Monday, December 28, 2015

My 2015

Here we are, on the last days of the year. Were we not just waving hello to 2015? Scribbling down new goals and anticipating a fresh canvas, full of unknown adventures? Now we’re saying goodbye, laughing at all the goals we failed to keep past the first week of the year, and hoping for better this coming year.

Perhaps I didn’t quite do everything I had hoped to this year, but it’s been an amazing (if not a little wild) ride anyway. I think this year was something like riding in the back of a pickup truck. Where you hope each bump doesn’t send you flying out onto the rocky road, but the exhilaration of the ride and wind makes the uncomfortable bits worth it all the same.

JANUARY: Opened up the new year with some lazy days enjoying the last days of Christmas break, then went into a whirl of a weekend trip out of town immediately followed by another trip to my bestie’s house for a week. Then it was back to life and catching up on the normal things that got forgotten in the midst of the Christmas season and trips. At this point I was planning on rewriting Fallen Matter for my big writing project of the year but. . .plans changed.

FEBRUARY: The first day of February brought on some disappointment but also a strange sense of peace and new, exciting plans. Rooglewood Press announced the winners for their Five Enchanted Roses novella contest and my entry, Burning Thorns, was not amidst the winners. Oddly, I was okay with that. I realized I didn’t want BT to be a little novella. It could be so much more. So Fallen Matter got forgotten when it was clear BT wanted to be a novel. It just felt right. I got to work almost immediately planning out the novel. February was the month of plotting.

MARCH: In the midst of some busyness and fun, I officially started writing the Burning Thorns novel. Due to quite a few events though, not much got written.

APRIL: On the first of April I did something a little crazy. . . I, um, got braces on my teeth. Yeah, I’m in my 20s and am a brace face. And no, it was not an April Fool’s joke. They’re for real and look rather ridiculous. But it was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and the orthodontist said I could really use them, so I thought, “Hey, two years of braces for a lifetime of healthy teeth? I could do that.” (I hate them, but I’m gritting my teeth and dealing with it. See what I did there?)
April brought in Easter which I always love! We still dye Easter eggs even though we’re basically a houseful of adults.
I did some more writing on Burning Thorns throughout the month, but not nearly as much as I should have. I couldn’t seem to quite get back into that writing groove.
Near the end of the month, we had a huge scare when one of my dearest friends was unexpectedly hospitalized with some serious health issues. She has always been one of the healthiest people I know, so it was a shock. Thankfully, she pulled through and is fine now. I cannot be more grateful to God for taking care of her.

MAY: The warm days of May spurred on a good deal of watching ABCs Once Upon a Time, reading, and general laziness. I was writing, but still just bits here and there. It was progress, but not much.
Avengers 2: Age of Ultron came out and a good friend and I went to see it. Obviously squealing ensued.
Much of the last bit of the month was spent getting my grandmother moved and settled from one apartment to another.
By the month’s end, I realized I wasn’t going to get much written unless I had something pushing me to it. So I had a plan. . .

JUNE: On June 1st I started a 30k goal for the month, my own little Camp NaNoWriMo. A few others I knew were also doing a Camp NaNo during June so it was the perfect time to really get those words in. Needless to say, much writing was spent in the month of June. (And there may also have been more Once Upon a Time marathoning between writing.)
Halfway through the month, I learned one of my friends was pregnant with her and her husband’s second child. Such joyful news!
Some family I had only ever met once before visited during the month and we had too much fun seeing them.
By the end of the month, I had a whole new 30k words on Burning Thorns and well on my way to the ending.

JULY: July exploded into a whirlwind of busyness. My main goal was to finish BT and catch up on the many, many things I had abandoned for writing in June. Instead my grandmother had surgery and came to our house to recover while I spent much time at her apartment dogsitting and keeping things in order there. Things quieted by the last half of the month and, on July 31st, I wrote “The End” to the first draft of the Burning Thorns novel.

AUGUST: With BT finished, I finally had more time for other things. I pored myself into catching up on emails and things the first couple weeks of August. By the second half of August, I was blissfully free and spent much time reading and watching Doctor Who, as one does. By the end of the month, I realized I rather missed writing and tried my hand at my first piece of flash fiction. I’ve been meaning to try more, it seems rather addicting.

SEPTEMBER: Since I had finished BT, I had no intentions of doing anything writerly until October when NaNoWriMo plotting began. As a result, September was spent with the family, fun romps through town, meeting with friends a time or two, and just general living. Then, on September 30th, I got a call from the owner of my favorite secondhand bookstore. Next thing I knew, I was going to my first job interview.

OCTOBER: On October 5th, I got another call and officially had my first job. (Let’s just say there was much squealing and jumping up and down.) My excitement dampened a little when I had my first car accident. Nothing major, just a blown out tire. Still, it was a little unnerving, especially since I started my new job the very next day. Not exactly what I wanted to happen before beginning a new job. But God took care of me and I made it to my first day of work on October 9th and had the best time. From there I was whisked into work and plotting More Black than Night for NaNoWriMo. I discovered working in your favorite bookstore is the best thing in the world (and getting a paycheck ain’t bad either). NaNo planning was rather slow and being stubborn, but by the end of the month I had a full outline and was ready for the insanity that is NaNo. I just. . .didn’t know how much insanity.

NOVEMBER: The first week of NaNo started out great and I was feeling optimistic. Then life exploded and, honestly, I think I’m still recovering from that second week of NaNo. Between work, sleeping away from home, health problems in the family, and trying to keep up with my wordcount, I was kind of ready to collapse. Things got 100x better in the third week and I fell back in love with my NaNo. On November 23rd, I shockingly fully finished More Black than Night at 76,700 words, my shortest novel to date.
The rest of the month was spent rejuvenating, nearly exploding from too much food on Thanksgiving, etc. etc. Went to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and cried my eyes out. Ya know, things.

DECEMBER: Suddenly it was December! Which meant CHRISTMAS and fun December things! The month started out great when on the 1st my new laptop I had ordered came in. Yep, Larry, my first and only laptop I’ve had for over 8 years, was ready to retire. Now I have Lois, a small laptop that has a touchscreen and whose screen flips over and is shiiiiny. I loveth her! (What? You don’t name and love your laptops? Well, why not?)
The rest of the months was spent decorating for Christmas, falling in love with my job at the bookstore more and more, and general busyness. My plan for December was to watch movies and read for most of the month, instead I’ve spent it barely home. But that’s okay. I enjoy busy days, too. (Lets just not talk about how little I’ve read this year, okay? It’s embarrassing.) There has been a Christmas family gathering, much Christmas shopping, having a fantastic Christmas, all the Christmas things. And now. . .now saying goodbye to 2015.

Whew! It’s been an interesting year for sure. Getting braces, having car trouble, spontaneously landing my first job, the craziest NaNo of my life, writing two full novels—it’s been something! There were definitely things I wanted to do that didn’t get done (and things I didn’t that did. . .), but, overall, I’d say 2015 has been a wonderful year.

If you read all that nonsense, you deserve a cookie (or 12)! This probably bored you to tears. This post was more for me, a log if you will, to remember this year by. Of course, this only scratched the surface. Life really isn’t about the highlights, but those in between moments that can’t be put into words, but are so important. Some have been good, some have been pretty awful, but it’s my life and I’m so grateful to God for blessing me with it.

What’s in store for 2016? Well, that’s yet to be seen. But for now, I’ll be enjoying these last days of 2015.

