Sunday, November 24, 2013

Novel In Progress: an excerpt

I don't usually put up excerpts on my blog, much less a rough draft's excerpt, but I thought today I'd make an exception. For fun. And because it's scary. Every once in a while it's good to do a fun, scary thing.

And this will help me finish it. Because right now I'm in that stage where I want to tear my hair out and I'm worried that my climax isn't going to be climactic enough and I just need to give myself some motivation. Negative comments won't slow me down (I do not mean that as a challenge, people! We don't have to be mean!) and putting it up will make me feel obligated to complete and publish it. Why? I'm not really sure. Something about putting up an excerpt feels like a promise to publish it so that the people who like it can read the whole thing, I guess.

So here it is, in all its imperfect glory. In the story so far, we've learned that one young lady, Caitlin, is obsessed with the fear that she might be a giant. Another young lady, this young lady, has the Sight which she calls sixen. She just lost her job for being late for the umpteenth time. She saw a stranger in the park in need of help, and found out that stranger is an alfr, or elf, who they themselves prefer to be called gless.

And here we go:

Amaranth slowed way down as they got close to the Fox’s gravel driveway that came off the regular road. It pitched down the downhill side of the road at a scary angle that ran almost parallel to the road and steep enough to make a good sledding slope. They’d walked to the house from Amy’s a couple of times, but she’d never driven down there, and she’d never approached the house on her own. She checked her phone. Still no text back. Shit. Well, it was way before lunchtime, and Cait might not turn on her phone between classes. She wasn’t hooked on it like most people.
The gless just sat there, staring out the window. What if she died? At least the tears had stopped.
Maybe that was a bad sign.
“Shit.” Amaranth pulled into the driveway. It had just enough room for two sets of wheels. An uneven strip of grass grew in the middle, and blackberries mixed with grape vines grew in from the sides from up way high. The vines scratched and scraped her car as she drove down. On the uphill side it made sense that they’d be up high, but the downhill side of the driveway it was just as high. Maybe a fence was buried underneath or something. 
The driveway widened out after about a hundred feet in front of a small barn, a huge shed, and off to the right, a light green two-story house with a weird soft orange and white trim. It was a really pretty place, old-fashioned, with all kinds of decoration around the roofline, and stained glass in places. The garden looked like a scary maze with hidden rooms and what she hoped were birds moving in the shadows, but it was beautiful at the same time. Peach roses grew through rampant blackberries and some thorny bushes with thorns over an inch long. There was a tree with baby rose-like flowers all over it next to a gate, vines with huge purple, white and bluish flowers crawling up statues and fences and trellises, and mirrors hidden in the bushes. Past the rose tree thing, a huge pink crystal rock on a stand in the middle of a tiny pond had water flowing onto it from a marble pitcher held up by a statue of some sort of goddess made of green stone. Normally her brain said big money when she saw stuff like this, but this time her brain thought big mysteries, scary, run away before the garden eats you. Luckily, there wasn’t much growing right next to the house. The plants there looked like they belonged to Heidi. They were all pretty and perfect and trimmed with bark dust all around.
The gless got out of the car. Amaranth was going to stay, but then she remembered that the gless wanted to protect her, so she got out and stayed close, but not too close as the gless walked, um, not toward the front door but farther into the garden.
“Hey, um, shouldn’t we ring the–shit.” She hurried to the front door and rang the doorbell. It made a weird three-ring chime instead of a normal noise.
