December Writing Projects and Other Tidbits

SnowflowerIt’s December! And December means that I don’t do as much writing work because I’m too busy wading through all of the holiday cheer to get much done. And yes, that was sarcasm because this has long been my least favorite time of year and I think I lost what precious little Christmas spirit I might have had back on November 1st when I inhaled about a pound of artificial snow during a floorset.

Anyway. Writing projects.

I’m going to continue working on The Haunting of the Woodlow Boys novella. Just writing 500 words a day, taking it very easy. I’m also going to start revising Voice, again taking it very easy. I have almost nothing made for Grinchmas so that’s where most of my energy is going to be directed. Making little bits of progress on writing projects is better than making none or stressing myself because I’m struggling to write and make Grinchmas. I can go full blast again in January.

Tidbits and News:

The distribution of The Ivy Russell Novellas paperback has hit a snag because that book is jinxed and/or I am terrible at my job. So for the foreseeable future, it will only be available on Lulu. Sorry for any inconvenience, but there shouldn’t be much because Lulu is just as good as the more popular marketplaces.

Speaking of other not so popular places, I’m doing a couple of holiday deals through Smashwords (which is compatible for most all eBook platforms) for my two 2015 eBook releases, The Ivy Russell Novellas and People Are Terrible.

Use the coupon code CW86C to get 15% off of The Ivy Russell Novellas.

Use the coupon code DS99F to get 15% off of People Are Terrible.

These coupons are only valid at Smashwords and the deals end on Christmas, so don’t miss out!

2015 Holiday Gift Suggestions

Milwaukee Christmas treeIt’s Black Friday, when folks trample each other to buy price-reduced manufactured goods so they can give them to family and friends to prove just how much they love and appreciate them. As much fun as that is (and as someone who has worked retail off and on for years and got to watch two ladies nearly come to blows over a scooter, I know my good times), not everyone is hip to getting their friends and family the same gift everyone else is giving to their favorite humans.

Well, that’s why I am here. To point you in the direction of some really nifty finds that you won’t find in all of those fliers and on the shelves of your local big box store.

Obviously, you should totally buy all of my books and give them to all of your friends. But if you don’t want people to get suspicious that you’re not putting any thought into your gifts (but you really would be; I’d vouch for you), you should also check out these authors: Shanna Hammaker, Brandon Ford, Jeremy C. Shipp, Shonell Bacon, and Johi Jenkins. Horror, memoir, mystery, fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult…you’re bound to find something for someone or many somethings for many someones.

If you know an aspiring writer (or anyone that uses a writing instrument, really), perhaps check out Roweville Retro and get them a one-of-kind pen, pencil, or stylus. You can even get a custom made creation. Get them that present that other people will be trying to steal from them for years to come.

Speaking of writing, how about encouraging the people you really do like to keep in touch with some spiffy postcards? This is what happens when I keep taking and drawing pictures with no set purpose in mind. I have to find something to do with them and what better use than to remind people that dropping a picture card in the mail and sending it to a friend is still a fun surprise.

But, if you’re looking for better art (and you probably should be), then check out Hannah McFaddon Art. Hannah McFaddon is an amazing artist and now she’s got a whole line of prints available, too. Tea-Rex! Are you kidding me? Absolutely adorable! And guaranteed to be something that a loved one is going to adore and hang proudly on their wall.

So go! Shop! Buy things that people didn’t know they needed and will love to get!


**Yes, I am once again promoting my friends and acquaintances (and myself) for the holidays because I like them, I like what they’re doing, and I think they deserve some spotlight. Go team!

NaNoWriMo 2015 Done and Other Stories

nanowrimoI officially reached 50,000 words and the end of the first draft of The End of the (Werewolf) Curse yesterday. Compared to the last two years, I was positively slacking on the daily word count and the speed because it took me nearly three weeks to finish. In 2013 I finished in 12 days and in 2014 I finished in two weeks. I averaged between 2,000 and 3,000 words a day this year, which is good, but I still felt lazy.

I felt so lazy, in fact, that I started working on a novella in addition to working on NaNo.  At just a page a day starting on November 3rd, I managed to get about 5,400 words written on The Haunting of the Woodlow Boys.

But, back to NaNo.

The use of the loose outline worked out pretty well for me in terms of getting my word count in every day. My biggest hang-up as always is just getting started for the day. Once the words start, I usually hit my daily target in no time.

However, I admit that this first draft felt like a total slog. There are aspects of this story that I really like and I really hope I can build on when I revise it, but I also feel like this thing is boring as hell and my characterization is shit and everything is terrible. Considering I feel that way about a lot of my NaNo projects, I may be just a tad pessimistic about it, but I don’t think so.

But it’s done and that’s always the goal and it’s time to start thinking about other things.

