Adios 2021

How do you send off a year that you’re not sorry to see go?

Gleefully and gratefully, I suppose.

Especially since I can’t remember most of it. It’s all just a pandemic blur to me. So, here are a few milestones I remember.

I finished Season 2 of Book ’em, Danno and started Season 3. For the first time since the very beginning of the podcast, I’m actually ahead of the game. I think I’m finding my rhythm. I haven’t gotten much quicker in my process, but being a few months ahead keeps the pressure off. So, that’s something.

I revamped Kiki Writes About and created AKA Kiki Writes to be the home of Book ’em, Danno and my Rerun Junkie content. One of the goals of this revamp was to blog more regularly, which I’ve done. Good job, me.

Murderville came to an end and I’ve got things in place for the next project. Writing, revising, recording, and editing an audio story has been an interesting challenge.

Despite my misgivings, I managed to win yet another NaNo, though I cheated like hell when it came to the actual projects. But I got a bunch of short stories done in addition to the audio story, so that’s more writing than I’ve done in a long time.

I had the joy of discovering that there are romance books that I do like. I was very sad that I couldn’t enjoy that genre, but success! If they’ve got fat folks and/or queer people, I am in. I also read a lot of poetry this past year, which I very much enjoyed and look forward to reading more of.

One of my dear friends and her family moved back to town earlier this year and it’s been a joy to see their faces more often.

I’ve discovered the goodness that is kimchi and I now make kimchi dip on the reg. And I further expanded my culinary skills by learning to make carne asada.

My patellar tendonitis that has been plaguing me for years is under control. I’m doing a lot better, though I’m still not at 100%. I still can’t squat down like I used to. My blood pressure remains too high despite the meds and diet changes and attempts to reduce stress. I just hope the inevitable stroke kills me.

I’m hoping that 2022 will be kinder to me and everyone else, but it’s already off to a dubious start. I had really wanted to go to Hawaii for my 42nd birthday in January, but with the latest Covid variant and the fact that tourists remain the selfish worst, I decided to postpone until a safer, more agreeable time. Hopefully, it’ll be before birthday number 43, but we’ll see what the Universe has in store.

Adios, 2021. You had an attitude.

2021 NaNo Winner!

Yes, I officially reached 50,000 words on November 29th, so that’s another win in the books.

This year was quite interesting given that I decided to approach NaNo in a different fashion while also dealing with a different library schedule that added a challenge to the already challenging situation of me struggling to write in general.

What resulted was quite a bit of productivity actually. Writing only 1,700 words a day every day helped keep the pressure off. Normally, I write between 2,000 and 4,000 words a day during NaNo. In comparison, 1,700 words is a piece of cake. For the most part, I was able to get my word count in before I went to work, another factor that kept the stress low. I was able to work on other things after my library shift knowing that I had NaNo done.

I finished the first draft of the audio story The Found Diary of Christina Essex in 15 days at 25,000 words, half of my needed word count and more than I anticipated doing on that story. Which was good. I wasn’t exactly sure if the story was going to work out until I hit a certain point and things suddenly came together. After that, it was pretty easy writing.

As for the rest of the month, I ended up using my word count to write four blog posts, five flash fiction stories, and four short stories, including one that topped out at 10,000 words. Not bad for someone who’s been struggling to write anything longer than flash fiction for months. I was also able to clear several story ideas out of my notebook. I don’t know yet what I’ll do with all of them now that they’re in first draft form, but they are ready and waiting to be revised.

As NaNos go, this one was quite different, but it also gave me a boost that I desperately needed when it came to getting my writing done. So much of why it’s fallen to the wayside is this feeling that I don’t have time to do it because I have all of these other impending projects to work on.

But the truth is, I do have time. It’s just a matter of finding it again.

Finding the energy…that’s another story.

But at least I know that I can still win when I want to.

New Patreon Project Announcement

Murderville ran for five years and at the end of it all, I wasn’t sure that I was going to do another Patreon project. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to come up with something else I wanted to do, especially given the fact that writing has been difficult for me lately.

And then of course I got the inkling of an idea, so let’s see if I can pull it off.

The new project will actually feature two separate projects and three tiers.

The $1 tier will be a general support tier. This tier will feature a post on the first of every month that will be a sort of round up of what happened in the previous month and a preview of what’s coming up. 

There are people who’d like to support what I do, but aren’t necessarily into whatever I write. There’s also the very real possibility that the projects I’m doing now won’t be something my current patrons are interested in, so I feel this is a good option.

