Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Camp Nano… where are the cookies?

I’m joining camp Nano this year because I work best under a deadline and I want to finish Ring of Earth. And draft 2 of Nets to catch the wind, but that’s a different month.
I should be finished my currently un-named but sold short story by April 1st, so it’s good timing.  I am 1200 words shy of finishing the first draft of the steampunk-romance-mystery, and have about 6 days left in the month to make it make sense before sending it to my editor. So, I’m golden! Or silver. Or at least, I should be fine.

And I’ll be rested from what promises to be an awesome trip to Hawaii the last week of March. A wedding, a sunset cruise, a luau and fire dancing show…. and gazillions of photos!

Then May equals editing the short story and Ad Astra in Toronto. SO looking forward to 3 days of writing experts, book releases and panels panels panels!

June is hopefully draft 2 of Nets to Catch the Wind, July is the month of 1000 birthdays and maybe pitching myself to agents. August and September are getting A Ring of Earth edited to perfection so I can show it off at Can-Con in October. August is also Romancing the Capital, a romance genre writing/ reading weekend. With yes, book releases, panels and SWAG!

I feel like my grandmother; It’s March 10th, next is April, May,  June… it’s almost October, the whole year gone and nothing done!

Nano killed me this year

I have officially given up on Nano for the first time in years. I had a good streak, 4 straight years, but this year it was not working. It was closer to pulling teeth from a live, awake and pissed off bobcat, than writing.

It didn’t help that we had a long, warm Fall which encouraged mold growth up the wazoo. Usually we have had several days of hard freeze by now, which kills off the mold. Mold of pretty much any kind, but especially cellulose mold, gives me migraines. Bold, visual, pounding, nauseating migraines. Guess what the moldy leaves and grass are made of?

Staring at a computer screen trying to force out a set number of words didn’t help either.

Neither did the pressure of a deadline, trying to get 2 books up on every imaginable platform, a sinus infection thing that may be mold related since I’ve had it for a month (same length of time as the migraine, more or less)

Now, I can hear a few fellow migrainers questioning the month long migraine and my still being able to function at all. And in most cases, you would be right. But I’ve been living on antihistamines, migraine meds, tylenol, etc. And I’ve had them for 42 years. (OMG does that make me sound old!) I started them the year before puberty hit. (That’s a bit better)

And since I have always been allergic to mold and cigarette smoke, although undiagnosed until 2003, I am accustomed to being able to function. Not brilliantly, witness my 500 word days on Nano, but enough to eat, dress, wash dishes, go to my Dr for more meds…

I end up with a “migrainey”. Flashy lights, but no real hallucinations, some light sensitivity, but not crippling. (except making coffee before 9am because the sun bounces off our neighbour’s barn’s tin roof right into my kitchen by the… you guessed, coffeepot.)

Other things are difficulty focusing; both eyes and attention, slight nausea so I munch salty things constantly, short temper and other migrainey things, just in smaller amounts.

But don’t worry about A Ring of Earth. I will still write it, just without that kind of pressure. I have someone who wants the complete, perfect manuscript next fall. So… deadline, but reasonable. Hopefully, it will be the first in a series of five books. I’m hoping to pitch it to an agent and/or publisher next year.

To celebrate my freedom to be migrainey, I will be posting a free coupon code in a few days for last year’s Nano winner, Alone in the Night. It’s a gritty, realistic look at teens from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds fighting to survive in the worst neighbourhood in Ottawa. There are elements of sexual/ physical abuse, drugs, homelessness, and street gangs. Recommended for 14+ years

If you have not read the first in the series, A Test of Loyalty, comment and I can send you a coupon for that, too.  My goal is to get 25+ reviews up on Amazon so they’ll put me on the “People who looked at this book, also looked at this one” list.

So, see you in a few days with the codes!

Cover reveals and releases!

So, both short stories due in October are officially in anthologies!

