and wonderfully supportive) authors, there are also the two blog hops that I participate in on the weekends: Rainbow Snippets and Snippet Sunday.  (I need to do better at promoting one of the books that’s out instead of my current WiPs or editing projects, but I do know that I can directly attribute at least one sale to the Rainbow Snippets group.)

And once in a while I participate in self-promo days in various Face Book groups.

For the next book that I release (it’s supposed to be Onyx Sun, but we’ll see) I’m going to try a release party on Face Book. I’ve never done one before so it’s going to be totally new territory and probably full of mistakes – which just makes it a learning experience so I can do better next time, right?  Right!

As for what hasn’t worked, the thing that comes to mind most is a couple events that I participated in. (They were through Face Book, but were across multiple blogs and multiple days.)  They were time-consuming (more so for the hostess, most likely) and didn’t seem to create any kind of interest in my books.  I think the events themselves were good but the audience was wrong for what I write.

So, one of these days, I’m going to organize and host an event tailored more to the stuff I write and see how that goes.  Maybe I’ll tailor it around the release of Onyx Sun, or maybe the release of the next Elven Bard novel.

That experiment is, of course, not happening until sometime next year at the earliest.

So, yeah. I don’t do nearly enough promotion (and different types of promotion) to reasonably answer that question.

But I do have plans!

I know I have plans – I can hear the gods laughing.

(By the way, “Ask the Author” posts will be on hold until December, as next month will be devoted to NaNoWriMo insanity.)

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Wednesday Words #95 (10/19/2016)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a parade of skeletons 

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

 

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