State of the Fluff at the start of 2013

By the end of 2012 so much was changing in my life that I couldn’t even put my thoughts about it all in any sort of coherent form. Literally my life turned on end in the last four months of the year. There are still details left to work out but things have been completely altered for the better in my opinion. Change is often a difficult and full of stress. There are continued moments of stress for me. But there are also moments where I simply am so happy with the freedom to be myself again that I just think forward instead of dwelling on the past.

As many of you have been following my journey to a healthy lifestyle, I thought it was time to give you an update on where I am and what I’m doing.

The scale is still not my friend. Those numbers are coming down but, being able to get an accurate number on a regular basis is something of a nuisance still. Since I am unable to purchase a new scale at present, I simply have to continue with alternative methods of measuring progress. Finally, there are many ways for me to see the progress I am making.

Since I’ve moved out to my parents’ place, there is a lot more room for activity. They live in the country and while the road is still busy, I can walk without fear of being mugged by the unsavory characters around the old apartment. So, I’ve been walking more. I’m up to doing over a mile in a stretch without stopping to catch my breath. I’m working toward doing a full three miles in a day by the end of the month. And I noticed the other day, when I was shopping at the local Walmart with my mother that I didn’t have a hard time going through the store and shopping for over an hour. Before, I would use the cart to rest my back occasionally and would have to find somewhere to sit down if we were there for more than twenty minutes. So things are definitely coming together.

Last week on Tuesday I was invited to go to a local aromatherapy class with a “friend”. I went through my closet looking for something to wear. The typical girl problem of not having anything to wear definitely came into play. So, I went to an old favorite outfit back when I was with my ex. The blouse had always just barely fit. I constantly had to tug it down to keep from showing my stomach since the hem hit just at the waistband of my pants. I put the same pants on and then I put on the shirt. All of my pants have been feeling looser for a while now. However, I didn’t expect that not only would the top feel loose but the hem would rest at the top of my thighs and just hang on me.

I nearly cried. It was such a dramatic change that I was quite literally fighting back tears when I showed my mom. It was a huge moment for me and one that I finally had results that I couldn’t deny were happening.

You see, there has been a certain amount of disbelief for all the change happening. Quite often I have to stop and pinch myself to remind myself that things are happening for me finally. My life is very different now than it was just five months ago. If you’d told me that I would be where I am and doing what I’m doing six months ago I would have fought to believe that wasn’t possible. I was still determined to work on my failing marriage and trying to get on track in a house where all my dieting efforts were sabotaged. Now, the weight seems to be melting off and I am happier than I have been in quite a long time. Being single doesn’t exactly suit me but having my freedom and people around me who actually do care about my well-being does. There are new people in my life and so many things have changed for the better. I have a great deal of hope for what lies ahead of me now. I also have more peace with myself and my chosen path in life.

These are all good things and I hope to have a lot more good coming my way in 2013. For now, I’m going to revel in the success that all this has brought about and enjoy my new friends and my family.

A Year In Review…

Here we are at the end of 2012 and it seemed to me that it is time to reflect a bit on what has transpired over the past year. My life has certainly seen its share of changes. It hasn’t been an easy year for me. It has had its good points but there have been a lot of bad points as well.

I haven’t posted about one major thing until now. Mainly because I didn’t want to traumatize a certain teenage girl who may, or may not, follow this blog. Seeing as we’ve discussed it, I feel like I can finally speak about the fact that my six year marriage is over. It is all a matter of legal formality at this point but, the fact is, it is time to move on. And it is definitely time for me to look forward to better things and nothing holding me back from achieving my goals.

On the first day of the new year, I am going to spend my time writing and working on the biggest project of my career. I am feeling particularly optimistic today and have every reason to look forward to amazing things in 2013.

I do have a few resolutions to continue for this year but these are ongoing goals for me that have been in place for a few years now. The only thing that I am adding to my list is to make a more concerted effort to do things that make me happy and just be myself. I’ve spent too long in a bubble and I am looking forward to friends, family, new possibilities and success this year. I wish the same for all of you who read this little corner of the web.

Without further rambling from me today I give you the end of the year review meme.

What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

Several things actually.