What about you? What was some of your biggest 2015 highlights? Do tell! How was your year in general? I hope you had a beautiful one and the next will be even better. I’ll see you all in 2016!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Christmas Tag - Where I Flail Excitedly About Christmas

GUYS. It is Christmas week! Are you excited? Because I am excited! Also a little in shock because IT’S ALREADY ALMOST CHRISTMAS AND THE YEAR IS NEARLY OVER HOW DID THAT EVEN HAPPEN?

Ahem. But I digress.

In celebration for this Christmas week I’m participating in a delightful Christmas tag, full of Christmas-y things (which I guess is why it’s called The Christmas Tag, who knew?). A huge thanks to my dearest buddy Deborah @ The Road of a Writer for passing this my way. She’s basically the bestest person in the world and if you’re not following her then your life has a huge missing chunk of awesome in it.


-Post the picture on your blog (The funny thing about this is this tag is old and the original pic got lost somewhere along the way, so we’re all having to ignore this rule now.)

-Answer the questions

-Tag up to 12 blogger.

-Make up 10 questions for the other bloggers (There are also 20 questions now. This thing has changed and expanded quite a lot. XD)


1. What is your favorite Christmas treat?
I love me some Christmas cookies! Sometimes we make these spritz cookies which are small so you can have like a dozen and not feel guilty about it. *cough, cough* But I like pretty much all the cookies we make. It’s not Christmas without some cookies. Nomnomnom.

2. Are there any special traditions that your family has to celebrate Christmas?
Hm. . . Not exactly. We have a few specific things we tend to do each year, but really not much in the way of set traditions.

3, How do you normally celebrate Christmas?
It starts out after Thanksgiving or the first week of December where we decorate the house, put the tree up, all that fun stuff. And of course the Christmas music emerges and is played as much as possible. Then on Christmas Eve (though this year we did it earlier) we have a big family gathering over at our house for dinner and gift exchanging. On the actual Christmas day, we spend it just us and my mom’s mom. We’re not early risers, so the morning is usually slow as we get dressed and all, maybe eat lunch, then get into the gift opening. Which proceeds for. . .a long time. We like to take turns and get lots of pictures and videos and just be leisurely about it. But I think that’s more fun then just ripping everything open all at once. Once gifts are open, we just hang out and mess around with our new items and enjoy time together. We may watch a movie in the evening. It’s always such a pleasant day.

4. Do you enjoy getting presents for your friends and family? Do you buy your gifts or go the homemade route?
Giving gifts is always so fun! Buuut I’m the worst at finding gifts for people, and it takes me an age and a half to do it. I’m just not good at thinking up things to get people. It’s horrid. It’s always so satisfying once I do find that gift though, and way too much fun to give away.

I definitely buy my gifts. I am so not a crafty person. I wish I was but. . .no. I can make words (or try) but that’s the best I can do in the creativity department. My list of skills is a very, very short list.

5. Is it cold where you live? Have you ever had a white Christmas?

This Christmas the high will be almost 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) and rainy.

Snow around here is an extreme rarity. So no, no white Christmases for me. I do love the cold weather. Usually it’s at least a little colder than this in December. Our weather seemed to have forgotten it’s Christmastime. *sigh*

6. What’s on your Christmas list this year?
There is only one answer to this question: BOOKS. All the books all the time! I mean, I’m supposed to ask for other things? o.O

7. What’s your favorite Christmas song?
Gimme all the Christmas music! I’m listening to Pandora’s “Jazz Holidays Radio” station right now. It’s great.

The Charlie Brown Christmas CD is my favoritest Christmas CD of all time and I listen to it about 29384 times every Christmas season. This one is my favorite on the CD. It’s the BEST for cruising in the car to on a cool December day. (Not that we’ve had many cool days. . .)

But in general Carol of the Bells is probably my top favorite Christmas song. I’ve never once heard a version of it I don’t like. It’s so gorgeous and almost haunting and. . .I don’t know. I just love it. What Child is This is a great one. I absolutely adore Sleigh Ride, and Let It Snow always gets a smile on my face. Um. . .I’m probably forgetting dozens of them. Basically if it’s a Christmas song, I love it. I’m not picky.

8. What is your favorite Christmas memory?
Oh goodness. I don’t even know. I’ve loved ALL of our Christmases. I don’t think I can choose a specific moment.

9. What does your Christmas Tree look like?
We have two. (And sometimes we have more than two. We. . .like decorating for Christmas.) There’s a big one in the main living room decorated with specific, matching decorations.

Then a smaller one is another room with all our many special decorations we’ve gotten through the years. Even some from when Mom was a kid. It’s a big hodgepodge of. . .everything. We call it our memory tree.

10. What are you reading in December? (Anything festive?)
Honestly, A Christmas Carol may be the only festive book I’ve ever read. I guess there’s not many Christmas speculative fiction YA books. Heh.

Right now I’m reading Winnie-the-Pooh because, ya know, Winnie-the-Pooh. Though it’s not festive I think it’s a fun little book to read during Christmas.

11. Are you an organized little elf or are you still shopping/preparing on Christmas Eve?
Hahaha! I still have a gift or two to buy, and Christmas is less than a week away. Often Christmas Eve is spent wrapping gifts. We, um, aren’t always on top of things. We do like to decorate early, but that’s pretty much it. XD

12. How early do you start to get into the Christmas spirit?
*griiiins* Sometimes I’m in the Christmas spirit by OCTOBER. Literally in the first week of October I was telling Mom I was looking forward to Christmastime. I have a problem, I know. Really though, it doesn’t seriously kick in until mid to late November. By December I’m bellowing out the Christmas songs and basically on a Christmas high alllll month.

13. Do you make any Christmas crafts? Decorations? Send physical Christmas cards?
As I said in #4, crafting is not my specialty. So sadly, no. No Christmas crafting for me. I will write a Christmas card or two though. I should probably do more. . .

14. What’s the menu for Christmas Day?!
I don’t know what we’re making this year. Usually we have the big, big Christmas dinner with the family when they come over before Christmas. That’s when we make either a ham or turkey and then things like sweet potatoes, butter beans, cream corn, green beans, rolls, etc. And of course a pie or cake or something annnnd COOKIES! Always so tasty.

15. What makes it FEEL like Christmas for you? (Weather, specific tradition, food, smell, person, etc.?)
Oh, I don’t know. I think just knowing it’s the Christmas season is enough for me. Thankfully not the weather since it’s deciding to be so warm this year. >.> Christmas music and putting up the decorations definitely gets me in the spirit.

16. Do you have relatives coming? Excited? Nervous?
Like I said, we usually have a family Christmas gathering on Christmas Eve at our house, but schedules weren’t aligning this year, so we had our gathering yesterday. It went really well! Most of the family lives nearby, so I actually get to see them pretty often.

17. What famous Christmas character do you most identify with? (Scrooge, Elf, Tiny Tim, the Grinch, Santa, etc.)
Lol! I love this. XD

Though maybe not quite as perky, I definitely relate with Buddy from Elf often.

And when I was little Mom liked to call me Cindy Lou Who.

18. If you were to start a new Christmas tradition, what would it be?
I think having a war of the epic fantasy elves against the silly little Christmas elfs each year would be great. *nods, nods* I mean, we all know who would win, but ya know.

I don’t even know, guys.

19. What Christmas movies do you like to watch this time of year or what’s your favorite?
We looooove The Santa Clause with Tim Allen. We used to watch it every single year. We haven’t in a while, but it’s still a family favorite. We’ve all got it completely memorized by now.

The past couple of years we’ve also taken to leaving the Hallmark channel on pretty much all day as they show their many Christmas movies 24/7. We don’t necessarily sit down and watch them all the time, but they’re great things to have on as background sounds throughout the day. (Are we the only ones that leave the TV on for background noise? I don’t know, we’re strange. . .)