When I’m doing NaNo, I don’t really want to do much else. I don’t want to read. I don’t want to write blog posts. I don’t want to work on any other projects (obviously writing the novella at the same time this year was the exception, not the rule). When I finish NaNo, it’s like touching back down after orbiting the Earth for a few weeks. Time to get back to the other things on the To Do List of Doom.

I’m working on getting The Ivy Russell Novellas paperback out and about.  Right now, it’s only available on Lulu, but eventually, it’ll get to Amazon and Barnes and Noble and such. I’ll also be updating the links to The Ivy Russell Novellas eBook, as it’s finally hit some other marketplaces.  So be sure to check that out!

Now, back to the word mines.

November Projects aka NaNoWriMo 2015

nanowrimoIt’s that time of year again. Oh, yes. It’s time to put my butt in the chair and crank out 50,000 words (or more) in 30 days (or less).

This year I’m going back to writing an actual novel after two NaNos of doing novellas.

I’m heading back to Outskirts territory to write The End of the (Werewolf) Curse. This story will feature werewolf Paxton Perlman in a starring role and without his vampire buddy Stanley Ivanov at his disposal. Instead, he seeks help first from conjurer LittleJessie Witt and then from a coven of witches. It should be a good time. I’ve had this story bubbling in my head for a while and I think it’s ready to become words.

Unlike previous years, I’m not doing a detailed chapter by chapter outline. This used to be my go-to in past years of NaNo. After the first few years of failure, I found that if I had that detailed outline and new exactly what I was supposed to be writing that day, then I made my word count a lot easier. This has been my key to winning.

But, this past summer, when I wrote my novella-turned-novel (that STILL doesn’t have a title, for crying out loud), I didn’t have an outline. I just rolled with it until the end. I wrote without being sure of the end. And when I re-read it and revised it, I found that I’d done a pretty good job and I didn’t have to make too many story alterations. I’m taking this as a sign that I’m getting better as a writer, getting better at letting the story roll naturally without having to write everything down before hand to see where I’m going.

So, I’m sort of half-pantsing NaNo this year (“pantsing” refers to not using an outline, but writing by the “seat of your pants”). I have a basic outline and I know the main characters and I have a good idea about where the story starts. But I’m pretty hazy on where it ends and I only have a vague notion of how I’m going to get there.

This method worked very well this past summer to get 1,000 words a day. We’ll see how it works out when I’m trying to get 2,000 to 4,000 words a day (so far, so good).

Even if it doesn’t work the best, I’m confident that my skills will at least get me 50,000 words before Thanksgiving.


Go team!

I’ll Just Write Around You

flame box elder penMany of the successful writers talk about writing without being disturbed, with the door closed so to speak. Writing time should be treated as sacred and interruptions should be of the emergency variety only and kept to the bare minimum (sort of goes without saying that emergency situations in general should be kept to the bare minimum). They will happily tell you that this is a very important part of their success as writers.

I agree with them. My writing time is sacred. I take my writing seriously. Like all writers, I’m a good procrastinator, but I’ve managed to curb that somewhat, and having two day jobs helps because I can only write during specific times and that definitely makes a difference. My writing time is important.

However, I’m the only one in my house that thinks so.

I write with my door closed, but it does not stay closed. The people in my house cannot stand a closed door.

I live in a house with my dad and a friend. During the day, the two of them will make multiple trips into my room to talk to me. They talk to me about things they’ve read on the Internet, episodes of TV shows (that I don’t watch and don’t want to watch), whatever is going on in the news, celebrity gossip, the latest political bullshit, this, that, and the other. Sometimes the conversation is only a few minutes; sometimes “I just need to tell you one thing” turns into thirty minutes to two hours. This happens every day. And it happens when I’m writing.

It’s happening right now as I’m typing this blog post, actually. My roommate has been talking to me about Project Runway (that I don’t watch), asking questions about the movie I’ve got on (The Ghoul), asking about arranging a movie date with her and my nieces, telling me about what the cats did upstairs.

I pretty much wrote everything until this point while she talked to me. That’s how I end up having to get my work done a lot of the time. I just write around the people in my house. Because if I don’t, I will get nothing done.

I can’t do this all the time. Sometimes, whatever I’m working on requires more attention than I can manage while listening to someone else talk and sometimes, whatever someone else is talking about requires more attention than I can manage while writing. Which is pretty frustrating because that means I either don’t get everything done that I want to get done in the allotted time or I end up working much later than I anticipated and other things I wanted to do don’t get done.

Why don’t I say something to them? Well, I have. But, since my writing schedule is inconsistent due to my day jobs and the demands of whatever project or projects I’m working on during any given day, they can’t tell if I’m working or not. And if I tell them I’m working, they either get offended that I don’t want to hear about the latest episode of Bar Rescue or about what Abby Lee Miller did now, or they assure me that whatever they have to say will “only take a minute” and talk to me anyway.