1. I voted for the first time officially in a presidential election. 2. I got serious about my health. Not just my weight but my over all health. Working on it is ongoing since I still have a lot of weight to lose and am working on getting my stamina back with exercise but, I made huge strides this year. 3. I stood up for myself in a relationship and said that something wasn’t okay. I suppose you could call that being assertive. 4. I finally realized that I have to stop trying to please everyone else and try to do more things that make me happy just because they actually make me happy and not because everyone else thinks they do.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I am going to be honest, life has been so hectic and full of change that I don’t even remember if I made any resolutions aside from losing weight and getting healthier. And yes, I have kept those two. They’re ongoing and will be a part of my 2013 resolutions. I’m sure that I will add others to my resolution list before the end of the year as well.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope. No newborns this year around me. Maybe next year though from what I hear. I can hope anyway, I love being around babies. Nothing cures the depression like a baby’s laughter.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Close to me? No. But we did have a tragedy in the family in the beginning of December. While I didn’t meet her personally. Her stepdad is more like a second brother than my cousin. My heart and prayers went out to them.

5. What countries did you visit?

I did good to make the trip to Florida this year. But it was fun. Maybe another country next year. I’d like to do a cruise maybe.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

Less stress. Seriously the last year has been so chock full of stress. I’m ready to just get on with living happy and healthy in 2013. More fun, less stress, and better people around me for a change.

7. What dates from 2012 will be forever etched in your memory?

October 5th unfortunately. The end of my marriage and the most devastating emotional trauma I’ve experienced to date. As much as I want to just forget it, it will always be there.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?.
Biggest? Publishing my book and finally getting myself on the path to a writing career instead of feeling like I’m just playing around at it. I made big strides this year in submitting and publishing my own work that I’m proud of and will continue to work on.
9. What was your biggest failure?

Not seeing the signs of pending end of said marriage and acting sooner. Hindsight is perfect though.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No major injuries aside from developing a case of Plantar Fasciaitis but, I did have to deal with severe allergies up until mid October. Now, I’m off the medication and doing pretty awesome. I’m even losing weight again which is an awesome thing.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My laptop. Portability is the bomb, baby. Seriously it was a good buy because my desktop model went out a couple weeks after we got Atreyu. So, I was really excited that I was able to have a replacement to work on. I would be dead in the water without my laptop.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Mine actually. I finally learned that it is okay to say no to something. And, because of that, I learned to stand up for myself and say that someone else’s behavior toward me and our relationship wasn’t acceptable. I took back my self-respect, started loving who I am again, and I’m a lot happier because of it. So, yes, strike a victory for independence and self-esteem.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

My ex-husband’s. I’m not even going to relate the details of it here. Just suffice it to say there are a few reasons that he is now the ex.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Someone else’s bad habits. That won’t happen again, EVER.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My book coming out. The sales and feedback were a boost. I also got really, really, really, excited meeting someone new and realizing that there is life again after such a bad thing happening.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

Shake It Out by Florence + The Machines

Pretty much summed up the whole year for me. Had to shake off a lot of demons in order to rediscover myself and live again.

17. Compared to this time last year are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier
ii. thinner or fatter? Definitely thinner! I’ve lost at least 60lbs though the doctors say it is likely closer to 100 based on measurements. So, we just have to keep working at it.
iii. richer or poorer? By money, I’m going to say Richer. I actually have more money in my bank account now than I did with the Ex. Still broke, but, I’m richer with my sanity, my family, new friends, new prospective relationships, and richer in how I feel about myself. Those things count much more than the numbers in my bank account.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d had more fun and laughed more. Life is too short to not enjoy it. I mean, you have to deal with the necessary evils of life but, you also need to just enjoy the little things. Way too little of this in recent years.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying and stressing over things. Cleaning up other people’s messes.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With family and new people in my life.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?

Um, pleading the fifth on this one to see what happens and how things work out. I met someone new that I really enjoy spending time with and talking to. It may turn into more but, after the break up, I’m taking it slow.

22. How many one-night stands?
None, I’m just not a one night stand sort of girl.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Criminal Minds and I rediscovered Star Trek: The Next Generation on a Thanksgiving marathon on BBC America. LOL It was like seeing it for the first time all over again. And yes, I still just love Jean Luc Picard and have a celebrity crush on Jonathan Frakes.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don’t hate people. I may dislike their actions, their choices, or the way things turned out but I try hard not to let all that turn to hate. Hate is something that requires effort, if I don’t like something the last thing I want to do is spend energy on it.