The gless came back from whatever path she’d walked down and settled next to Amaranth.
“What’s your name?” Amaranth asked.
“Mist will do.”
She wondered if Fox had always been named Fox, or if Heidi named him. Did they have names where they came from? Maybe not. They had to, though, didn’t they? They couldn’t just always be like, hey you. No you. The other you. Yeah, you. Whatcha lookin’ at?
She started to smile, but the gless looked about dead on her feet. Amaranth rang the bell again.
Heidi finally showed up and opened the fancy door with its fancy stained glass, some sort of purple flower with white and blue. She took a long look at Mist before she took a quick look at Amaranth. “What’s going on?”
“I found her in the park next do the mill.” All at once Amaranth felt bad for bringing her here. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know what else to do. She’s hurt.” 
Heidi didn’t look very sympathetic. If anything she seemed even more nervous. “Fox.”
Heidi called his name like he was just in the next room, but the gless turned a bit and lowered her chin and Fox came out from the barn. He had a machete in one hand, and looked extra sexy in torn-up jeans, work gloves and bare feet. Amaranth had never seen him wear shoes. He looked like a guy, a really gorgeous guy, but he was extra-pale like the sun couldn’t tan him, and he had light green hair down to his waist. Years ago when she peeked at him with her sixen he had a green, fiery aura–so bright she could barely see him because of it. 
Mist’s probably should have been just as bright.
He smiled his not-good smile and walked over all casual-like. Something in his stride made her hair prickle up and gave her serious goosebumps. “I know you.” He pointed the machete at Amaranth. “You go in the house with Heidi. You, I don’t know.” His smile brightened. “I’m a little surprised that one of your ilk would come here without invitation.”
“I invited her. I’m sorry,” Amaranth told him. “She was hurt, and I didn’t know what else to do.”
“Fox.” Heidi’s voice sounded weird. Firm, like she’d talk to a dog that was thinking about misbehaving, but warm, like she liked how he was acting. “My world, my rules.”
Mist said something in the gless language and Fox’s eyes narrowed. “In English. Their world, their rules.”
A tear slipped along Mist’s cheek, and that made Fox’s smile go away. “I promised my protection to her,” Mist whispered.
“Protection from what?”
“The Queen.”
Fox gave Amaranth a look that made her shiver inside her skin. “Get in the house.”
Amaranth didn’t dare move. It felt too much like if she moved, it would set one or both of them off. “Fox,” Heidi warned again, but she twitched her hand for Amaranth to go ahead and go. Amaranth felt something shift between Fox and Mist, and she took the few steps she needed to make it just inside the door.
Fox seemed to relax, but that only made him look more dangerous. He swung the machete in a small, casual loop like he wanted to loosen his wrist, or just play with it. He did it so smoothly, it was obvious he’d played and worked with the machete a lot. “Why would she need protection from the Queen?”
“You must not have been home–”
“I have no home, thanks to you.” Fox started to smile again, but this wasn’t a bright, happy smile. It was a Mona Lisa, just a hint, full of secrets. “You need to leave.”
“I think you misunderstand.” Mist hadn’t moved except for little breaths and she turned her head a little, or like now, lifted her chin just enough to look more proud than submissive, though she was obviously trying her best to act all low-man and not piss him off. “The Queen has betrayed my King and joined the … Rose.” Another tear trailed down, and her breath caught. She hissed and put her hands over her wound.
“Damask,” Fox said. When Mist didn’t say anything, he said, “not Rose. Damask.”
“Damask,” Mist whispered.
“Step back off the porch, very slowly.”
Amaranth didn’t want to see Mist chopped up right here in front of them. “Will you guys please explain what’s going on?”
