Friday, October 30, 2015

What, What Do You Mean It's Oct 30th?

NaNoWriMo starts in two days.

I am not prepared.

That is all.




No, that's not all, really. True, I'm not prepared, but it's been difficult to get ready. I'm rebelling this year. You remember how at the beginning of the year- well, maybe not, you guys have better things to store in your long-term memory than my blog posts. So here's this post: Evicting Eventually. Goal 1, I completed on the last possible day. Goal 2, done. A day late, but done. Goal 3...

Flop. Flop flop flop. Like a fish on land. Floppity flop. Goal 4, I didn't even attempt. I'm the kind of person where if one thing gets away from me, I'm bad about getting the rest of the list done.

But I'm not giving up. Yeah, goal 5 is pretty far right now. Three novels completed in two months? And one of those months is December? Ha. Haha. No way. But I can still do two. At least, that's my NaNo goal. I've got two novels 50k done. One, Trickster's Gambit, just needs an incomplete scene completed, the climax, and the ending. Maybe 10k to go. The rest of it is pretty good, I think. Mostly on track.

The other, The Business of Being Dead, is going to take a lot more work. While writing it, I got lost. I rambled and hemmed and hawed and backtracked and ended up at a climax where the heroes couldn't win. They didn't have the knowledge to defeat the bad guy, and the bad guy didn't have the ability to beat the heroes. Stalemate in the last 2000 words. The current plan is to scrap it back to the "shit hits the fan" moment and go from there with a new plan. My problem is that the plan has only barely begun to come together. I'm likely going to end up plotting like the buffer bar on a slow-loading video: just barely keeping ahead of the work. With some luck and a lot of praying, I'll end up at a much better climax, where the bad guy has almost won, but the heroes seize victory from the jaws of defeat at the last second and get to a satisfactory The End. I suppose only time will tell now. If I can have two complete novels at the end of the next month, whether I wrote 50k or not, I'll consider myself a winner.

And I don't like to lose.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Moments of the Week: Greenville, SC

I went to visit my mother up in the mountains of NC last weekend. After weeks of cancelled events due to weather, we were finally, luckily blessed with a glorious weekend for spending it outside. Which is what my mother planned for us to do. Her local walking group had taken her to Greenville, SC for a trip, and she wanted to share it with me.

My friends, if you have need of a quirky city setting for a story, go to Downtown Greenville. Oh my gosh, we couldn't walk anywhere without seeing something inspirational, educational, or just plain cool.

I had no idea the place would be so cool, so I didn't bring my camera. Luckily, since our Maine trip, my mother upgraded her cell phone to one with a better camera. I commandeered it for a considerable portion of the trip.

Okay, so first thing about downtown Greenville? It has a river in it! With waterfalls! And a park around it!

(Look at that sky. What a beautiful day it was.)

How gorgeous is that? All natural too. And as you can see from the second picture, there's a bridge that crosses the gorge, a suspension bridge! When you're on it, looking over, you can ever so slightly feel the bridge move under your feet. A gentle swaying as a constant reminder that you are very high, and the water beneath you only ankle deep. I stayed on longer than my legs wanted to, just watching the people climbing on the rocks below.

There are tons of paths around the park, leading to restaurants, amphitheaters, the local zoo (a two mile walk from where we were). Partway towards the zoo is a memorial to a U-2 pilot killed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. A local boy, the monument suggested that his untimely death led to the cessation of hostilities and the end of the crisis. All I could think while looking at the memorial was, "This could totally be a plot device." I mean, it's a decommissioned F-86, a Sabre, (a plane the pilot flew before he became a U-2 pilot) just sitting in a park. It just screams "potential conspiracy theory" or "what if it still works and someone had to take it to save the day?"

There's also inspiration in the form of tiny little mouse statues scattered, hidden around the town. You can walk right by them without noticing. Unless someone knits one a tiny little scarf for the oncoming cold. There's magic here, I tell you.

And in this tree too. Look at those roots. Can't you just imagine some kind of portal opening from that? It's practically a hidden doorway.

If all these don't convince you to visit Greenville, then maybe this will.

Neat huh? A little old courthouse, nice square out front. Actually, it's pretty standard from this point of view. Let's go inside.