20. What’s your favorite Christmasy book or book with a favorite Christmasy part?
Does The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe count? Hee. Like I said earlier, I never really read Christmas books. Shameful! I did really enjoy A Christmas Carol when I first read it a couple years ago. There were some good Christmas scenes in the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. But I love all the scenes from that series, so.


Well, I think a lot of people I know have already been tagged for this. So I’m doing a free-for-all. If you’d like to do this tag, consider yourself TAGGED. Seriously, I would love for everyone or anyone to do this, so snag these questions and have at it. Or just take a few of the questions to do, or answer some in the comments. Whatever you want to do. Have fun with it! (And yes I’m being lazy and using the same questions. But hey, they were good questions!)

Here you are:

  • What is your favorite Christmas treat?
  • Are there any special traditions that your family has to celebrate Christmas?
  • How do you normally celebrate Christmas?
  • Do you enjoy getting presents for your friends and family? Do you buy your gifts or go the homemade route?
  • Is it cold where you live? Have you ever had a white Christmas?
  • What’s on your Christmas list this year?
  • What’s your favorite Christmas song?
  • What is your favorite Christmas memory?
  • What does your Christmas Tree look like?
  • What are you reading in December? (Anything festive?)
  • Are you an organized little elf or are you still shopping/preparing on Christmas Eve?
  • How early do you start to get into the Christmas spirit?
  • Do you make any Christmas crafts? Decorations? Send physical Christmas cards?
  • What’s the menu for Christmas Day?!
  • What makes it FEEL like Christmas for you? (Weather, specific tradition, food, smell, person, etc.?)
  • Do you have relatives coming? Excited? Nervous?
  • What famous Christmas character do you most identify with? (Scrooge, Elf, Tiny Tim, the Grinch, Santa, etc.)
  • If you were to start a new Christmas tradition, what would it be?
  • What Christmas movies do you like to watch this time of year or what’s your favorite?
  • What’s your favorite Christmasy book or book with a favorite Christmasy part?

I will ask again: Who’s excited for Christmas??? Any special plans? What’s YOUR favorite Christmas song? (See, I’m going to force you to answer at least one of the questions. *cackles*) I hope all of you have the absolute merriest Christmas!!! <333

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Beautiful Books #3 - Where Editing Hopefully Occurs

The third and final round of Beautiful Books is here! During the NaNoWriMo season, our dear hosts Sky and Cait take a slight break from their Beautiful People linkup to focus on our novels instead of characters. This month, with NaNo over and so many fresh new first drafts all written and ready for their time to shine, they’re focusing on that ever elusive thing called. . . *shifty eyes* editing. Who else but Sky and Cait can get us pumped over editing, am I right?

You can link on up over at Sky's post or Cait. And, don’t forget, these linkups are for anyone, not just those who participated in NaNo. You know you want toooo! *poke, poke* *wink, wink*

I’m sort of cheating this year (like I did last year *cough, cough*). But come on, rules. Psssh. Who follows them? Here’s the problem: I’m not going to be editing my NaNo until I finish the series and then edit the first five books that came before it. I could be in my 40s by the time I’m ready to edit More Black than Night! (Okay, that may be extreme, but you never know.) The good news is, I will be editing a book soon. Just not in the Colors of a Dragon Scale series. BUT come January, I shall be diving straight into deep edits of my Beauty and the Beast retelling Burning Thorns annnd I’m quite excited. I’m very, very much looking forward to returning to my fairytale world and Beast and Rose’s story. Ecstatic really. Also a little nervous because, ya know, editing, but let’s try to stay positive here.

So shall we?

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?
Hmm. . . This question is hard to answer for your own book. 7? Maybe even an 8? I haven’t read back through it since finishing, so that number may go way down once it’s had a read over. But I’m kind of in love with this story. I also tried to take my time on it and not just hurl as many words on the page as possible and call it a novel like I usually do with first drafts. . . Ahem. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale and I’ve wanted to write a retelling of it since I was a small thing, so this story is very dear to my heart. And, though I think it could use quite a bit of expanding, I really enjoyed the world. Then there’s the cast. Ah, the cast. They’re all so precious to me. So yeah, I love this story.

Defy my expectations? Huh. Well, one character arc turned out way deeper than I thought it would, which was a happy surprise. I also rather like the style of the writing. I tried something a smidge different and (I think) it turned out better than I expected.

Again though, once I read back through it I may disregard all of this and return saying it’s a total pigpen of a book. These things happen.

2. Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)
The story world was deeply inspired by the Maleficent movie. I had just seen the movie when the first inklings of this story were coming together, and being as how Maleficent is one of my favorite movies and has my favorite feel of a fairytale story, it definitely leaked into Burning Thorns. So I guess you could say the Beauty and Beast story meets the Maleficent movie? I don’t even know. I’m the worst at comparing my stories with things.

3. Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?
DEADLINES. Give me allll the deadlines. I would never write, ever, if I didn’t have things like NaNoWriMo or give myself personal goals. I feed off goals. The only reason BT is finished is because I set a 30k goal during June to get a huge boost on it, then promised myself I’d have it done by the end of July. Otherwise it’d probably just be a sad, unfinished story sitting in the dark places of my laptop. If you give me a goal, I’ll get things done, almost to an OCD level. But left on my own I’ll. . .have Netflix marathons and scroll on Pinterest all day. >.>

4. How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I. . .haven’t edited much at all in my life. I’m terrible about getting distracted by shiny new ideas and not taking the time to polish up all those first drafts waiting around. It’s a horrible habit, I know. But I WILL edit BT. I WILL. You guys have to keep my accountable, okay?

My plan for editing is to first just read through the whole thing and take notes as I go. Then go back and fix any major things. Once that is done, I’m going to open a fresh document, put the manuscript next to it, and rewrite the whole thing. Yep, word for word. From beginning to end. I feel like it might help instead of just looking through the mass of text and fixing it that way. If I’m actually retyping each and every word, I might catch more problems that otherwise I’d miss. Then, once the whooole thing is retyped out and fixed up, I’ll probably go back again and tweak things.

It may be long and tedious and not work at all, but right now I’m feeling optimistic. (I’m sure by around February or so I’ll be crawling back here moaning and sleep deprived and questioning my life choices. As one does while editing.)

5. What aspect of your story needs the most work?
Like I said earlier, I feel as though the world could use. . .more. I like the world, a lot, but it needs some expanding. I want to make the creatures more unique, put more history to things. Just make it in general more interesting. I tend to be limited and cliché when it comes to worldbuilding, it’s a pretty bad weakness of mine. I hope to remedy that with this story. Hope being the keyword here.

6. What aspect of your story did you love the most?
Gracious, I loved so many things while writing it. But my answer to this question, with any story, is always the same: The characters. I don’t care what I’m writing, my favorite part is always the characters. They are the heart and soul of a story after all. And they come from my heart and soul. I will never tire of writing solely because of the characters. This story I really felt like I dove deep within my characters because this was probably the smallest cast I’ve ever had. Usually I have pretty big casts, but, to my surprise, this story showed me I may enjoy smaller casts better. First of all, it’s not nearly as overwhelming; but second, I’m able to more deeply pour myself into each one. These characters was without a doubt my favorite aspect of BT.

7. Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they’ll need changes in edits?
Funny how my last answer perfectly brought us to the next question. XD

My main main character, Rose, is naïve and still clings to a childlike wonder that keeps her from falling too deep into the darkness that has become her world. Sometimes this is a very good thing, but sometimes. . . not. She’s gullible and trusts people far too easily which gets her in quite a lot of trouble. Usually I want to hug her and tell her everything is okay. Instead I ruin her life. As writers do.