Fox, who’d been all ‘I’m gonna machete this bitch with a smile on my face’ started to look a little less sure of himself. “I’m willing to hear you out. Give it. Mist.” 
He spoke her name so mean–and Amaranth got it, that Mist was a stranger and dangerous and Amaranth didn’t know her, no one knew her–but Fox had stepped over the line somewhere from being the hero and into being an asshole toward a woman. That pushed all of Amaranth’s buttons. “Hey, she’s done nothing to me and she’s had plenty of chances. Give her a break.” When Fox whipped a look in her direction Amaranth’s bravery crawled deeper than the place she’d stuffed her sixen. She was about to apologize and run for cover when Heidi took over. Actually, in a way, it felt like she’d been in charge all along.
“Why don’t we all sit down and have some tea?” Heidi opened the door wider.
“You don’t trust me?” Fox turned off all that creepy-smile stuff when he looked at Heidi. His weird, gorgeous eyes had narrowed again, and his lips stayed parted and he ducked his head.
“I took you in. Remember?” Heidi held out her hand to him. After a childish, pouty, mean glance toward Mist that made Amaranth shiver, he stopped playing with his machete and let it hang limp as he walked up onto the porch and took Heidi’s hand. He leaned in close to Mist and took a whiff, straightened up all proud, and then walked into the house with Heidi. He passed by close to Amaranth. His sweat smelled like fresh tree sap and the scent in the super-cold air that blew into town after the first big winter storm in the mountains east of town.
Mist finally came in, measuring each step, hardly making a sound when she moved except a little catch in her breath now and then. 
“Have a seat on the couch,” Heidi suggested. “Fox?”
“Tea,” he growled. She kissed his cheek as he went toward the kitchen and it made him smile an almost human, perfectly-at-peace smile.
Their house was one of those with the kitchen by a big family room. The family room had a tiled-around red enamel wood stove. The kitchen had custom countertops in that cement stuff with rounded corners, paint-stained a pale gray. Cream-colored leather furniture looked really fancy with the blue-gray walls and cream cream trim. The high ceilings, light-reddish wood cabinets with beveled glass panes, the pot rack with copper-bottomed pots hanging all organized on it, the huge stove and fridge all screamed money money money. They probably had closets bigger than her bedroom. She caught a whiff of the chlorine from their indoor pool. That was in an addition connected to the house by what they called the glass breezeway, which was more like a greenhouse than a hall. When Cait had taken her to visit they got to swim in it. But mostly the place smelled like those eco-safe cleaners with edible smells like mint, lemon, and orange.
Mist sat down. “The Damask have long waged a destructive but fruitless war against the King and Queen, in which I have fought for peace,” Mist told them. “Three days ago that all changed. In the midst of what I thought was a rough but minor skirmish of a few hundred all told, we have lost the war.”
Fox had started to reach for the water faucet, a red enamel tea kettle in hand. He lost his balance somehow and banged the kettle into the faucet. 
“The Queen sent her best soldiers out all at once, we few but mighty, to drive the Damask from Amber Lake. We had been meeting fewer and fewer of them, so we thought it would be an easy task. She came with us, to observe, she said, and to fight if needed. The King she convinced to remain behind.” Mist whispered something and she sobbed and braced her arms over her gut. “I should have known something was wrong. She commanded her forces to take us. Perhaps a dozen at most among our ranks obeyed her, but their betrayal was so unexpected, so fierce and so close that combined with the Damask already on the field and the fresh force of Damask that charged out of the Lake into our flank ….” 
Amaranth wasn’t sure what a gless battle would look like, but Mist didn’t have to spell it out for Amaranth to imagine the slaughter. 
