• The Songweaver's Vow

    She tells Greek legends to entertain Norse gods — until one of her stories leads to murder. Now she's alone in hostile Asgard, and Ragnarok is coming.

    Just released! Check it out.

WIP updates!

So first off, let me apologize for the state of the site over the last week and a half. We got hacked, and everything went merrily into a handbasket. Things should be all fine and safe again. I’ll catch up with the writing in Ireland posts and things shortly, I hope.

#WIPjoy daily listOn a brighter note, I’m playing along this month with the #‎WIPjoy ‬collective sharing project, authors sharing about their work in progress. I’m trying to post most days about some part of one work in progress — in particular, The Lamp and the Lie. (That’s a working title, very subject to change — as it’s already the second working title….) Continue reading

Old Notes & Plots, New Year

English: Puma_Punku

Puma Punku blocks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So while I was cleaning the house — I do that every epoch or two, believe it or not — I found some index cards with plot notes. I’m not actually an index card plotter, but I did some detective work and determined, based on the debris strata and corresponding artifacts, that these were from a writers’ conference workshop from 2013, I think. We were supposed to invent a novel plot from scratch within the workshop.

Here’s the short summary I found: Continue reading

NaNoWriMo and My Secret Weapon

NaNoWriMo Winner 2015So, I won NaNoWriMo this year. But I cheated.

Okay, “cheating” may be something of an overstatement. I did not write my 50,000 words in a single project, but I did complete or make significant progress on several different projects, and that qualifies me as a “NaNo Rebel” in the NaNoWriMo community, but still a winner.

Projects included:

1) A fun little disaster tale which will be appearing in the upcoming C is for Chimera anthology (look for release details in January).

I’m pretty proud of this one, because while it isn’t the fastest story I’ve ever written, it is definitely the fastest I’ve ever produced on demand, from editor email to finished product in about a week.

2) A short story I’m intending to submit for another anthology this month. I won’t say too much on this one, because it’s not done yet and the deadline’s coming up scarily fast, and it’s a genre that’s a bit of a stretch for me. But I did get about 12,000 words written so far, so I’m certainly giving it the old college try.

3) A novel — again playing with folklore and mythology, but not Japanese or the Fae this time. Continue reading

History: When Fiction isn’t Whack Enough

Herod the Great

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why write from history? Because seriously, even my caffeinated imagination couldn’t make some of this stuff up. From my (very rough) NaNoWriMo work in progress:

“Now, don’t judge him too harshly,” Saman said. “After all, the man is capable of deep love. When he left for the dangerous task of negotiating with Octavian, he feared that if he died, he would be separated from his wife, who would surely find another husband with her great beauty. So he left orders that should Octavian kill him, she should be executed at once, so that no other man might have her and he could be with her in death.”

Arash simply stared at his master.

“She learned of this, and rather than appreciating his vast devotion, she grew to hate him. In the end, he tried her for treason and saw her executed, and he grieved for a great while.” Saman’s voice was flippant, with a deeper undercurrent of disgust.

“I… should think he might,” Arash ventured.

“He named a tower for her,” Saman said. “The Miriame. It is quite beautiful.”

This is a lot of time-consuming research — really not ideal for the on-the-clock NaNoWriMo — but I confess to having some fun with it. I may post more findings later, but in the meantime, I’m quite behind on my word count, so back to work!

The Monumental Marathon 5k: Go, Me!

Totally just an achievement post.

Last week I was traveling, spending much of my days on a bus. In the evening I found a hotel treadmill or, one lucky evening, a great trail by a river. I wanted to lift weights, but hotels don’t always offer weights. But all hotel fitness centers have a treadmill.

One night on a treadmill, I bumped up the speed to a jog. And when I was able to maintain that pace for a solid five minutes, I felt ridiculously proud of myself. (I know, I know. Go ahead and laugh. I’ll even laugh with you.)

Where I’m going with all this is, while high in a fit of optimism and fitness enthusiasm, I stumbled across a tweet warning of the imminent closure of registration for the Monumental Marathon. I hadn’t even known it was happening, but it offered a 5k. I signed up. Continue reading

I’m a Winner! NaNoWriMo 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 winnerSo I’m not gonna lie, I was a little worried about putting the widget up on the blog so you could all track my NaNoWriMo progress, but it worked out: I validated my word count at just before 4 AM on Nov 27.

Go, me! Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2013: Con Job

Mystery

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s hard to shift gears; I’ve been completely immersed in old Not-Japan and focused entirely on the upcoming launch for Kitsune-Mochi. But now Kitsune-Mochi is out and I need to think about geeky fandom and murder and amateur sleuthing, because it’s November and I have a mystery to write. Continue reading

A Behaviorial Look at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to ...

photo by clickthing.blogspot.com/2008/10/tennish-anyone.html

So right now a lot of writing friends and I are stocking up on coffee, candy, and Prozac, building our bunkers for National Novel Writing Month (fondly known as NaNoWriMo). Only I don’t like coffee, so I make up for it with chocolate. To each her own.

NaNoWriMo is a blitz to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. (Of course, no, one isn’t writing a publishable book in 30 days, nor is 50,000 words a complete novel in nearly any genre. But that’s not exactly the point, either, so work with us here.)

Considering that at my sugar-and-caffeine-induced perfect zone, I peak at about 1000 words per hour, and that’s not really sustainable — I know a lot of professionals who are quite pleased with 250 words per hour — and considering that normal life doesn’t actually suspend for most of us, you can see the challenge here. So motivation and discipline are big concepts for the NaNo community.

There are lots of ways NaNo writers motivate themselves, but it boils down to several commonly-used terms — small incentives, big incentives, anti-incentives, and rituals.

Let’s look at them from a professional behavior perspective. Continue reading

Why Does Writing a Book Take So Long?

sticky notes color-coded for organizing plot during revisions

Shard & Shield undergoing color-coded revisions. Spoilers probably available if your monitor is sufficiently awesome.

A friend joked about my copious free time. “I mean, what do you have to do, really? You’re self-employed, so you can totally slack off there. And you’re writing a book, and that can’t be hard. I mean, really, how long can that take?”

He was joking about all of it, of course, which is why he’s still breathing. But he put forth a question which many people do ask less ironically — how long can writing a book take, really? (Seriously, just look at fans complaining about George R. R. Martin or Patrick Rothfuss needing time.)

That’s the wrong question — as NaNoWriMo and the 8-Hour Book Challenge prove, writing a story may not take long at all. But writing a good story does. Continue reading

Pep Talk from Hell.

Anger Controlls Him

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone on the NaNoWriMo chat group mentioned a technique in which a writer writes a pep talk from his or her characters. She said she had found it helpful.

I hadn’t heard of the technique, but just the thought of it scared the snot out of me. Continue reading