Divorce, Death & the Holidays

So, I'm driving in the slow lane on the NaNo expressway and along comes this eighteen-wheeler pulling not one trailer but three. The first trailer has "Divorce" spray painted across the gleaming silver surface. The trailer sways a little and I swerve. I slow as I swerve and lose a few days and nights of word counts. It seems no matter my intentions, I cannot escape its proximity. I speed up, it speeds up. I slow, it slows. So Divorce may not have ran me off the road but it has certainly created a great deal of worry in my life.

When I finally become comfortable with Divorce and I'm once again staying between the white lines and moving slowly but steadily forward, another trailer creeps up beside me. It's black and shiny. In a beautiful script hand is a single word: Death. It sways and I swerve. It strays into my lane and I pull of the road. Tears pour down my cheeks and my heart aches with memory and loss. The pain lingers still but there is nothing to do but to get back onto the NaNo expressway and try to find the will to move forward.

Only, there's construction barrels and flashing arrows directing me off the expressway. They leave no option. I have to take the exit ramp marked "Thanksgiving & Holiday Shopping". With a sigh...I do as I must and I merge with traffic. There's a mall ahead and a food center. They look both daunting and appealing.

I guess I'll have to settle for getting back on the NaNo expressway after the weekend.

Now for the Real Scoop

Divorce

My parents (dad and step-mom) are getting a divorce. Can't say the separation came as a surprise but the circumstances surrounding it did. Let's just say you never know someone as well as you think you do. People are capable of the most astounding and heartbreaking actions.

Death

My great-grandfather passed away Sunday, God bless him. He was 91 years old. He lived a full and wonderful life. I mourn not for what he will miss but for what I will miss and what my children will never know to miss. Goodbye, Grandpa.

Holidays

Thanksgiving is at my house this year. Supposed to be with Dad and step-mom this year but...well...considering the circumstances, I invited my in-laws to sup with us. I hope they prove a helpful distraction--Dad gets really emotional at any family gathering. The kids' birthday parties have been hell.

Friday I'm going Christmas shopping with my sister-in-law-to-be. I can't believe I'm getting up at 5:00 am so I can leave here by 6:00. I must be daft.

NaNo Progress Report

Word Count: 5150 words total

Story Tidbits:

I just started Chapter Three and entered the hero's POV. So far it's been an easy and fun chapter to write...all 361 words of it. Unfortunately, even with all my preplanning for NaNo, I've managed to write myself into the land of uncertainties. I've known all along that Makenna's "research paper" and Cade's academic specialty would be key elements used to draw the two of them together. I had been thinking in rather abstract terms about the paper, though, and hadn't given much thought as to what it would say. Silly of me. It needs to contradict his considerable research on the subject...enough so that he's inclined to meet one-on-one with her.

So...now I need to do some vampire legend research and write a faux paper on the topic. Then, once I have a firm grasp on what he would be able to find & what theories he would support, I'll need to purposely twist some of the concepts until she's in direct opposition to him. Should be fun. Vampires are some of my favorite beasties.

NaNo Progress Report

Word Count Data

Over the last five days I have managed to write 3868 words. Not bad. I'm hoping to add 2K to the tally by day's end. I'll keep you posted.

Story Tidbits

As you may or may not know, beginnings are the worst for me. Just writing one and forcing myself to accept it has been a bit of a challenge. A rule of thumb in romance is to have your hero and heroine meet ASAP. Chapter Two is going to have to be soon enough. Although, I did have my heroine think of him once or twice in Chapter One--nothing mushy at that point, just random general thoughts.

Chapter Two is about a quarter completed and they're just about ready to speak to each other. Page 16. Although they have had a strange shared experience. Here's a little snippet of the experience:

~Begin snippet~

She lifted her head and looked toward the bottom of the room. The guest speaker seemed not to have noticed the lagging enthusiasm in the back row. Dr. Michaels, on the other hand, seemed intently aware. He was staring right at her and, while his expression betrayed little, she could sense his irritation.

The intensity of her awareness stunned her. The sensation was reminiscent of telepathy and yet altogether different. There was both more and less focus. His thoughts were muted by emotion, while the emotions were distracted by thoughts. The two were joined and yet separate. Only the most dominant thought or emotion managed to leave an impression at any given moment. Everything else was simply too elusive to identify or distinguish.

Concentrating on expanding the link between them, Makenna focused her energy on the professor. Within moments the lecturer's words faded into obscurity and the students seated along the descending tiers disappeared from her peripheral vision. Even the room seemed to dissolve.

The space separating them collapsed upon itself until she could see the dark blue ring encircling the lighter blue irises of his eyes. As if he were caught in the same madness, his eyes widened and his irritation gave way to fear and amazement.

What the hell?

Makenna came to herself with a start She strove to keep her breathing normal. Needing a moment to regroup, she looked down at her trembling hands and tried to calm herself. She dared not glance in his direction again. The suddenness of the shared intimacy frightened her.