“I doubt that the trap encompassed the sum of her plot,” Mist whispered.
“How did you escape?” Fox’s voice had gone soft and nice.
“I didn’t escape.” Fresh tears trickled down her face.
“You’re dying.” Fox sounded breathless. 
As if he hadn’t known. How could he not know? “Duh, genius.” Amaranth should have kept her mouth shut, but he didn’t seem pissed at her for saying it, so she kept talking in hopes that she could smooth things out before he decided to take offense. “Can you help her?”
“Three days. You should have healed from it by now.” Fox approached but Mist help up her hand, and then let it sag down like she wasn’t strong enough to hold up her arm for long.
Mist shuddered. “She made a weapon especially for me. I won’t heal from this.”
“Why did she single you out?” Heidi asked.
Mist pressed her lips tight.
“I think she’s said enough. Speaking is stealing too much of her strength,” Fox told them. “There’s someone I know who might help. Amaranth, will you take me there?”
“Fox–” Heidi began.
“Will you stay with her?” Fox walked to her as Heidi stood. He stroked her arm. “She shouldn’t be alone, and you, you do well with our kind.”
Mist bowed her head even more than it already was, like she was starting to slip.
Amaranth had seen a lot of bad shit, but she hadn’t seen anyone die in front of her. She’d found her brother, dead, but he was already gone and as horrible as that had been, she had a feeling that watching it happen would be even worse. “I’ll take him.”
“Sweetie, you’ve done enough,” Heidi said. “I can call the neighbors.”
“It’s okay. My day is shot anyway.” She couldn’t just get on with normal life after all this, not that she had much of a normal life. Anyway, it would be quicker if she took him. “I’m here and we shouldn’t wait on this.”
“Thank you.” Fox started for the door.
“Shirt and hat, Fox,” Heidi called after him.
He made a little growl and headed into the back rooms, places she’d never seen.
“I’ll get my car turned around,” Amaranth told Heidi.
“Fox won’t let anything happen to you.” Heidi got some glasses out of a cabinet and began filling them with water. “You’re Caitlin’s friend. That makes you his people.”
She wondered what Heidi was worried about. “Where are we going?”
“I don’t know. But Fox wouldn’t have asked you to take him if he thought it wouldn’t be safe for you. Well, it might not be safe, but he’s sure he can protect you.”
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Heidi set one of the glasses in front of Mist and then took a deep drink from her own.
“Yeah.” When her friends accused her of being a drama queen, this was why. She knew it. But she couldn’t be any other way. It wasn’t that she looked for trouble or anything. She just couldn’t leave shit well enough alone. The difference that made her look slightly less stupid than most drama queens, she hoped, was that she didn’t go tearing people down, and she didn’t make a big deal when she felt sick or hurt or whatever just so she could feel alive or noticed or why-ever they did it. She tried to make things that sucked not suck as much. If that created drama, then whatever. Guilty as charged.
Hence her getting into her car, starting the engine, turning the car around, and not taking off when she saw Fox come out of the house loading a revolver with multi-colored bullets. He had a shirt and a blazer jacket with a shoulder holster that hid the revolver pretty well when he put it away, and a ballcap that made his green hair look short and blond. His eyebrows were still green but at least he didn’t look quite so otherworldly.
Amaranth waited until he buckled in before she drove up the driveway toward the road, scraping through the grapes and blackberries again. “Where to?”
“You have money for gas?” she asked.
“I have plastic. Much better than the coin of the realm.” He smiled.
“Mmm hmm.” She turned westward onto the road and drove on the edge of her comfort zone. She didn’t know how long Mist had, and Beaverton was a long ways away.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nanowrimo is Eating My Brain! (Ongoing)