The Beast is one of my favorite types of characters. The seemingly callous, dark guy who ends up having a big heart, even if you have to dig pretty deep to find it.

Lystraea  (some of you may know her as Selia, she’s had a name change) was one of my favorite surprises. At first she was a little too perfect and it kind of distressed me, but eventually I discovered some serious backstory that really brought some interesting messages in the story and showed she’s quite human (even though she’s technically a fae and not human at all, but details).

Anya is mostly an antagonist and malicious and hateful. And yet I found her way of thinking completely fascinating. I don’t even know why. She felt different than any character I’ve ever attempted to write. Her POVs were always interesting.

Marigold was the most surprising of all. As Anya’s lapdog basically, and a spoiled brat at that, I expected to be completely annoyed by her. Instead she stole my heart. She’s still a brat, but her spoiled ways were more amusing than annoying. And I discovered a lot more to her than I originally knew. Her childish, fiery spirit provided a lot of fun adventures.

And if you’ve read my blog since the beginning of this year you probably know my feelings on Larke, the sarcastic, mischievous fae that decided to steal the show and cause all sorts of fun trouble.

Right now I don’t feel like they’ll need much changing, but I really need to read through it before I can properly answer these questions.

8. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
Edits, edits, and more edits. I’ll be sending out a chapter at a time to my beta readers as I deem each chapter readable enough for mortal eyes. Once that is done. . .well, querying shall be considered. *hides under blanket*

9. Share a favorite snippet!

Rose picked her way along the Forest floor, clinging to her fading candle. Yet no dark fae stirred in the shadows, no thorny vines reached out and caught the skirt of her dress, no thick branches barred her way. Instead the cold mist pushed at her ankles until the castle's entrance loomed over her. The Forest wanted her here, craved vengeance.

10. What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?
Drinking too much caffeine and crying. Ahem. I mean, editing. I plan on pouring myself into BT to the best of my ability. Then, once October hits, I’ll start planning the final book of the Colors of a Dragon Scale series for NaNoWriMo. Buuut let’s not get ahead. Of course, plans hate me and love to dump out like a box of crayons and splay all over in a jumbled mess, but for now we’ll pretend this is my plan.

Wow. Now I’m even more excited about returning to this story. I’ve left it completely alone for months. I’m rather thrilled to go back. Hurray for Sky and Cait and their awesomely helpful linkups!

So, I need to know, am I the only one still in shock that NaNo is over? Do you have any big editing projects in the horizon? And what are YOUR 2016 writing plans? Do tell me of all the beautiful writerly things that shall spawn with the new year!

Monday, December 7, 2015

These December Days

Christmas Tree Ornaments

One morning just a week ago I opened my eyes and realized: It’s December. December. Where the world seems a little cheerier, the days a little cozier, and life a little brighter.

These are the days frost covers the ground in the early morning and the sky is soft in the afternoon. Where boots and scarves and gloves are donned for outings of Christmas shopping to find that perfect gift to make a certain someone smile. To bundle up in the car with the family and gaze at the colorful lights illuminating neighborhood homes.

Where the Christmas music is pulled out and played with gusto throughout the house, in the car, within the stores—filling the world with tunes of celebration for this wondrous time. Those favorite Christmas movies make their appearance and are watched for the hundredth time, but are still as thrilling as the first.

Boxes are brought down from the attic and their contents transform the house with Christmas trees and ornaments, garland, lights, festive knick-knacks galore—all decked out to celebrate. Mugs with happy Christmas scenes are dug from the back of the cabinet to be filled with warm, sweet smelling drinks, adding to the sugary aromas of the cookies in the oven.

Cuttings of Christmas paper litters the room of gifts being wrapped, a smile on the wrapper’s face as they think of their loved one opening the special present.

There are parties to go to, and family to meet, and yet more shopping to do. But that’s okay. Because it’s Christmas time. The merriest time of the year.

But what makes these days so special? What brings on such merriment? Sure, the decorating and gifts and festive music are fun. But what about that little thrill inside you? That warm joy that can’t even be described? What causes this certain feeling only December brings?

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.

Ah, there it is. Life. It’s not the lights and tinsel and pretty wrapped gifts that spur on the deep rooted joy within. It’s Life. Our Saviour’s life, given so WE may have life. Joy to the world.

I think December is the best time of year because it’s a reminder of our Lord, Who chose to come down as a humble babe and sacrifice for us. So that we may live. Now that is something to celebrate.

These December days are the best days. So let’s fill them with the beauty of life, just as Jesus filled us with life. With love, cheer, and joy.

Happy December!

Monday, November 30, 2015

More Black than Night Snippets

Some of you dear people requested more snippets from my NaNo weeks ago. (Honestly, guys, you encourage me so much. It blows my mind that people actually want to read all my silly writings. You give me the motivation to keep going! <3) I promised I’d post more throughout the month, but then other blog post subjects kept distracting me. I shamefully never got around to it. So, to make up for it and in honor of finishing (still in shock over that), have a post of snippets! Just take note this is a first draft and a NaNo first draft at that and I was pretty stressed and out of it while writing nearly the whole thing. Sooo take it as it is. Heh.

More Black than Night Book Cover


Here, in the quiet morning with the sound of the Glithry River swaying by and a gentle breeze rustling the grass, Eryth could remember days when everything was at peace. A time back in their home region, in Sivral, when she and Bryth, Iraila, Prince Airen, and Iraila and Airen's cousins, Naidren and Nyria, would all take a day to the small lake just a short hike from their home in Aselvai to picnic and climb the trees and swim. In days where their only troubles were getting scolding for tracking mud back into the castle.

How quickly times could change.


Bryth's arms were crossed and she stared intently at a pillar. Eryth knew that look. A dragon couldn't pry words from Bryth's mouth when she was this irritated.


"Airen!" Naidren hissed.Sword

Airen glanced his way, giving his opponent an opening. With a swipe of boot, Airen went crashing to his back. Before he could rise, Darthidge's sword met his throat.

"Match," he said, smirking.

"You cheated."

"You weren't paying attention."

"Only because you bribed Naidren to distract me. I know your tricks. Only way you can beat me."

Darthidge laughed and pulled away his sword, instead offering Airen a hand. "Is that so? Then what trick did I use yesterday?

Airen clasped his hand and rode his pull up. "You convinced me to get seconds at lunch, making me so stuffed I could hardly move."

Darthidge slapped Airen’s stomach. "Can't blame me for your bad eating habits. Or your inability to pay attention."

"I think you should clash swords with your cousin here," a small, dark haired man said, "since he did distract you after all."

Airen grinned and pointed his sword at Naidren. "What say you, Naidren? Shall we dance?"


When do we leave?" Airen asked.


"What? Did you think I wasn't going with you? That's my family in there, too. I'm just as sick of all this waiting as you are. I just haven't voiced my opinions out loud since I have to be all princely and everything."

Naidren smirked. "And you do such a good job of it."

"Don't be rude."


Erra nodded her thanks to the young knight and entered. She expected a room full of the most important people of Githrendor, so it was a bit of a shock to find only King Thevris sitting at the end of the table next to a man who had to be the king of Sivral. A tray of tea and pastries lay between them. Never once had she seen King Thevris so relaxed.

He motioned her over. "Come in, come in. King Aidred, this is Erra, a skilled swordswoman and valuable asset to our army."

King Aidred set his cup of tea down, stood, and bowed low. "A pleasure to meet you, Lady Erra."