The $2 tier will be the writing tier and starting in January it will feature the novel (Vampires) Made in America with a chapter going live on the 2nd Monday of every month. The first draft of this book was written during NaNoWriMo 2011 and I’ve been working on it off and on ever since.

In (Vampires) Made in America, elder vampire Andrei Carp dispatches three members of his inner circle -suave Nathan Vacek, beautiful Neda Kovar, and Stanley Ivanov, a former society outcast now in the inner circle just because he saved the world once- to Arizona to investigate the possible existence of vampires that were born in America, something once thought impossible.

The $3 tier will be the audio tier and starting in January it will feature the audio story The Found Diary of Christina Essex, which will go live on the 3rd Friday of every month. I’m actually writing this during NaNoWriMo this year and I look forward to the challenge of doing an audio story, something I’ve only dabbled in before.

The Found Diary of Christina Essex is the story of a woman compelled to read a diary she found in the attic of her new house which details the discreetly disturbing events of a woman named Christina Essex.

The more expensive tiers will have access to the content of the less expensive tiers and all three of the tiers have the potential to have more added to them later.

The biggest change with these new projects is that I’m moving from a per episode/chapter payment to a monthly payment. I’ll be making the switch at the end of December, so current patrons have plenty of time to change their tiers (or opt out, which I hope they don’t) and new patrons will be able to sign up before the January start dates. All patrons will be charged at the first of every month.

There will be more details as we get closer to January and I will have a new Patreon page encompassing all of my projects here on the blog, but unlike Murderville, there will be no teasers here. Everything Patreon will be on Patreon.

So don’t miss out! Become a patron!

NaNo 2021

Here we are once again. It’s NaNoWriMo time.

I wasn’t sure I was going to do NaNo this year. It seems that podcasting takes up most of my time these days, not that writing was coming easily anyway. I’ve written plenty about that, most recently in this post.

More than that -I didn’t really have anything I wanted to work on to the tune of 50,000 words in 30 days. Yes, I have ideas I could turn into first drafts, but nothing that compelled me.

And then I got an idea for a new Patreon project: The Found Diary of Christina Essex. Aside from the title and the basic premise -an unknown narrator reads a diary they found in the attic of their new house- I didn’t have much to start with, but I knew it would be good for a Patreon tier (more about this in a later post).

In order for me to have this new project ready for a January start date, it needs to be done soon -like now. Hello, NaNo project!

The one hitch in the giddyup is that this Patreon project is going to be an audio story. I can tell you right now, it probably won’t make 50,000 words. Not exactly ideal since that’s the goal of NaNo.

So, once again I’m going to cheat.

Much like the few years that I did two novellas instead of doing one whole novel, in this case I’m going to a novella and then other writing. Meaning, I’m not only going to count what I write on The Found Diary of Christina Essex, but I’m also going to count any other writing I do. Blog posts, short stories, flash fiction, whatever. I’m going to count it. The goal for this very special NaNo is for me to hit the NaNo goal of at least 1,667 words every day.

I am still struggling to find my writing joy. Will writing a significant amount of words for thirty days in a row help me reclaim it? I don’t know. But I felt a spark of magic when I wrote the last Patreon flash fiction bonus and I feel like it’s all right there, just teasingly out of reach. I know writing is work, but I want it to feel less like work. Because it didn’t always feel like the bane of my day. I used to look forward to exploring new ideas, even if it was just a blog post.

It’s sort of like being in love. I want to feel that way again. I want to feel that way always.

And who knows, maybe this will do it. And maybe I will hit 50,000 words on just the story.

Wouldn’t that be sweet?

They Tore Down the Zombie Car Wash

That old chestnut “write what you know” is one that I adhere to in a very broad way. I know the story. I know the characters. Anything I don’t know, I can learn later. Then I’ll know it for next time.

However, sometimes I take that advice more literally and write what I actually know. Like working in customer service. And I frequently set stories in my hometown. Now, the people who live here would probably argue that there’s nothing about this small town in the middle of a cornfield that’s worth writing about, but to the people who don’t live here, it’s an exotic locale.

Only a handful of people that I know who also know this town actually read my stories. In most cases, my friends who don’t read my work don’t read it because I don’t write what they like to read (a far from exclusive club since strangers feel the same way). So, there are only a few people who can actually pick out the real locations I’ve used in stories.

One of those locations is the Zombie Car Wash.

It wasn’t always called that, though.

It was an actual car wash (that I always used despite the other two in town) that happened to be down the street from the grocery store. There were only three stalls, two vacuums, and the back lot was lined with trees. Despite being able to see the rear lot of the grocery store right across the street and the house next door, it felt weirdly secluded. It was a great spot. I loved it.