M. Judson's is a relatively new independent store, only open three months ago, and if you don't fall in love with it as soon as you walk in, see a doctor for your missing sanity. The aged courthouse architecture embraces the warmth and openness of the store. With plenty of space for spreading out with a book and a drink and baked good from the in-store coffee shop, or settling in with your laptop to do some writing (NaNoers welcome, they're hosting write-ins!), it's heaven in a store. Even the coffee bar is getting in on the whole "books" thing. 

Yes, those are real books lining the walkway in, and it almost looked like you could pull them out and read it right there. I didn't ask if that was an option.

Seriously, it all was almost enough to make me want to move, but my area's got it's own share of great bookstores. Sure, they're not in adorable ex-courthouses with gorgeous stairs leading up to it, and they don't have write-in space, or quirky coffee bars with book-lined halls, but...

Yeah, okay, I want this bookstore in my town. I want this TOWN in my town. All the above, plus potential characters on every street (from the girl with green hair and the man rocking out on his scooter as he drove down the street to the drooling boar statue), countless restaurants to try, and a zoo to explore, I will definitely be going back when the weather turns for the warm again.

Friday, October 9, 2015

By Order of Victoria Fry: I Must Share My Work

I've met a lot of lovely people through my Pinterest addiction, especially running a few group boards. I'm proud to call a number of women who are MUCH better bloggers than me friends, like Mandy Wallace, whose pins to her excellent articles for writers pop up daily on my feed, and Victoria Fry, who put a lot of effort into making a training video for writers who want to use Pinterest for their work, including myself, Mandy, Kristen Kieffer of She's Novel and Jenny Bravo of Blots and Plots as examples.

And then Victoria had to go and tag us to take the 7/7/7/7 challenge. It's a simple idea meant to encourage sharing of works-in-progress. The challenged pick their WIP, turn to the seventh page, count down to the seventh line, share the next seven lines, and then tag seven other writers to share their own. It's completely optional to the tagged, and it's okay to tag fewer bloggers. But I've never been one to step down from a challenge.

The only issue is, which WIP? I've got, well, many. I am not the best at reaching that fabled "The End." I get distracted or bored, or I realize things that need fixing that overwhelm me. It's bad. It's why I decided that instead of writing a new novel this NaNoWriMo, I'm going to work on finishing two of the old ones. I just can't bring another baby into the world while continuing to neglect the older children, so to speak. I decided to finish up my novels from NaNo 2012 and 2013: The Business of Being Dead and Trickster's Gambit. And since Victoria posted samples from two works for her 7/7/7/7 challenge, I'll go ahead and do the same.

So without further ado, please enjoy these samplings and hold the tomatoes 'til the end of the reading.


The Business of Being Dead (this was the end of the chapter, so there were only 6 lines), a paranatural urban fantasy about Hannah MacIntyre, recently deceased, assistant grim reaper, and undead herder. Dave is the sock-eating bogeyman who discovered her dead:

“Okay, okay, let’s go,” Dave said, waving her over. She took one last look around before joining him in front of the open door. “Ready?” She nodded with a lump in her throat. Ready or not, she had no idea what she was doing. As Dave took her by the hand, she questioned the wisdom in trusting a strange, inhuman creature who showed up in her bedroom, told her she was dead, ate all her socks, and was about to lead her through a black portal to the unknown. She didn’t get a chance to change her mind as Dave stepped into the blackness, pulling her in with him.


Trickster's Gambit, a fantasy western about James Proctor, conman and wizard/illusionist. Helen is the soon-to-be victim of an unfortunate magical accident:

“Oh it is now, ay?” Helen scowled. “I remember you now. You were running a Find the Lady stall and picked my pocket when I wouldn’t play. I thought they hanged you.”

“I didn’t break out from any jail, if that’s what you’re implying, Miss Helen. Hangin’ was the plan, but your kind sheriff took pity on a poor, old, desperate fool. Think you could ever find it in your heart to forgive me yourself?”

She continued to scowl.

“What was your name again, Mister Man of God?”


And now it's my turn to pick the unfortunate victims dear friends whose WIPs I'd love to see samples of.

M.J. Ravenhill at The Ravenhill Express
JR at Bobo the Bard
A.G. Carpenter at A.G. Carpenter
Abner Senires at Abner Senires
Lillith at Eclectic Little Dork
and Anna Humphrey at The Muse's Lair

Tag, y'all!

edit: Updated JR's link to her new Tumblr instead of her old blog.