25. What was the best book you read?
Best in Fiction – Under The Dome by Stephen King and I’m in the process of reading The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice which is good thus far.

In Non-Fiction – Finding Water by Julia Cameron a continuation of The Artist’s Way which is, in my opinion an essential journey for anyone with a hint of creative spirit.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Hands Down it has to be Florence + The Machines. Shake It Out and The Dog Days Are Over are anthems from this year for me.

27. What did you want and get?
My book published and yep, I made it happen. 🙂 Now I just want people to buy it and read it.

28. What did you want and not get?
A family of my own, more pointedly a child of my own. But hey, its not out of the question yet, not giving up hope on having my own family someday. But, I didn’t get it this year and the fact that I wanted that caused a lot of problems. But, hey, maybe that was just God’s way of telling me things were over and it was time to move on.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

Dark Shadows was hilarious. Silent Hill Revelations was visually awesome. I didn’t get to see Magic Mike (darnit) but, I have to say that I was impressed with The Avengers. So, I have to call it my favorite of the ones I’ve seen this year.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 34. I actually had a pretty quiet birthday this year. Stayed home, looked at the snow, and just vegged out with the TV thinking mostly. Got a little melancholy but my little brother and Charles managed to cheer me up and everything was good again.

31. What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?

To have this divorce process over with so that I can just move on with my life without it all hanging over my head. I don’t like being in limbo. I just want to get on with things and live again.

32. How would you describe your fashion concept in 2012?

Whatever fit. Seriously, when you manage to end up as heavy as I am, fashion is no longer a concept but a matter of what fits. This is changing. 2013 will have a fashion concept that is sexy, fun, elegant, and makes me feel good instead of just being something to cover up with.

33. What kept you sane?

My family and at times my cat. I don’t know where I would be without my family right now honestly. I thank God for giving me the most awesome family in the world.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I have to admit it. I have a fangirl crush on Josh Gates.

36. What is one thing you would go back and re-do if you could?

I would go back to when my marriage fell apart and be properly pissed off instead of hurt by what transpired.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

Charles, hands down, best thing to come into my life in a while. Don’t know where it is going but, I’m definitely enjoying the ride and just being me and laughing and well generally happy again.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

I’ve learned that it is often the people I care most about who hurt me the most. At some point though, you have to realize that things end for a reason and pick up the pieces and move on. Life does go on and generally there are better things on the horizon so, trust God’s plan and stop fighting for something someone else doesn’t want with you. It never works unless you’re both fighting for the same thing.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

And its hard to dance with the devil on your back so shake him off. (and yes, in case you’re wondering, I did shake him off)

 

These are a few of my favorite things

So you may get the impression, from our title, that BIG FICTION is a blog about books. I guess, in a way, it is but, it isn’t full of book reviews. No, this blog is about specific books and a specific author and the journey to creating books that people enjoy reading. It iNOTESsn’t always an easy task. There are many pitfalls to doing this sort of work. By and large, the general public has misconceptions about writers. I guess, this blog is my way of giving a bit of a birds-eye-view into the way I operate and the life that I lead.

I am not a stoic and cynical person. I do not wear tween jackets or pencil skirts to write in. I don’t always write to Mozart and Tchaikovsky though, they are sometimes on the playlist for the day. I’m not sipping red wine or scotch while I pen my manuscripts. I’m not pining away or prone to suicidal thoughts. I don’t spend all my time agonizing over plots or word choices and get upset with myself when something isn’t perfect. I am not even the type to write in silence or keep my work secreted away from my family and friends. And if you knew all that I had been through in the last few years, and especially in the last few months, you’d realize that I have every reason to hide away, be an alcoholic, and just be miserable but, I’m not.

So what am I? What do I love? What are my favorite things in life? What makes me tick, inspires my muse, or makes me happy?

I love to have fun. I laugh a lot. So much that my mother has always called me her giggle box. Even though I am no comedic genius, I do get a good one in on occasion that has everyone laughing. I love being around my family and though I have few friends, I love to be around them and have a good time as well. I love to sing and have been known to dance from time to time when I don’t think anyone is watching or, I’m a little tipsy. And while I don’t often drink but when I do, I prefer Captain and Coke or Absinthe. Yes, I do realize that is an odd combination but I like what I like. I just can’t drink beer or whiskey which seems to be a preference for a lot of East Texans.