I must be in the midst of Nanowrimo because:

Today I subsisted on peanut butter and marionberry jam sandwiches and peach turnovers.
While I worked on fixing up the chicken coop, I plotted my next move in my novel.
While I stabilized the fuel in our lawnmowers, I plotted my next move in my novel.
While I put tarps over our pickup truck and the shelving next to the shed, I plotted my next move in my novel.
While I talked with my DH on the phone, we discussed how close we are to be able to subsist on our writing, so that I can write full time.
We also discussed upcoming literary conventions.

And now that it's getting dark outside and I've gotten most of my outside chores done:

I restarted my computer because it was moving too slowly and backed up my novel.
Put dinner in the oven, a ham and sweet potatoes, because they're quick to put in, low maintenance and I can let them roast while I do other stuff (write)
And last but not least, I decided I'd better blog, and what better to blog about than how Nanowrimo has eaten my brain!

I have one more day off before I return to my job tomorrow. It's the perfect storm for (possibly) reaching 50,000 words before the end of the week.

Oh, and eek, I'd better get my garbage out tonight. Don't want to interrupt my early morning writing session, my most productive of the day, by having to go take the garbage to the curb before the collectors show up.

Happy writing, all!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

To 'Have' a Backyard Chicken

I used to be one of those people, who, when they see chickens or a llama, or whatever living critter, say "I would like to have that."

Okay, I'm still one of those people. I'd still like to have some more goats. (I'm crazy that way.)

But now I know what it really means to 'have' animals. Like chickens.

See, I don't 'have' chickens. I am a slave to the chickens. I feed them, dust them for mites, change their water, clean out their enclosure, etc. Which is good and fine on nice days when I'm feeling up to it. It's not so much fun when it's freezing and windy and the waterer is frozen solid and I'm running a fever with chills and a stuffy nose and a sore throat that feels like it's bleeding and on fire at the same time. Luckily I have very few of those days. But I can't skip taking care of my birds even for one day, especially on those horrible days, because if I skip their care on a bad weather day, the chickens will have no water or food when they're most vulnerable. Most people don't think about it, but food heats you up. Calories in the blood help maintain temperature. If they're hungry, they're cold. If they have no water, they're dehydrated, and chickens dehydrate very quickly. If they try to get water through snow, they'll chill even more quickly. They'll be more prone to disease, infection, digestive or vent ailments, frostbite ... the list goes on and on.

All this adds up to suffering. It would be my fault because they're domesticated animals and they depend on me. Human beings bred them to be this way, and so human beings now provide for them.

Same with the goats. Same with the dogs and the cats, though they're a bit easier to take care of as their stuff is all inside the house or in the garage. I can take care of them in my pajamas. No such luck with the chickens and the goats. If there's snow, I'm hiking in it. If there's ice, I'm skating on it. If there's rain, I'm out there in my mud boots holding my hat on my head, wishing I had a free hand for an umbrella.

A friend of mine with horses and I got to talking and I mentioned that I used to play with Barbies, but the Barbies weren't the focus of my play. I had Breyer horses, some really gorgeous ones, and the Barbies were slaves to the horses. They took care of them, groomed them, very occasionally rode them but mostly the horses had adventures and the Barbies were there to take care of the tack.

That's how it really is, my friend told me. Somehow as a small child I discovered the truth in my play.

I read an article in the paper today about how backyard chicken owners are now discovering the harsh reality of keeping chickens, including the fact that the birds stop laying after about three years ... but live to be twenty years old. They put ads in the newspaper. Anyone want my old hen that stopped laying? She's pretty and sweet and follows me around like a dog.

The answer is no. Hell no I don't want your old chicken that doesn't lay. If I'm going to keep a chicken, I want a young one that I can raise from a cute little chick and that follows me around like a dog and who lays for me. If I choose to keep her past her laying years it's because I've developed a bond and I want her for keeps. And if I don't want her for keeps, because she's my responsibility (and because I care about her) I will give her a quick, clean death.

Some of these people turn birds loose in parks or toss them into a random neighbor's dog yard because they don't want to pay for the feed, take care of the birds, or do the decent thing, which is to kill them quickly. Better to eat them, or if you can't bear to eat your pet, bury her rather than let her be savaged by an animal or hit by a car or die from starvation and exposure.

Thus, rescue societies were born. But they're overwhelmed. What are they supposed to do with these birds? The very thing that the owners should have done in the first place. The owners are deferring responsibility because they didn't think ahead and can't face the consequences of their choices. They want the problem to just go away. Well, it doesn't just go away.

Do you really want to 'have' a chicken?

It's great if you like them. I like them. I like to watch them chase each other and hunt for goodies, and I like to carry them around, and I like their eggs and the funny noises they make when they're mad and happy and sleepy. It's great to want fresh eggs. It's okay to be crabby about taking care of them if you decide to become a slave to the chicken. But please, please, as you would (hopefully) consider carefully before adopting a dog or a cat or a rabbit, think carefully about the commitment you're making, and plan for the future. Chickens don't live as long as parrots so you probably don't have to put them in your will should you decide to keep your hens past their laying age out of gratitude for the eggs they provided and because you're fond of them. But be realistic. Will you be okay with your decision a decade down the road?