She couldn't seem to stop her lips from curving up. No wonder King Thevris seemed in such a good mood. This man, with his soft face and bright eyes, oozed with joy. She knew she should have expected as much from Airen's father, but this was not the kind of king she was accustomed to.


A longing [Erra] worked so hard to suppress resurfaced, pulsing deep inside her, and for one moment she considered letting it loose. But memories of pain, anguish, flooded her mind and she quickly shoved it down again. How could she give in? How could she learn to hope when she knew it'd only be shredded from her yet again, leaving her even more broken and scarred? It was so much easier to not feel. Because with feelings came the heartache and she couldn't bear it anymore.


Bryth lay wide awake on the cool ground, listening. The crackling fire had long since died away, though the remains of cooked rabbit still permeated the air. Only the crickets' song rivaling the rush of the Glithry Ella filled the night's cadence. But if she closed her eyes and focused, she could catch other sounds. Soft, breathy sounds of deep slumber surrounding her.

Physical exertion put Riana and Eldoren under quickly, and Reshin and Neriin followed soon after. Irevik and Razel took longer, but after a while even they couldn't fight the exhaustion of four days of a hard flight.

Now she lay alone, with only the stars watching.


"Oh," Eldoren said.

She raised an eyebrow. "Oh? That's all you have to say?"

He glanced at the ground and rubbed the back of his neck. "I just didn't know you felt so strongly about, well, Eryth and all."

"You didn't know I could actually care you mean," she snapped.

He frowned. "That's not what I said, Riana."

"Well, I do care."

"I never said you didn't."

"I know I was distant during dragon rider training, and I didn't grow up in Sivral like half of you, but that doesn't meant I don't care."

"Riana, I didn't mean… Ugh! You're taking this all wrong."

"No, you don't understand."

He spread his palms out in frustration. "No, I don't. I don't understand. Why are you being so defensive?"


"Can't argue with that."

"Please, you can argue with anything."


Leiden sighed. "I suppose you're right. But if you spot even a hint of danger, you come running straight to us, all right, Mother?"

"I'll move so fast I'll be the first woman who could beat a dragon in a race."Stone House

Waiting just behind Darven and Leiden, the dragons shifted, and Darven sensed Barveris's silent laughter.



Darven turned to his dragon rider partner to find the elf eyeing him from atop Gaelasil with an expectant gaze. "Well what?"

"What did you think?"

"I think you're terrible at building houses."

"But did you enjoy your visit?"

"All we did was eat. How in all of Aerigethel are you so scrawny being raised by her?"

Their flight blew the elf's hair out of his face, fully revealing his cheeky grin. "I use a lot of energy."

"With your tongue."


Movement caught Nyria’s eye and the strangest and most beautiful man she had even seen walked through the door. His hair was red, but not the dark auburn-like red of Iraila's, or even the bright locks of her fellow dragon rider Riana. This was actual red. Like the poppy flowers her mother grew outside their mansion. But it wasn't even the shocking hair that really grabbed her attention. It was his eyes. Large and golden and flickering like a flame. They so entranced her she almost missed the shudder of black and red wings unfolding from his back.


Dungeons[Airen] trotted ahead of the fae girl and swerved around to face her. She never once slowed, forcing him to walk backward at a quick pace, not an easy feat, but he managed. She acknowledged him for half a second and then moved her gaze over his shoulder and focused right back to the path ahead. The flames in his lantern sparked across her large green-gray eyes. My, were they striking.

He offered her his best smile. "Where are you from, Ciedra?" Perhaps she hated the darkness just as much as him and needed some light conversation to perk her up. This place could suck the joy from anyone.

"Velnoroth," came the monotone answer.

"Velnoroth? You mean you were born there?"

Her jaw tightened. "Yes."

"Oh. I'm…sorry to hear that." All right. So that was the wrong question.

Naidren shook his head behind Ciedra, and motioned to him to just come back, but if there was a damsel in distress then he was going to help her.

"I think we should bring some liveliness to this dank place, don't you? Do you like music, Ciedra? Naidren and I know all sorts of great songs from our home region in Sivral. We could serenade you." He grinned over her at his cousin whose head shaking had increased so severely it looked as if his head would fall right off. "Oh yes, Naidren loves to sing."

"No thank you." The fae stepped around him and hurried on.

He stopped and frowned at Naidren. "Did I do something?"

Naidren rolled his eyes and swept past him.


Sii fidgeted on [Cael’s] shoulder and he stroked her cool neck. "It was awfully cramped in that dank tunnel, wasn't it? Go stretch your wings. We'll probably be here for a while."

She immediately took off and he made his way to the mining village set just a few yards from where the mountains began. The village consisted of rough but sturdy stone buildings that crowded together so close some of the walls actually touched together. Smoke billowed from many a chimney and plumes of soot kicked up under his boots along the street.

Most dwarves he passed by offered single nods or grunts in greeting. Oh good. There had always been that possibility that his treachery had already spread, which certainly would have put a damper on things. As in, he probably would have been chained up on sight and sent off to face whatever torture Vithen was probably devising for him.

With hindsight, waltzing straight into the village probably hadn't been the best plan. No matter. All's well that ends well.


What kind of trouble was Cael causing himself?Phoenix

Iavin tried to shake the thought away for the thousandth time, but it clung to him like a tick. Was Cael somehow responsible for the swarm of phoenixes they had seen a week ago?

He'd never forget the sight. First blue skies as they flew over Githrendor's northern border, then a sky of flames. The hundreds of firebirds zoomed right toward them from the west, not once stopping. They only barely missed getting their hair singed. Thankfully, Leiden saw them coming before anyone else and called for the dragons to dive down.

No one had the slightest guess as to what the phoenixes meant. They didn't even live so far north. It was the first for every single one of them to lay eyes on such a creature.

Iavin hoped he never had to again. Birds that burst into flames at any given moment? Not his idea of a house pet.

Nemayn rumbled under him and her laugh invaded his thoughts.

Yes, I know I have a fire breathing dragon, but that's different. He couldn't exactly figure out how it was different, but he wasn't going to argue about it. Besides, he didn't want to think too hard on his title of dragon rider. One would think after traveling to frozen wastelands and back and fighting in an entire war for his kingdom he'd be used to the whole thing, but really it had only become more uncomfortable. Now people expected things from him. Big things.


[Iavin’s] father's rumbling laughter when he had told his parents about going to Velnoroth still thrummed in his ears.

"You're finally living up to the Bruthane name," he had said. "You'll make us proud."

He'd probably get slain by a dark elf the moment he stepped over into the Velnoroth border and his parents would forever shake their heads at his grave.

"Couldn't make it five feet into the enemy territory," he could hear people say.

His mother's fussing before he left didn't exactly help his nerves.

"You're so small, dear, and Velnoroth is so large. Don't you dare leave Nemayn or the others. Stay close, hopefully they can keep you alive."

Really, that was his hope as well.


Dragon in MountainsHe sighed and shook his head. "You left."

"Well, of course I left. They imprisoned me."

"Because you imprisoned our whole kingdom!" Iavin gasped at the sound of his angered shout echoing off the mountains. Cael was the only person in the world that could induce such a reaction from him.

"I was going to fix it eventually," was all Cael said.

Iavin clutched both hands into fists. He had forgotten how angry this boy could make him.


"What have you got in your pack, pretty girl?"

A hand reached from the shadows and snagged the pack from her shoulder. She swerved and slammed her elbow into flesh. The thief found himself on his back with a blade at his neck before he breathed another word.

"Obviously you value the items in my pack more than your life." She touched his throat with the tip of her sword.