I write to a vast array of musical choices. Yes, I add the classical music in but I’m a child of the 80’s and 90’s. So the music of those decades along with some modern favorites feature heavily in my playlists on Spotify. You’ll also find gospel tunes, new age music, and country on there as well. I am eclectic when it comes to my music choices. One day I can rock out to Alanis Morrissette, Jessie J, and Kelly Clarkson. The next it will be Breaking Benjamin, Lacuna Coil, and Within Tempataion. Later on it is David Phelps, the Gaither Vocal Band, and Nicole Nordeman. And then you’ll hear a lot of Jimmy Buffett, Zac Brown Band, and Brad Paisley. It all depends on what sort of mood I’m in. I even like more obscure music like Marquis of Vaudeville, Evelyn Evelyn, Abney Park, and Showtunes. Yes, I’m weird. I know this. But I like me just the way I am.

As a writer there is a certain amount of solitude that you need in order to get the words on the page. That much is true enough. But, once I come out of the office or stop the work, I want people around me. I don’t want to be left to my thoughts or to ponder. By the time I am done writing for the day I just want to be around people who can make me laugh, make me smile, or just enjoy being around watching a movie or whatever. I need distraction to keep my mind fresh when I get back on the page.

Some days I can write for hours on end. Other days, the words come in short bursts or not at all. Sometimes I bounce from project to project and other times I am tunnel visioned on a single story or character. It just all depends on what ends up in my head once I sit down.

Right now, I work on my HP laptop that I affectionately named Atreyu. I still want and Aurin decal to put on the cover. I loved The Never Ending Story when I was growing up. In fact, I think I drove my family crazy with it as a kid. My grandpa to this day won’t even remotely hear about it without cringing. But the laptop is allowing me to change scenery from time to time. This makes my office virtually anywhere I feel like being. Sometimes that’s at my desk but, other times it is a cafe, the dining room table, or the chaise in the living room with a dog curled up next to my legs. I’ve typically got a pair of headphones on while I work just to keep from being too distracted as well.

Some writers have a vice for alcohol. I don’t. I used to have a serious Dr. Pepper addiction. Not so much anymore though. Now its is mostly iced tea, crystal light, and coffee on occasion. Other than those things my vice is office supplies. I am a sucker for pens, journals, notebooks, and post it notes. The good thing is that for my family, I’m super easy and usually cheap to buy for when they feel like giving a gift. Office Depot and Barnes & Noble are for me what Tiffany’s is for most other girls.

I like a lot of things. I have a great many hobbies and things that I research on a fairly regular basis. I hope to be able to share some of those with my readers in the coming year. 2013 is going to be a very good year. 2012 was definitely the end of an era for me but, there is a promise of things to come now that I didn’t have before. That’s a good thing. I hope that all of you are feeling the same thing as we close out this year. I know that I’m enjoying my time with family and friends this year. Hope that all of you are as well.

Hey Soul Sister….

I have long been a fan of, what I call, “feel-good-music”. I’ve been a fan of music period for as long as I can remember. But in recent years that love for music was somewhat diminished by the people around me. The friends that I had around me had very during the last ten years had very different tastes in music. What made me feel good, laugh, sing, and want to dance (albeit very badly and alone) didn’t make the people around me feel the same way. I don’t know why I felt like I needed to go to such great lengths to fit in with them. Don’t get me wrong; I can appreciate the complexity of darker music like the industrial and goth genres; I even like some rock. I’m a big fan of Evanscence and Breaking Benjamin but when I need a pick me up, I go back to classics from the 80’s and 90’s and I even like some selective modern pop music.

Daisy-VaseLately, my feel-good-song is the Glee version of Train’s Hey Soul Sister. Just something about it makes me feel all girlie and then I want to dance around my room like no one is watching. Which, depending on how you view such things, may or may not be such a bad thing. When something makes you feel like that, it is hard to pinpoint just exactly what makes it such a good thing. And what makes me feel good may not be what makes you feel good. That’s perfectly okay but, I have learned in the last ten years or so that I just have to be myself and stop worrying so much about what everyone else thinks I should be.