She had heard his voice, not with her ears but with her mind. His bewildered question had left no doubt as to his awareness of the link he had forged, whether knowingly or unknowingly. She shivered. In all her long experience she had certainly never encountered the like. Even the telepathic link bonding fledgling vampire to Master had not been so intimate.

What the hell indeed.

~end snippet~

NaNo Fast Approaching!

I can't believe how fast the month of October is flying by. Soon I'll be taking the boys out trick-or-treating. Mommy's little heroes...spiderman and the hulk. I'm going to take way too many pictures but that's my right. And my dollar. But I figure the little guys aren't going to be all that little for long and soon enough they'll resemble dismembered, bleeding gouls. (Don't all boys go through the grusome Halloween costume phase?)

On the heels of Halloween comes NaNo. Beginning November 1st I'm going to commit myself to completing 50,000 words by month's end. I've been preparing for the marathon, though. Using the Powerstructure software (the demo is nearly used up!), I have been able to develop a new story. So far, so good. I like what I've got. A vampire romance. I'm dedicating this one to my mom because she's all but demanded I actually finish a vampire romance for her. Well...at least she likes my writing, even if she is a bit pushy. :D



I haven't written anything. Not here and not on my WIP. In fact, just last night I was whining to my husband that I can't seem to write any more. I don't know what has happened to me but I sit down with every intention of writing something only to find my mind blank and my fingers motionless above the keyboard.

In order to combat this supposed writer's block, I've signed up for NaNoWriMo over at NaNoWriMo.org. 50,000 words in one month. In order to meet this goal, I'm allowing myself to write absolute trash. The object of this game is to get writing again. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm not going to think about readers or critiquers or even publishers. I'm going to have to write for me and only me.

Wish me luck.

ENFJ - "Persuader". Outstanding leader of groups. Can be aggressive at helping others to be the best that they can be. 2.5% of total population.
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Writing

Well, I've been doing more editing than writing but I guess it all falls under the same heading. One way or another I am writing. It's slow going not because I can't find the words, it's going slow because RL keeps interfering. The $$ job has been demanding all of my attention during the day...at lunch time I just can't stand to look at the computer screen so I find a good book to read instead. Not productive but it saves on the headaches. At home there are the usual culprits: kids, housework, kids, husband, kids, dog, kids, and did I mention the kids?

As for what little I've accomplished I'm very happy with it. The edits are adding depth and strength. Balancing action with backstory has been the biggest challenge. I'm afraid of info-dumping on the reader. Yet, on the other hand, I'm afraid lack of backstory will leave them bewildered and confused. So in goes bits and pieces of backstory and I'm stuck here crossing my fingers, hoping I haven't bored the reader to tears.

So, in short, I believe I'm done with the editing on Chapter 4. ~Insert big sigh of relief here~

The next step will be to add some new words to Chapter 6. I've left Davne on the verge of commiting herself to the challenge ahead. So far she's been bullied and bruised. Within the next few paragraphs she will be embracing her future, not merely witnessing it first-hand. This doesn't mean she isn't going to have some reservations.

So wish me luck. Luck to find the time to write and luck in finding the words.





Time for a face-lift once again. I really did not like the previous template I had selected. I was just too lazy to bother with changing it.

I hope you like this one as much as I do. It's simple. I like simple.

Well, well, well. It seems the network isn't going to let me initiate the one program I need to do my job today. The email requests in my inbox are going to have to wait (possibly quite some time) for an answer. To bad I can't use this down time to work on the WIP. Unfortunately I left the disk at home because I was certain it would be pointless to bring it along. Today should be busy! I expected to be wading my way through classroom requests, not sitting here twidling my thumbs.

I could always take a stab at writing the first chapter of my murder/mystery/thriller. I know something about the characters but not much about the plot. That could be problematic. Perhaps I should write out a list of potential scenes first. Gah. I don't know. I'm not ready to write this story...it's still perculating.

What does that leave? Games. Chat. Daily writing exercise--haven't done that in a while. What I really want to do, I can't. What I must do, I can't. How irritating.

My weekend is nearly gone and I've hardly put a dent in the WIP. At least this weekend I have a valid excuse. My hubby went up north with a friend to replace a cabin roof and in addition to my two munchkins I had two extra kids underfoot for two days. For the first time since Friday afternoon I have peace and quiet. I hope the boys' naps last for at least two hours. Selfish of me, I know.

What I did accomplish on the WIP felt pretty good. I did some editing--it's too hard to actually write when you have four children clamoring for your attention. I also did some more world and character building because I found the niftiest program to help get me organized. Unfortunatly the software is a demo and will only run for a total of 20 times. If it were a $30-50 program this would be no problem but I'm not in a position to dish out $200 at the moment. So, I'm conserving my useage and settling on printing whatever I'm managed to input on the 20th session.

Sapphire
You're a Sapphire. You seem to be unreachable, but
deep inside, you are really a nice and warm
person. You are elegant and get along well with
people once you know them.


What Jewel Are You?
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I really wanted to be an emerald but even when I took the stupid thing twice (purposely changing a few answers to second choice options) I still managed to be a sapphire. Huh.