Why don’t I go somewhere else and write? I would, but I’m actually not really comfortable writing in public spaces. I would prefer to write in the space I’m most comfortable in as I tend to be the most productive there and that place is…my room.

Which sometimes reminds me of a bus terminal during bad weather and all of the buses are late: you can’t escape from the conversations.

My dad and my friend aren’t bad people. It’s not that they don’t care that I’m trying to write. It’s not like they’re purposely trying to sabotage me in my efforts.

It’s just that my writing time isn’t important to them. But it’s sacred to me.

So, I write around them.

The Fate of the Ivy Russell Novellas Decided!

Ivy novellas

The votes are in and they’ve all been tallied and…it’s a tie!

That’s because only two people voted and they voted for two different things.

But, results are results and since they’re not contradictory, I’ll do both.

So the Ivy Russell novellas will be released as an eBook, most likely later this month, and it will be released as a paperback, publication time to be determined.

I expect to sell at least one of each.

You know who you are.

Are You a Good Fatty?

Fat girl bikiniThis is a mindset that I have struggled with and one I’m working very hard to correct. Why? Because the Good Fatty is bullshit, that’s why.

Here’s how it works.

People make generalizations about fat people. They’re lazy. They eat like garbage. They’re unhealthy. You know, the same song and dance folks have been performing since before Jane Fonda made jazzercise a thing.

Immediately, my reaction is, “Not all fatties! I’m not lazy. I exercise. I do yoga. I belly dance. I count my steps. I lift weights. And I eat healthy! I rarely eat fast food. I eat vegetarian meals several times a week. I don’t eat a lot of processed food. And my health has been more affected by not having regular access to affordable healthcare than by my weight.”

Now, all of those things are true and generalizations are garbage. But, the fact that I feel the urge to defend my honor and separate myself from those other, “bad” fatties is bullshit. I shouldn’t feel that way. I shouldn’t actually have to do that at all.


Because there are thin people whose only exercise is walking out to their car so they can drive to a fast food joint. There are thin people whose diets consist of not much more than Starbucks and cigarettes and cupcakes. No “good” thin person has ever felt the need to distance themselves from those “bad” thin people by saying, “I’m not like them! I run twenty miles a week and take a spin class and do hot yoga. I eat gluten-free vegan. I’ve never drank or smoked and I haven’t set foot inside a Starbucks in my life!”

No, no thin person, good or bad, feels the need to defend their life choices because they are, by default, “healthy” just because they’re thin. Regardless of their choices, they’re treated with basic human respect. They don’t have to worry about anyone judging their choice of fries over salad. They don’t feel the need to remind everyone that they walked their five miles yesterday and today is just an off day. They don’t feel the need to say, “But I’m not like them.” They know it doesn’t matter. They will still get that basic human respect.

That simple respect isn’t extended to all fatties, just the “good” ones and only if they prove that they really are “good”.

So, riddle me this, Batman, why is that?

Why is some lazy, Whopper-eating thin person treated with more respect than a fat person who does the same thing? Why is perceived health the basis for simple respect? Why does a fat person not deserve respect because they’re not “healthy”?

Who the fuck came up with that rule?

Here’s the real skinny, Minnie, until proven otherwise, we all are entitled to basic human respect. All of us. Even the “bad” fatties.

I’m not going to draw that line between me and the “bad” fatties anymore. I’m going to work really hard not to do it. If I don’t draw that line between me and the smokers and the drinkers and the “bad” thin people, then there’s no need for that line to exist between me and other fatties. Their health choices are theirs, such as mine are mine. End of.

The respect thing, though, that’s non-negotiable.

Regardless of my weight, regardless of what I eat, regardless of how much I move, I refuse to accept anything less than simple respect.

I insist upon that.

October Writing Projects

pumpkinsHonestly, I don’t have a lot going on this month. This is mostly due to NaNoWriMo looming. I don’t like to jam my schedule full the month before I’m going to be focused on writing 50,000 words as quickly as possible. It wears out my brain and renders me useless.

The only things I HAVE to do this month are finish the revisions on the novella-turned-novel, which hopefully include finally giving it a title, and finalize my outline for this year’s NaNo endeavor, The End of the (Werewolf) Curse.

Things that I could do if I feel the urge: revise Voice, revise “The Wind Chime Tree”, revise “Darling”. I don’t think I’ll start writing anything new unless something irresistible pops into my brain.

Most likely I’ll be saving that energy for November.

If you haven’t voted in the poll to decide the fate of the Ivy Russell novellas, please do so. The poll closes next week. Yes, I know it’s only been open a day. What can I say? This has been eating away at my brain for months now and I’d like to finally have a conclusion.

And, if the majority rules that I do anything other than nothing, then I’ll have something else to do this month.