"Here, here!" The young man threw the pack up at her. Her eyes never left the man as she caught it with her free hand.

"Try that again and I won't be so gently." She pulled up the blade and he scrambled to his feet and fled.

No one else bothered her.


More Black than Night Signature

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Well, That Was Unexpected a.k.a My NaNo 2015 Adventures

NaNo 2015 Banner

Let me tell you about my NaNoWriMo. We’ll start at the beginning, well, before the beginning. The prologue if you will.

October hit with all the excitement and cheer of the NaNo season. Time to plot and get pumped up for a month of too much coffee consumption and mad writing. So, with anticipation, sometime during the beginning of October I sat down and began my usual chapter by chapter outline for my NaNo novel. This particular NaNo I’ve been waiting for since my first one basically. Because this NaNo was going to take all the previous books, which had separate characters on different adventures, and throw them all together. It was surreal to me that I had actually made it this far with this humongous series I started in 2010. Naturally, I was quite ecstatic about it.

Once outlining started, my excitement doused a little as I realized how utterly overwhelming this book would be. So far, each book only followed two main characters and a single adventure. But this one would follow ALL the characters with a dozen different side plots and things. How was I going to manage this?

“A chapter at a time,” I told myself. So I forced myself to do it, took a few walks in the midst of October when I got stuck with the outline, and finally, near the end of the month, had a full outline set in place. I was a bit worried though. This story was meant to have a bunch of character reunions and fun things, but all the characters kept deciding to go off in different directions and just so much was happening. But no matter. This was a first draft and I’d write it and see how it went.

The main fear I had was the length. Usually I keep my outlines to 30 chapters and hope the book stays to that. But this outline was 36 chapters. I braced myself for a long book, knowing ahead of time I’d most likely have to continue writing during December even though I really, really wanted to finish it by November. With so much going on and extra chapters than usual, it was probably going to be one of the more lengthy ones. But no matter, NaNo approached. I was ready and utterly excited for my favorite time of the year. Bring on the NaNo!

Finally, on the night of October 31st, midnight hit. . .

“Ladies and gentlemen, let the 2015 NaNoWriMo begin!”

MLP Let's Do This GIF

The first few days were magical and wonderful and I got many, many words in. “This NaNo is going to be great!” I thought to myself, so happy, on such a writing high. Hopeful for the future. “I’ve totally got this.”

By about halfway through the first week, life started to get a bit busy and cut into some writing time. “No matter, I have the whole month ahead of me. What are a few busy days? I’ll just write even more next week.” Ah, such an optimistic Christine.

My words were going up well enough, but we have to remember this crazy, overachiever that obviously has no value in sleep or sanity decided on a double NaNo. 100k instead of 50k. Because why not? I had managed it all the years before all right, even though my life was so much quieter then. I mean, this would be the first year I actually had a job. Bah! It’ll be fine. I’d find a way to work around it. Plus, all my books were usually 100k or longer and I wanted to finish this one quickly, so it needed to be done.

But then week two happened. Oh, week two. . . That time I told myself I would write even more words. Stay on top of things. Ahead even.

Hahaha. Haha. . .hahahaha. . .ha.

Can I even describe week two? Not really. It resulted in some health issues in the family, spending the night away from home for most of the week, work, getting my car stuck on these steps on a horrible uphill driveway, and only four to five hours of sleep every night.  Did writing happen? I tried. I tried so hard. And I did manage in a few words each day. But amidst the stress, exhaustion, and all around distractedness of a busy life, my motivation took a downward spiraled plummet to some dark, dusty corner of my brain. My sarcasm had an enjoyable time that week as I often told my family, “This NaNo sure is going well.”

Looking back at my other NaNos, I had so many more words during them at this point. The thought was a discouraging one. It was after this week that my late night competing with myself post came to being.

I was determined though. Even if it killed me (which it was trying to do really, really hard), I was going to survive this NaNo and win.

That weekend, things looked up again. I was home and finally had free time. I burrowed in my writing cave and poured my entire being into my book. Suddenly, with free time and quiet days and not intense amount of stress bogging me down, writing was fun again. Once I emerged from the cave, I felt good about NaNo once more and had crossed to that oh so exciting 50k mark.

NaNo 2015 Stats Page

Fantastic. Buuut, you still have another 50k to go, Christine.

Right. >.>

“Okay, you can do this.” (I talk to myself a lot, if you haven’t guessed. Give myself pep talks and motivation. That’s not weird is it. . .?)

Pass 50k and onward.

The third week was so much calmer than the complete, ridiculous insanity of the second. The words were really coming in again, quick and smooth. Almost. . .too quick. Never in my life had I written chapters so fast. I was counting down those chapters day after day, getting nearer and nearer to that 36 that would mark the final one.

By the time I had 30 chapters all wrapped up, I just kind of sat in astonishment. Only 6 chapters left? Could this be true? A faint glimmer of hope that I might actually finish this thing during November flickered in my mind. But surely not.  NaNo was only halfway over. Besides, these last chapters were pretty in depth, they’d probably be longer. I still had a ways to go.

With this decided, I dismissed the hope and trekked on.

“Huh, that chapter went by fast.” “Look at that, I’m already finished with this one, too.” “Oh! That one is done?” “Wait. . .I only have three chapters left? Really. . .?”

When week three neared its end, that hope made an appearance again, and this time I didn’t entirely shoo it off. Could I, was I, going to really do this? But I wasn’t even anywhere near 100k. How could this book with so many characters and plots and more chapters than the rest be ending so much sooner? Was this even real?

By the end of Sunday, November 22nd, I stared at my manuscript. My manuscript that had only two chapters left. By Monday afternoon, only one.

Monday night, November 23rd 2015, at 11:00 p.m., I wrote the last sentence of More Black than Night and finished the 6th book of my Colors of a Dragon Scale series. With 36 chapters and 76,700 words exactly.



I literally just kind of sat there in shock. It didn’t feel real. This book that I had known since October I’d probably still be writing in December. This book that had SO much going on and would be a monster, most likely well over 100k. This book that I had no time to even write in during November. Done. Finished. The End.

To sum it up. . .

I FINISHED MY NANO NOVEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NaNo 2015 Winner Banner

If you can’t tell, I’m really, really, really, reeeeaaaalllllyyyy excited. For multiple reason. First of all, finishing writing a novel is one of the most satisfying, rewarding, best feelings in the world. Second, I only have ONE more book to write in this series I’ve been working on for 6 consecutive years. JUST ONE.  Thirdly, this NaNo took a lot out of me. I don’t regret it a single, tiny bit. I adore NaNo and it made me find time to write even when I didn’t have time, which is such an important skill for a writer. But knowing I’m finished and can finally breathe (and sleep) again is a huuuge relief.

But one of the biggest things that excites me is that this is my shortest novel I’ve ever written. Yeah, a nearly 78k is my shortest. Sad, I know. But I thought it was going to be huge. I didn’t even know if I’d make it to the end. And instead it was my shortest novel. This excites me because I think I’m finally learning how to pace novels. Pacing is one of my biggest writing weaknesses. Usually I dwell on scenes for far too long. But this time, I just kept it moving forward, and that’s why I was able to finish it so quickly. That was basically my mantra for the month. “Keep moving forward, keep moving forward.” I knew if I wanted to finish, I couldn’t linger on scenes for pages on end. I just had to follow the outline and keep it moving at all times. As a result, I wrote my shortest novel. I mean, I may look back at it and realize the pacing is crazy fast and needs to be slowed down. I could have instead broken my pacing problem in the other direction. Sounds like something I would do. But who knows, maybe by the next book I’ll have figured out how to keep it in that nice place between too fast and too slow.