I loved it so much that I made it the opening scene in my short story “Another Deadly Weapon”, which I published in the short story collection Yearly. I didn’t think much about it at the time until one of my friends, Natalie, read the story and it ended up scarring her for life.

You see, if you parked on the east side of the grocery store parking lot, you could see the car wash that I used in the beginning of the story. So, whenever Natalie went to the grocery store and would see the car wash, she’d half-expect to see a zombie stumble out of one of the stalls over there. She couldn’t not think of the story when she was there.

A compliment, indeed.

And it also led to us calling it the Zombie Car Wash.

So imagine my heartbreak when I turned down the road to go to the grocery store one day and saw the stalls down, the vacuums gone, and the lot empty. A landmark gone. It wasn’t just my preferred place to rinse the rural off of my vehicle; it was also a standing reminder that once upon a time I actually wrote something that someone couldn’t get out of their head.

At least the Zombie Car Wash will live forever in “Another Deadly Weapon”. So, if you haven’t read it yet, do so. And if you have read it, read it again.

In loving memory.

“How’s the Writing Going?”

Let’s be clear: asking me this question even in the best of times is assault. Because we all know that you don’t really care how the writing is going. You’re just being polite. It’s up there with “What are you working on?” You don’t care. It’s just a polite question you ask before launching into a long story about your much more interesting life.

However, in the current bad times, asking me this question is now felony assault. Because it ain’t going great. And I don’t want to talk about that with someone who doesn’t actually care.

I was struggling with my writing before this endless panini, before the routine exasperation of telling people to put their masks on, before the constant stress of being forever understaffed at the library. I’ve been struggling for a while and baby, it ain’t necessarily getting better.

Blogging consistently is a challenge. That I’ve managed to put out two blog posts a week for two different sites for the last couple of months is nothing short of a miracle. Writing 1,000 word flash fiction stories for Patreon has been the extent of my fiction writing outside of NaNo in the past few years. And this year’s NaNo is looming and I’m looking at it with dread because I don’t know if I can do it. I’ve tried everything to get my fiction flow back and the dam is still in place, only letting through a trickle.

I’m still getting ideas, though not at the same pace that I used to. Just the other day I got a random idea for something that would be a fun film script. I jotted it down and I hope that one day I find enough mojo to at least outline it.

I miss fiction writing. I miss that buzz, that sensation of getting lost in my work, surfacing an hour later like I’d been swimming with mermaids and that first gasp of air reminds me that I’m human and I’ve just done something incredible. I’ve had fleeting bits of that, but nothing like it used to be. It makes me sad.

It’s not like I’m not writing at all or that I don’t like the writing that I am doing. I like doing the blog posts. I’m rediscovering my joy in that. I like doing the Rerun Junkie posts over at aka Kiki Writes, even if they can be a bit involved. I’d love to do a pop culture book one day. I really would. And I like running off at the mouth here about whatever. I like doing the scripts for the library’s podcast. Podcasting in general has become a big way I spend my time now. There’s not as much writing involved in Book ’em, Danno, but there is some.

It’s not like I’m not living up to my name. Kiki is still writing. I’m just not writing what I thought I’d be writing. I’m not being KikiWrites the way I thought I’d be. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe this is all part of the evolution of my writing existence and one day I’ll get to come back to fiction writing as my main thing. But for now, it’s not.

So, how’s the writing going?

Not the way I’d planned.

But it’s going okay.

Welcome to Kiki Writes About

As the name implies, this is where I write about…whatever. Myself, life, writing, sexuality, weight, my random issues and obsessions, if it comes into my head, I may just put it into words here.

If you’re looking for my fiction, you’ll find everything on Read Me. Everything I’ve published (either traditionally or self) is there. If you’d like to be convinced that I’m worth your time and money, check out the Writing for Tips section. It’s all of my free short stories. However, if you read a few and decide you like them, feel free to buy me a coffee over on Ko-Fi.

Murderville is my Patreon project. It wrapped up in 2021, but watch this space. There could be a new project coming soon.

If you’re looking for my podcast ventures, like Book ’em, Danno, or my ramblings on reruns, you’ll want to check out aka KikiWrites.

So, kick back and enjoy some words.

They could be about anything.

Don’t Fear the Changes

As you may have noticed, Kiki Writes About is undergoing some major changes. I’m bored and it’s time to shake some shit up.