Abandoned birds don't just vanish into the atmosphere. There's nothing natural about dumping a domesticated animal in someone else's backyard. A chicken is not like a wild animal that can fend for itself. Chickens might be able to scrabble for food for a while, but they have no good defense against dogs, coyotes, or raccoons, none of which kill 'clean'. And they're really not good in the weather. Their ancestors once were. Human beings bred a lot of their survivability out of them in the process of making them bigger, meatier, and faster layers.

Whatever happens to abandoned birds is seldom better than simply slaughtering them. Presumably you want chickens because you like them. I like them too. If you like them, don't let them suffer in utter terror until something kills them. Please don't add to the growing problem of abandoned backyard chickens in urban areas. If it gets much worse, chances are that cities will stop permitting backyard chickens altogether, and that would be a shame. That spoils it for everyone. Backyard chickens are great for responsible owners who take care of them and share the fruits of their hobby with friends, families and neighbors. They're great for pest control, and they're fun. Sometimes they're like pets, and sometimes they're more like the wild birds that people like to feed and watch through their window. Some of them are really, really beautiful birds. Let's keep them around in our suburbs if we can. And if you see someone who's struggling with the backyard chicken thing, remember, offering help and advice is going to go over a lot better than berating them for having a noisy mess or for dumping their bird over your fence so your dog can pin it and slobber on it until it dies of shock. If you can't approach someone, maybe leave some educational materials on their doorstep (usually your local extension service has lots of free stuff) or contact the Humane Society. They're the experts when it comes to education and intervention.


Friday, November 15, 2013

These things I'll never say

I went to a lot of good panels at Orycon, almost always as a panelist, though I visited some that my DH was on. There were a couple that I didn't have time/space enough to say everything I wanted to say. I'm sure that was true for all of the panelists. Panels at conventions aren't meant to be comprehensive discussions of a given subject. They're supposed to be entertaining and informative. Mostly entertaining, I think.

Backstory Bedlam

What a fantastic group of insightful panelists. We didn't get a chance to talk about technique a lot. Mostly we discussed metastory – the environment of the story, and it's themes/flavor, and how authors need to bring in the necessary details without bogging the story down. I think the story's structure, especially character selection and development, are vital. If you've got a story that has a complex setting that has to come through in order for the story to make sense, or if the plot revolves a complex or obscure knowledge set, you have to somehow bring it in without boring the readers to death with the dry facts. Having a character that's an expert (not necessarily the pov character), weather incidents, equipment breakdowns (the fixing of which can reveal a lot about setting) or a naive character that needs to observe, experiment and root out information to survive all work really well to help a writer work in those necessary details. I pointed out that I like to start my books with the character in their normal, everyday setting doing normal things to ground the reader, but those normal things involve a serious problem. That problem will only help me illustrate the world in greater detail. It may have nothing to do with the main challenges the character will face, or it may end up weaving in.

Publishing Your Ebook

I think the thing that got us really going began with the first question: What's the first thing you should do before you publish your book? We discussed making certain that your audience can find your book, finding out how to put together a reasonable cover and estimating what it will cost, copyediting, formatting, and approaching publishing your book as a business. That last part is what it all boils down to, though, doesn't it? When you self-publish, you are the publisher and you have to look at all the things that publishers do. Copyediting, formatting, cover design, blurbs, back copy, ad copy, tag lines, interior design, marketing, distribution ... it's all on you, including budgeting and figuring out what it'll cost you to hire someone to do the things you don't know how to do, or how much time and money it'll cost you to educate yourself about the things you'll need to do.