There is a lot happening in my life this holiday season. Some things came to an end back before Halloween that were pretty devastating. But here at Christmas I’m finding myself with a renewed spirit and a sense of possibility. Maybe that is part of the magic of the season. Maybe it is something else entirely but, all I know is that it is really good to feel more like myself again after so long. I find that I wonder where I was hiding sometimes and how I managed to get so lost. Of course, considering that for too long takes away from the process of actually living in the now. So, I find it best to just acknowledge that I did get lost but, now, I’m back. So, I’m trying to just be present in my own life for a change.

A while back, I reconnected with my best friend from high school. We’d lost touch over the years but time changes a lot of things. Then again, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve learned that no one understands you quite like your best friend from childhood. We can still talk about anything and everything. We still laugh uncontrollably at the silliest things. And we still have similar interests in a lot of things though, not everything. We have some differences but, that’s to be expected. We’ve led different lives since our days at The Piarist School. But we have fond memories of our days there and all the trips we took that literally last a lifetime.

For example, she is one of only a few people who were sleeping on the floor in a kindergarten classroom. Apparently in the night, while tucked in a sleeping bag, I rolled up one of those plastic kids’ fort slides, and slid back down in my sleep. In my defense, do you know how difficult it is to try and get comfortable enough to sleep on a concrete floor? Then there was the water fight at Niagara Falls in the fountains on the Canadian side. Or swimming in the ocean in Cape Cod and the water being just above freezing, and our classmate running into the water like a madman in his sweat suit thinking it would keep him warmer. With memories like that, is it any wonder that we laugh so much?

But beyond this, I think it is the childhood friends who really understand how we end up the way we do, even when we don’t. They know your family, your siblings, and all the screwy things that happened in those years. Some people have friends that they’ve known since they were in Kindergarten. When I was a kid, we moved and I went to a lot of new schools. Friends came and went until we finally settled down in Eastern Kentucky and I went to Piarist. So, the closest thing I have to a childhood friend is Nicky. But, I’m not complaining. Some things in life, like good friends, are just irreplaceable.

Before I go for the day to get started on writing fiction, I leave you with a video of my personal “feel-good song”. Hope it makes you smile too.

NanoWrimo Fail a.k.a. Even Writers Get Sick

Yes, dear readers, you can gather from that title that I did not win the NanoWrimo challenge this year. In truth, I think it was a little much for me to take on with my present personal circumstances. Though, I admit that the distraction it provided was much needed. So, I do not regret taking it on. In fact, the progress that I did make is excellent and will continue. I am hoping to have the draft finished by the end of December. At which time, it will go to beta readers and into the editing process. I’m hoping to be able to release it to all of you sometime during the Spring. So more on that as it comes.

A0305-Flu_leaderTwo weeks into the month I came down with a really bad case of the flu. The type of flu that all you can do is take some Nyquill and sleep it off. I think I slept for the majority of three days. The hospital was threatened during the worst of it. While I felt like a complete bump on a log and beat up, I have to admit that it was a comfort to know that there were people around me who cared about my well-being for a change. There is something about going through a crisis that allows you to truly see the value in family. There was a time when I took them for granted but, I do my best now to make sure they know I appreciate them and all they do for me.  The last couple months have been difficult to adjust but, I think I’m finally starting to get my footing back and feel more like my old self.

So the current project is so serious that I am thinking about breaking it up with something of the steampunk variety. I’ve enjoyed working in the genre in the past and I am thinking that it might provide a good distraction for me. I’m playing around with characters and concepts for now. Drafting a bit here and there without taking too much time away from my big project.

Today, I have my headphones on and am rocking out with Jessie J, Lady Gaga, Skrillex,  Jimmy Buffett and Alanis Morrissette among others today. Yes, I am eclectic. No, I do not apologize for this. I love music and I can’t seem to get my headphones loud enough today. I need to get a card for my phone or an MP3 player so I can take music on my walks. definitely helps keep the energy level up. Still planning on finding and doing Zumba at some point in the Spring. I’m just trying to get off some more of this weight and build some stamina. Getting there is a journey but, I’m on my way.