I haven’t been using the blog like I used to. I used to make a lot more posts about a variety of different subjects, but over time, that creative flow slowed to a trickle of have-to posts about what writing projects I was working on, Murderville posts, and Book ’em, Danno posts. Part of the reason for that is that Kiki Writes About was starting to feel a bit cramped. I started second guessing anything I might post because it might not fit with everything else.

With my creative productivity already at its lowest, I ended up even more stifled.

This is my attempt at un-stifling myself.

The biggest change is that I’ve created a whole new site that will be going live on August 1st.

aka KikiWrites will be the new home of Book ’em, Danno, any and all other podcast ventures, and Rerun Junkie. I’m not deleting the first two seasons of Book ’em, Danno or the Rerun Junkie posts from Kiki Writes About. In fact, the last episode of Season 2 of Book ’em, Danno will show up here right before the new site goes live. But from Season 3 on, everything will only be found on aka KikiWrites. The Book ’em, Danno page and the Rerun Junkie page will also be disappearing. They’ll be replaced by a page for aka KikiWrites to help direct traffic to the right place.

The Writing for Tips page can now be found under the Read Me tab. I wanted to consolidate all of my available stories in one space just to clean up the look a little bit.

As of now, the Murderville tab remains the same, but if I decide to do another Patreon project, I’ll end up creating a main Patreon page for all of those projects. So that could be moved in the future. Heads up!

Also, no more monthly writing project posts. There’s really no need for it while I’m taking a writing break and even before the writing break, I was working on the same project for months at a time, so it was sort of pointless. With Book ’em, Danno moving and Murderville coming to an end, those updates aren’t really necessary either.

What I’m hoping is that these changes will inspire me to get back to writing on whatever is on my mind and allow me to better explore a variety of topics that I’ve been wanting to write about, but don’t really have the motivation. And I mean that for aka KikiWrites as well as Kiki Writes About. There’s been Rerun Junkie posts I’ve been meaning to write for months, but haven’t gotten around to it.

Let this be the kick in the ass that I need!

July Writing Projects

I thought I’d be done with the revisions on The End of the (Werewolf) Curse by the end of June, but I severely underestimated the amount of rewriting necessary to finish it. I’ve got less than thirty written pages and a few more rewritten chapters to go, so I’ll be wrapping that up this month.

And then that’s it.

I’ve decided to take a break from writing for now.

I don’t know how long the break will last or what it will look like exactly. My inability to completely stop writing is known. But what I’ve been doing for the last year (and actually the last few years, if we’re going to be honest) isn’t working for me anymore. I need some time to just exist and see what happens. Because right now, I’m not going anywhere.

I do feel another site redesign coming in the very near future. I’ve got some ideas I’ve been sitting on and I think they’re about ready to hatch.

But you can still enjoy the fruits of my labors!

Episode 7 of Murderville: So Long, Neighbor will go live on July 13th. It’s the second to last episode of the last season of Murderville, so become a patron before the fun runs out. $1 an episode let’s you read. $2 an episode gets you a sweet bonus every other month.

The season finale of Season 2 of Book ’em, Danno will go live at the end of the month. In the meantime, enjoy episode 25 and all of the previous episodes as well. Then do all the things you do to show love to a podcast. Let this be the summer of podcast love.

June Writing Projects

It should be no surprise that I didn’t finish revising The End of the (Werewolf) Curse in May. I’m almost half-way through the manuscript, so it’s entirely reasonable to assume I’ll have it done this month.

Yes, I know. Best laid plans.

The thing is that I’m really enjoying taking my time with this. I haven’t looked at this manuscript for about three years. This round of revisions is going to take a few heavy rewrites to make the changes I want that I think will improve it. I really like this story and I want to take my time with it. Maybe reacquaint myself with a time when I used to be good at this.

Speaking of being good, I submitted a couple of poems to the Writer’s Digest Annual Contest at the beginning of May and then a couple of weeks later got the rejection from the 100 Word Story Contest I entered last September. Sunrise, sunset. One day I’ll feel that victory high again.

Maybe.

Season 5 of Murderville is quickly coming to a close. The next episode of So Long, Neighbor goes live June 8th. There’s not a lot of time left to become a patron. $1 an episode lets you read. $2 an episode also gets you a sweet bonus, like the one due on June 22nd. Don’t miss out!

 

Season 2 of Book ’em, Danno is also winding down. Episode 25 should go live at the end of the month. In the meantime, entertain yourself with the most recent episode, which was just released at the end of May. Or entertain yourself with past episodes. Hell, go back to the beginning! I’m not the boss of you. Listen, like, subscribe, share, comment, love, and enjoy.