Writing Believable Sex Scenes

It comes to this, folks. It doesn't have to be ultra-real, or a political statement, or normal. It has to be entertaining, use all the appropriate senses, must be paced like any other scene with its own story arch and character development, and should include telling details that will give the reader a sense that you know what you're talking about (and thereby will hold up that suspension of disbelief.)

Handling Sexuality with Dignity

The audience said they wanted to talk about the sociological aspects of sexuality, but at the end they wanted to hear more about how to be able to hold your head up high when writing about sex. I felt the panel was a lot of fun but ended up kind of muddled and unfocused. Which is fine. The takeaway points revolved around being aware of others and educating yourself. I didn't get a chance to talk about concepts like refrigerator heroines and other tropes that make gender roles unappealing at best to half (or more) of a given audience to works of fiction and media. Just finding out about this stuff helps immensely with communication in the real world and in fiction.

That sums up Friday at Orycon 35. And once again I'm up past my bedtime. G'night, all. I'll type to you again soon.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A good time was had by the young

I had a lot of great conversations this weekend at OryCon 35. It's possible to sign up for Orycon 36 right now at the hotel, and they'll have the website up to accept online preregistration very, very soon. For only $30 (price good only until Dec. 31, 2013) you can have a whole weekend of fun.

One of the reasons I enjoy going to science fiction and fantasy conventions is the opportunity to talk shop with writers at all levels of experience, skill, and stage in their career.  In fact, I had a great time interacting with a four year old writer. Yes, you read the age right. I had to dictate for him, but he wrote the story himself and signed it. In the same group, a young lady still in grade school produced a story (inside of an hour and handwritten, mind you) that had great structure and depth of emotion. Her protagonist went through a try-fail cycle, faced danger, and came through at the end. No joke, I was genuinely moved.

I'm a little too punchy, thanks in part to my late-and-then-early schedule, so I won't embarrass myself by trying to talk about various panels in a coherent fashion. But check back and I'll see what I can come up with after some sleep.

Maybe a day or two of sleep.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Nanowrimo 2013!

Quiet day off. Good timing. Orycon 35 is coming up fast (this weekend, eek!) and this time let me get my head together. I still don't know what I'm going to read. It'll be fantasy, fiction, probably a piece from a novel. I promise I won't yammer on with a big lead-in. I'm not sure if I should read from a book that's out, or from a book that's coming out early next year. My DH suggested After, so I'm going to comb through that tonight and see if I can find something that will make a good fifteen minute read. Suggestions are welcome if you've read the book!

I'm well into my Nanowrimo project, working title The Blood of Old Oak Hill. You can check up on my progress here. I'm going to try to put up a widget on the side bar so that you can cheer me on or taunt me or send me a little pep talk if it looks like I'm falling behind. Right now I'm a little ahead of the game, and at the same time, a bit behind. I'm going for 80,000 words. 50,000 is required to win. Now before you start calling me bad names, remember, this is National Novel Writing Month, and my goal is a short but professional-length novel, which starts at 80,000 words. 50,000 is still a great accomplishment and bravo if you take on the challenge and make it. But this is my 9th year and I've been writing for a while. I already know I can achieve 50,000. In fact I've made over 100,000 in a month before ... but I wasn't working a day job full time at the time. So we'll see. I'm definitely not going to be all cocky-strutty-cake-walky-attitude.

Not unless it's really funny. I might talk a good game, but deep inside I'm shivering at the memory of my office flooding right in the middle of Nano one year and falling about a thousand words short because it took so long to clean out my office (where the computer was, of course). What time I did spend writing I spent on the floor in the family room. Brrr. No, I'm not going to assume this is going to be easy. No way.

To make my goal I need to write 2667 words a day on average. Based on that, I'm behind. I'll definitely put on my writing cap and go for an hour or two before bedtime tonight. Wish me luck!

For more posts on Nanowrimo, some of them quite old, just click on the labels under the post and the magic of Blogger will hook you up. You won't see all of them because I was really sloppy with labels early on, but you should get a nice selection.