It’s always a learning experience, NaNo. Every book, really.

More Black than Night Book CoverThe real question here is, do I like my book? I do, though I have a few misgivings. With the stress of the month, I didn’t give it as much of my attention as usual. Life was its rude self and distracted me from really pouring myself into it. So it’s definitely a rough draft. I also think I outlined it too fast. Again, Life. >.> After a while I realized I should have done things differently. It’s not quite as big and epic story-wise as I had hoped, and I only left myself even more to wrap up in the final book instead of tying up some loose ends like I meant to so I could focus on the main main plot for the last one. BUT this series is really just an exploration. By the time I rewrite it, it’ll be so different all these books will hardly matter. Except they’re still a key element. Because I’ve learned so much about the world and characters and overall plot. There have been so many surprises along the way. I’ve discovered what I like and don’t like. I know now better how to handle certain elements. These drafts are disastrous and horrifying with inconsistencies and plot holes the size of the Titanic all over the place, but because of them I’ll one day hopefully be able to write a series worth reading. I will never regret taking the time to write these first drafts.

So did I enjoy my 6th NaNoWriMo? Absolutely. It was the most stressful, sleep deprived, ridiculous NaNo I’ve ever experienced. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

One more book to go, guys. ONE MORE. The next NaNo is going to be amazing. But good grief! Why would I even be thinking about next year’s NaNo already? O_O Getting a bit ahead of myself. . .

If you’ll excuse me I’ll be sleeping and taking a long break from writing until at least January.

Okay, now that I’ve apparently written a whole other NaNo’s worth of a post here wordcount-wise, I want to hear from you! How is your NaNo going? Any surprises along the way? The end is LESS than a week away, you epic NaNo’ers you. ALMOST THEEERE!!! *screams and cheers and waves pompoms* Everybody is doing so amazing. KEEP GOING! Also a very happy (early) Thanksgiving to all my fellow American peeps. <3 Hope everyone’s week is a blessed one!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In Which I Compete With Myself (and lose)

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So there I was, happily lost in my story, grinning at my characters’ antics, my fingers click, click, clicking away at the keyboard, when it happened. Out of nowhere. Right between my computer screen and me with its deafening demands and ludicrous responsibilities.


Screaming GIF


How could it? Doesn’t it know it’s NaNoWriMo? Does it not understand I’m far too busy destroying my characters’ lives to deal with my own life? How can it not see? The nerve. I’ve tried to ignore, I have. So hard. But it keeps wedging itself between my NaNo and me and refuses to leave me alone.

Are my hermit skills slipping? Am I failing as a writer? I mean, we don’t supposed to have lives right? What is this ridiculousness??

You see, I have this problem. It’s a big problem. Something I really should get over, but I probably never will because common sense and me really don’t like to hang. The thing is, I have to always stay equal to or one up my past self. As in, if my past self does something and my present self decides to do it again, the present Christine must do as well or better as the past one, otherwise I feel like a failure. Still not make sense? Let me tell you a story.

The little, past Christine back in 2010 was all enthusiastic about her first NaNo. She planned to the umpteenth degree, made a map, a bazillion character bios, an overly detailed outline. Oh, how fun she had. Then when NaNo hit. . .oh my. What a magical time! She couldn’t stop, not for a moment. She had to write, and write and write and write. Next thing she knew, she had done a double NaNo and ended the month with a little over 100k. Well, she couldn’t let herself beat. . .herself. So when the next NaNo rolled around, she decided she’d do a double NaNo again. 100k words in a month. Why not? Of course, after that, she had to do it again. . .and again. Until it would be utterly shameful to not do it. Besides, she had a lot of free time, and the point was to get her monstrous novels fully written. Why not keep it up?

Do not question us GIF

Now here we are in the present, on my 6th NaNo, and suddenly I find myself a little older, a little busier, and discovering Life isn’t so easy to ignore anymore. “But no matter. I’ll make time, because I have to stay equal to all my past NaNos,” I say during my first week of NaNo. And things moved along well. I loved my story, the words came fairly easily, all was going fine. I wasn’t getting in quite as much a day as the past couple of years, but I was sure I’d catch up eventually and it’d all be fine and. . .



Life slammed against me like a sack of potatoes and I stood dazed, wondering what just happened. Suddenly I was nearing the end of week two and so woefully behind from where I was in my past NaNos. But but but! I couldn’t just not do as well as before. . .right?

I pondered this question and then laughed and wondered what on earth was wrong with me. I’m competing with MYSELF. I’m not even a competitive person, at least not toward other people. But apparently with myself it gets intense. And WHY? What am I gaining with stressing over doing as well or better with so many little things like this? It’s really all just a big headache. Unfortunately, like I said earlier, common sense and I aren’t great pals. The common sense thing would be to just let go of this silly self competition and move on. Buuut knowing me I won’t learn my lesson at all. >.> I do think maybe I’m making teeny tiny strides though.

I DO still want to try for 100k (or just make it to the end of my novel, whether that’s more or less words than 100k), but I’m trying (trying being the key word here) to let go of keeping up with my past NaNos. I’ll write when I can, and when Life gets in the way, well, it’s gonna happen. Who knew, right? I think I need to learn to embrace each day as it comes and throw away all hopes of perfect schedules and soaring wordcounts. Life doesn’t like those. Don’t get me wrong, schedules are FABULOUS. But sometimes life likes to shake them up and scatter them in messy pieces. On those days, I guess we just have to roll with it. It’s a learning process. . .

Needless to say, my second week of NaNo was, well, one attack from the craziness of life after the other. I sacrificed much sleep trying to squeeze words in because pssssh who needs sleep?

Tom Tired GIF

Those NaNo week 2 blues were getting to me though. With my struggle to find time to write and an extremely stressful week, I just didn’t have the energy to be motivated for NaNo.

But then yesterday that all changed:

Twitter post

I hit the 50k mark!!! And with that (and some sleep) my enthusiasm returned. I had 50k words under my belt and had officially crossed over to the halfway point.

So here I am, all pumped and raring to go once more. My novel is moving along very nicely, I’m destroying my characters’ lives one by one, and, I think, I may actually survive this thing!

Cat Nodding GIF

The moral of the story? Wait, there’s supposed to be a moral? I thought I was just crazy and exhausted and trying to write a blog post when I reeeally should be sleeping.

Basically, life is all over the place and I can’t seem to find time for anything. As some of you have noticed, I’m not always able to post like usual on Mondays. I’m kind of just posting when I can. (Like 1 in the morning. *cough, cough*) Still once a week but not always on a Monday. It’s also taking me half an eternity to answer your wonderful comments. I WILL get to them, I promise! I might just be a smidge snailish about it. (Get it? Snailish, because snails are slow and. . . Okay, I don’t even know. Have I mentioned I should be sleeping?) And reading everyone’s delightful posts keeps getting postponed as well, amongst other things. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to balance this whole life thing.



Can you believe NaNo is already half over? o.O How’s your NaNo coming? Is Life being rude and trying to distract you? (Pft, life.) And I really need to know, am I totally alone in this super weird competitive thing with myself? Am I just insane? (Well, yeah, but you know.) Tell my how your November is going!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Beautiful Books #2 - The Day and the Life of a NaNoer {November 2015}

We have survived the first week of NaNo and are halfway through week two! How is this even POSSIBLE?!

My NaNo has slowed down considerably because apparently there’s this weird thing called Life that you actually have to do when you grow up. I thought that was just a myth! I didn’t mean to grow up, it was an accident! Where’s Peter Pan? I need him, quick!