Nothing and Nonsense

I really have nothing much to say this morning. I think my brain is still sleeping. Maybe some hot chocolate would help--picked up this nifty new Butterfinger flavored stuff. Yeah, that sounds yummy.

I'm hoping to wake up enough to get some work done on the WIP. I also think it's time to look for some publishing and/or agent contacts for Dragonborn. Although, I think I'll read it again with an eye for cliches and lack of exposition. I have a feeling the cliches will be harder to fix than the exposition. Go figure.

ASWK is coming along. I'm on Chapter Six. This would be the scene where Vryc and Davne come to an agreement on her leaving Glamyr, then they break out the slaves, and...you'll just have to read the rest to find out. Let's just say this is a chapter where crisis number one comes to a head. At least...I think this is crisis number one. This plotting stuff can be difficult.







Changed the look of this again. I really didn't like the last template I used...the font was too small and I was too lazy to try to modify the html text.

So...let's see if I like this any better.

Things have considerably calmed down here at work. I have a new project to work on but it's going to make my job so much better, I'm all for it! If anything can help make the work I've been doing manageable, it should be this program. It was designed with my job duties in mind and should reduce the hours of pouring over classrooms schedules. (Please say a prayer for me. I really NEED this to work.)

As for writing, I've been working on A Secret Well Kept on and off for the last several weeks. I got about a hundred pages into the thing (that would be about 6 completed chapters) and decided it was time for some feedback. Things didn't feel right, although I was more than passing happy with the writing. Yep, strange, I know. But the cold, hard fact is I have faith I can write, it's the storytelling part that gets me. Putting the words together can be a struggle but it's the story that worries me.

Seems I had reason to be concerned. Taking criticism is one of the hardest things a writer can do. It can be painful, especially if the critiquer is honest and forthcoming with all your shortcomings. However, and this is a big however, by listening to your audience, I believe you can learn something valuable. Even if you don't agree with them on everything, you have to respect the fact this is their opinion and they feel the way they do for a reason. After you've had a chance to step back and look at their POV without emotion, you might just find they were right. In a few instances. Maybe more than you had anticipated.

I had a particularly harsh critique done on my BN. It took me nearly a week to recover. However, the person who told it like it was (in their perception) has helped me to make the story better. My changes may not be exactly as she would have done or might have expected but I know without a doubt the story has improved. And I only had to cut three chapters.

So, listen. Determine what are valid problems and what are personal preferences. Make some decisions. And get back to work.

I am the world's worst blogger.

Just thought I'd share that with you. I really have nothing else I want to share at the moment.

I can't believe it. Hopefully, by this time tomorrow, I will have turned everything over to the graphic artist and this project will become his headache and not mine! I know that's not very nice but I've just about HAD it with this thing!

As for my BN, I've finally broke 10K. Amazing. It only took five months. Hopefully, the next 10K can be pounded out in two weeks or less. I'm still in Chapter 4 and I have yet to get into two of the main POVs. The next scene will be from the antagonist's. That should be wickedly fun.

This is not the way I like to spend my weekends---at the $$$ job. However, if I want to keep this position, I guess I need to meet my deadlines and if that means coming in on a Sunday....it means coming in on a Sunday. So here I am. Putting off what needs to be done because I am so sick of this damn place and all this tedious, detail-oriented work.

I haven't written anything on my stories in days. I had hoped to accomplish something this weekend. Even if I could have managed to set aside an hour for writing, I would feel better.

Tonight won't see any progress. We have to go to the funeral home right after dinner. Oh yippy.

Testing

I took of the comment links...they never worked anyhow. I also tried to add another link to the sidebar.

Just testing to see if it worked....

Tired

It is so time to go home for the night. I stayed over to get some much needed work done at the $$ job. I made progress. I am happy. I am also dazed and confused, in need of a back rub, and ready to veg out for at least an hour before crawling into bed.

So why do I want to pull up the WIP and give a go?

Go home. Get some rest. This is good advice I'm giving myself. I just wonder if I'll listen....

Happy New Year...A Day Late

We had a few people over New Year's Eve. After we watched the Red Wings win a pretty physical game, we ended up watching Robin Williams doing stand-up on HBO. I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time. The pregnant ladies in the room were holding their bellies and groaning amid the laughter. After Robin exited Stage Left, the majority of us decided to play a game. Two hours after the ball had dropped in Times Square, we called it a night.

I haven't stayed up that late in ages. And the kids were not nice the next morning....I swear they're up before the birds.

New Year's Resolutions

Yup. I'm going for it. Going to write down some goals and hopefully meet each and every one of them.

1. No eating after 8:00 p.m.
2. Exercise 3X a week
3. Scrapbook at least 8 pages a month
4. Write one chapter a week

Those don't seem too terribly impossible. I already started on the scrapbooking and writing goals. I finished two SB pages yesterday and added a hundred or so words to A Secret Well-Kept. Today I begin the exercise and control my snacking....wish me luck.