I’m excited about all the holiday specials coming on in the evenings. I love this time of year anyway but, there are multiple reasons that I might blog about at a later time. But you know what, it is amazing what you rediscover about yourself when you close a chapter in your life and start into a new one. Sometimes, you just have to focus on yourself and what you like instead of what the people around you think you should like to fit their mold of who they want you to be.

So regular posts will now resume folks. I’m feeling fairly froggy after all that I’ve dealt with the last couple months. Back to being my silly, rockin’, spunky, sassy, and otherwise awesome self and it feels great. It is all a big change, yes, but good change. And change, while never easy, is quite often a necessity in life. So, I’m just trying to embrace it and move forward.

Coming Up For Air

My dear readers, I’ve been firmly planted in the void that is known as NanoWrimo. And while I am happy to report that I am mostly on track to meet the word count goal proposed, I would also like to beat it by the end of the month. Of course, a writer has to come up for air at some point. And so, I took a day off yesterday to just recoup and spend time with family. And given all that life has put on my plate in the last month or so, I needed it.

I spent this weekend reflecting on things that have happened. Trying to find things to be thankful for in all of this is challenging but, I think I’ve been able to find some pretty awesome things. Over on Facebook,  people are doing the 21 days of things to be thankful for posts. I’ve decided that I’m going to just put some of my own thoughts here on the blog instead.

I’m thankful for all the wonderful feedback that I’ve gotten from The Secret of the Storm. It is amazing for me to see that so many people who are supporting my efforts are really enjoying the book. They are recommending it to friends and some are getting both digital and hard copy, which is just amazing. They are even asking about a sequel.

I’m not sure I’ll be revisiting the fictional town of Slauson Cove anytime soon. It isn’t out of the question, of course. But, the current book, which is tentatively titled The Fallen One, is quite different and has been begging to be written for a few years now. The Fallen One is the first in a planned series of five books. I hope that the readers who have enjoyed my first book can get behind this one with equal, if not more passion. I write to tell a story that my readers will like to escape into for a while. I don’t do it for the critics or the praise of other writers. It is nice when that happens but, I learned long ago that you can’t please everyone all of the time. So, you strive to please the ones who are actually spending their hard-earned money on your work. So, maybe Slauson Cove will come around again in the future.

I’m also very thankful for my family. They’ve been a huge support through a very difficult time of late. Their encouragement is something that absolutely astounds me. Not just about my writing but, more about life. Yes, it will go on and yes, it will get better. I know this. Part of me just wishes that it weren’t so difficult. I have to keep believing that there is a reason for it but, I just don’t see it right now. Maybe the Big Guy will give me some clarity on all of it soon. But, over the years, I’ve learned to treasure my family. They have truly been the only constants in my life. No matter how much of a twit I became. They gave me space to grow and to figure it all out and they continue to do so, even now.

I’m thankful for the holidays that are coming up. I have always loved the holiday season. These past few years they’ve taken on a renewed meaning for me. It’s true, I figured I would have at least one child of my own to share the experience with by now. That’s one dream that is just going to have to go on hold right now. But, the wonder and magic of the season is not lost on me. I’m looking forward to enjoying the time with family much like I did last year. I will, however, miss spending it with my nieces. They were an absolute joy for me last year.

As I continue on my journey to completing the next big project, I don’t know how often I’ll be able to surface here. Just know that I’m planning to get back to regular posting in December. But that’s 15 days away. So, I’m going back in to finish this first draft. Wish me luck for completing it so I can get on with editing so you can all read it soon.

The NanoWrimo Challenge: Accepted

I posted before about taking part in NanoWrimo. The past few weeks have been full of preparations for the frenzy of noveling that is about to take place. I will likely not get to attend the kick off party on Thursday over in Tyler. Temperatures and transportation are the big hurdle to overcome. But, I will be hunkered down working here in my room. And trust me, right now, I need the distraction that this challenge provides. I was a winner last year and I am definitely aiming for a repeat performance.

So, if you don’t know what NanoWrimo is; let me run it down for you.  It is a no-holds-barred writing frenzy that happens every November all over the world. It isn’t just for adults either. The Office of Letters and Light are hard at work bringing creative writing to classrooms everywhere. It is a superb cause, in my humble opinion, and I urge you to take a look at their site and consider making a small donation to their efforts. On November 1st, writers everywhere take to their laptops, offices, or pick up their pens and notebooks to complete a novel-length work (50,000 words) in just 30 days.