Shifting Shards (Eighth Ripple Press) is a Halloween anthology containing a short story from my urban fantasy series set in Ottawa, Ontario. “On This Day We Maen be Seen” takes place between the first two novels, and introduces Moira, the lead character, to Lilu-Lilitu, an Incubus who is a major player in book two. In both senses of the word.  🙂


They will also be publishing a Christmas story in this same series, that has vampires. This story takes place in Eastern Europe and introduces us to some characters who may show up later.

A very bitey Christmas to all!

Coming out on October 27th is my short, “The Soul Eggs”, published in 30 at 30, the 30th anniversary anthology from Ottawa Independent Writers, of whom I am a proud member. The Soul Eggs is a short (under 2000 words) horror story based on a fairy tale.


I also received back the rights to a short story that won a fantasy writing competition and am releasing it as an ebook short. It is set in Terreagles, which is both the fantasy country my medieval series is set in, and the actual name of a micro-kingdom my ancestors owned in northern Scotland about 800AD.


This one fits into the set of Terreagles novels starting with Nets to Catch the Wind, and is backstory for one of the main characters.

My next Nano novel, and the first to be published (I hope, possibly, maybe but I just figured out how to fix Nets to Catch the Wind) is called A Ring of Earth and takes place roughly 200 years before this story.

I am currently trying to convince a publishing program that a 2500 word story does not need a table of contents. It disagrees. Stoopid program.

So I have sent a note off to a live person. Hopefully they publish short stories or I’ve just wasted all day fighting with it.

Prose in the Park; and busyness

This weekend the registration for authors writing in English opened up. Within 48 hours (taking time off from processing for food, family and Gotham) there was only one table left. One half-table.

It was a great test of the process we worked out, and it worked! It was even pretty painless, with 2 minor screw-ups of table numbers. Which were quickly noticed and fixed in a polite, professional manner!

I am now totally psyched for the PiP festival to arrive, but must bide my time until June 4th.

Good thing I have Camp Nano coming up, editing 140k words down to less than 110k, and reworking the beginning TOTALLY should keep me busy. I and a couple friends have signed up to Camp Nanowrimo in April to set a goal/ deadline for ourselves to get our books edited. I refuse to still be editing this at next November’s Nano.

Also it’s Spring! It’s Spring! It’s Spring!  We shall just ignore that little blizzard scheduled for Wednesday, thank you.  I’ve ordered seedlings, and sweet potato sprouts, and am deciding what to direct sow, like snow peas? Yes ma’am.  Zucchini, patty pan and winter squashes? Hell yeah!

We’re still clearing the loft for a friend to move into. Good thing we’ve got a couple months, where did we get so much crap? Why is it being stored instead of tossed?

What are you doing to deal with spring restlessness?

FastPencil, Googledocs, Scrivenor and more

I’ve been inundated with writing and publishing platforms since publishing A Test of Loyalty last summer.  I already had Scrivenor from doing Nanowrimo a couple years ago. But now there’s FastPencil, which allows you to output in epub and mobi to sell off your website, or give out as ARCs.

There’s also Pronoun, Smashwords, and now… Google Docs to write and publish with.  And google docs let you record voice to text. Which sounds great for those days my brain is working way too fast for my fingers to keep up.

So, I’m normally published through Pronoun for Kindle, Sony and Kobo. And Smashwords does the lesser known formats. Createspace does print on demand for paperbacks.

I write in Scrivenor, which was the best $20 ever spent!  (Normally $40, you get 50% off for winning Nano).  But now I’m spending as much time looking at new platforms as I am writing and editing!

Today I’m playing with FastPencil to edit Alone in the Night (Book 2: Mechanicsville). It allows me to divide the chapters into titled sections… I think. I haven’t exported yet, I’m still copy/pasting into the blank pages, and developing my index.  we’ll see tomorrow.

I also want to know more about the Google option. While I am now a bit afraid of Google and Kindle forming a partnership to take over the world… I am interested in the voice to text and then publish.  How would I edit?  If I speak my changes, will it think I’m adding a new chapter.  That could be amusing.