Despite Life being rude and trying to wedge itself between NaNoWriMo and me, I’m still surviving (. . .I think?) and continuing to absolutely love my NaNo and spend what time with it I can. So today I shall babble about my NaNo writing life because guess whaaaat? The next Beautiful Books is HERE.

During the NaNo season, our ever delightfully imaginative Sky and Cait are taking a bit of a detour from their Beautiful People linkup to instead give us Beautiful Books where we can share all about our current WIPS and things. This month they’re more focusing on your writing process. Fun stuff! And remember this is open to ALL writers, not just ones doing NaNoWriMo. So hop (or skip if that’s more your thing) over to their posts here or here, snag those questions, and linkup!

Beautiful Books Button

1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?
Well. . .I outlined, um, rather thoroughly (and by thoroughly I mean a 11k word, chapter by chapter outline *cough), so I had quite a good idea how it’d turn out. And since this is the 6th book of the series, I’m preeetty familiar with the setting and feel by this point. So I’d say definitely turning out almost exactly how I thought it would. Maybe even a little better which is encouraging. The actual plot and events haven’t surprised me, but a few characters’ actions have. A couple character developments leaped out of the pages as a happy surprise. I never seem to be able to plan character development, it just has to happen naturally. So I was thrilled to see it sneaking into the story. I looove me some deep character development.

Also two characters ended up sort of becoming a “couple” when I hadn’t given them permission to do that yet. So that was a thing.

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
I’ll go with a paragraph since my first sentence is one word. XD

West. Why in all of Aerigethel was he walking west? What would he find to the west?

Cael plopped down to the cool earth, Sii's body even cooler on his shoulder. He absentmindedly stroked the gwacier's white-blue feathers, their icy temperature not making a difference to his leathery skin. Besides, he liked the cold. It felt like home.

Not that he had a home.

(Well, okay that wasn’t exactly a “paragraph”, but apparently I like making one sentence paragraphs so I cheated a little.)

3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?
I feel like I’ve dabbled in all the methods, and I know I’ve blabbered about it before, so I’ll spare you. Short version: For NaNo I do intense, ridiculous amounts of planning (which you probably guessed by the 11k outline), but I started my writing life as a pantser and still consider myself one. These days though (if it’s not NaNo at least), I meet them halfway and do a bit of plantsing. But, really, my method changes with each book.

I'm so Changeable GIF

4. What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?
During NaNo? Updating my wordcount on the site. XD Also internet breaks. I don’t allow myself to even touch the internet until I’ve reached 2k words for the day. That definitely keeps me writing. After that, I’m allowed an internet break after every thousand words.

Basically the internet. Though cheesecake is often largely involved.

Pinkie Pie Cake GIF

Really though, reaching my word goal is my reward. Nothing like the satisfying feeling of finally hitting that goal after tugging (or violently tearing) at your brain particles for words.

5. What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?
I find my names inside my weird brain and then regret it. Since I mostly write fantasy, I just make up names on a whim. My main method is simply choosing the letter I want the name to start with and making up stuff from there. As a result, I end up with the dumbest, most unpronounceable names and wonder later what in the name of tangled tongues everywhere was I thinking. This was especially bad in my younger days. Some names *I* don’t even remember how they’re supposed to be pronounced. Needless to say, once I rewrite this fantasy series some names are being changed. Or at least spelled differently. >.>

Character NamesI do this with my own characters.

6. What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
ENDINGS. Give me allll the endings. From endings of a scene, to the last page or two of a chapter, to the big climatic ending of the whole book. I just really love endings. In fact, I wrote a whole post about it. Beginnings are the hardest for me, it takes so long to get into that groove, but once I’ve set the stage and have the momentum going it’s smooth sailing. I don’t mind middles too much, honestly. But endings are like diving into a delicious dessert after being forced to eat all your vegetables.

7. Who’s your current favorite character in your novel?
HAHAHAHahaha. . .hahaha. . .HA!


Remember how I’m writing a book involving alllll da characters from the previous books in the series? They’re my baby children, you’re really going to make me CHOOSE?
Ugh. Okay, okay. Maybe Cael, who is basically a villain but sometimes it’s hard to see him like that. He’s such a polite villain. And he’s also sort of best friends with one of my protagonists and it’s just a wonderful mess. Then there’s Airen, the prince of the kingdom all the characters are from. He’s a total jester and always lightens the mood and is completely ridiculous annnd I love him. (Just don’t tell him because if his head gets any bigger it might explode. and I have a big enough mess to clean up with this novel.)

Why I Write MemeOr listen to them complain. >.>

8. What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)
It’s about dragons.
And over half the books on my bookshelves involve dragons.
So. . .yeah. My researching involves reading stories. Also TV. Research, I’m telling you.
. . . . .

9. Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?
Definitely alone! Which is a bummer because there are so many times (like this very moment) where I’m around people and need to be writing (again, right now) but can’t because people (so instead I write blog posts). For me writing is like a portal. To write properly I have to jump through that portal into my world. To become my characters, get into their heads, live within their world. Unfortunately, when people are around I just can’t go through that portal. People are too distracting, and no matter how hard I try to write around them, it never works. It makes me sad.

That said, with something like NaNoWriMo, where I know others are writing right along with me, brings this thrill I can’t even describe. And you get the best of both worlds. Because you can be a hermit writer, but still have the camaraderie of fellow writers. Writer bliss!

As far as sharing my work, I’m getting better. Used to I’d never ever let even the people closest to me read a single sentence I wrote. Write to myself. Keep it to myself. Total hermit status.

Cat Hiding GIF

But over the years I’ve befriended the bestest of best writing buddies and they’ve coaxed me out of my writer shell. I’m still a little wary sharing, but I’m learning.

10. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
Not too long ago I actually wrote about my writing process. But during NaNoWriMo it’s a smidge different. Pretty much during NaNo I use every second possible writing like a maniac, tell myself I should be writing every second I’m not, go to bed at horribly irresponsible hours because I’m writing, speed through meals to get back to writing, and fall asleep (you know, for those few hours I actually sleep during NaNo) with words behind my eyes. Then by December 1st I tear my bleary, burning eyes up from the screen and wonder what year it is and if I’m still on earth. And I love every second of it.

I don’t usually eat while writing. Emerging from my lair for food is about the only time I get a break. (I do take breaks sometimes, and ya know, FOOD. Because food.) But I do consume immense amounts of caffeine while writing.
Music is essential. Only instrumental though, lyrics distract me from entering that writing portal. But the right instrumental song eases me right through.
I write best at night. (Because who needs sleep? *cough, cough* ) But again, it goes along with that portal thing. At night, when the world is dark and quiet, I can completely forget about my own reality and enter my characters’.

Sleep Deprived Writing

Despite this, the majority of my writing gets done during the afternoon.

My writing space is mostly the chair in my room.


I also completely love writing out on the deck.


We have a screen porch I write on as well, and I’ll move to my desk if I’ve been sitting in my chair too long. I like to move around every now and again during NaNo since sitting in one spot for hours on end prooobably isn’t exactly a good idea. I also firmly believe shifting positions and changing scenery stirs around those creative juices. *nods*

And there you have it. My NaNo Life. It’s. . .something. XD

Okay, guys, are you making it through the NaNo Week 2 Blues? Usually after the first two weeks it starts feeling much more like a downhill journey. We’re almost to the halfway point, we can do this! How are you surviving NaNo? If you’re not doing NaNo (like a good, sane person) are you enjoying this lovely November? And I’m curious, can you write with people around or have to shift into hermit mode like me?

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