To accomplish this, certain things must happen for the writer.

  • 1. They must abandon the inner editor and critic. This is not about creating a perfect novel. This is about getting the word count on the page no matter how unbearably dull parts of it may seem. You can edit it later.
  • 2. They must have time to write. Uninterrupted time is an absolute God-send during the month of November for a participant.
  • 3. They must leave their sanity on the floor and succumb to the idea their muse has been dangling before them.
  • 4. They must take on the challenge with the intention of giving it a best effort.

In addition to this participants who want to take full advantage of the experience can sign up at the website and affiliate with a region to meet other writers in their area. Doing so will likely expose them to Nano-related events in their area like the kick-off and Thank God It’s Over parties. There are also write-ins that are typically held as well. Considering that writing is such a solitary thing to do, these social events are actually quite nice to have available.

There are other things that are useful to do before the event starts. For example, I have my plot outlines mostly completed ( I’ll be working on those more today). I have my list of characters and sketches that I’ve written to get a feel for them and the setting. Giving the office or writing space a good cleaning and organizing all the extras is a big thing. Getting all those notes together in one place is ideal. And then, of course there are preparing the elements of a NanoWrimo Survival Kit.

Everyone’s kit is different. So, I’ll give you an example of what is in my kit this year:

  • Atreyu (my HP laptop)
  • Scrivener (My personal favorite writing software.)
  • Spotify with a new Nanowrimo playlist along with all my other lists
  • Inspirational Books & Images
  • My mascot – Lolli (my pink flamingo pen given to me by my precious niece Natabee last Christmas)
  • My tub of pens in various colors
  • Plenty of loose leaf paper
  • A notebook for on the go
  • My three ring binder (for keeping it all together)
  • My post it notes cube
  • My Do Not Disturb: Creative Genius Hard At Work sign to put on the door
  • My reading glasses
  • Headphones

And of course aside from the tangible stuff above, there is a plethora of writing fuel that will need to be purchased over the course of the month

  • Diet Dr. Pepper
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Iced Tea
  • Hot Tea
  • Coffee
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Easy meals

I’m all set to do a sprint at midnight tonight to kick things off. A trip to the store is in order tomorrow to pick up the rest of the provisions for a couple weeks. Then, it is buckle down and get the words out. I’m even thinking of shooting for 70,000 instead of the standard 50,000.

For now, I will leave you all with a favorite song of mine lately. Hoping that I get to go and see them live at some point in the next year. As I understand it, they are based in Dallas and that is not such a far trek for a weekend if the circumstances are right.

A Little Contest Over On Facebook…

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I’m running a contest over on Facebook.

Like many of the Indie Authors out there, I’m starting from scratch building my audience. Facebook is one of the ways to connect with people online. As you all know, I’m on multiple other social networks as well: Pinterest, Twitter, and I’m even starting a YouTube channel this winter. But through the month of November, I’m going to focus on the Facebook page.

There are two ways to win a personalized copy of The Secret of the Storm autographed by me in time for the holidays.

1. Like my facebook author page. If we make it to 100 likes, I’ll give away a book at random to all the people who like my page.

2. Refer people to like my page. If they do and they make a comment on any of my posts or message me to tell me that you sent them, I’ll keep track of how many give me your name. The person who refers the most likes will win a copy.

Incentive: if we make it to 150 likes, I’ll give away a third copy at random too. So, get to liking and referring! And if you need winter reading, why not download the kindle edition of The Secret of the Storm and curl up with some cocoa? It is still just $4.99 on Amazon.com.

Wrimo Madness…

A Sneaky Peek Of The New Series Subject Matter

It is that time of the year again. NanoWrimo is just around the corner and I find that I’ve been preparing for this year’s frenzy for a while longer than I expected to. The current WIP is a jumble of sketches pertaining to characters, settings, and story elements to include. I have a tentative plot outline done for about three-quarters of the project and I would like to get that finished and into Scrivener before the kick off party on November 1st over in Tyler. (I hope that I can swing going to that actually, there is still some doubt in my mind if I will be able to make it in person.)