And my annual spring migraine isn’t helping.  Granted, it’s not bad yet because there’s still snow on the ground, but the weather is swinging from blizzards last Tuesday to +10 today. This releases mold into the air (my allergy which causes instant migraines) as well as just the swings in air pressure.

So I’m good for only about half the workday before the pain makes me quit.  Oh, the agonies of being an artist!  LOL

Although the migraine’s no joke. Aside from the ultra-sensitivity to light and noise, the dizziness and nausea, I get what I call nasal hallucinations.  I smell things; like today is smoke.  I’m spending every break sniffing my house to be sure it’s not on fire.

Stoopid migraine, why can’t I smell roses, or lilacs?  Instead I smell smoke the most often, brightened occasionally by dead mouse, stinky feet or cat poop.  None of which actually are around at the time, annoying my friends and befuddling strangers.

Maybe I should write an amusing story about a psychic who solves crimes by phantom smells?  Wait… hmm…..

Is that even English?!

Or “editing your own work months later.”

In October, I decided that if I was ever going to finish my magnum opus, my epic fantasy novel of *mumble* years work, I would have to finish the first draft. Just do it. Barf it up onto the keyboard, edit later.

So I did my own Nanowrimo.. nanoctwrimo?

I finished the last 40k in October, finishing on the 27th, so I could rest my noodle before starting the real nano. I have started looking at it for the first time since.

So… Last week I transferred it all back from a word doc to Scrivener, and separated it all into scenes, and read through it.

Some pure gold, some pure… not gold….

Um, what?  Why is this secondary character in more scenes than the MC?  I have 3 big reveals in the book, I did all of them at least twice. You wouldn’t think it wold be such a surprise the third time.

I have a character leaving the city, then doing a bunch of stuff IN the city. is she twins?  Wait… that’s a good, no! No no no!

And one sentence where I changed tense FOUR times!  Wait, what? Is that English?  I have no idea what I was trying to say, so I deleted it. Watch it become an absolutely necessary plot point.


Editing is easier than the blank page, I told myself.  Liar.


In Other news… I am a book reviewer.  Cringe in fear my writerly friends!

More on that Thursday.

Plans, schemes and books

This is me, looking evil.  I have a cunning plan.

It’s to do with the enormous piles of notes, book ideas, character sketches, photos and general crap filling up every inch of desk space. And drawer space. I may need a 2 drawer filing cabinet.

I am making a list! I’ll be checking it more than twice as books and stories go up or down in their closeness to actually being written, but I hope to stick to the list. More or less.

I have walked away from film-making for the time being, it’s too hard with my chronic pain. Film shoots are regularly fourteen hour days, and I’m good for being on my feet ten, fifteen minutes before having to take a break. Not really feasible.

But I can sit at a computer with the best of them!

I have everything from a second draft script, which I want to turn into a novel, to scattered bits of ideas that make zero sense and don’t mean anything to me.

Like “sleeps with science teacher to blow up school?”  I have no context for that note, it matches nothing I’ve been working on. It’s not even from a review I’ve done for anyone. Is it the lame result of an experiment in writing down my 2am story ideas?

Looking at my list, I have mostly notes/ outlines or first drafts.I need to get to the less fun part of writing, forcing it into a plot that makes sense.

I also have three main genres which I seem to blend with wild abandon: fantasy, mystery, and paranormal. There is one straight YA, one straight science fiction, and three fantasy. The other ten are blended genres like crime/ paranormal, mystery/ comedy…

I also have several non-fiction, like cookbooks, how to camp for the camping impaired, and gardening in Canada.

I need to make and stick to a writing schedule!  I had planned to walk away from all things writing related until Jan 1st, because of brain strain during Nano, but… well, here I am making lists.  On Dec 7th.

I suck at taking a break. But I have a fix for that. As long as I don’t pressure myself to stick to a schedule or process, it doesn’t count as writing… right?