My world has been turned on end lately. I’ve been brow-deep in research and planning for this project. I don’t know that it had been so long since I made a post here on BIG FICTION. So, I apologize for my inadvertent absence. On top of that there has been a significant change to location and adjusting to new environments and personal situations. I’m not entirely sure how, but, I’m sorting through all the chaos in my head a day at a time. I suppose that’s all I can do at this point.

The weather in Texas is finally starting to cool off and be more like winter. We don’t get much of a fall here. It is either really super hot or it is chilly. After so many days in the high 90’s or triple digits I, for one, am ready for the cooler weather. Of course, watching the weather in the north east is making me happy that I live in the south. I’ll be saying a little prayer for everyone up there as they muddle through Sandy and all of the aftermath that comes along with it.

NanoWrimo is going to be a super important project this year. Months of research has already gone into getting this ready for composition. I’m confident that this is going to be a successful year, as NanoWrimo goes. Of course, there is the issue of going back to work to contend with and trying to find some balance in all of this again but, I am going to give it my best effort in the hopes that sometime, shortly after the first of the year, I’ll be able to release book one of this series.

I find it hard to believe that the holidays are already here again. Most of my gifts will, most likely, be handmade. I already have several in process that I just need to spend some time finishing to put away for the big day. I am also looking at other ideas for some store bought items to go with these little things. But, there is time for all of that and I know that I just need to get through Wrimo first.

Influence

Earlier this week I was asked about what or who has influenced me to write and continually pursue this as a career.  I considered the question to be an interesting one but, the answer was really quite obvious to me.  It all comes back to family and  specifically my mothers side of the family.

My Great Grandmother Regina Daniel was a first grade school teacher for many years. She touched a lot of young people in those years and they still remember her back home, though she passed away when I was still young.  I am certain that she likely began teaching in a classroom that looked very much like the one pictured here. I used to love pretending to be a teacher in a room like that. My family, to this day, still try to convince me to go back to school and get a teaching certificate because of how much I enjoy working with children. They say that I am much like my Grandma in that regard and it is a legacy that I carry on with a full heart.

Some of my best childhood memories center around Grandma’s house and the weekends I would spend there. Her house is forever etched in my memory with its mirrored hallway, basement full of hat boxes, old clothes, and plenty of things to explore. There were three bedrooms; hers which was the blue room. The gold room had yellow carpet, bedding, and drapes. The red room had a beautiful chandelier in the middle of the room, red carpets, drapes and bedding on that big bed. Sadly the gold room and the red room were rarely used when I was there. Looking back I really wished that I had spent more nights in that frilly red room since it shaped a lot of my tastes in decor now. But, being so young, I typically fell asleep in her bed as we were reading after we said our prayers.

Her dining room had one of the most beautiful dining sets I had ever seen. As a kid, the chairs looked more like thrones set around a king’s carved wood table. Yet in the corner, set away from her china cabinet and buffet there was her teacher’s desk.  I spent hours playing at that desk pretending I was a teacher to my dolls and teddy bears. There was also the Rubix Cube table and chairs set where I had tea parties. (What can I say? I was a child of the 80’s. “You Spin Me Right Round” and “Karma Chameleon” are still two of my favorite songs.) I also had a piano there since she encouraged my fascination and talent with music as well.  I had my own desk too. She would, quite often, give me lessons after I started asking her to teach me how to read and write.

I spent a lot of time at that little wooden desk. So did my dolls. What I took away from all those weekends at Grandma’s wasn’t just lessons that taught me  how to read all those nursery rhymes and “Little Golden Books”. Every weekend I stayed, I walked away believing that I could do anything that I set my mind to. Grandma encouraged me to write my stories about unicorns and princesses. She taught me to enjoy good stories and instilled in me a love of the written word. What she gave me, was a gift that would carry me through a lot of difficult times growing up and even now.

I would like to think that she would be proud of me for taking the leap into the publishing world like I have. When I was about to finalize all the little details for The Secret of the Storm and put it to press, I thought of her and all the encouragement she gave me. While I didn’t follow the path that she, and the rest of the family, thought I would to get here; I did manage to make it. I am pretty sure that she would be smiling and encouraging me to do more with the talent God has given me.

For the record; I have no intention of stopping at one book Grandma. I’m already hard at work on the next one.